We are not yet safe. Despite a sense of ease, I am not a dreamer. We are not out of danger.
The asteroid, according to prediction and science, is but ten days from impact with Massin. When we see the flames surrounding it as it enters atmosphere, only hours will remain. The unwieldy line of people snaking towards the edge of the plateau and then down have elderly among them, many weak and ill, children too young to understand haste or with the ability to employ it, and many weary souls carry weight upon their backs. All of this will slow the march.
Last night Mirlin told me we need fourteen days to cross the plains. We have eight, for we need two days to negotiate the pass into Arc. I foresee the front runners abandoning everyone when flames wreath the skies.
I pray for a miracle.
And now a more immediate threat is upon us, and it comes not from the heavens.
Thunder reverberates to the north and east, and tremors shudder the earth. I feel them in the fort’s ancient foundations. This is not weather, I immediately recognise.
A host on horseback gallops our way. Do they seek to join with us, aid us to haste and safety … or are these the masters who refuse to release us, whether enslaved or free, to a new future?
Mirlin hurtles into the courtyard below, shouting and already turning the horse he is on. “The Blues from Alarn, Damin! Get to your horse!”
Ice fills my veins. Massin’s main force approaches. These are hardened soldiers, without compassion and reason. They follow orders, whatever those orders are. The masters of Porlese must have summoned them.
I race down and jump onto Forest.
We cannot run. We cannot fight them either. We are doomed.