Darity, Dénsmore, and D’Artangan, the three eldest daughters of the Norn Skuld, walked through the autumn woods of Asgard searching for answers. Being Norns themselves, the sisters ought to have been able to merely open their Second Sight and find the solution to their problem—if the Sight itself were not their problem.
Grandmother Spider sat by the fire in her audience chamber, bent like an old woman at work even in her twilight years. The stories said she had made the stars with a dew-soaked web and brought fire to humanity. She was also the most knowledgeable of the Aeoni on matters of the Sight.
My deepest anxiety had been easy to pinpoint, almost too easy, in fact. I had to reap Gabriel. At first, I had thought my uneasiness about reaping him—one day, but not tomorrow, certainly—stemmed primarily from the fact that I had come so close before and failed. Granted, I had only delayed the harvest to allow Merlin to Name Gabriel. But I wondered if, relieved of all other Valkyrie duties, I would be strong enough to follow through when the time came.
“If we pull them all into one location, even our most secure,” Leviticus said, “it’s only a matter of time before these assassins find us and destroy the Order and its charges. They have been stalking us too long for us to be safe retreating from them. There is a mind and a purpose driving these golems to kill our monks and their charges, and if we do not go on the offensive, they will kill us all.”
“Thank you for being the voice of doom,” said Deuteronomy, her voice holding back none of her disdain for Leviticus’ aggressive, if somewhat pessimistic, position.
He put his hand on hers and said, “Relax, I’ll handle it. You just focus on getting operational again. I can’t go out there and leave the Order without a sensible person around.”
“Sensible? If I was a sensible person, I’d have left the Order about three decades ago.”
“Sharon,” he said softly, “you’re only twenty-eight.”
“Exactly,” she said, closing her eyes.
“I show up uninvited all the time,” Robin said. “It adds surprise and unpredictability to life.”
“I did not know until May that my mother had not birthed me in the usual fashion,” I began, but Marquéz interrupted before I could get any further.
“Usual fashion! You were made, boy, fabricated like a bloody golem. We have witnesses.”
“Harry, are you okay? What happened?” his mother asked again.
“It was—something—magical, I think,” said Harry’s dad.
Harry tried to speak, and his words came out as a croaking gasp. He coughed and his dad lifted him into a sitting position. When Harry had control of his breathing again, he said, “Good thing I got that ghost insurance.”