TKC 187 and 188
Lyra continues, “We have before us an opportunity to leave Arc before we are enslaved. Damin’s actions this night has opened a means to exit.” She points at me. “Horin will now reveal the opening we must use before it is again sealed.”
She says nothing of the Glonu/Ilfin division that brought this on and perhaps that is the wisest course right now. She has ensured Kay will be with the marchers on the other side; he will inform them of the real situation … once they are away from here. Wise, yes, for Lyra has neatly circumvented chaos.
“Horin and I will wait for Damin and those with him to return, and we will follow as soon as we are able to. Please, go now. Massin has not been touched by the asteroid; it is safe to return.”
Lyra swallows when she says those words, for she knows that safety is now highly relative. Spaceships will soon park in our skies.
“Horin?” she prompts.
I head to the barrier and deploy the orb. A shimmer of green reveals the position of the veil between us and the world beyond … and it also shows a dark oval in the sparking emerald wall. As the green intensifies, so does the darkness. It is a doorway.
Gesturing, I say, “Go now as swiftly as possible.” Every member of the teams sent out left with both camping equipment and a food parcel; this was deliberate, for it grants them the means to survive beyond these mountains.
Siri is first; to prove to the children it is safe. She smiles at Lyra and nods, and steps through. Her voice sounds from beyond, for we can no longer see her through the veil. “All is well! Come!”
The other women herd the children through, and then Kay is there. “Take them to the lower edge of the plateau,” I murmur to him as he comes abreast. “There is a system of caves.”
He nods, sends Lyra a final look, and passes through.
Thereafter the Ilfin vanish one by one, a long line of men and women, old and young.
Lyra steps off the boulder to come to my side. “It’s working.”
It will not hold long, though. I feel the tension in the orb’s essence; it labours to maintain the doorway and will soon run out of energy to do so. Also, it is a truth there are too many Ilfin. Some will be trapped with us before too long.
“You are worried,” Lyra murmurs. “How long will it hold?”
“Maybe half an hour still,” I grind out, anxiety building inside as I sense the orb’s difficulties. “Hurry them through.”
Lyra hisses then, causing me to jerk. Almost I sever the link that enables the oval of darkness.
“The old ones come,” Lyra whispers, staring back into the valley.
I dare not look away from the barrier. “Light beings? How many?”
“A host.” Her face becomes a mask. “Keep it open; I will delay them.”
Before I am able to ask how, she vanishes down the slope. By the stars! Nearly I scream my frustration. “Move!” I shout instead. “Time is short!”
The line hastens forward. Man and women disappear into the black beyond. I notice the edge of the oval begin to skitter as if under pressure, and then it seems to diminish. The damn thing is closing!
“Move now! Run!”
Men and women run.
The line freezes, thank the stars. The oval snuffs out. The orb falls to earth as an inanimate thing, depleted. Swiftly I gather it up and then I turn to hurtle after Lyra.
A host of ghosts is swarming from the valley below. They will be upon us within moments.