“That is the last of them!” Brynne shouted, as she sloshed up the riverbank. “Petra, go!”
The younger Handmaiden dashed away from the small campfire, her sling whistling, and then she hurled one of Goldie’s gems skyward. As it reached the top of its arc, the stone burst into reddish-gold light, brighter than the meager, fitful fire towards which Katarin was leading a shivering Brynne.
A similar flare of light bloomed in the sky above the far side of the refugee’s camp. And then another and another took light.
“Three?” Jasna asked. “She didn’t sing anything about three.”
“Three more!” Katarin said.
“Three and three means we flee,” Petra said.
Justin clambered to his feet. “They’re going to be overrun. Hey, where are you going?” He grabbed Jasna’s arm, as she started towards the camp. “The river is this way. Did you not hear Goldie’s plan?”
The girl snatched her arm away, reaching for the dagger on her belt with the same motion. “We can’t leave them. They can’t die here! Come on!”
“You told me—” Justin turned to the other girls. “Three and three. We take the raft, right?”
Brynne had already hefted her staff, and Petra was gathering some of the larger of the stones by the riverside, Morana doing the same.
“You can’t—” he sputtered.
“We must,” Morana said, looking over at the young man. “This whole night has not not felt… right. We are out of step with our heritage.”
“You were all fired up to help before,” Jasna said. “What happened to all that hrabrost?” She stood up straighter, thumping herself on the chest.
“I just… Look, I fought one of those things, and barely held it off.”
“Well, it’s a good thing you’ll have us backing you up, then,” Jasna said, as she drew the knife from her belt. “Now come on!”