Mirlin waves absently to the west. “They remembered. That is how I know.”
“We forgot,” Damin sighs. “We were forced to.”
I barely hear Damin, for now I understand why Mirlin is different. The lines on his face give the appearance of age, but they are the lines of sun damage. Mirlin is younger than he seems.
“You are from the west,” I say to him.
He puts a finger to his lips and nods once.
“Why?” I demand.
He shrugs. “Some of us believe loss of life will again be catastrophic. If the asteroid hits, all will know it. The ancient empires are gone, Lyra, and to rebuild this world will require all hands.” Mirlin jabs at the map. A region unmarked. There are no cities or towns there, not even river names. “Through every war and every natural event, this place has survived. This is our best hope. Yours and ours.”
It is far, far away. I draw in a breath. “Why does no one live there?”
Mirlin gives a strange smile. “Because it is known as a land cursed.”
Damin bites out an oath. “Don’t scare her.”
“She has power. It will not frighten her,” Mirlin snaps back.
“Cursed, how?” I ask, glaring at them.
“It is an ancient legend,” Mirlin says. “Why it is, I cannot say, but I know no one has lived there for over three thousand years. It was cursed even before the wars between Ilfin and Glonu. Some say you age in a moment when you step in there, while others claim you become as an infant.”
“It is about time,” I murmur, feeling a slight glow erupt inside me, one of validation. “Has the region a name?”
Mirlin stares at me. “It bears the original name of this world. Some say it is the world.”