What I hadn’t expected was that Angrboda would speak up before I could. “Hello there. Is your stepdad in?”
She knew about the kid.
Then I remembered she was one thing I was not and probably wouldn’t be for a while: A mother. She knew kids.
The girl put a hand over her mouth, then, “I’m not supposed to talk to anyone.”
Angrboda smiled. “Ah, but I’m not anyone. I’m an old friend of his.”
The girl recoiled a bit at the word friend. I caught that. Maybe she did too, because she glanced at me.
That glance said she would keep the girl distracted. Which she did as I slipped by, but I was about to do something horrible to her stepdad.
Who might be doing horrible things to her. Or Angrboda was just intimidating, but there was definitely something in her manner.
Somebody was abusing that kid. And that somebody was probably the person I’d come to take out.
Or the kid’s mother.
Who suddenly emerged from the room ahead of me. Seeing me, she screamed.
I had my hand over her mouth quickly, but not quickly enough. “I’m not here for you.”
I released her a little.
“You’re here for him.”
“Yes. Take your daughter. Go.”
“I don’t care what you’ve done. Just get the kid and go.”
She ran past me. She’d done stuff. She’d done plenty of stuff, I could see it in her eyes, but she was still human. And a mother. I’d asked promises from Angrboda, I had to keep them myself.
Then the fomor was at the top of the stairs. He looked light skinned, almost white, as if that was as black as he was willing to go. He was also as big as any giant.
I drew my sword. “I hear you’ve been throwing your weight around.”
“On orders of my lady.”
“I don’t care. Go home to faerie or I’ll send you back the hard way.”
“You don’t have cold iron.”
“I have this.” The blade glowed a little, and I could feel its eagerness to fight. It had a mind of its own, and a mind that wanted to kill this guy. “I’ll take your cold iron and raise you dwarf-forged steel.”
He hesitated for a moment. Then, surprise surprise, he charged.