hour was passed so the Russian restaurant was thankfully only sparsely
crowded, Fern felt anxious about the idea having conversations with
spirits no one else could see in a crowded restaurant. The alkonost
which looked like an owl with a womens head and breasts had settled
onto an empty table and was sleeping with a pair of other spirits. Fern
ordered four peraskies and put them on the table in front of the
sleeping spirits. A sharp clap of her hands woke them as she sat down
across from them. I offer you each a perasky, she told them, and ask in
return that you help me.
of the spirits could eat of course but giving them a gift was
tantamount to giving them energy, giving them magic which is why such
offerings were important. It really didn’t matter what happened to the
Paraskies as along as Fern just left them on the table for the spirits.
“What is it you seek?” The largest of the three spirits ask.
‘There is a boy in the park near here who is missing one of his souls, could you please tell me if you know who took it?”
‘Many things take souls,” the other spirit told her his voice like gravel running down a hillside.
“Is there a way for me to find out?” Fern asked the alkonost. “I had hoped you could devine and answer for me?”
“From a land where the sun rises, on waves he drifted, fierce and blue he came,the
alkonost” whispered it’s voice so sweet that for a moment Fern forgot
everything else, who she was, what she was doing. Her memories all
flittered away from her mind like a flock of sparrows. “He desires that which is forbidden to him, gathering power to gain that which is locked against him.”
The alkonost finished and Fern’s memories returned but she sat in a daze for a while longer.
you,” Fern nodded to the spirit as she tried to think of what the bird
might have been talking about. She wanted to ask more questions, to try
to get more details but Fletcher had made certain to impress upon her
that oracles take pleasure in watching people try to figure out their
riddles and get angry if someone presses them for more details, and she
worried that if the alkonost spoke to her again her memories might not