Lilja and Einar crowded around, reading over her shoulder.
“How did he—” Lilja began.
Sif held up a finger. “I’m not done yet.” A few moments passed while she read through the last paragraph. “I guess he just looked into the future where I wrote him a letter, and wrote an answer then.”
“He comes in once every month or two to catch up on his letters,” Tyrssen put in. “Or get ahead on them.” He frowned.
Einar tapped the sheet of paper. “Do either of you know any conjurers?” Lilja shook her head.
“Well, there’s Herre Knutssen at the Arkiv,” said Sif. “He doesn’t do practical work anymore, though.” Silence descended for a few moments, then her face lit up. “I just had an idea. Does anyone have a pen? Something to write with?”
“Arnarsson keeps his writing things downstairs,” said Tyrssen. He disappeared again, and returned a moment later with an inkwell and a quill.
“Can I see my letter again?” said Sif.
Tyrssen shrugged and set it on the bar, then circled the stove to greet a newcomer.
Sif spun her letter around, dipped the pen in the ink. She looked toward the ceiling for a moment, then put her pen to the paper.
P.S. We don’t know any conjurers.
She finished the sentence with a flourish.
“Will that work?” Einar wondered.
Sif lifted a shoulder. “I don’t see why not.” A moment passed. Nothing seemed to happen. Looking less certain, she glanced at Falthejn’s letter. Her expression brightened immediately. “It worked!”
P.S. You make a good point. I have enclosed a letter of introduction to a trollersmagiker of my acquaintance. Who’s we?
Sif looked up. “Georg Tyrssen?”
The lodgekeeper poked his head around the stove.
“Is there more downstairs for me? Another letter?”
Tyrssen’s forehead wrinkled. “Has he been here since I looked last?”
“It says here there should be a letter of introduction, too.” Sif held up Falthejn’s letter and indicated the new postscript.
“Good thing for you it’s not busy yet,” the lodgekeeper grumbled, heading down to the storeroom once more. Returning, he set a second sealed letter in front of Sif.
She set it aside, then took up the quill again. Einar and Lilja crowded her elbows, watching her write.
She set the pen back in the inkwell and looked up at Tyrssen, who hadn’t moved. “Yes?” she said.
“Nothing yet,” Tyrssen replied, “only I’m supposed to take the pen away after you write your next postscript.”
Sif raised her eyebrows.
“I found this beneath the one for you.” Tyrssen showed her still another letter.
Please take the pen from Sif Hrothgarsdottir after she writes her next postscript.
Sif sniffed. “Well, someone’s enjoying himself. Was enjoying himself.” She shook her head. “You know what I mean.”
The corner of Tyrssen’s mouth quirked up. “I remember him writing you, come to think of it. ‘Too clever by half,’ he called you.”
Einar snickered. Sif pretended not to hear him. Beneath her first postscript, she wrote: