“Arna?!” Soryn yelled, trying to get Arna to snap out of whatever trance she was in.
Vague sounds registered in Arna’s head. First, she was staring at the old woman. Then her confusion grew when the cave, the fire, and the mysterious woman faded. Arna found she was staring at the sun spire, sweat soaking her body. She blinked until the whole room came into focus, then looked over at Bialas. He looked petrified.
“W-What happened?” she asked. Whatever she had been doing, it was not dreaming.
“You were just lying there with your eyes completely open and you stopped breathing! I thought you had died! What happened?!” Soryn demanded.
“I don’t know…” Arna rubbed her eyes and forehead. She had a headache.
“What’s going on!?” Fanndis boomed from the doorway.
“Arna was unconscious with her eyes open and she stopped breathing!” Soryn’s heartbeat rattled his chest and his breathing was erratic. He had been terrified that something very wrong had happened to his friend.
“What’s this?” Fanndis looked at Arna.
“I fell asleep after Lord Maslyn went outside to help Stigg. I was having a strange dream,” Arna began.
“That was no dream. Who was speaking to you?” Fanndis interrupted.
“What?” Arna asked, confused again.
“Who was speaking to you in your vision? Was it a woman? A man? An animal? I need details if we’re to solve this riddle. We need to know who summoned you,” Fanndis said, folding her arms.
“It was a woman—an old woman. She was dressed in wolf pelts and we were hiking in the mountains until we reached her cave. Inside, there was a goat. She changed him into a human before my eyes, but then turned him back. She said that he was sick and that she kept him in animal form as a mercy. She said that he would not die as quickly in an animal body.” Arna did not know who this woman was, but by the look in her teacher’s eyes she knew that this ordeal was very significant.
“Did you see her face?” Fanndis asked, very serious.
“No. It was shrouded in a cowl and it was too dark to see under it.”
“That’s because the old bat hid it from you purposefully. She probably wanted me to know that she was testing you.”
“Who is it, Fanndis?” Arna asked, suddenly starting to believe that she been in the other woman’s actual presence. How was that possible?
“Her name is Valkyrie and she’s an old Seidh woman of the north. I, myself, trained with her many years ago. She’s a few years older than me. At the time my training began, she had already mastered magical powers that many do not even attempt until they are far advanced in their practice. Valkyrie’s quite a force to be reckoned with. If she’s taken an interest in you, we need to keep close watch on your dreams.”
“How did she find out about me in the first place!?” Arna was exasperated at the idea of some strange woman monitoring her mind when she was unconscious and vulnerable.
“It’s hard to say. She may have been passing through the village and heard about you or she might have sent her spies here to keep watch on me and might have learned about you by accident,” Fanndis admitted, her lips drawn tight.
“You mean she spies on you?” Arna felt a little afraid of this Valkyrie woman.
“She likes to…how shall I put it?” Fanndis tapped her cheek, thinking. “She likes to collect information about her former apprentices in case she needs to entice one of them to aid her in her wild experiments. Some of my friends, who also studied under her, just say she’s morbidly curious and a busybody. I think there’s more to it, personally.”
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Night Bells (Tales from Niflheim #1)Fantasy
Lord Maslyn has been a prisoner in his own home for the last six years. When the twelve year old noble of New Kristiansand discovers a secret passageway in his tower, he delves into a world of adventure, intrigue, and secrecy. With the help of a mys...