The trapdoor entry into the Spire is in a grove further from the action.
As we head towards it, the fighting retreats from us and eventually dying away. The Glonu do not follow. It is clear to me they are under orders to guard the Spire at all costs, to remain in place before it; it is also clear the trapdoor entry is unknown to them. The new arrivals from the stars have no idea there is another way in.
The entire team is soon with us. Once clear of the Spire, they are no longer seen as a threat.
“Stupid,” Damin mutters under his breath.
Gennerin huffs his agreement.
I pull the green shield back until it becomes a small sphere of influence around us. “This was made after,” I say, kneeling before the hidden door set in leaf mould and damp earth. “They are unaware of it.”
Damin is about to heft it up … when a light fills the small clearing.
I swing around, knowing both the quality of that light and the sense of presence emanating from the glow. “Sassen?” I whisper.
The ethereal woman who once appeared to Hanna and me when we were alone inside Arc takes on form nearby.
The five soldiers train their weapons. “You cannot touch her. Lower your weapons,” I state, and they lower, although everyone is on high alert.
“Lady, it is a trap,” Sassen whispers. “Do not enter there.”
Arms akimbo, I face her. “I recall you telling me not to trust the ghosts of Arc and they have proven as allies. Why should I trust you now?”
“Were they allies?” she murmurs. “They have moved on, but is it not also true that you are the last of a host that entered this place? Were the ghosts fighting for you or were they drawing you towards the Glonu? Think carefully.”
She has a point, but I saw them kneel before Enris. They gifted him his sword; they fought at his side. Squinting at her, I say, “You are waylaying us. Why?”