I scramble off my horse and run. Lyra disengages from Horin when she sees me coming and opens her arms wide. Moments later she is in my arms. We say not a word; we merely hold each other, faces buried in hair and necks, breathing each other in.
Horin clears his throat.
Laughing, Lyra lifts her head. She holds my face. “I missed you.”
Somehow I understand she speaks of more than the recent parting, the one that brought her and Hanna to Arc first. This is about Grenmassin also. “I intend to stay at your side from this moment on, I …”
She placed a finger over my lips. “Do not make promises, Damin. Not only is the future able to change in a heartbeat, but this place uses promises against us. Shh. I know your heart.”
Laying my hands on her cheeks, I draw her near and kiss her gently. “My heart is filled with joy,” I murmur against her lips.
“As mine is,” she smiles, and softly kisses me again.
“I sense three entities,” Horin’s voice intrudes.
I lift my head to him to see him gazing towards the trees. Glancing in that direction, I see nothing. Sighing, Lyra moves away. She actually steps backwards a few paces, away from all of us. I immediately feel uncomfortable; she seems to choose sides in her actions.
“Lyra?” Hanna murmurs somewhere.
“Hello, Hanna … and Joseph. Siri! You are safe as well …” Lyra lapses into silence. Briefly she closes her eyes. “There are three here, yes, and many more beyond these rock walls. This is a haven, and they keep the watch.”
Kay draws his sword.
Her two-eyed gaze rakes him. “Put that away. Metal cannot touch them.”
The sound of sheathing follows, and then more silence.
“They will not harm us, not unless we prove untrustworthy,” Lyra says then. “They seek to help us, and I seek to help them. If dealing with the Waiting is too much for you, turn around now and go back.”