Twenty-two – 02

[This post is from Marin’s point of view.]

I brought him a mug and he took it with a grateful smile. He spoke as I turned back to pour my own.

“How extensive was the damage? Injuries?”

“Damage isn’t too bad, though we’ll have to do some work on the wards. Thom’s hurt, too, but he and Sif are the worst. Everyone else has more minor injuries—or isn’t reacting to getting smacked around by a camazotzi the same way he is.” Cradling my mug in one hand, I returned to my spot next to the fire. “Neve’s in labor. It started after the fighting ended, thank god. I don’t know what we would have done if it had happened during that fight.”

“Hell,” Thordin breathed. “No one told me.”

I shook my head. “Hecate was with her practically in seconds after it started—Neve asked for her—and J.T. was there as soon as he was done with Thom. It’s been going on for hours, now.” It wasn’t like mine had been, or even Tala’s—though Tala still hadn’t quite told any of us how long she’d been in labor before she knew it was time. I leaned back against the log sitting behind me, one that was starting to be worn smooth by touch in the months since the end of everything we’d known before. We were only weeks away from the anniversary of that day.

A lot had changed.

“Hecate,” Thordin echoed, sounding thoughtful. He took a sip of his coffee, then another, gaze flicking away from the flames to meet my eyes. “What do you think on her, Marin? Do you trust her?”

I nodded without hesitation. “With my life, with my son’s and my brother’s lives. I trust her.”

Thordin nodded. “I do, too,” he said quietly. “She seems—I don’t know. Different.”

“She is.” I took a slow sip of coffee. “And she’s not. It’s always been there, it’s just that she hasn’t dared to let anyone see it in her in almost forever. It hasn’t been safe. Now it is.”

“I hope it stays that way.”

I exhaled in a sigh. “Me too.”

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