The cold stone flags felt good under his feet after the heat of the day. Having grown up in the Great Forests of the north he would never enjoy the heat of the Salt Pan. He padded over to the open doorway and leant against it; more cold stone to soothe his naked skin.

The heat really did preclude clothes, but a mixture of the strength of the sun and the potential dismay of visitors meant that in public, at least, the inhabitants of Erestella covered their bodies. Once they were able to hide from the sun, or enjoy the darkness, most locals would spend their time unclothed. It had taken him a while to become comfortable with this norm; now he was glad that no one cared about his nakedness.

Serena stirred on the bed, behind him. He wondered if she would appreciate being woken, if she would see his amorous intentions as displacement for his insomnia, as a distraction from the day to come and the problems he needed to face. They were, but they were no less real or urgent because of that truth; he just wanted her.

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