Ravyn found herself in the dream garden, flowers gleamed in the light of the full moon. Cara sat beside her on the marble bench. ‘Why are we here?’
‘Someone wants to talk to you,’ Cara replied.
The air before Ravyn shimmered, a silvery light that grew brighter as she watched. A tall woman with short black hair and light gray eyes emerged with a smile playing about her lips. Ravyn blushed when an unbidden thought of going to bed with the woman flitted through her mind.
Cara pecked Ravyn on the arm in gentle reprimand. ‘Again with the sex? Wasn’t your earlier romp enough?’
Ravyn bowed her head to hide the blush. The woman took a seat on the grass and folded her legs beneath her. ‘Hello, Ravyn Wyng. I’m Lady Raven.’
‘Um. Hello.’ Ravyn kept her eyes averted.
Cara chuckled as she moved to perch on her human’s shoulder. ‘Lady Raven, you have an unusual effect on certain women who enter your service.’
The woman smiled. ‘I know. Poor Morgan Byrne, she avoided looking at me as much as possible whenever I appeared.’ Lady Raven reached out and lightly touched Ravyn’s knee. ‘Don’t be embarrassed, my friend. I merely wanted to meet you and thank you for accepting Cara as your companion. In several instances, the ones who wear my rings don’t like having a talking bird as a companion.’
Ravyn glanced at the woman. ‘Now that I’m used to her, I like Cara. She seems to have a good sense of humor, but I seem to shock her with a few of my thoughts.’
‘I’m pleased you have figured out a way to decipher the runes. The runic paper sent to you is important, and the one who wears my ring would be able to figure it out.’
She scowled. ‘Why couldn’t the person write it out in English instead of runes? Lady Raven, I’m not a scholar.’
‘Those in my service continue to learn throughout their lives, which opens their minds to new ideas and concepts. Deciphering the runes is part of the learning and growth you will go through.’
‘May I ask a question?’
‘Of course.’ The older woman leaned back on her hands.
‘Is there a cult involved in this?’
‘The Order of the Shadow Dagger is not a cult, Ravyn. They are a very old order, led by a direct descendant of the founder. They are ruthless in their goals to control and dominate others. There are a few high-ranking members under control of the Shadows. Cara will explain this to you tomorrow. Suffice it to say they think nothing of committing murder through ritual sacrifices.’ Lady Raven sat forward. ‘Never let your guard down, my young friend. They have eyes and ears everywhere.’
‘What language are the journals written in?’
‘Fifteenth century Romanian. You need someone to translate them for you.’
A snort escaped. ‘Since I can’t take them to a university to be translated, how am I going to find someone to do it for me?’
‘I believe I know someone who could help you. It may take me a while though. There are more important matters I need to attend to.’
‘Shadows?’ Cara asked.
The woman nodded and gracefully rose. ‘Work on the runes, Ravyn and continue to look through the journals. I’m sure you will find other pieces of paper you can read. You can also research the names you found on that list too.’ She turned to Cara and bowed. ‘Take good care of your companion, Cara.’
‘I will, my lady.’ Cara bowed her head.
‘We will speak again, Ravyn Wyng.’ Lady Raven shimmered and vanished, leaving behind a silvery after-image that soon faded.
Cara climbed into Ravyn’s lap. ‘Time for us to leave the garden.’
Ravyn stood, the bird cradled in her arms. She took three steps forward and the air wavered before they disappeared.
Ravyn grabbed her notebook and pen to record the dream as soon as she woke, which roused Jennie. “Another dream?”
Ravyn handed her the notebook. “Yes.”
She read through the notes. “Lady Raven. How fitting. At least we have some new answers.”
Cara hopped to the floor. “Sleep well.” She made her way to the office.
Ravyn stood. “Let’s put the leftovers away and go to bed.”
Jennie smiled and helped clean up. A few minutes later, they turned in.