Winter – Chapter 21 – 04

            Marin kissed him gently, then picked up the coat that had slipped off his shoulders.  “Here.  Put this on—the one side at least.  This is all going to be a moot point if you freeze to death tonight.”
            Beyond the tarp that Matt had rigged up to keep the weather out of the forge, the wind howled, clawing at its edges.
            He needs a real door, Thom thought as he shoved his good arm through the sleeve of his coat.  “How bad is the storm out there?”
            “It’s going to get worse,” she said.  “We can’t stay up here much longer, otherwise we’ll still freeze to death, even with the blankets and the jackets.”
            “Why does he hate us?”  Thom asked.
            Marin blinked.  “Random much?  Why does who hate us?”
            “Cariocecus.  Any of them.  I don’t know, Mar, I think that Vammatar would’ve shown up whether Phelan was here or not.  It can’t just be blood.  There’s something else going on here.  I just wish I knew what it was.”
            He thought of the Morrigan.  Was she the voice from his dream?
            No.  That wasn’t her.  That was someone else—something else.  I’m not sure what, but it wasn’t her.  As ominous as what the Morrigan said to us was, I don’t think she really wants to hurt any of us.
            Not yet anyway.  Not unless we cross her.
            Not until we cross her.
            “I don’t know,” Marin said quietly.  “Maybe it has something to do with what we can see—what we can’t control.  Maybe it’s just bad luck.”
            “You don’t think it’s bad luck any more than I do.”  Thom reached up with his good arm and ran his fingers through her hair.  “You know it’s not as much as I do.”
            She closed her eyes and sighed.  “You’re right.  I do.  That doesn’t mean I have to like it or admit it.”
            Thom smiled wryly.  The smile faded after a moment.  “I was dreaming when I walked out here,” he said.  “When you woke me?  I heard a woman calling me, asking me to keep going forward.  To keep moving.  One more step, she said.  One more step.” A shudder wracked him.  “It felt wrong, Mar, but I couldn’t tell you why.  I don’t know what it was.”
            Marin chewed hard on her lower lip, then shook her head.  “I don’t know, Thom,” she whispered. “But like we both said, we’ve got to find out.  We’ve got to figure it out.”
            “Phelan knows more than he’s telling us,” Thom murmured.  “About all of it.”
            “He’s trying to protect us by keeping his mouth shut,” Marin said.  “Maybe it’s a misplaced effort, but that’s why he’s doing it.”
            Thom shook his head, starting to struggle to his feet.  If she was saying that they needed to get back, they probably did.  He used her shoulder to lever himself upright and she rose a moment later, putting one arm around his waist to steady him.
            “I had a vision a few weeks ago,” he said as they leaned against each other in the darkness.  “Angie was giving me quite the lecture about sheltering people.”  He took a deep breath and exhaled it slowly, wincing at the pain that lanced through his chest.  “We talked about our son—yours and mine.  She said he’d know more, more quickly than we’d give him credit for.”
            “I’ve seen him, too,” Marin said, voice barely audible over the wind.  “We’ll live long enough to have him, Thom.  Somehow.”
            He shivered at the realization that she’d known why he’d said it even before he had.
            Somehow, she knew.
            “You’re right.  We will.”
            They set off into the howling wind together, headed back toward where the tents and the fire should be.

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