Steam billows out from the earth, but the strike harms no one. In the aftermath, Damin mutters, “They are like children. Too trusting, and woefully unprepared.”
He refers to the knot of highborn. I see what he means. The others are not surprised by nature’s power, but they squeal as if confronted by a demon of the underworld.
“We have to talk to them,” I murmur. “Everyone deserves a chance.”
Damin glances at me. “Alyssa is there.”
I have not looked too closely, for I suspected as much. Now I do look. The rain has flattened all features, and mud has spattered personality into submission. I cannot tell who Alyssa is. Perhaps that is best, for I will maintain neutrality until the moment of meeting.
“Maybe she will listen long enough to help the others,” I say.
Damin smiles. “Thank you, Lyra.”
“Just lead the way.” I scowl.
He does and, as we approach, two women break from the bedraggled clutch. We meet and I immediately know Alyssa. Firstly she stares at Damin in a manner most familiar and, secondly, she is much like me in appearance. Her hair is dark like mine and her eyes are green, both of them.
“Damin,” she says, “what is happening?”
Well, it is obvious what is happening, but no matter. I bite my tongue.
“Hello, Alyssa. The city is unsafe and it will remain thus. We are heading south to a warmer, safer place. You are welcome to join us, all of you.” Damin is expressionless. “This is Lyra.”
Her gaze moves to me and she smiles. “You are even lovelier than Damin revealed. Hello.”
Well, how does one react to sincerity? With sincerity. “Damin only told me about you recently. I admit, I did not want to meet you, but now I am glad I have.”