In the end Kay accompanies us, claiming someone from the west needs to reconnoitre Arc’s hinterland as well. In the interest of long-term diplomacy, I agree.
Word from those still coming over the ridge reveals that the red manipulation is encompassing. Whatever Lyra did has had planet wide result. No one reports debris. It seems the asteroid went on its merry way … although not without affecting everyone and thing everywhere.
Hanna insists on Pretty as her mount and thus we leave an hour later than planned to give the horse time to rest. She leads the way. No one says much. Horin is particularly taciturn.
Around the time we expect night to fall, a new surprise awaits us. There is no night. The light neither darkens nor changes hue; we exist in a world of unchanging scarlet.
Siri appears most affected. I hear her muttering about it being unnatural. Kay seems least concerned, although his summation about light beings walking in light possibly beyond our understanding gets me to thinking.
We halt as if night has fallen, because exhaustion begins to take a toll.
Soon after, over a purple fire, Hanna stirs something smelling like broth in a blackened pot, Joseph sees to the horses, Kay wanders around staring into the trees every few steps, Siri works on a brew of leaves, and Attis snores sitting upright. Horin is beside me and he looks my way, clearly waiting for me to prompt him.
“What is it?” I snap out eventually.
“You did well in bringing us here, Damin. Please do not doubt your mission.”
I glare at him, for he seems to have read my mind. I have mentally flayed myself already for bringing people to this place and this situation. Who is the real Delver, I ask myself.
Kay halts behind us. “We are meant to be here.”