Mirlin takes charge then, and I can kiss him for doing so. My focus has moved to Lyra, and thus I am beyond grateful that the man steps in.
As the red in our surroundings and above intensifies, Mirlin calls Kay and Manuel to him and together they summon folk to listen, to gather. Rounding up group after group, the three men shepherd people closer to the mountain top. There are caves and trees up there as well, and I see the glint of a waterfall, which translates as water enough for everyone.
Many still pour over the rim, which means Massin in general still exists. We are now beyond the deadline and the men, women and children beyond these borders are still alive. I am relieved. I am also concerned; what did Lyra expend to cause this?
“Exhausted as I am,” Hanna says to me, “I am going back today. Lyra will need us.”
Horin has a pack at his feet and checks the contents. The boy is now as tall as I am. Siri is nearby, also rummaging in a travel-stained bag Attis gave her. That boy stands waiting, a thumb hooked into the strap on his shoulder. He sends me an impish grin.
I nod. “Let me find Forest …”
Hanna lifts a brow.
“… my horse,” I grin. “You need a fresh mount also, and these three,” I gesture at the younger ones, “cannot walk all the way.”
“I will see to it,” Joseph puts in. “And know I am going with you.”
Hanna’s smile causes me to swallow my denial. “Fine. We leave in an hour.” I stride to where Mirlin gesticulates like a wild man.
He ceases when he see me, eyes me. “Will this bloody red go away, do you think?’
“I have no idea. Can you cope with this situation?”
He shrugs and laughs. “My friend, we walked far and endured much interference. I think I can handle a bunch of people in one place.”