- Publisher: Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Gr
- Date: July 2017
From the cover
The Eye of Horus
Atticus shares this story early on during Granuaile's training period, in between Tricked and the novella Two Ravens and One Crow.
I am often reminded how a small fire underneath a vast sky can bind people together like nothing else. For all that we are social creatures, we are too often shoved into solitary confinement by circumstance. The color of our skin isn't like everyone else's, or our language is different, or our religion isn't the one that gets us invited to dinner by the neighbors. That last one has kept me alone for a long, long time. There are no more Druids walking the earth, unless you count the various neo-pagan versions, who are all operating on nineteenth-century reconstructions.
And despite the fact that I have an apprentice, I suspect she won't be the same sort of Druid that I am—I mean believing in the old Irish gods as I do, paying them respect and offering them prayers, observing the holidays and the rites as the Irish used to do in the days before the invasion of the Christians. Gaia doesn't require belief in any deity to be bound to her: She merely requires a highly trained mind and unswerving devotion to her protection. With Granuaile I think there is a willingness to see the divine, to acknowledge and appreciate both its wonder and terror, but a stubborn resistance to worshipping it.
But she liked staring into campfires well enough. Fires were warm cups of non-thinking serenity after the daily rigors of training. I had been exhausting her mentally with languages and headspace exercises and then physically with the martial arts. By the time the sun sank behind the baked sandstone cliffs of the Navajo Nation each day, she was ready to lose herself in the yellow and orange flickers of flame. And quiz me about my past.
"Ugh," she said, flopping on the ground by our fire pit and popping open a bottle of beer with a hiss and clink as the top fell to the ground. "What a day. Wish I could just upload kung fu like Neo instead of learning it the slow way." She leaned back against a rock padded with a bedroll and took a swig, winced at some ache or soreness in her muscles, then said, "Tell me about the old days, Atticus, when you were wee and had to walk both ways uphill in feces because no one had toilets."
"You seriously want to hear about that?"
"Well, I'd like to hear about some old shit, but it doesn't need to include actual shit, if that helps. I'm tired, damn it. Just tell me a story."
Oberon said through our mental link. He was stretched out by the fire, lying across my feet, belly up for easy rubbing. Granuaile couldn't hear him, but she could follow along because I spoke my part of the conversation aloud.
"What's that, Oberon?"
"Oh, you mean Bast. Yes, I remember. Hard to forget something like that."
"You already know why she was mad. She wanted me to return the book of her cult's mysteries that I had stolen long ago."
"Oh, I see. Heh! Yes, I suppose that would be a good story for the night. Wow, this is going way back to the third century. I was still haunting Europe at the time."
"Wait, Atticus, hold on," Granuaile said. "Is this going to take a while?"
"I'm not sure. Is there some hurry?"
"I don't want to interrupt you in the middle of it. I should answer the call of nature first."
"Good call, then. We'll reconvene after a few words from nature."
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