Frost is on the grasses and makes the tree branches creak and break. Fierce winds have begun to blow. My horse shifts, and to warm ourselves, we ride around the perimeter of the borderlands. I’m wearing thick felt boots and a fur jacket and hat, but I still feel the chill.
A white haired youth appears out of the woods and standing on the path, waves me down.
‘I am the son of Yaroslav. If you are Yakshah, I have a message for you.’
‘I am he.’
‘My father wishes to speak to you.’
‘The matter of my sister’s death.’
I freeze, wondering what is known. ‘What about it?’ I manage to say.
‘Come to see him. It’s important.’
I take a chance. ‘You people should settle your own affairs.’
The youth shrugs, kicks the dirt with his toe and saunters away, spitting to the wind. If anything was known about the Bee Girl and me, he would have said so, I reckon.
The people are divided in their opinion. Some think Yasna is guilty and some think she is not. The Outlanders provide the law here, and I have sent informal word to the one of the guards, but have not heard a thing. Now, I will have to go above him to receive justice. Yasna claims she only wanted to send Vesna’s soul to rest, but why would she need to if she didn’t suspect something was amiss? She seems to know something but is not telling.
Morana, with her yapping tongue, has turned the women against her. No one asks for Yasna’s help any more. Morana whispers that Yasna and Vladimir meet in the woods, but Vladimir denies it, and I believe him.
I would believe that Morana has designs on Vladimir herself, but it is known that he will now wait for my small daughter. What purpose could she have, unless she believes her cause is just?