Sunday, September 20, 2015

The King's Challenge #52

TKC 52

Exhaustion in the early hours forces us to halt under a giant tree to rest. We cannot eat, our stomachs still churning over the dead, and the smell of burning flesh. Our horse now has feed, and snuffles contentedly.

Two hours later, as the glows of dawn lightens the forest, we are on our way. It has definitely stopped raining, for beams pierce the trees. This remains the wet season, however, and we cannot rely on a dry road.

The crossroad lies ahead. We do not stop; we simply continue on, now ever south.

There are other travellers on the road, some on foot, others by cart, a few on horseback. They are taking to the road after a night in the open, and we pass them. Folk call out greeting and we hear they are on their way to the fort where others gather.

“How do they know?” I ask Damin.

“We sent runners,” he responds. “Some listened to the warnings.” He stares ahead, his gaze thoughtful when I turn my head to look. “I sent two to Grenmassin also. They were not among the dead.” He lowers his gaze to mine. “If they turned traitor, they will know the sharp edge of my blade.”

“They were probably caught with the others.”

Damin nods and sends his gaze outwards.

“Why did you not tell me before, about the runners?” I ask.

“They were sent before you arrived in Normur. Other matters took my attention.”

I frown. There is something wrong with his timeline, but for the moment I let it pass. “Are you able to reach Siri mind to mind?”

“I have tried. The distance is too great.”

“She is a Delver?”

“No, but a blood connection is strong.”

Something is wrong. “Damin, what is it?”

“I hear Horin,” he says eventually. “He is screaming.”

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