The problem was that Koli truly had taught her every trick he knew, insofar as tracking went.
Tove dogged his trail across the Shiverpeaks, losing it when he met up with other Svanir (other–for he was one now too, the heart frostbitten through) only to pick it up again later.
Even when they left the berries behind and Stagger was no longer the giveaway, Tove had the exact shape of his boot and length of his stride memorized. She had trailed after him for years, after all.
And then she saw his campfire.
“Tove,” he said, his voice low and growling. He stood, silhouetted against his fire.
She kept her bow nocked. Sindri ghosted through the twilight to stand beside her. “Koli. You lead the raid on Uncle Solgi’s homestead.”
“And what if I did? If he can’t hold onto what he’s got, maybe he doesn’t deserve to keep it.”
“Solgi is your bother, Koli!”
“And you’re my niece. What of it?”
She strode towards him, intent on–she didn’t know what. Grabbing him by the collar and shaking him, perhaps. Slapping him across his damn fool face. Just getting close and yelling might be satisfying–
He raised his bow and let loose. The arrow breezed by her. There was a thud and a cat’s cry behind her.
Koli thought she would turn and run back to the bobcat, but no. Tove dropped the bow and grabbed her dagger.
Koli had taught her everything he knew, including how to focus on the real threat.
There was a second pool of blood in the snow.
“You were forgivable until that moment.” Tove hefted Sindri’s body in her arms.
She made the long walk home, leaving Koli’s body to freeze beside a snuffed fire.
Wolves howled in the distance.