Acadia caught up with her sister and stood next to her on a high dune above the beach. “So what’s on your mind?”
Caylis sighed and sank down on the beach, drawing her knees to her chest. “We barely know each other anymore, Cadie. We used to be inseparable, and now we argue over things we used to joke about.”
“Things have also changed a lot since we were young,” she reminded her sister. “That’s why we left in the first place.”
“But what if we could make a place where we could be safe? Where no one told us what to do or who to bear children for. Where we were free and able to be with whomever we wish and do as we wish without hiding?” Caylis asked, staring out over the blue-green water.
“What do you mean?” Acadia asked slowly.
“What if you were free to be with Chris and not have any Vanir come after you? What if I could be with whom I chose and not have to worry about an arrogant prince?” she asked, fixing her sister with her emerald gaze.
“Well, that’d be great. But you forget that no Vanir can find us,” Acadia reminded her. “And you’d never tell anyone.”
A ghost of a smile flickered across Caylis’ lips. “I would not. But they would still find you. Do not underestimate them, Acadia.”
She shuddered. “So who do you want to be with?” she asked, changing the subject.
Caylis leaned back and stretched her leather-clad limbs out in the sand, her red hair glinting in the sunlight. “He’s also a prince, but of Asgard. He taught me everything I know about magic and showed me how to control and refine my Vanir skill of foresight. He is smarter than most, and very caring.”
Acadia smiled. “How old is he?”
Caylis laughed loudly. “Age does not matter past Earth, sister. If it did, then we would all wed at fourteen and populate the entire universe by the time we were killed or died.”
“Longevity and immortality have its drawbacks,” Acadia observed. “How old?” she asked again, gently pushing her sister.
Caylis shook his head. “Ancient. He has been around since the Vikings walked the land you call Europe. He was one of their deities.”
Acadia stared at her sister. “That’s so old!” she exclaimed loudly. “How can you do that?”
“I told you, age does not matter past Earth,” Caylis laughed. “But we cannot be together because of the royal alliance on Vanaheim.”
Acadia looked pensively at the sand. “What if that place you talked about existed?”
“Then it would be here,” Caylis said decisively. “Earth has so much more than any other realm to offer, and these people have so much to learn. There is so much we could teach them, they only lack a teacher.”
A glimpse of the injured turtle stuck on her back flashed through Acadia’s mind and she frowned. “And you’d be their teacher?”
“You could too, if you’d like,” Caylis offered.
“How would you do that? Take away their freedom and rule them the way other realms are ruled? Turn humans into slaves and ‘teach’ them the barbaric ways of our realms?” Acadia asked accusingly.
Caylis gave her sister a confused glance. “Barbaric? Cadie, they go around killing each other because of different skin colors or languages. There is much more they can do. All they lack is a teacher and a ruler.”
Acadia quickly stood and brushed the sand off her shorts. “Forget it,” she said angrily. “That’s a stupid and dangerous idea, Caylis. You’ll kill more than you’ll help. And at least we’re all happy here.”
Caylis’ eyes hardened. “’We?’ You consider yourself one of them now?”
“Why not?” Acadia asked, throwing her arms wide. “I’ve lived like one for seven years. Why not consider myself one?”
Caylis stood. “Because you are something much greater than a common mortal. You are much more than that.”
“Maybe not anymore,” she growled. “Don’t come back to my apartment. You arenotwelcome.”
Acadia leapt into the air and flew back toward Chris.
Caylis clenched her fists and glared in her sister’s direction. “The die has been cast, then. Welcome to war, sister.”