The wagon was lit by a candle and a lamp, but more than light enough for the basic requirements. The candle looked more normal too, not like those huge dramatic dribbled candles, but just a humble, simple white candle that people actually use for light instead of ambiance. She was sitting behind her table, like usual, but without any cards. Just a handkerchief that was wet with tears. She hid it away as soon as she saw me.
As the man left me with the woman, I noticed she was tired. Very tired. She looked like she hadn't had sleep for weeks, with her eyes red and puffy. Puffy... now that was a word that shouldn't be applicable to a woman like that. But such it was, she looked beaten by the world, as if she'd tried to take on something stronger than her...
Her voice was warm, but very weary. "Good evening, Amy."
I wasn't sure what to say. "Hello."
She smiled wanly. "We always seem to meet under dire circumstances. But I guess this is one of the stranger times."
I nodded. "Isabel." It was all I had to say.
She nodded. "Yes, Isabel. My daughter has done something we simply couldn't ignore. We let her walk free, hoping she'd come back to us. But after I saw her kill your friends on the roof, I decided she'd gone too far."
This rose so many questions, but she continued before I could ask any.
"It took us a while to find them, I asked my boys to take care of her, knowing of her blood. It's in the family, you see. If I cut myself, I have to be very careful with the wound, as it won't close by itself fast enough without help."
I nodded silently.
"I'm really sorry you had to see her like that, but she crossed the border. We always take care of our own. Usually none of us does something bad enough to get what she did. But... She did." Her voice was laced with tears. She was a mother after all.
She shook her head. "It's not your fault at all, Amy. We've let her run free too long. I'm not sure who or what influenced her, but it used her gifts in the worst way imaginable. I wish we'd found her sooner..." Her voice trailed away, moments of choices passing behind her eyes.
A thought clicked in my mind. I undid my left bracelet, the one I found on Isabel. "Have you ever seen this?"
The gypsy woman looked up from her sorrows with interest and took the bracelet, looking at it carefully in the light of the candle. She payed careful attention to the silver-work and the little shapes in the moonstone. Minutes passed as she carefully examined it before she gave it back to me.
"Not this bracelet, but I've seen that weapon before."
I blinked. "You have?"
She nodded with a little smile. "Yes, from a drawing by my mother. Apparently she was helped by a woman long ago with a bracelet like this. In fascination she copied the weapon on a paper. I'm sorry today that it was lost in a rain a long time ago. But as a child I often looked at it so I vividly remember it. It's really strange to see it back again."
I nodded. "Thank you." With a deep breath I wanted to go back to the important issue. "We gave Isabel a resting place, we couldn't save her."
She looked me deep into my eyes. "You mean the alternative was worse than saving her." She sighed. "Thank you, I don't think I would have been able to bury her myself. She was, despite everything, my daughter."
I nodded sagely. "I kind of understand that." As I thought about Janus...
She suddenly looked up at me. "Amy, I must ask you to go soon. The presence of that other woman is making the rest very uncomfortable. Though your gesture was very helpful, she has been known as a slayer among those with different beliefs."
"She's changed a little."
She looked at her crystal ball. "Ancient fighters don't just change all at once. A shock can change them a little, but they fall back into their tracks soon enough."
"I do trust her."
"I don't think she trusts herself."
That was a decent point, only a final question. I wanted to be sure. "Did you or anyone have any indication Isabel was working for or with someone?"
She shook her head. "No, but to be fair, we didn't check everything. As far as rumors are concerned, she always walked alone."
No further clues or trails...
A smile played on my lips when I thought of my next step. I walked around the table in between us and gave her a small hug. She was surprised but held me as well, happy with it. She let go of a deep breath while she held me, a lot of tension let go. I was thankful, in a way, that she dealt with something I could never. And I was sad for her, as there is nothing worse for a mother than to decide over her child's life.
In this small moment, we understood each other.