[This post is from Matt’s point of view.]
A ball of lead settled in his belly as he trudged away from the fire, heading for the Wild Hunt’s encampment. Part of him reflected that the Huntsmen needed to start building shelters a little more hardy than their tents, since they’d need them soon enough when winter came. It would probably be early, too, just like the year before—just like the winter after everything they’d ever known came crashing down and the world was utterly changed.
“You don’t have to do this.”
Matt glanced sidelong at Thom, frowning for a second. “You’re the one who doesn’t have to do this. You should’ve stayed with the others.”
“Not a chance.” Thom stared back at him, expression as grimly determined as Matt had ever seen it—an expression probably mirrored by his own. “Someone needed to come back you up and I’ve been useless for long enough.”
“You’re not useless,” Matt said, looking away. “We’ve been over this. Trust me on it.”
“Yeah, well. I still feel like it even if it’s not true. At least this way I feel like I’m useful.” He sighed quietly. “Besides, it feels right.”
“Coming with you.” Thom looked at him again, but Matt couldn’t meet his brother-in-law’s gaze, just kept staring resolutely forward. “Don’t ask me why. It just does.”
The truth was, Matt didn’t want to ask. He didn’t want his suspicions confirmed, that his brother-in-law’s Sight had urged him to come along, that some flicker or fragment of something had driven him to it. All he could hope was that it wasn’t because something bad was going to happen on the way.
I just hope that I can convince them somehow. We need their help—if I’m right about what she wants to do, we’ll need them badly to make this work. We don’t have the numbers otherwise, or the skills. These are soldiers, men and women who have spent almost their entire lives at one war or another. They know how to fight. Most of us are still learning.
A preemptive strike. There was no way they could do it without the Hunt’s help.
He just hoped he could secure it without somehow sparking more of a war than they were prepared to fight.