“You could get hurt,” she exploded. “You could get hurt and just think what that would do to mother! It’d break her heart. You know it would. It’d kill her, Val. You know how fragile she is right now. I can’t believe you would risk that.”
“Her heart’s turned to ice, Gol, not glass. She’s—”
“Ice shatters just as easily as glass, and breaks far more easily than a heart! And you have no idea what her condition is like. When was the last time you stopped by to visit? You think you know what’s best for her, when—”
“I know what I’m doing, Gondulrun,” Val interrupted. “Believe me. He saw right through my veil. I bound him to hospitality to protect myself. I’m not endangering myself and I am not endangering mother. You didn’t need to call just to check in on me.”
“I know what I’m doing,” he repeated.
“Did you know your house guest bears the mark of the Dreaming Lords? That he is here at their behest, to do their will in the waking world?”
“Of course,” Val lied shamelessly.
That gave Gondulrun pause.
“I know what I’m doing,” Val repeated again. “You do not need to worry about me. You do not need to worry about Mother. Go back to your runes and your ravens, Sis. I’ve got this.”
“Well,” Gondulrun wavered, “if you’re certain—”
“Quite certain.” Val affirmed. “But if it will make you feel better, if it turns out I can’t handle it, you will be the first person I call.”
Gondulrun did not look convinced.
“Gol,” Val’s voice held a note of warning.
“Fine!” Gondulrun capitulated.
Val relaxed. Too soon.
“But you’re keeping Vorinn with you until this matter of the dream sorcerer is settled!”
Val and the raven squawked at the same time at this.
“No arguments!” Gondulrun admonished before vanishing, abruptly.
“I hate it when she does that,” Val complained to the raven—Vorinn, rather. “She always thinks it means she wins the argument.”
Vorinn croaked softly in agreement, then looked sharply over his shoulder, as if to be certain Gondulrun really had vanished.
Val chuckled and set the teacup in the sink. Just to be on the safe side, he turned the tap on hot and let the water run over the ice, slowly melting the impromptu scrying mirror his sister had used to appear—all unwelcome—in his kitchen.
“I suppose we had best just get used to it.” Val looked to the raven. “I suppose you’re hungry?”
Vorinn voiced agreement and hopped across the counter toward Val. Val extended his arm and the raven hopped onto the proffered wrist.
“Let’s see what we can find.”
Vorinn bobbed his head in agreement.
Val set to raiding the kitchen for his new corvid ally.
As he did so, however, his thoughts drifted toward Sand.
What was an emissary of the Dreaming Lords doing in the Twin Cities?
To Be Continued…
Next Time, on Digital Dreaming: “Numbers and Nightmares”
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