Joseph walks with us on Horin’s green path, leading his horse. His initial reaction to the magical way was astonishment; now he accepts it as normal. Too many strange events have happened for this to cause him anxiety.
Damin prompts him, and the man starts talking.
“Alarn’s city fathers opened the army bunkers and everyone still in the city, rich to poor, has been allocated a space. Apparently the army is peeved, but they are ruled by civil decree. It’s chaos. Folk head in with everything they own and then are told to throw most of it away. We hear it led to many skirmishes.”
“I did not know there were bunkers,” Damin mutters.
“There are always bunkers,” I say.
Joseph continues. “Normur has them too, but call them the sewers. Unfortunately they are flooded and much tumbled over the cliffs. Not many remain in that city, though.” He smiles at Damin. “Most of them walk with us.”
I notice Horin and Siri listening with attention. Of the bigger world they are somewhat ignorant.
“Some folk still think nothing will happen and therefore refuse to do anything to save themselves,” Joseph adds and shrugs. “We cannot worry about the stubborn, I suppose.”
“We do,” Siri says quietly.
Joseph nods. “But we cannot help them anymore. They have chosen their fate. Many others have fled into the mountains beyond Grenmassin, believing high ground will offer them sanctuary.”
“Too close to the impact site,” Damin says.
“Indeed.” Joseph swiftly moves on. “All lands have been stripped of food, as all farm animals are slaughtered, all hastened to Alarn’s underground. Some may survive there to emerge in the aftermath, but survivors will starve. The food will not last the years needed to replant and harvest.”
Horin halts. He stares at us. “We must let it all go. What is behind is behind.”
I frown at the lad. He appears taller. Older.