Gennerin grips my arm. He does so unobtrusively. The others do not see him do so; more importantly, Sassen does not see him make contact. Initially I desire to jerk my arm free; swiftly, though, I feel the message in his fingertips.
Gennerin is trying to tell me something.
I give no sign; I listen to him.
The soldier uses an ancient method of sequence pressure, much like the dot and dash code employed on Massin, although far older. This method of communication does not rely on sound.
Sassen spouts some inane nonsense about caring for Arc in particular and for Massin in general; I focus my attention on her as if listening, but the true message comes to me from the fingertips on my arm.
She wears the face of the first Empress. She is the embodiment of someone long dead. Do not trust her. Her real name is Leffandir.
By the stars! Leffandir! If this is her, she is …
And then it is, quite simply, too late to give thought to those complications. Screeching and moaning, a host enters the clearing. Every Glonu felled upon the mountain, every Ilfin that died there, all who were killed in the running battles to this point, all, charge into our presence. All the souls of the dead. To the last, they are under Glonu control.
It is a terrible host.
“IN!” I scream, pushing Marian to the trapdoor entrance. “GO! All of you!”
They go, dropping into the hole without care for consequence. Injuries in the influx will be easier dealt with than fighting this host. Damin shoves those who are too slow; we hear shrieks as they stumble into the darkness.
Sassen laughs, holding one hand aloft. The host surrounds me, Damin and Gennerin. We are the last. Not even the orb is able to fight this. We will die if we stay.