Hanna is stubborn. She does not agree with me. Thus, in the middle of the night, while she is in deep sleep, I slip away.
She is able to track me, but I am hoping this will make her think. I hope she will choose, in the morning, to go back.
As silent as I am able to do so, I lead Leaf away. A fair distance from our camp, I enter the river, hoping I am far enough away not to wake Hanna with our splashing sounds. Hoping also that the point of entry into the current is where she loses my trail.
By mid-morning I understand I am alone. Either Hanna lost me or she chose to return as asked.
Never have I felt this lonely. Thank the stars for Leaf. Her warmth gives me hope.
Together we travel without incident for days, and then the morning arrives when the peaks tower over us. Buried in clouds up there is a suggestion of a spike, a manufactured object. My destination. The Spire.
The ethereal Sassen said to search for a trapdoor. While I do not trust her motives, about the entry point I do not think she lied. I hope so. Much of what I now do is based on hope.
In the end, finding it is easier than I believed it would be. In a dark glade, for the mountain throws a deep shadow, I find it. Seeing it brings Damin to mind and other trapdoors we used back in Normur. Suddenly I miss him with an ache that causes my stomach to roil. How I wish he is with me.
This is where Leaf and I must part ways. I remove my pack and water, and then unsaddle her. There is certainly enough for her to eat and drink, but I pray she will be fine. She has been a good friend.