“How does Sparky know that?” I asked, raising an eyebrow.
“The crow spirits,” she replied. “He has a really strong bond with them–partly because he is a werecrow, after all… but also just because he’s Sparky and he loves to poke his beak in other peoples business. What did the heralds say?”
“Marilyn, do you believe in predestination?”
Marilyn tucked some flyaways back into her hair as she pondered my question. “I suppose it depends on what you mean by that. Our seers and spiritualists sometimes see the future, or they’re handed prophecies by spirits or gods. But just because you’re given a prophecy doesn’t mean it will be fulfilled. And we aren’t always given prophecies about everything… only certain events which the spirits can predict something of. Why?”
I shrugged. “Everyone seems so sure of what kind of person I can be.”
“Well, it’s not a crazy idea,” Marilyn replied. “Really, any therian has the potential to be something great. Even someone born from nothing. Just look at Moon-Singer, or Clever-Hooves.”
“Clever-Hooves?” I repeated.
“She lived in a Vandal ætt until she was 12,” Marilyn replied. “Usually, therians who grew up with vandals will never be trusted enough to be given the position of master, let alone chieftain.”
“I guess I just have trouble believing… oh, I dunno. That I can kill someone.”
“Vandals barely count as ‘someone,’” Marilyn replied vehemently. “People who want to destroy the world… how can you really feel bad about killing someone who wants to kill everyone else?”
“Aren’t these Vandals raised in communities just like this one?”
“Then they’re raised to believe what they think just as strongly as you’ve been raised to believe in fighting them,” I replied. “Not that I’m saying I agree with them. But people who are raised to believe in something have a very hard time breaking free of it. And when you are in a society where you’re surrounded by people who all believe one thing… it’s hard to disagree with them without risking becoming an outcast or worse.”