Their journey had begun, and not a moment too late. Laufey knew as well as Geira did that they would need time to set up camp near the base of Mount Foot. They had first to pass through Sol and then hike northward through Håfo. That leg alone would take 4 hours to complete. Though Gaun seemed close, open spaces in Luafey's land were deceptive. So he continually reminded himself that the situation at hand was his doing. Were anything bad to happen, it would be his head.
Sol proved easy enough to march through. Laufey felt an intimate connection with the town. Though it was a den of sin and trickery, he knew his way around the entire settlement, even the places where the children would go to hide when they were mad at their parents. There wasn't much there to run away from home to. There were lots of dogs. He knew that. But after dark the place was horrible, foul, and dingy, no place for a child.
Cresting the ridge of the valley Laufey turned onto the road that would take them to Gaun. It was large and wide, much more so than the other streets. Long ago, his father told him, this place was much more busy, a place of hustle and bustle. There were more autos then and this was where they traveled. They were uncommon now, but a few still existed here and there. Laufey preferred horses personally. He felt the connection with the earth more intimately while on them. An auto was great, but he missed too much of the world in them.
"So why did you help us?" Laufey said to Geira. He glanced over at her and saw that she took time to think about it.
"You were about to go camping without the consent of the adults. After what happened last year, I would of felt personally responsible if something bad came along and hurt you." She was very serious when she said this, with a distance in her eyes. Laufey knew well about the incident. Giera had not gone that year. She was sick and everyone told her to get some rest. Then, when one of the children never returned, she blamed herself for it. She could of led them right that time, and the guilt of her absence took its toll.
"You don't think I'm not old enough to help us if something bad happened?" Laufey said with a smile. "Amma, my sister, and myself are nearly grownups ourselves."
"So?" She glanced back at Laufey, looking convinced. "I know what killed that kid. It was no bear if that's what you're thinking."
Laufey sighed, gazing off at the peak of Mount Foot in the distance. He thought about what other ways a child could perish out here. Aside from the cold he supposed that the unfortunate kid fell off a rock, and onto more rocks, and met his end quickly.
"Why don't you enlighten me then?" Laufey said in a low voice.
"There's a man," Geira said, "a shadow man. I know he's out here. I saw him once, a long time ago. I could smell him a kilometer away. He was trapping a bear when I saw him. He knew that I was watching him. He faceed me and his eyes burned into mine. He was evil. Very old evil. Two ravens circled around him, like the old god of this land."
Laufey felt cold suddenly, and very uncomfortable. He looked back at the others that blithely trailed behind him, feeling a twinge of regret prick his conscience. Demons were common in Norge, for the land was home to a tradition of mystics for some time. Geira next to him fixed her gaze to the ground and continued her pace.
"When we make camp we need to pray. He won't come then. That's what I have been doing all morning. Somewhere out there he's watching us."
"Don't worry," Laufey said, mustering a smile. "I and my sister will protect each other." He placed a comforting hand on Geira's shoulder. Embarrassed, Geira kept still, but Laufey saw her blush.
Let's just be careful," he added.
Geira nodded her head in agreement and kept pace. They ascended the hill, and entered the hillside. As they did, the fog began to roll in.