An Abundance Of Threats
Amanda puts another of her books into her locker before pausing. Something is… wrong, some instinct of hers is blaring, urging her to pay attention. She tilts her head, sniffing. 1A smells the same. There are no doppelgangers or skinchangers here to imitate one of her classmates. And while a werewolf can always tell when he or she is in the presence of a predator, that instinct too is silent.
She scratches one of her ears in a doglike movement. What then, is it?
She stiffens abruptly, remembering who it was that taught her about this particular instinct, an instinct that only werewolves in her family possesses. It’s an instinct that warns her that there is someone with divine magic nearby.
She slams her locker and makes for Ochre’s exit. On passing Elena and Rune, she overhears an argument. “I told you not to tell him… and the first thing you do is to tell him. Have you got any damn idea what he will do now?”
She rushes past them and out. In quick strides she crosses the Vermillion Plaza. The scent that fills the March-air makes her stop. It’s a scent not entirely unlike her own; a scent of lilac and fur. Grandfather Fenrir. She follows the scent like a bloodhound, soon reaching the Crimson Bridge. A single black letter lies there on its steps.
She grabs it but fumbles. Her fingers, they won’t obey her. She lifts it again, this time with more care. Rather than just opening it, she spends some time taking in the scent, reveling in the memories it brings back. The scent of home and family. Eventually she rips the letter open with claws and takes out the letter.
I don’t know what to write. When they locked me into the Bastille, you were this little thing, and now you’re close to an adult. I grieve for what I have missed, for your up-bringing, of which I should have been a part of. I will not make excuses to you, that is not our way, and never shall it be. But I want you to know, had I been able, I would have been part of your life.
But now I will be. I swear it, by by claw, spell, fang and sword. I swear it by the fastened roads and forgotten realm. I swear it by a prince of lies, a wyrm of midnight, a priestess of the temples and a firstborn of the blood, even though they were the ones that decided that I was to be incarcerated. I will not be stopped, not by my son nor Tam Linn.
I am sorry; I have gotten a bit emotional. But Tam Linn, that man, if he ever were a man one can wonder, well you mustn’t ever turn your back on him. He is insane in the worst possible way. Make no deals with him. The people you can trust here in Fallowfell are your teachers, Hermann Schwartz and Nidar Greyscale, and mind Perenelle Flamel, for she still fears the Council.
I will contact you when the time is right. Under no circumstances are you to search for me. Do so and you will draw Tam Linn to me, and I am not certain I can fight him and win. Know that I love you, älskling.
Amanda folds the letter. Mucus clogs her nose. Something burns in her eyes. She turns around and walks back to Ochre.
“Tiresias!” Greyscale roars, standing next to the World-Tree.
“Tiresias, get your ass down here or I might just burn it down!”
That threat seems to do it. A chill fills the air around the World-Tree and Tiresias materializes. Greyscale stares at her. Her skin is that olive-tone, her hair longer than he remembers and her eyes are brown and deep, eyes that you can trust, he thinks quietly to himself.
“I have questions for you”, he says after a suitable, dramatic pause. “And I have answers for you”, she responds with a certain dry wit. He decides to go on the offensive. Subtle, that’s something Greyscale has never been accused of in his very long life. “The rhyme you gave me, the one that led me to Fallowfell, to planting the Seed, to slicing off a part of my soul and graft it to Rune Fallowfell– was it ever true?”
Tiresias spin in the air, settling on watching the growing World-Tree and it is only now that he notices that she is standing in the air. “It’s true in one way and false in another”, she offers, in a casual way, still staring at the Tree. The fruit of my labours Greyscale thinks. No, the fruits of her labours, he realizes with apprehension.
“You… orchestrated this. Me being here in Fallowfell. Planting the Casket and the Seed. Turning Rune into a berserker. What else have you done?!”
But there are no more answers, for Tiresias is gone.
Tam Linn walks alongside Yowl looking at her as she plays in the snow. He wonders if she feels bereft of her family. If she misses her siblings. Or maybe she can’t remember them. She is a cat after all.
The next line of interviews has been scheduled, but there is still something that bothers him. Not just this-Tiresias figure, but something else, something he has overlooked. The thought nibbles at him.
Rune Fallowfell. Esaia Eldridge. Elena Havenius. Hannah Duchamps. To name some of the people interviewed. One of them… he decides to check in on them again. A precaution, merely to ascertain that there isn’t something he is missing. And Amanda Skog, who is the granddaughter of Fenrir, althought that is a different issue.
A glint of light catches his eye. He glances up. Hermann Schwartz is standing on a upper slope above his own vantage point. His face is set in stone, his eyes unyielding flint. Schwartz raises one of those disgusting daggers he employs in a salute, before making a move as if to slit his throat.
Tam Linn nods, eyes blazing like crystals, the message received.