When dawn eventually finds us, we are able to see where we are. The plateau rises above us, but it has less presence, for we are on ground higher than where the lower city was raised. Here there is more rock, less marsh.
We are also a fair way south of Normur, but this south is not near far enough away from the threat in the heavens. We cannot stay here.
Damin has a map he retrieved from the shack on his outcrop. He removes it from an oilskin of protection inside his runic. “Many have died possessing this,” he murmurs to me.
I see why. Our maps tend to reveal only the uplands, and only that which is east of the plateau and north of Normur. According to our maps, the rest of this world does not exist. Damin’s shows the south and the west.
Mirlin hunkers nearby. He is staring at me. “What do you know of times before?”
“Mirlin is a historian,” Damin explains.
I blink at the older man. “I know there was a war a long time ago and it is the reason we live on high ground today. The plateau serves as a wall against incursion.”
Mirlin nods. “This is true, but are you aware when the war happened?”
I shake my head. I assume a long time ago, beyond living memory.
“More than two thousand years ago,” Mirlin states. “There were two empires, the Ilfin and the Glonu, and they fought for territory. Few lived north of the plateau due to the cold, but eventually the Ilfin were pushed into the uplands. Loss of life was catastrophic on both sides, thus here at the wall ceasefire was called. The immediate lowlands became neutral territory.”
“How do you know this?” I ask, staring at the map.