“Name,” said Danny, upon waking. She sat up from the floor. “Name name name name name. Power.”
She swiped the black tome Liara off of the desk and placed her palm against the title page of the book. Several moments later, she was striding over the crest of a little hill, looking out over the vast golden field that she had first appeared in with her grandfather all of that time ago.
She stopped and scanned the sky. It was an unnaturally clear and deep light blue, unmarred by clouds or black wings.
She walked down the lonely beach, toward the woods that took up one end of the island. Liara was eerily still and quiet today.
“Matthias?” she called as she reached the first trees. Not even a twig or a blade of grass trembled.
She walked along the treeline, gaze skimming the branches and sky. Soon, she was standing at the edge of the rocky shore on the opposite end of the island. Waves crashed at the bottom of the tall sea cliff.
A loud croak from behind startled her.
She whirled to find the large raven staring at her from the bare branch of a nearby tree.
“Jesus, Matt!” she cried, heart skipping a beat.
The raven croaked again.
As far as Danny could tell, Matthias the raven was the one unchanging element on Liara — and the only other sentient being. She remembered seeing him originally when her grandfather brought her to Liara for the first time, riding his shoulder. Whether Matt was a piece of her grandfather or a piece of Liara — or something else entirely — she didn’t know. He acted as a mentor and annoyance to Danny. Often, he was her only source of bookwalking guidance. She was grateful for the aide, but sometimes irritated by the form it took. Why couldn’t Matt be a pleasant cat or miniature dragon or something? Or, better yet, why hadn’t her grandfather hung around?
Danny scowled irritably, but pressed him with her question. “If I was looking for my name, where would I find it?”
He stared at her with his expressionless beady eyes, then let out a loud call. “In a donkey’s ass,” he rasped. “I’d be a fool if I didn’t know my name.”
Danny closed her eyes briefly. “All right. Where would I look for another’s name?”
“If I was a fool, I’d look in the Book of Names.”
Danny arched an eyebrow. “And if I wasn’t a fool?”
“I’d ask a fool,” was his prompt response.
“Right,” she deadpanned. She turned and began to walk off. Behind her, Matt croaked reproachingly. She glanced back at him. “Thanks,” she added.