Einar raised his eyebrows, but silently led them to the stairs up. As they left the great hall, he prompted, “Ansgar Leifsson said…?”
Sif shook her head. “Someone’s watching,” she said, now convinced of it. “Magic, probably. Herre Leifsson was concerned that… that the jötnar were back.”
She hoped that was clear: an old threat, thought vanquished, now returning.
“The jötnar? But nobody’s seen a jötun in—” Einar began.
Lilja elbowed him in the ribs. “Exactly. Think about it.”
As the wheels turned in Einar’s head, Sif gave Lilja an approving nod.
“I see,” said Einar, eventually. They came to his door. “I didn’t realize they had been here before.”
“He didn’t tell me much,” Sif admitted. “He said he would tell me more tonight.”
“When?” said Lilja, as Einar disappeared into his room. “Should we come with you?”
Sif shook her head. “I didn’t tell him you were with me. It seemed safer for you that way.”
Einar poked his head out the door. “Safer for who?”
“For you,” Sif replied. “I don’t want—”
“We’ll decide for ourselves how safe we want to be,” said Einar. “I’m going with you. Lilja?”
“You’re sure?” said Sif.
“We are,” said Einar, emerging from his room with a rolled piece of paper in hand. “When do we meet him?”
“I guess I can’t stop you,” Sif said reluctantly. “In the great hall, at the tenth bell.”
“Great,” Einar replied. “We’ll meet you there at half-ten, then.”
Sif nodded, then held up a hand. “Wait. You two go on ahead, and I’ll come in right on time. I’ll tell Herre Leifsson that you were there and wave you over.”
“Why?” Lilja wondered.
“I don’t think he wants to talk about this any more widely than he has to. If we’re all there, I don’t know if he’ll open up. If it’s just me at first, I’m sure I can talk him into it.”
Einar exchanged a look with Lilja. “Do you promise not to talk him out of it?”
Notwithstanding that this had been her plan, Sif nodded. “Promise.”
“Okay. We’ll see you later.”
They had a few hours before the Rikesarkiv’s tenth bell. Sif returned to her room, gave Geirsson’s history a longing look, and instead took a textbook from her trunk, along with her ælfish dictionary. She sat cross-legged on her bed, and immersed herself in a dry treatment of the few dozen cumulations and forms Herre Leifsson would expect her to know in the classroom tomorrow.
The ninth bell sounded, and some time later, mercifully, came the three-quarters bell. Sif closed the book, set it aside with a good deal less reverence than Geirsson’s history deserved, and headed for the door.