Mary found her visual field filled with multicolored lights. As the colors danced before her, she became aware of chanting, coming from what seemed to be a massive choir, its voices ranging from basso profoundo to the highest sopranos. The colors began to differentiate—they were poorly defined at first—but soon coalesced into what appeared to be amorphous shapes arranged on a barren plain. As the vision progressed, the shapes began taking human forms. Multitudes of people, all with delicate features and wearing diaphanous garments, stretched to the horizon. The group appeared to be in a random arrangement but, after a time, a gap appeared. Into this gap strode a woman—tall in relation to the others but only slightly taller than Mary. Mary realized that a trick of perspective had made them appear to be of normal height—in fact, they were no more than two feet tall. As the tall woman walked up to Mary the voices became quiet. The woman clasped Mary’s hands and greeted her warmly in archaic Icelandic:
“Velkomnir. Ég er Auður. Þeir sem umkringja oss eru ‘falinn Folk’ í goðsögn. Þetta er tímabundin heimili okkar, þar sem við búa þar til við getum skilið þetta tímabundna ástand og ferðast á til Summerlands. Þú ert blessuð, ávöxtur kviðar þíns mun vera hjálpræði mannkynsins og losun okkar úr ánauð. Leit þín hefur verið horft vandlega, hefur þú fengið mikla þekkingu og skilning á þeim heimildum sem liggja undir spónn af skynja veruleika. Ert þú tilbúin til að taka næsta skref, skref sem mun leyfa þér að sigrast málið og orku?” *
Mary realized that she could understand Auður perfectly, and simply said: “Yes.”
With that, Auður raised her hands and she and the ‘hidden folk’ vanished in a blinding flash of light. When Mary recovered her vision she found herself back on the glacier, but the day had turned to night. Hilmar was nowhere to be seen. Above her, flickers of green aurora danced across the sky. Mary concentrated on the lights and realized that she could shape them to her will. She conceived of a glowing orb—at first green, then red, then white—forming a small sun, which she willed to descend. When it reached the glacier, vast quantities of steam arose from where the sun touched the glacier. Mary was filled with the awareness of a new dimension to her powers. She shut her eyes and when she opened them again she was back on the glacier, in the daytime, with a startled Hilmar staring at her in disbelief.
“Don’t believe everything you see,” she said, “How long have I been gone?”
“You were here one minute, then you vanished,” said Hilmar, “You must have been gone for at least thirty minutes. I looked around to see if you might have fallen into a crevasse. I didn’t know whether to get help or just wait. I was ready to leave when you returned. Where had you gone?”
“I was with the hidden folk.” Mary said.
The Brotherhood, with its new leader, was meeting for the first time since John Regelind’s ouster from power. The mood at the table was somber. Another of the group’s agents had been killed; if he were to be connected to The Brotherhood all of them would be ruined. John grimly listened to the reports: Sally McDonnell and the fortune teller Tara had both been ‘neutralized’ to prevent them from telling what they knew about The Brotherhood. The Agent who had killed them was later, in an unforeseen incident, shot to death by a woman known to have been with Mary when Tara was killed. Sean and Mary had evidently left the Seattle area again. The new leader wanted to expand the killing; if they couldn’t find Sean and Mary, they would send them a strong message by ‘eliminating’ everyone connected with the couple. It was only a matter of time, the new leader intimated, they would bring Sean and Mary out of hiding.
Sitting at the table with the others, Regelind had been having second thoughts about the whole “Brotherhood” mission. Four people dead, five if you count the truck driver who died in a crash while hauling explosives, six, if you count Sean’s mother, Marilyn. None of it had helped solidify The Brotherhood’s shaky hold on power. He could end it all, but at what cost? If he went to the FBI, they would hardly believe the story of an occult group holding Sean’s grandmother in a state of suspended animation for nearly seventy years. Also, the FBI had been in the Senator’s pocket during the investigation of Sean’s stabbing. It would be difficult, but not impossible, for The Brotherhood to ‘neutralize’ Regelind. One thing Regelind did know for certain was that he was thoroughly disgusted by the man he had become.
The head agent at the Seattle field office of the F.B.I. had been trying to make sense of the latest killings. The information and testimony Mary and Sean had given them concerning The Brotherhood had meshed with their own investigation into Sean’s stabbing but it was so far from hard evidence as to be almost useless. The deaths of ‘Madam Tara’ and Sally were strange: no sign of violence in either case. The coroner’s report simply stated ‘cardiac arrest’. The intruder shot by Mary’s acquaintance Jo did, however, give them something to go on. The man was obviously a professional hit-man, probably Russian, and he was carrying some of the same equipment as the man who had been hit by lightning. The ‘inhaler’ he tried to use on Jo was being analyzed. If its contents were capable of causing death it would be yet another thing to tie the cases together. But the motive still remained unclear. Why would The Brotherhood kill people who were only remotely involved with Sean and Mary? Sean and Mary were in Iceland, presumably out of reach of The Brotherhood, and there was some evidence that The Brotherhood had been in Iceland before, trailing the Senator’s son Billy when he died. Mary and Sean couldn’t stay underground indefinitely. It might be time to lean on John Regelind III a little, the agent thought. Before anyone else was killed.
Sean’s meeting with the lawyers concerning the paternity and support status of his son had dragged out all day. With an Icelandic lawyer, an Icelandic to English translator, Sean’s lawyer, and an English to Icelandic translator, even the simplest points took a long time to agree on. Sean wondered how long it would have taken if it had been a hostile proceeding. In the end, Þora and Vilhjálmur would just about take all the remaining money from his share of the ADR buyout.
“I might actually have to get a job,” thought Sean.
*"I am Auður the deep. Those who surround us are ‘the hidden folk’ of legend. This is our temporary home, where we inhabit until we can leave this interim state and travel on to the Summerlands. You are blessed, the fruit of your womb will be humanity’s salvation as well as our release from bondage. Your quest has been watched carefully, you have gained great knowledge and understanding of the powers that lie beneath the veneer of perceived reality. Are you prepared to take the next step, a step which will allow you to overcome matter and energy?”