“Right, ” I said. “Okay, message clear. I must absolutely go down. I’ll get right on it. Uhm. Is there anything else you’d like to add? Operating instructions, timetables, reports on the disposition of Jerem Cozak? No? Alright, then. I need to grab some shuteye. Big day, tomorrow.”
His eyes found mine over the flames. “We/have been/deceived,” he said. “We will/not come/ in time.”
And disappeared, in the next blink. If I’d wanted to learn more, I clearly wasn’t going to. I stood up, stretched, and laid myself out. Nogilian shook me in the half-light of dawn.
“It’s time,” he said. He’d let me sleep late because there would be no morning meal. No one had any rations left.
“Yeah,” I said. “I suppose so.” I looked up and shivered. Not a cloud in the sky. The temperature had dropped astoundingly overnight. Calm down here in the valley, though you could hear the wind ripping among the peaks and see the tatters of snow whipped aloft. That kind of day, then.
We mounted up and went. The Road zigged and zagged through the land of cliffs, somehow always higher than where its most recent maneuver began. A mad cartographer couldn’t have figured it out. And never a fleck of snow or ice upon it, not even here. What would have been drifts just skipped across it.
I contemplated Kasora. What was happening there? Ninetieth day, and Jerem Cozak knew as well as I that we had less time than that. He would have to be giving them hell right now. Kasora hadn’t sounded like the kind of place that would just roll over. Speaking of which, forget the Augers, why did he want Kasora? Even our initial conference, sketchy as it had been, had left no doubt that he would end up there, whether or not I did.
Why? What was so damned important about that place? The wind we rode up into held no answers. I steadied my valkyrie, and moved on.