Athena nodded. “This… poem you hold so dear, the one you recite as fact, it is either incomplete, or he searches for another version of it. One which tells of how the Agon ends and how its victor will claim unfathomable power.”
Lore’s mind shout down, leaving her body to react. She stood so quickly from her chair that it fell back and clattered against the tile. There was nowhere to go, and nothing her hands could grip except the opposite arm. “What?”
The trees have to be tied down by sunset. When the Woodsmen come, they always try to run.
The girls who are skilled forgers fashion little iron stakes to drive through the roots of the trees and into the earth, anchoring them in place. With no gifts for forging between the two of us, Boróka and I haul great length of rope, snaring any trees we pass in clumsy loops and awkward knots. When we finish, it looks the spider web of some giant creature, something the woods might cough up. The thought doesn’t even make me shiver. Nothing that might break through the tree line could be worse than the Woodsmen.