In the Woods – continued…

Now that they had some idea who had kidnapped them, they also had a better idea what had precipitated the attack.  They were sitting in a café not far from the hotel discussing the matter.  “If I had to guess,” Nora said, her voice soft, “Ingrid Kyander has spent the last two years searching for any distant kin that may have inherited her family’s gifts.  She’s a lance, with her gift of finding, she’d have that ability.”

“Either the gifts are truly lost,” Darius said, his voice soft, “or there’s no one in the next generation for them to go to… yet.  Finding no one… she may have become angry at those who did survive the massacres.”

“Particularly people like us: who were able to warn our families and, therefore, survive more or less intact,” Timo said, his voice soft.

Sofia grimaced.  “On one hand… I can see how it would be upsetting to find yourself utterly alone,” she said.  Then, she shook her head and added, “but it’s not our faults that the massacres occurred and… honestly, we were just lucky.  We couldn’t have been the only Hammers at any of those attacks to have sensed trouble.”

“It’s only that we reacted more quickly too it,” Nora said, nodding.

Darius shrugged.  “Or else our family members were just fortunate enough to be where our warning could help them,” he said, his voice soft.  He looked around at the others and shook his head.  “Setting aside any talk of blame – it’s immaterial since Elder Kyander clearly blames us – what do we do with this information?”

“We can’t really go to the Council of Elders,” Sofia said, her voice soft.  “We’ve got no proof, just circumstances that fit together.”

“Where is she now?” Timo asked, shrugging.  “The Council of Elders should, at the least, be able to tell us that.  Then, we can confront her directly.”

“A direct confrontation may go badly,” Nora said, glancing at Timo.  He frowned and she shrugged.  “How was she able to kidnap us in the first place?”  She turned to Sofia and shook her head.  “I do think we should go to the Council of Elders, even with the little we’ve got.  It could be enough that they’ll look into the matter.”

“I think that Nora’s right,” Darius said, looking from Timo to Sofia and back.  He shrugged.  “I’ve learned to trust my intuition and… I think it would be a bad idea to speak directly to Elder Kyander right now.”

Timo heaved a sigh and then nodded.  Speaking in a soft voice so that no one would overhear, he said, “This is actual intuition, though.  The wind isn’t telling you something that it isn’t telling us.”

Darius shook his head.  “I’m not Knowing this,” he admitted.  He shrugged.  “It just… It feels like it might be a bad idea.”

“I’ll accept that,” Timo said, nodding.  He paid their tab, although Darius didn’t bother asking how he’d gotten hold of money.  The answer was made plain by his next words.  “We’ll take the matter to the local Elders.  They can bring it to the Council on our behalf.”

“They’ll be able to arrange your flights back to the States too,” Nora said, as they headed out of the café.  “They set us up already, although our flight won’t be leaving for another few days.”

“I didn’t even know there was a Haven community here anymore,” Darius admitted.  He shook his head.  “After what happened in Havensburg, we just… left Alleman behind.  We had family in the States, so that’s where we went.”

“Ever since the attack on our home,” Nora said, her voice soft, “my eldest brother has kept track of where the various communities are.  It makes relocating easier, if there’s a need.”  She shrugged and added, “When I called to let him know I was safe, he told me about the community here.”

“Thank goodness for that,” Sofia said, giving her a wan smile.  From there, they set out for the nearby Haven community.  The sooner they reported what they suspected to the elder there, the better Darius would feel.  Then, he could go home without feeling like he needed to be looking over his shoulder constantly for trouble.


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