Varra threw her hood back as she reached the wall that divided Lower Terrace and the Meadows. She looked back to the raised city in the distance, and let out a sigh of untold emotion. As much as she hated it, Eathe was right. This was the only way. If their plan worked, she would become a target. Already was a target, in some ways.
As she watched, the ground beneath her began to hum. The deep, familiar rumble of the Spear Gate opening was more distant now, as the horn blaring of an incoming army, but she could still feel it in her bones. Soon a beam of blue light shot upwards out of Upper Terrace, heading straight for the sister-planet.
She remembered her mother describing how the Gate opened back when she was the Hand of Defense. She said that the light came from Eranos and landed on the obelisk as lightning drawn to a metal rod. That was when Rozire had come through, from Eranos to Asamos. The Gate opening now meant the plan worked, and Maelys would now be going from Asamos to Eranos. Which begged the question…
From which side was the Gate opened the second time, while Varra was visiting Maelys in Xan’s infirmary?
Of course, there was no point dwelling on such questions. As far as she knew, nobody went into or came out of the Spear Gate that day. It could have been as simple as being opened on Asamos with nobody passing through at all.
Varra frowned, sitting on the inner edge of the wall as she stared at the beam of light. She was a fugitive, now. The other Hands probably wouldn’t waste much time looking for her, but she would never be able to come back here. Not even to Lower Terrace, once she passed through. Beyond that, she’d have to wait here for a few hours for the Shadow to come to enter Lower Terrace. She couldn’t enter the main way, of course. She would have to slip into the city unseen. The rags Eathe had given her would help.
This begged the question: what was the next step? She still felt a duty to Terrace. The threat of what lay on the other side on Asamos was only growing more real with how often the Gate was suddenly opening after centuries of silence. Hand or no, her knowledge of the danger made her responsible for anything that could go wrong.
And then there was Maelys. If there really was a threat on Asamos, he would now be alone to face it. She hated that he had been thrown into this, but his success in opening the Gate meant that he had a competency to him.
And then there was Eathe. Brilliant as he was, he had no real allies now. He’d have to fend for himself. All the more surprising that he was the one that suggested this plan. He could be executed within a day for all of this. Maybe he was already dead.
Darkness fell upon the trees as Asamos eclipsed the sun. The Shadow had come.
New horizons awaited.
Varra stood, vaulted onto the wall between Lower Terrace and the Meadows, and faded into the city.
End of Part One