He didn’t see her until she was nearly on top of him. He was clearly surprised. Barely thinking, Sif slid into the chair across from him.
He swallowed, and the corner of his mouth twitched upward. “Sif Hrothgarsdottir,” he said, one eyebrow raised.
“Herre Leifsson,” she replied. “I need to talk to you.”
“I thought you might,” said Leifsson. “I did not—didn’t mean to single you out as I did.”
Sif could hardly fail to notice the switch to the informal voice.
Leifsson let it hang over the table for a moment. “It’s the war,” he said. “They want me to make soldiers.” He nearly spat the word. “As if two dozen green magiker will make a difference. I won’t be a part of sending you to battle, not before you’re ready.”
Sif’s brows knit together, and her lips formed the beginning of a question.
“… that wasn’t what you were here about, though,” Leifsson said ruefully. “Was it?”
“No,” Sif managed. She recovered. “I think we’re glad you’re on our side, though.” Leifsson halfway smiled. “There is something else on my mind.” She leaned forward and spoke more softly. “Last night…”
It occurred to her that it might be wise to leave her friends’ names out of the story. Quickly, hoping the pause didn’t sound out of place, she continued, “… I was taking books back to the Arkiv. On my way back, walking through the park, I saw magiker, I think.”
“You think?” Leifsson interrupted.
“They were working the weave,” Sif said. “There was a flash and a sound like thunder, and… The next thing I remember, I woke up leaning against a tree.”
“They saw you?”
“No, I don’t think.” Sif shrugged, looked away. “I was working an illusion. They wouldn’t have seen me unless they were looking for me. I know it’s against the rules outside of the Akademi.”
Leifsson looked toward the center of the room. Nobody paid them any attention. Softly, he said, “Don’t spread this around, but if you have a good reason, and if you don’t make a mess—of the weave, or of the situation—we don’t pay too much mind to rules-breakers. Were they up to no good, these magiker?”
Sif tilted her head. “I don’t know,” she replied. “They had something, though. A sheet of paper, blank except for ink which only showed up when Ei— I touched it with the weave.”