Tuesday, January 26, 2016

The King's Challenge #185 and #186

TKC 185 and 186

“What was Damin’s name?” Lyra finds her voice.

“He must find it first, Lyra.”

“You told me mine,” she points out.

I grin. “You are my sister.” A stormy look enters her eyes and I swiftly add, “It will be easier for him if he discovers the knowledge himself. Telling him is akin to him listening to a lie.”

One eyebrow hikes up. “I will not tell him.”

Thankfully, at this point, a communication from the man under discussion comes through to me. I stand immediately after. “I must go. Damin is ready and I need to bring the Ilfin in.”

Lyra’s expression freezes and she does not speak.

I leave the cave, but only moments later I realise she is following me. I desire to remonstrate with her, but one look tells me I dare not. She will probably whip me or something. Nodding, I lead the way north.

And hour later we come upon the first teams. This night all are away from the usual camp, a request from Damin to ostensibly speed the gathering process. Of course, he needed everyone away from the rim this night.

“My lady,” someone calls out. “Why are you here?”

Perhaps bringing Lyra is the best idea. People respect and revere her, and will therefore follow her lead. She smiles at the questioner and I realise this was her intention when she followed. I gesture and she nods, taking the lead from here on.

“We need everyone at the rim,” she answers the man quietly. “We have a situation we need to address without delay. Please gather your things and return to the slopes, and pass the word.”

“Everyone must be there before daybreak,” I add.

“What is happening?” another man asks.

“We would prefer to reveal that when all are near.” Lyra smiles again. “If I tell you now, by the time those further out hear it, it may be somewhat different. We prefer to share the news so there is no doubt.”

Silence greets her words, but they do trust her. Within moments there is concerted movement as the men and women swiftly pack. The man who questioned Lyra first takes further initiative and sends runners out to find the others.

“Have no fear, my lady,” he says on a grin, “we will be there before the sun, all of us.”

Lyra bows her head. “Thank you.”

Minutes after, we are at the head of a column of Ilfin returning to the rim. I hope this will work. I have my doubts.

An hour of hiking later, we are back. Far off, I hear the unmistakable sounds of battle … of terror … of dying. Silence falls over us. Everyone hears it.

“What is happening?” a young woman asks of Lyra.

Swallowing, she states, “Arc is attacking the southern teams.”

Voices are raised and questions hurled. When someone shouts that we should go forth to help them, Lyra lifts her hand for silence. “Damin is already there. Please. When everyone is here, I will explain.”

New runners depart in haste to ensure the stragglers hurry in.

The heavens begin to grey when Damin touches my mind again. Now it begins, for most of the Glonu have been slaughtered. Damin, Mirlin and his unit will remain there to bury the dead, to remove them from Arc’s influence. I pray he is swift enough in that task.

“Horin?” Lyra whispers.

“It is time,” I say simply, having no words to explain the rest of what this night has wrought.

Lyra inhales and clambers onto a tall boulder. Her action brings the silence she requires. First she looks to Siri and the women with her surrounding the children near the cave’s entrance. Kay is still with them, his face expressionless.

“Move the children into position, Siri. You and Kay must go with them, understood? They will need you.”

Siri nods, but Kay’s lips tighten. He does not, however, argue.

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