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Fairies at the Threshold
part 35
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Lunch 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.
None 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.
“Thank 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 return.

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