Bright Nights

The Fiddler in the Forest

During the family dinner Kit was promised upon her return to town, Isak finally gives in to his sister's pleas to be included in his investigation into the deaths at the stone. Kit's persistence earns her information: all the teenagers had a strange mark on their hands, and one of them was holding a strange object in that same hand. Neither Kit nor Isak can make much of the symbol or the object – bits of wood lashed together into a complex, twisting shape – but Kit has a hunch she knows who can help them: Sven Hagge. As she suggests they visit him, Kit shows Isak the bloodstained gauze that Sven asked her to send to a lab in Oslo. Isak is livid with Sven and Kit for keeping their information from him; Kit just manages to jump into his car as he storms off toward Sven's cabin.

Kit talks Isak into a calmer state, and the eventual confrontation with Sven isn't as bad as she first feared it would be. Sven agrees to make a new – complete – statement about what he found at the stone, and agrees to do a little research about symbols and objects associated with it. 

The three of them meet the next morning at the Havsvale Coffee house. Between her discomfort in being at Ingrid's shop and the fact that, once again, she couldn't sleep at all the night before, Kit proves to be of little help in the discussion. Sven and Isak cobble together enough information about the situation at the stone to know that the teenagers were attempting a healing rite of some kind. Isak decides to speak to the family of the boy who was holding the wooden totem; Sven takes Kit to see the investigation site for the first time.

At once, Sven recognizes that the stone is different. Somehow, the old inscriptions are entirely gone; they've been replaced with a vague and foreboding message about the arrival of old creatures in the area. Not long after they make this discovery, Sven and Kit hear music coming from deeper in the woods. They follow, Kit worried that someone might have tampered with the scene, Sven almost ecstatic at the prospect of an encounter with vaettir. What they see is a man sitting alongside a pool, playing a fiddle. 

At first the fiddler is angry at being taken by surprise. He seems potentially dangerous, and Kit retreats to the car to call her brother. Sven speaks to the man, asking who he is and what he knows about the recent deaths at the stone. The man says his name is Espen, and that he knows that the runes on the stone have changed. When pressed, however, Espen grows angry – he suddenly transforms into a raven and flies away.

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