She’d given me something to think about, though. I also wasn’t looking forward to any more time in a car with Bruce. I decided, instead, that I wanted to go for a walk.
Which I did, along a leafy lane. There was almost no traffic.
I’d been in places like this before. No, what flashed into my mind was true wilderness. Mountains that reached towards the sky, valleys that glowed with wildflowers.
Things you never saw in cities. I stepped to one side and rested my hand on the bark of a tree. I could feel, suddenly, the life flowing within it from root to leaf. An awareness of treeness that might have been magic or might simply have been my own thoughts echoing back into my head. I finally understood why some people hugged trees. A crow flew out of one of the trees, or was it a raven?
No. It was a crow, but there was a sudden shudder of something that approached dangerously close to recognition.
Ravens. There was something…right. I remembered the book. Hunin and Munin, the two messengers of Odin. Thought and Memory. Or was it Foresight and Memory? Come to mention it, the book had listed both. Translations. Probably both equally correct.
Munin wasn’t much use to me, I thought wryly. I’d have to rely on Hunin. The crow cawed three times and flew past me on his way to wherever he was going. Making sure I noticed him, I suspected.
Crows were like that. Showoffs. Attention seekers. So were ravens. I shook my head and leaned against the tree.
Still that slight awareness of treeness and, fading, a flickering awareness of crowness. As if senses I had forgotten I had were awakening.
That was probably exactly what was happening. Dust coming off unused skills. So, maybe I was a witch? The runes fit that. The fighting skills didn’t.
Maybe I’d been trained by some kind of secret society of demon hunters, like that old TV show. That made as much sense as anything else.
Thea was another trained by them. A sisterhood. Why women? Why not women. We weren’t as big and strong as men, but that didn’t mean we couldn’t fight.
But another thought curled into my brain. Valkyries. Odin’s daughters. The choosers of the slain. I laughed it off as ridiculous and kept walking.
It was just…right to be out of the city, although I knew I had to go back soon enough. I needed this, though. I was able to forget, then, about cultists, about shapeshifting fairies, about weird old men.
I was able to forget everything and, finally, let myself recharge a little before what I knew would be the storm.
Then I felt it, wings in the air. I broke into a run back to where I’d left Bruce. I had to lead it to the witch. Then we could deal with it, but not if it caught me first!
The crow flapped past once more. Caw, caw, caw.