Somewhere up north
“You are not yet recovered, Father. You shouldn’t be travellin’ in the open by any means.”
“You’re concerned for me, darkling?”
“I have always been concerned for you. You’ve always been my father whether it as Parmanen or–or that other.”
“I have always been that other. There is no differentiation; only ignorance of the other.”
“…We still should not go south. You are too ill.”
“I have faith that you will watch over me, Lômiphel. And the forces I hide from are averted to other endeavors. The darkness stirs in the south.”
“People will recognize you. Those who protect her won’t let you close. They won’t let me close, neither. We don’t have the strength to start an assault on them, Father.”
“No, we do not. But perhaps…perhaps we can raise an army.”
“What is that look for? Why do you smile so? Father, what are you thinking?”
“All in due time, Lômiphel. All in due time.”
Somewhere down south
I left them there in the graveyard. I do not know what compelled me to depart so quickly. I could not stay. I would not stay with all of them standing there staring at him burying his brother.
I heard the mandolin as I walked down the worn dirt path. I heard the song carry over the wind, and I wanted to run away.
What sort of person am I that would run?
Past the cliffs, Bree sat in the distance. I saw her sitting against the hill just waiting for something perceivable in the air, but vaporous, elusive. The warm wind that wound around me stole my breath away.
I could not go back. Nothing was the same.
Oli found me north of Thornley’s. He did not ask with searching eyes, but merely fell into stride as I thudded north: step, thud-step, step, thud-step. My walking stick beat the rhythm of my stuttering heart into the Greenway. Step, thud-step, step, thud-step.
The wind grows foul. I cannot breathe.
Somewhere in between
“Oh, why yes, I do remember seeing her! That unusually large cat caught my attention, it did. I thought it was going to eat my pet turtle there! See him? See him down in the grass?”
“I’m sorry, but I cannot.”
“No? Really, no? He’s right there in the tall–Jasper! Jasper, boy, go get Tully out of the tall weeds!”
“That’s really quite all right, sir. Did the girl say where she was going?”
“Oh, just that she wanted to go into the downs, but it wasn’t safe enough for her. My Tilda and I agreed, oh, yes. Them downs ain’t safe, you know. ‘Specially for some lady lookin’ soft as she did. I was amazed her menfolk let her away like she was, all dressed nice like she come from some ceremony.”
“Nah, Pa. More like some sad thing. She was all dressed in dark. Like from a funeral!”
“Funeral’s still a ceremony, Jas. Now you just hush, boy. Git on.”
“So do you know where she was going when she left?”
“No, I’m terribly sorry. I wish I could…wait a darn moment! What do you think you’re doing?”
“This won’t take a moment. I promise.”