There were three women standing by the tree. They looked like a set of Russian dolls: a tall one — she was Shadow's height, or even taller — a middle-sized one, and a woman so short and hunched that at first glance Shadow wrongly supposed her to be a child. They looked so much alike that Shadow was certain that the women must be sisters.
At the House on the Rock, at the end of the Streets of Yesterday, Shadow and Mr. Wednesday arrive at a fortune-telling mannequin, whom Wednesday dubs their Urd. They both insert tokens to receive their fortunes and "consult the Norns" before the start of their enterprise.
Shadow's fortune from the Norns at the House on the Rock reads: "Every ending is a new beginning. Your lucky number is none. Your lucky color is dead. Motto: Like father, like son."
Shadow, Czernobog, and Mr. Nancy take Mr. Wednesday's body to the ASH farm in Virginia. A perfectly symmetrical silver-gray tree rises up higher than the farmhouse, identical to Wednesday's silver tie pin. There are three women of descending heights by the tree who Shadow mistakes at first for the Zorya Sisters. The tallest sister removes Wednesday's body from the bus and the three sisters arrange his body underneath the tree before approaching Shadow. They ask if he's the one who will mourn and hold vigil for the all-father and Shadow nods.
The Norns have Shadow undress before climbing nine rungs up a ladder and stepping onto a branch five feet off the ground. The women climb their own ladders up to Shadow and remove the rest of his clothing before tying him to the tree. They remove the ladders and place Wednesday's body at the foot of the tree and leave Shadow alone.
After Laura leaves Shadow's vigil on the tree, she goes to the farmhouse in search of water for her unquenchable thirst. Three women are seated on a couch. She tells them that Shadow said to ask them for water. The smallest of the three retrieves a jug of water for Laura and sits back down. Laura finishes the entire jug before collapsing as the Water of Time rush over her. When she wakes up rejuvenated, she knows she has to get to Rock City.
Mr. Town finds the World Tree and uses a ladder to cut off a stick from it. He returns the ladder to the farmhouse and briefly imagines he sees the Norns seated there.