Twenty minutes later, the four of them crowded into the small office off the lodge’s main room. Terézia slowly unwrapped her mirror and laid it on the desk. Her gaze drifted to Aoife for a moment and her brows knit.
“Are you sure that you want me to do this?”
Aoife looked at her like she was crazy. “Of course,” she said quietly.
Terézia nodded firmly and planted her hands to either side of the mirror. She took a deep breath and exhaled it slowly. Her fingers drifted to the edges of the mirror. “I don’t know if you’ll be able to see anything,” she said quietly. “I wasn’t that good at this before the end, and since the end no one’s really looked at the mirror while I was working.”
Gray looked away, frowning. “Sometimes I could see flickers when I was watching you,” he said after a moment, his voice quiet. “I tried not to look most of the time.”
“You never said anything,” Terézia said quietly.
“I didn’t see a reason to,” he said, looming protectively over Aoife. He rested his hands on her shoulders. “It wasn’t quite my business, was it?”
Only slightly, Terézia thought, lips thinning.
Aoife sighed. “Enough. Let’s do this.” Anxious tension had set her rigid in the chair, her eyes looking darker, haunted.
I wonder how long it’s been since she saw him—her brother. Hell. I wonder how long it’s been since she’s seen anyone in her family. Probably a long time.
Kes slid into a chair at the side of the desk and watched as Terézia drew a deep breath and let her eyes flutter closed for a moment.
She murmured a few Latin words under her breath, her focusing mantra, and forced her body to relax. Her fingers slid over the edges of the polished silver mirror and she felt her hands and arms begin to tingle.
So much power tonight, she thought briefly, then forced herself to focus. Phelan O’Credne. The Wandering One. Aoife had murmured that appellation during her fevers, and Kes had been able to confirm that Phelan was, indeed, the Wanderer—she’d asked Aoife flat-out once, and that information had come back to Terézia.
A few heartbeats later, the reflection of the ceiling above them went white, misty. The mists began to part slowly, resolving itself into the image of a red-haired man staring up at the night sky, leaning against a staff. There were two other figures standing with him, a dark-haired woman and a dark-haired man. All three were silent, just staring at something beyond the range of Terézia’s scrying.
Aoife sucked in a breath and swallowed hard. Terézia winced as the image wavered.
“Careful,” she said quietly. “It’s hard to hang onto the image without them feeling me watching.”
“Michigan, you said,” Aoife whispered. “How can you be sure?”
“Crystal on a chain with a map,” Terézia said. “It got a little easier once I knew who I was looking for. You kept saying his name while you were sleeping and all, so I got curious and started looking.”
“And that’s the same group as the one that threw acid in your face and set your hands on fire?” Gray asked.
The image wavered again as Terézia glared at him. “Yes,” she said, jaw tightening for a moment. “Though none of them were involved.”
“Teca, I think they’re starting to notice,” Kes said, her eyes glued to the mirror. Sure enough, the trio there were starting to look wary—and mostly at the sky rather than anything else.
“Break off,” Aoife said, sounding pained, her eyes still on the image of her brother. They never wavered, even as Terézia let go of the image and the mirror faded to white, then to clear again.
She was almost afraid to ask, but she did anyway. “That was him, wasn’t it?”
Aoife nodded, leaning back. “It was,” she said. “He looks…tired. More tired than I feel.” She scrubbed both hands over her face. “I think I know who our cousin sent him to, but I’m not quite sure.”
“Who?” Kes asked, drawing one knee up to her chest, her heel catching on the edge of her chair.
“I think he sent Phelan to see to his wife’s cousin. I’m pretty sure of it, actually, but I could be wrong.” She rested her head against Gray’s chest and sighed. “Can you show me on the map where he is?”
“I think so.” Terézia wrapped up the mirror again and stood up. She snagged a rolled-up map of North America from one of the side tables and spread it across the desk. Now where…Lake Michigan coast, so that was the western side… “Here.”
Her finger rested on a point near the shore of Lake Michigan, somewhere between Holland and Grand Haven.
“It’s not entirely an exact science for me,” Terézia said, “but it’s a good educated guess.”
Aoife shook her head. “Either way, there’s no way to get to him before the worst of the snows. Assuming I was even strong enough for the journey.” She smiled a wry little smile. “And assuming that anyone here would let me leave.”
“There is that,” Gray said, smiling down at her. “I think Elton would tie you to a bedpost to keep you here if he had to. He’s been complaining about how long you’ve been taking to heal up.”
“Just the nature of the beast sometimes,” she said softly, starting to get up from her chair. “How much of that stew was left?”
“Enough for seconds,” Terézia said, standing as well. “Did you want some?”
A wolf howled, somewhere close. Close enough that there was barely an echo. A second answered a moment later.
“What the heck is that?” Kes moved toward the window, covered with a heavy shade. “There aren’t any wolves this far south.” She lifted the shade.
A man with amber eyes stared right back at her through the thick glass. Kes shrieked, joined by Terézia and Aoife.
Where the hell—
The man stared at them for half a second, then spun away, melted into the form of a wolf, and ran off into the night.
What the hell was that?
Aoife sprinted for the door.
Want to help support Awakenings?
Want to chip in to support Awakenings? Buy Erin a coffee through ko-fi and fuel her creativity with a little caffeine.
Want to help support all of Erin’s writing endeavors?
Thank you to my supporters!
Thank you to all of my supporters at Patreon, especially Karen L. Klitzke and Brandon!
Where we’re listed