After negotiating the path down to the plain, I look back. Soldiers stand on the edge of the plateau, most dismounted. I sense not only anger, but disquiet. Some of them must be wondering what the future now holds.
My gaze descends to our level. The magical web has elongated to a barrier many miles in width. Even the most intrepid soldier on the swiftest horse will not haul in an edge before it has moved beyond his reach. We are indeed safe from all threats to our rear.
It is what lies ahead we need now deal with.
I transfer my study to the great emptiness before us. Many rivers need crossing, also large tracks of dunes, much rough and rocky turf, even marshes. This place has it all, and it will test endurance.
Mirlin moves to the head of the column, pushing the horse he appropriated from the Messengers. The man is a tracker also and has already crossed this emptiness. I leave him to do the leading; he will find the sure-footed way.
Far in the distance I notice smudges on the horizon. That would be the mountains surrounding Arc. By the stars, we need make haste.
Before I knee Forest forward again, I look up. It is past midday and the cloud cover has retreated somewhat. The glare shifting through errant wisps is intense, and already I feel the heat building. Soon we will wish the wet season follows with us.
The orb we seek to escape is dim in the brightness, but the fact it is now visible in daytime is sobering. It will follows us across the plain, growing every larger and in brilliance.
The soldiers are looking up also, and I sigh. As Mirlin says, they must make their own choices.
“Come, Damin,” Horin murmurs. He points, and I knee Forest forward.