Neither Dan Evers nor his raven Freya had reached out to me for several days, and while normally this would not be cause for alarm, there had been some strange occurrences in August of 1883. Several dogs had gone missing near Coffin Farm, and such happenings were never a good sign in Cross.
By August 15th, I went out to Dan’s property, and what I found there was both disheartening and heartbreaking.
His home, which he had built as a young man, was destroyed. By the skat in the yard and in the house itself, I knew he and Freya had been attacked by the creatures which had plagued Cross in recent years.
From the evidence I found, they had changed their tactics again.
In the previous incidents, the creatures had always attacked near dusk or at night. What I saw in the kitchen told me that they struck shortly after breakfast. Dan’s dishes were on the table, empty of food. His coffee was half-drunk and there was a small scratchpad of paper beside the cup. It seems that he had been tallying his money in the bank. His shotgun, unfired, lay on the floor. Splatters of blood and bits of rancid flesh were beside it. So too were torn black feathers.
When I left the house, I searched out the tracks of the creatures, and I found them with ease. They had approached from the left, through a long and low briar patch, a place I am sure Dan never would have paid much mind to.
I followed their backtrail all the way to Gods’ Hollow, and I stood on the border. A short distance in, where I had a habit of throwing the creatures’ bodies, there was a message left for me.
It was the shattered body of Freya, tied to a sapling, the top of which was bent low with the dead raven’s weight.
I entered the Hollow, cut the bird down, and carried her corpse back with me, and buried her beside the Rookery in a small graveyard that would grow over the years.
That night, as I sat in my library, I shed tears for Freya, who had given her life for my friend.
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