Thirty-four – 01

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

For days, it was quiet. There was an odd heaviness in the air as the days wore into a week and nothing happened—no threats materializing, no news, nothing. Time marched onward, inexorably drawing them from July into August, closer to the day that marked when all of this had begun, when the end of everything heralded something strange and new.

It was as if they were all waiting for the other shoe to drop. Matt could feel it in his bones and it didn’t surprise him—not anymore, not at all. There had just been too much, too quick, and the quiet times felt like they’d blended together over the past year, punctuated sharply with the moments that shook them to their cores.

He stared in silence at the blade he’d been working on, lips thinning. It still glowed cherry-red form the heat of the forge, stark against the darkness of the anvil. A warm summer breeze blew in through the forge’s open door, a dozen degrees or more cooler than the temperature within. By rights, no one would have blamed him if he’d taken a few days or weeks off from working up at the forge, but truth be known, he found it soothing, comforting. It was something he could do, something he had control over.

There was just too much beyond their ability to control.

A shadow blotted out light from the doorway for a moment and he glanced up in time to see Hecate slipping inside, cradling their nephew in her arms. Matt smiled, straightening. “Hey. What’s brought you up here?”

“Making sure you knew there was a storm blowing in out in the west,” Hecate said, shifting Lin slightly in her arms. The infant had his fingers wrapped tightly around one the thin braids that framed her face, his free hand waving slightly, free of his swaddle. “Looks like something nasty—didn’t want you to get caught out here once the wind and lightning start.”

“Wind and lightning, hm?” Matt left the half-roughed in blade against the anvil and moved toward the doorway, stepping out into the wind and sunshine. Sure enough, clouds were massing to the southwest, black as his anvil. A low whistle escaped him. “We’re sure that’s going to hit?”

“Thordin is,” Hecate said softly, joining him. The wind ruffled her hair around her face, tugging strands free of the fine braids. “I don’t know about you, but that’s good enough for me.”

“Me, too,” Matt murmured, watching the clouds. There was something about them that unsettled his stomach, though he couldn’t be certain it wasn’t more than simple paranoia.

Sometimes a storm was just a storm.

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