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The rooms that Steopa had made his daytime lair were comfortable. Teodor slept most of the day in the darkness that the vaults offered. He woke up before Steopa. After he looked over the spines of the books, not finding any that would hold his interest. He left the vault.
The first room he opened surprised him. Teodor stood in the hallway, holding the door knob in his hands and stared.
“You could have told me,” Teodor said.
Inside the room, which had been an office, sat boxes of money and valuables. Envelopes full of bills, coins, jewelry, and watches. Teodor picked up one envelop. On the front of it had been written someone's name. On the back was a ledger. Inside a few hundred dollars and a cuff links.
“You son of a bitch,” Teodor said.
Teodor closed the door. He changed into his wolf form. He had to tell Amanda. They had been saving everything they could find or make and Steopa had been sitting on a fortune.
He climbed over the debris to the outside. Sniffing along the road, he hadn't gone far when he saw a large Victorian house. The windows had been boarded up, and a for sale sign sat in the front yard.
Teodor sniffed around it. The smells of the house were old, even squatters had not used it in a long time. There were no other houses around it, only old factories, and open spaces. As private as you could get in the middle of the city. A crow cawed. Teodor looked up. It sat on a tree not far away from the house. It blinked and twitched its head. Teodor shook his head. The crow had a green shine to it. It cawed at him. Then flew down to the ground and stood in front of him.
It hopped closer.
Teodor tilted his head. The crow flew, in the direction of Greenwoods. It stopped and perched on a wire. Teodor padded over the snow closer. It flew to a tree, then perched and watched him. Teodor ran closer.
The crow took off, leading him to Greenwoods. Crows were smart birds, but Teodor could tell something or someone was using this one. The crow flew over head. Some of the local dogs barked. Teodor listened. Typical gossip. When the crow flew deeper into Greenwoods, Teodor slowed down. He knew where he was being lead to. The trees opened up to reveal the old village. The crow landed on one of the houses. Teodor changed to his human form and climbed the steps.
He opened the door. Inside some of the winter had found it's way in. A dusting of snow covered the floor around the windows. In front of the fireplace, sat Perun.
And it wasn't Perun. It looked like Perun, except Teodor had never seen the antlers on Perun's head before. His hair was no longer dark blond, but sliver. Teodor could see through him.
“It's me,” Perun said.
“What happened?” Teodor asked.
“I'm not really here,” Perun said. “My body is sleeping below us. This is my dream form, if you want.”
Teodor sniffed. All he could smell was Perun. “Dream form, like the shamans would use?”
“Who do you think taught them?” Perun winked. “I am glad the crow found you, I have to speak to you.”
“What about?” Teodor asked. He changed to his hybrid form. The house cut some of the cold, but not enough for a naked man.
“I maybe asleep, but I hear things. I feel things.” Perun leaned forward. “I heard that you helped destroy the shadow mages.”
“Peter and Robert? No, the Hag did.”
“A Hag?” Perun looked up into the ceiling. “That's what it was. Then it is worse than I thought.”
“No, she is not.” Perun stood up.
“After she killed those two, she left,” Teodor said.
Perun shook his head. “I still feel her. Can't you?”
Teodor tried. All he could feel was the woods around him. “Nothing.”
“Hags are bad. Not evil. The poor women that become hags are tortured souls,” Perun said. “They never disappear until they are given what they want.”
“She wanted to kill them last night. She demanded her baby, then...” A sentence hit Teodor from his memory of the night before. “Peter had said she would get her baby back after she destroyed us.”
“But she didn't try to kill you?” Perun asked.
“At first, she did, but then she went after them.”
“Did they have her child?”
“Peter said they did. But it would be just remains now, right?”
Perun pointed outside. “Can you control the weather?”
“Can you control a flood?”
“What does this have to do with anything?”
“A Hag is like them, forces of nature,” Perun said. “But they can be controlled if you find the item they are searching for.”
“Like you said, it's remains.”
“But they are not controlling her anymore-”
“She wants to find her child. Or a substitute.”
“She skinned the kids she killed!”
“That's when she was controlled,” Perun said. “But she is free of those men, the ones that wanted to channel that fear. What do you think she will do?”
“Take another child. Like La Llorona, but she will kill them in the process.”
Perun nodded. “Those children she killed. Were they wanted?”
“No, most were runaways.”
“She probably killed her own child. But her guilt would have made her a Hag. Killing the child in a rage of insanity, but then realizing she wanted it. This child will be wanted. Possibly one she hunted before.”
Teodor growled. “No, it wouldn't be”
“You know of a child like that?”