Thirty-three – 07

“This way,” Marin said, cutting to the left once they were twenty yards from the end of the bridge. The twisted wreck of Au Sable Hall loomed fifty yards and more ahead, half hidden in the snow and dark. The sun was slowly growing brighter in the east. Dawn was coming. Thom murmured a soft curse under his breath, wishing they’d thought to bring lanterns or torches–something. As good as his night vision was, he didn’t like to wander into danger half blinded by the darkness.

Seamus glanced at Thom and Thom nodded. “Listen to her,” he said quietly. “She knows the lay of the land here as well as I do.”

“Better,” Marin said. “Half my classes were in that building, once upon a time.” She squinted in the dim, pausing on the sidewalk to study the building. “She went around behind it, Thom?”

“That’s what it looked like, anyway,” he said, grimacing as he shoved his hands into his pockets, the chill nibbling at his fingertips. Soon he’d have to draw his sword and if his fingers were too cold for a proper grip, things would probably end poorly for all of them. “I’d be surprised if it was otherwise.”

“Steep slope on the back side,” Marin murmured. “She’s built herself some kind of shelter in the rubble, I’d bet. I’d almost stake my life on it.”

“Almost, or you would?” Seamus asked quietly. “Because one way or another, we’re risking ourselves and Phelan by following.”

Marin shook her head. “The only other place she could be is down in the ravine itself. Can you sense her at all?”

Seamus grimaced. “Your husband was the one that sensed her in the first place.”

Her gaze swung toward Thom and he winced at the question he glimpsed in her eyes.

“I did something to the wards,” he said quietly. “Something that hurt the Greys and stretched my senses beyond anything I’ve ever experienced before. I could hear her laughing, Mar. I heard her laughing and that’s how this started to unravel.”

Marin swore softly and shuddered.

Then she started walking again, toward Au Sable and whatever danger lay in its ruin.

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