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Lucille stared down at the envelope. She knew what it held, which was why she couldn’t bring herself to open it. Becoming a World Walker was the only thing she’d ever wanted to do and she’d spent nearly nine years studying each of the thirty-four worlds it was possible for a Walker to visit. The exams were there to test a potential Walker on their knowledge of all the worlds they wished to travel to, so most would study only the worlds they were most interested in. To pass any one of the exams took a lot of work because Walkers needed to know everything about the world they wanted to visit. Knowing the geography of the world was important, as was knowing where all the doors were in that world. Some were patriarchal societies, others were matriarchal, and some were neither. Each one had its own beliefs and laws. Almost half the worlds had magic, while the others had different technologies. There were animals that were indigenous in certain worlds that had never even existed in others. In some cases it could be very easy to confuse one world with another.

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Orla wrapped an arm around her waist as she looked at the priest of Anubis who had led the winter solstice ritual. He wasn’t a true priest, but one of the many fake priests who had no connection to his deity, and for that reason she didn’t think he had the right to lead a ritual. Unfortunately there was nothing she could do about it. Artemis had told Orla, several times, that she needed to keep her head down and not draw attention to herself in order to keep herself safe. As the only person in her village who knew of the existence of North Square, and had some warning that change was coming soon, she had to be there for anyone who might need her. It just wasn’t an easy thing to do.

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Morgan sat on the sofa that was in the corner of the reception, playing with the white ribbon that was tied around her wrist. Every day she spent at least a few minutes watching the comings and goings of the people at the Donor House. Normally nothing much happened. Vampires would enter the House, scribble their name into the book, and then go on to do whatever it was they were going to do. Some were there to feed, while others just wanted to enjoy being a part of the community. Donors would scribble their name into the book, leave the House, and go to spend time with old friends or shop. It was easy to tell the donors who had been in the House the longest, like Dominic, because they didn’t leave the House very often. Over time it became a comfort blanket and Morgan had found that she didn’t want to leave as much as she had at the beginning.

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Silence followed the sounds of battle. For a moment Clio stopped, thinking of those who had lost their lives, but she didn’t have time to grieve for the people she’d become close to. She had to keep moving. That was what she had always been told to do if something happened. It was possible they would kill her, because of who she was, or they might keep her, and she couldn’t work out which was worse. Both were… she shook her head, her hand pressed against the wall as she tried to figure out where she would be safest. Nowhere was the first answer she thought of, but that was pessimism talking.

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A candle provided the only light in the room. It was the morning of the winter solstice and Trey was awake well before sunrise. Most days he was awake well before sunrise, but for once he had a reason. He knew it wouldn’t be long before the new High Priestess of Persephone arrived at the Residence and he wanted to be the first person to meet her. Sighing, he put his quill down on the desk. Aisling was meant to be the right person, a true priestess who would do what needed to be done, but that didn’t stop him from worrying. Every time he thought of the change that was coming he knew that they needed strong people in the position of High Priest and High Priestess, but they didn’t seem to exist.

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The Many Worlds of K. A. Webb

July 2017

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