Sixteen – 08

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

                Thordin plunged forward into the mists where Orcus had vanished.  Matt struggled to remember how to breathe, gasping in a pair of breaths before he reached for his friend.

                “Don’t bother,” Matt said, his voice shaky.  “He’s gone.”

                Thordin glanced back, brow furrowing.  “You can’t be sure of that.”

                “And yet, I am.”  Matt swallowed hard, his other hand tightening around the haft of his warhammer.  “Why is it always three days, Thordin?”

                “What?”  Thordin turned fully, moving back to where Matt stood in the drifting, chill fog.

                “It’s always three days,” Matt murmured, then shivered and shook his head.  “Damn.  I—damn.”

                “Matt?”

                He squeezed stinging eyes shut.  How do I tell her?  How can I tell her that her friend’s life hangs on what she does next—something I can’t let her do, for all of our sakes?

                The fog was starting to lift.  He could hear her footsteps alongside Carolyn’s, moving toward them through the clearing mist.  He sucked in a breath, squaring his shoulders.  Thordin reached out, grasping one.

                “Matt,” he said gently.  “I can tell her.”

                “No,” he said.  “No, it needs to be me.  It needs to come from me.”

                Thordin’s hand fell away.  “As long as you’re sure.”

                Not by a longshot.  “I am.”

                He turned toward the sound of his wife’s voice and started walking.  Hecate and Carolyn came into view a few seconds later as the mist continued to thin.  Matt’s throat got tight all over again.

                She’s going to see it written all over your face.

                The worry was already there, though, even before he and Thordin came into view.  Hecate let go of Carolyn, moving toward him quickly, reaching for his hands.

                “What is it?” she asked.  “What’s wrong?”

                Matt’s jaw tightened.  He caught her hand, answering as he kept walking.

                “We have three days before Orcus comes here with an army.  We’ve got work to do.”

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