We have reached the 100th episode!!
The grass is soon earth under the weight of many feet, which makes it easier for those behind to keep to the path. Horses and donkeys are led up. Movement is slow; there are many too old and too young for this kind of activity.
As dusk deepens, I understand no one will reach the summit in daylight.
Damin and Joseph are at the head of the column, along with Horin and Siri. I am many switchbacks lower, exhorting folk to climb faster, while Kay and Manuel are near the bottom, helping people start the ascent. Messengers, with their red sashes, have arrayed themselves all along the route for visibility.
We will sleep where we are on the pass, I hear men say to their women and children, attempting to pacify frayed nerves. No, we will not. We will continue despite darkness. There are ten hours left on our civilisation clock; we will walk, run, stumble, fall and pick ourselves up to go on, or we are dead.
I pray now as I have not since the time my mother died. I pray that Lyra is at the Spire and that she has discovered the means to deflect the terror approaching from above.
Able to see in the dark, I help many when they falter. I wish I am able to share this gift with everyone. We need make haste.
It is deep night when I hear Damin holler from the summit. His words are garbled in the constant noise of moving people, but I know he is at the top. Relief fills me. It is attainable; we simply need to quicken the pace. Looking down, though, I see how many remain on the plain awaiting their turn at the pass.
Somewhere down there I hear Manuel swearing foully. The man understands we are out of time. Kay laughs, no doubt tempting the fates.