By nightfall it has started raining again. Great torrents pummel us and the land. Within an hour of its renewal, the water level has risen. Walking out, as Damin suggests, will not be easy. In fact, it is now more difficult to achieve.
Everyone congregates as the lowest point of the outcrop. Men, women and children all now depend on me. I see Mirlin and his two henchmen in the crowd, all three eyeing me doubtfully. Well, they are not alone in that. I have no idea what to do next.
Damin shifts through the crowd to stand beside me. “I see blue flowers amid the red suns,” he whispers. “Many here trust in you and are now calm.”
“Many still fear,” I mutter back.
He nods. “Concentrate on serenity, Lyra. Forget the doubters.”
“Which direction?” I ask.
“South, always south.”
South, yes, to escape not only these waters, but also the fireball in the heavens. Damin is right. One does not see the stars here. Few have realised what is on approach.
It occurs to me that I desire to live. I want also to lead the community of Grenmassin to safety. It means surviving this night. It means, I understand, walking out.
As I comprehend what is needed, the way is opened for me. I feel my feet grow warm, then hot. I have boots on, but I see slivers of light escaping the seams in the leather. My feet are glowing.
Winking then at Damin, I step into the swirling water. Behind me I hear a collective breath of expectation. The water parts. With rain sluicing over my face, I wade further in. The water parts.
“Come,” I say without turning around. I know without doubt my task now is to look only ahead.
The survivors of lower Normur follow me into the flood.