“I think he’s calling our bluff,” I said to Thruor.
“Or just assuming that this would take a while.”
“What do we do if he is?”
Not my task to kill him. Was it Thruor’s?
What if it was the dwarves? That might make things better or worse.
Who’s task was it? Somebody I didn’t know.
“Go find him, I suppose.”
“Could do another light show then immediately head out.”
“Might be too slow to surprise him.”
Her tone reminded me that I had picked the location. I was responsible for failure.
“And…I still…” I looked at the tree.
“Still want to help the tree.”
“Yes.” It wasn’t just a tree. It represented everything. But tactics. I delayed purely from that. “Can you see anything?”
“No more than you can, but let me see.”
And she was airborne, a rush of black feathers. I felt envy for a moment. Flying. Wasn’t something I longed for, but how could one not be just a little bit jealous of such an ability?
I doubted Ebba and Jorun envied her at all.
Mike. “Is she doing recon?”
“Yes. And don’t worry, she won’t be seen.”
“I’m not. I’m worried about you.”
“Mike, I’m only going to do what I have to.”
“Exactly.” He studied me. “I’m not your father. I never can be. But…”
I let out a breath. “I wish I could ask you to look after Kanesha for me. Just in case.” But it was too late for that.
“You think you are…”
I turned towards him. “Mike, if I don’t make it through this, then it might not even be a concern.”
The rift in the sky was trembling. Quivering. Maybe Surtur had not come because every part of him was devoted to keeping it closed.
Could I help?
“I know.” He paused. “But I still worry.”
“In your nature.” I looked at the rift again. It felt as if it echoed the divisions in this land.
I wanted to be back in DC. I wanted to be worrying about a shoot.
I knew I would never again get what I wanted.