TITLE: And You Shall Find
Thunder crashed overhead and Annie jumped. She set down her paring knife and a half-sliced apple and stuck her head out the kitchen door.
A wall of rain pelted her. Mud bubbled around her doorstep. Shielding her face with one hand, she peered up the street through the late-afternoon gloom.
Everyone’s Carnival decorations were soggy. The blacksmith had stuffed several scarecrows to look like Redeemers and the first grateful survivors of the Last War—they were all bent at unnatural angles now. The beautiful painting across the front of the inn of Matthew, the First Redeemer, resembled a stick of beef jerky. Annie knew it wasn’t respectful to be amused at the Redeemers, but a snicker escaped her as Harris’s wife ran outside with bedsheets and nails to cover her masterpiece.
A flash of lightning illuminated the plain stone cathedral in the distance. Redeemers didn’t decorate for Carnival. That was everyone else’s job, of course: simply saying “Thank you” didn’t begin to cover what everyone owed them. So every shop in every town along the Smoky River transformed itself into one big, elaborate “Thank you.”
The wind snatched up Annie’s dress and she slapped it to her legs. Too bad Matthew hadn’t waited till summer to save the world. The weather would’ve been more cooperative.
Stop that. You know better than to get flippant about the Redeemers.
More lightning. Jacob’s handsome secretary had the right idea: he was pinning up their banner on the inside of the shop’s center window.