Maeve's pendulum is a vital part of The Bridge of Whispers. In the excerpt below Maeve and Bradan have come to a stream in the middle of winter because Bradan believes this is where Maeve will find the perfect stone for her pendulum.
She turned back to Bradan. “What exactly should I be looking for?”
“It is not your eyes that need to search out the stone—but your heart,” he replied. “If you open your inner self, the stone will find you.” He nodded to the stream once more. “It is time.”
Maeve considered removing the cowhide boots laced around her legs but decided against it. Though they were little protection against the cold, they would help her keep her footing. The rocks on the bank were slippery enough; those in the water would be even more treacherous.
“Find a walking stick,” Bradan said, brandishing his own. “It will help you keep your feet.”
Maeve nodded and looked around for a sturdy branch. Ready at last, she lifted her robe and mantle clear of the water, waded into the stream—and gasped as the shock of icy cold struck her. Even though Bradan had said her heart would find the stone, she peered into the stream.
From his place on the log, Bradan called instructions. “Concentrate on your task and you won’t feel the cold. Open yourself wide. Let your heart reach out through your fingertips. Weigh the stones in your hand and discard the heavy ones.”
After a time he became quiet, and when Maeve looked back he was dozing.
Clutching the stick and her clothing to her chest, she shut her eyes and opened her inner self. Then steeling herself against the cold, she swept her free hand through the stream, allowing her fingers to slide over the larger rocks and seek out the pebbles clustered around them. One after the other she caressed them, inviting the perfect stone to find her. Then moving on, she repeated the process over and over.
After searching with no luck for what felt like hours, she straightened and stretched. Her back was stiff from bending and her hand and arm ached with cold. Her lower legs and feet had long ago grown numb. She looked back at Bradan. He was still asleep.
He was right. This was a challenging task. But if she hoped to find a stone for her pendulum before she froze to death, she’d best get on with it. She turned back to the water—and stopped. Standing in the stream directly in front of the Bridge of Whispers was the young woman with copper hair. She beckoned to Maeve.
Stepping carefully, Maeve pushed her way toward her through the icy stream. When the two were face to face, she stopped. The young woman smiled and looked into the water at her feet. Maeve followed her gaze but could detect nothing out of the ordinary. She saw rippling water—nothing more.
“I know you’re trying to tell me something,” she said to the young woman. “But I don’t know what.”
The young woman smiled again and then evaporated into the air.
“Don’t go,” Maeve stretched out her hand. But the young woman had disappeared—again.
Once more, Maeve looked into the stream. A single bubble rose up from the stream bed and broke the surface.
Cautiously Maeve started forward, her eyes focused on the place the bubble had appeared. Something was pulling her to the spot; it was the strangest sensation. She sensed she was exactly where she needed to be.
Reaching into the stream, she let the unknown force direct her hand and began raking through the stones on the bottom. No, no, no, no. Not this one. Not these either. And then her fingers closed around a stone smoother than the rest and lighter in weight. Despite the icy water, it pulsed with warmth in her hand. Maeve shut her eyes and smiled. She had found her pendulum.