Jacob watched as Ray climbed through the window. He made it look so easy, like climbing from the second floor was the easiest thing in the world. But Jacob had been practicing. This time he was ready to go. As soon as the goblin disappeared, he slipped out of bed and looked down.
Ray was nowhere to be seen.
Jacob’s heart pounded as he climbed over the sill. He stretched for the elm branch. Everything looked so different in the dark, less certain, more dangerous. For a moment he thought maybe he should go back. But he reached out anyway and felt the elm tree’s rough bark.
Thor flinched. He knew that voice too well. He turned restlessly, trying to force it out of his head. But it was there, always there, in his heart.
Thor’s elbow hit the TV tray. He cursed, throwing a plastic plate across the room.
“Get out!” he shouted. “Go away. Just leave me.”
He didn’t mean it. Not really. But he was tired and the pain was no easier. Loki, that cursed son of an ice giant. He saw him hanging from Thanos’s hand, fighting for air, for life. He heard his brother’s hoarse voice:
“You—will never be—a god.”
His death was too sudden. Thanos had thrown his body at Thor’s feet, so still and broken in a way that Loki was never broken, never finished. It was pretend. It had to be. Thor had bowed beside his brother, praying for some trick, some miracle.
Sir Pedder raised his head. “Tell you?” he questioned, slowly.
“Tell me that you knew my father.”
The knight held the young woman’s gaze steadily. “I did not know him well,” he said. “But I remember him. He was a brave man. It was a loss to all of us, when he died. My duties kept me mostly at the castle, but when I was able I journeyed with him and his men, and was glad to fight beside him.”
She leaned on her elbows. It was a warm bright day with a cool wind ghosting the tops of the trees.
The water was blue under the sky. For a long time Kat watched, seeing the shapes of minnows like vague small shadows below. But then she saw it. It was a silver flash, sudden as direct sunlight. It was visible only for a moment, a long gleaming tail following a vague human shape.