Kneeling, I attempt to determine Damin’s injuries. How he received them is immaterial at this point. “Tell me where you’re hurt.”
Gulping in air rapidly, he shakes his head, unable to speak. Eventually he says, “Not my blood.” He shoves himself up. “We cannot stay here.” He moves swiftly to the small window and peers down. “Pack, Lyra. We are leaving.”
“What happened?” I demand.
“Later. We need to vanish. Move, Lyra! I would already be in hiding if I had not given thought to you – move!”
In quick order I have my cloak thrust into my pack and sling the receptacle to my shoulders. I join Damin at the window.
“They are coming,” he whispers. “Silent now. Do what I do.”
He clambers onto the sill and squeezes through the unglazed opening to swing onto an ancient lattice attached to the building. It does not look too strong, but Damin goes down nonetheless. I follow, ignoring the ripping sounds as my dress is torn repeatedly.
We hunker together in the shadows then and listen. The night is not silent here, but both of us become aware of approaching, stealthy footsteps. Damin points in the direction opposite. In a running crouch, he vanishes into the trees there. Again I follow, my heart beating a rapid rhythm.
Damin lifts a leaf-covered trapdoor and sidles in, beckoning. I think of rats, but I enter. In the darkness below, Damin pulls me along. It is an escape tunnel and it stinks of marsh mud.
I hear him counting under his breath. Abruptly he halts and heaves upward to open another trapdoor. Climbing out, he leans in to haul me through.
“Do you have coin? We are heading into Upper Normur.”
I nod. “Attis can help.”
He flashes a smile. “Seems the boy has use after all.”