Folk from the west mingle with those from the east, with much astonishment from both sides, and the hubbub increases. The noise, however, does not cover Manuel’s arrival.
We greet him, Kay and I, with much back slapping and laughter, and bring him in to meet Damin. Horin, I notice, hangs well back. No doubt the press of people overwhelms him.
Manuel’s long dark locks are plaited into a thick rope. The man was always vain and clearly still is. His hair is ever first on his list of priorities, but this man is steadfast, a cool head in any crisis. Axel and I have known these two men since childhood. I wish Axel was with us to see this.
The camp grows swiftly then. The host finds place to rest. I smile. We are now a host. Who would have thought?
“What’s the plan?” Manuel asks of Damin.
He gestures at the dark mountains. “Tomorrow we climb.”
“You found the pass?” Kay questions.
“We have one among us who knows where it is.” Damin gestures for Joseph to join us. As the Messenger begins to expound, Damin jerks his head at me, and I follow him into a quieter, more private place. There he stares at me, arms folded.
“Fine,” I mutter. “I have added sight. I can see in the dark and under water. I did not tell you, because you lot were still discovering the reality of talents.”
“That’s not an excuse. I told you about mine soon after meeting.”
“I cannot change it, Damin. I made a mistake.”
He nods after a time and loosens his arms. “And your friends? Do they have talent?”
I grin; I cannot help myself. “They have talent indeed! Kay makes mischief and Manuel is vain enough for all of us.”
Damin burst out laughing, and relief fills me. One does not cross Damin Mur.