We are one sixth of the way through this challenge!
We are definitely further south. It is warmer, and the sun is a white glow in the heavens.
As our horses pick their way along a narrow, descending path, I ask, “Have you been here before? Have you seen the presence in the sky from here?”
“A few months ago, yes, but it was much smaller then.” She shrugs at me. “I tried to get people to look up and see, but it was too little to make an impact.”
I then send her a look. “You and Joseph?”
She splutters into laughter. “Is it that obvious? We have had our moments!”
She talks over me. “Don’t worry yourself. Joseph gathers the Messengers and when they are together, they too will use the underground path to join us.”
I wonder if there is time for that, but do not say it, for Hanna needs to go forward holding the hope of seeing Joseph again close. As I need to for Damin, and Siri and Horin. A ragged breath escapes me, for that hope is fading too fast.
She gazes at me in understanding. “Concentrate on Arc, my lady. Do what must be done there and we will all see our loved ones again.”
A tear runs over my cheek. “Please call me Lyra.”
She reaches over and squeezes my hand, and then we concentrate on our descent. The path winds to the lower lands and already the mighty western plain draws us in. Great rivers rush through the dryness, the overflows from further north where the rain still plummets. We need to cross those; it will not be easy.
Far ahead there are smudges on the horizon to give evidence of great mountains.
We halt as we reach the bottom.
“There. The outer reaches of Arc.” Hanna points at those smudges.