“She’s wounded. How, I don’t know. If she suffered a wound that does not heal while in the form of an animal, she wouldn’t attempt a shift again.” Ian drank the ale at his side.
“Aye, father, I think you’re right. Grainna is nobody’s fool.”
“Now what? We’ve banded the people together, we’re all willing to fight the witch, but how?
Running around starting fires is exhausting.” Liz laced her fingers in Fin’s as she spoke.
“But it worked. Something else happened with our… interventions,” Fin told them.
“Others came through. Others like us.”
Ian sat forward. “I noticed that, too.”
Fin shrugged and rambled off a few names. Ian added some more, a classroom of people. Not an army, but they would have to do. Maybe more existed but wouldn’t expose themselves. If death loomed, they’d have no choice.
“I can help find the others like us.” Amber glanced at her mother. “When we helped the wounded earlier, I touched many hands. Some were Druids. I felt it.”
Tara sighed. “Safety in numbers.”
“Elise said it would take ‘all of us’ to defeat Grainna. All of us may be more than only us.
Those words sunk in while the fire in front of them dwindled to embers and smoldering coals. It wasn’t quite midnight, the nearly full moon begged attention.
Damn, had it only been twenty-four hours since Liz had sat on the lawn of the Observatory, praying, chanting, and willing her and Fin through time?
What were Selma and Jake doing now?
Myra interrupted her thoughts. “I need to sleep.”
Todd helped her to her feet.
“Wait,” Simon whispered, yet everyone heard.
Liz narrowed her eyes at her son. “What is it?”
“Tomorrow, before the search party starts out, I need to go in front of them.”
Fin shot up. “No!”
“Wait, listen before you think I’m nuts.”
Liz peered into his face and eyes…eyes that seemed so much older than before Grainna’s evil swept her to the future.
“I’ll shift into a shark and find her.”
“It’s too dangerous.”
Liz listened. Her son’s eyes never left hers.
“I can. I’ve already done it.”
Her heart wept. She bit her lip and squeezed Fin’s hand, but she didn’t say a thing.
“Men will die if we let them go. Grainna won’t find me in the sea, won’t consider looking for me there.”
“We don’t know that, Simon.” Fin’s hand clenched hers as he spoke.
“You have to trust me to do this.”
While the other members of the family grumbled, Liz considered. She wanted to cry. God, she needed to bawl like a baby. No! God no! Don’t let her baby go.
Simon stared at her.
After a deep breath, she leveled her eyes to the fire and turned in Fin’s arms. Before she spoke, tears sprang in her eyes and a knot formed in her throat. “I think… I think we should let him try.”
Fin’s eyes narrowed, the request for his opinion not lost. He shifted his eyes to Simon. “Can you do this, son?”
Liz felt a cry leave her lips.
“Yes. She won’t know I was there.”
Fin’s gaze met hers.
Tears fell, but she brushed them away.
Fin’s eyes glossed over.
“Then your mother and I approve.”
Liz, Fin, Myra, and Todd sat on the shore waiting. Simon had shifted and swam away under the light of the moon nearly an hour earlier. Every passing minute ate into Liz’s confidence. Had she and Fin done the right thing by letting Simon go?
They had no idea how far he’d have to swim to find Grainna’s camp, or even if he would be able to see it from the water.
After fifteen minutes in the water, Liz could no longer speak with her son inside her head. Every minute since added to her anguish.
“We should have given him a time to return, even if he couldn’t find her.”
Myra reached for Liz’s hand. “It must be difficult to gauge time under there. Even if you had requested him to come back, he may not be able to.”
Simon? Can you hear me?
Silence! Damn quiet was entirely overrated.
A few rocks tumbled down the cliff. Liz glanced over her shoulder to see Cian and Amber walking toward them. Their eyes searched the waters.
“The men are starting to assemble,” Cian said when he stood beside them.
Fin let out a deep breath. “Come, Simon. Hurry up, lad.” Worry laced his stern expression. Thank God she wasn’t standing on this shore alone. Maybe it was wrong to want to share the burden with others over the welfare of her son, but Liz was grateful for their combined concern.
Liz glanced around wondering who’d said the word. Her head shot to the sea. Simon?
She slumped against Fin.
She pointed to her head. “Simon.”
You should see it under here, Mom. It’s a whole world full of so many beautiful things.
Tell us about it on shore. How far away are you?
Not sure, hold on…
“What is he saying?”
Todd scoffed under his breath while Myra asked,
“What is that?”
“Checking out what the ocean has to offer by means of beauty.”
I’m coming around the peninsula now. You’ll see me in about five minutes or so.
True to his word, Simon, in shark form, surfaced long enough for them to see him.
When he walked from the water, Fin covered him with a blanket to help dry him off.
“It’s amazing under there. I wish you all could see it. I had no idea.”
“Later, Simon. Did you find her?”
He shook his long hair out and smiled at Fin. “I sure did.”
“How long have I been gone?”
“Nearly an hour and a half.”
“So forty five minutes by sea. I swam quickly coming back. On the way over, I kept surfacing to search. I would say it took me about an hour to find her.” “It will be difficult to know the miles.”
“I could sketch a map of the shore line. There were three peninsulas I swam around and one cove.
Simon slipped into his clothes and told them of a couple more landmarks. Before they started back to camp, Simon moved next to Liz.