[This post is from Hecate’s point of view.]
Thunder growled in the distance and Thordin winced, staring into his mug. “Longer and stronger,” he muttered again. Hecate sighed, scrubbing a hand over her eyes.
“A lot of things,” Thordin grumbled, then shook his head hard and sighed. “Sorry. I should wait for Matt.”
“Unless you want to repeat yourself,” Hecate said, her gaze straying toward the door for a few seconds. “Where’s Sif?
“She said something about having a word with Neve. I didn’t ask what it was about.”
“Mm,” Hecate frowned. I wonder what that’s about. Maybe what we all suspect is happening—hell. What we know is happening and we’ve pretended for years never would. “Are we prepared for this?”
“For our children to make their own choices,” Hecate said, smiling wryly over her shoulder at him. “You know what comes next.”
“Do I?” Thordin took a long swallow of tea, making a face that suggested that he wished it was something stronger as much as she did. “We don’t know anything for sure, Hecate. All we know is that the camazotzi are back, that something’s stirring, and that those kids—I mean our visitors, because none of us can delude ourselves into thinking they’re any more than children themselves—are on some kind of quest that they might not even understand.”
“Oh, they understand the quest itself,” Hecate said softly. “They just don’t understand what it means—for them or the world.”
“I wish I didn’t suspect,” Hecate admitted. “I wish it wasn’t something that I feel like Marin warned me about long ago—something that was eventually going to happen whether we liked it or not.” A sigh escaped her. “Thordin, we knew a long, long time ago that there are cycles to this world. We knew that another conflagration would come.”
“And you think that this is that? The next war, the next convulsion of the world?”
“If it wasn’t that two decades ago, then I imagine it’s that now.”
He closed his eyes, tilting his head back. “You might be right. But if that’s the case, then maybe this one leads to the better, right?”
“Only if we help them succeed.” Her fingers tightened around her mug as she crossed her arms. “And I don’t know that we’ll have an easy time figuring out how to do that.”
“But we will,” he murmured.
“We’ll try,” she agreed. “We’ll certainly try.”