Hanna and I are wordless as we amble amid trees beside a meandering river. Never have I experienced such calm in all my life. Here there is no threat, and it is amazing to me how much lack of danger translates into tranquillity.
“Lyra,” Hanna eventually murmurs, prompting me to attention.
“Hmm?” No danger, therefore no sense of haste, no need to worry about anything. I am willing to wander in this blissful daze forever.
“We are being lulled into inaction,” Hanna states with some voice.
I blink, for the sound penetrates the fog surrounding me. “Hanna?”
She quirks an eyebrow. “See? Lulled. We have to focus.”
A brightly plumaged bird flits by and I am entranced. I smile.
This time I shake my head as if to clear it of enshrouding mist. I begin to understand her point. Finally I nod. “I see what you mean.”
“Good. Many rely on us, so we must keep the goal in mind.”
Hanna is right. I curl my fingers into my palms, allowing my nails to bite at me. Focus. It will be hard, for this serenity feels as if we have already attained goal. Is this peace not what our souls inherently seek? My nails dig in. Focus.
I gaze towards the northwest where giant peaks are visible, greater even than the surrounding mountains. “We must go there.”
Hanna nods. “And it is quite a journey. Best we get started.”
Laughing then, for I have learned to appreciate Hanna’s sense of spare humour, I clamber onto my horse. Her name is Leaf and we have become firm friends. “Come on, Leaf. We have a slave driver with us.”
Clucking, Hanna vaults into her saddle. “Shall we show the younglings how to ride, my pretty?” she murmurs, gently patting her horse’s neck. The next instant she knees Pretty and they take off.
Screaming challenge, we follow.