Kay eventually drags Manuel with him, and they climb rapidly. When they reach me, we nod at each other and swiftly head for the summit. We are out of time. After everything we have sacrificed to bring people to safety, we will not now forgo our reward.
It is hard to accept and perhaps we are selfish, but we climb. Unspeaking. Fast.
Others begin to scramble as well. Perhaps it is our haste, but it is probably Damin’s continuous prodding from above.
Then again, that orb definitely alters state overhead.
Flames begin to engulf it. It is no longer silver bright. It is amber.
It is time to scramble indeed.
As the three of us come to heaving halt beside Damin, dawn’s light pierces the eastern horizon. I am not alone in watching the spectacle. This may be the final sunrise any of us see over Massin as we know it. It may be our final sunrise, period.
It is beautiful and inspiring.
The terror in the heavens bursts into flame. The screaming starts on the slopes behind us. The slopes before us are filled with those running.
Taking Siri and Horin’s hands, Damin steps over the edge. “Time to go.” He strides away. I notice Attis fall in behind, leading Forest and every kid the boy took into his care. How he got them up, I do not know, but I am abruptly very proud of that tousle-head, my ‘nephew’ in another life.
Scarlet and amber dominates the sky. Sunrise pales in comparison.
Kay grips my arm. “It is time to go.” He hauls Manuel along on his other side.
We step into Arc. And then we are running as everyone else is. Many still pour over the edge, but no one now looks back.
We head for water, hoping, praying … running.