[This post is from Phelan’s point of view.]
Marin reached across the gap to squeeze his arm. Phelan met her gaze and forced a smile. She shook her head.
“Don’t,” she said softly. “Don’t force it.”
“Someone has to,” he said, one corner of his mouth quirking upward into a smile that was more genuine. “Besides, if anyone looks this way and sees nothing but grim faces, that’s not going to go over very well, now is it? I’m bloody Puck, remember?”
She winced and looked away. Phelan sighed.
“Mar,” he said softly, gently. “It’s okay. I’m used to it.”
“I know,” she said, her voice barely audible over the sound of the wind and the rain and the horses. “That doesn’t mean I don’t hate it.”
He reached across the gap this time and squeezed her shoulder. “Don’t worry about it.”
“She’s going to worry about it whether you tell her to or not.”
Now the smile was very real as he glanced toward Matt. “Oh, trust me. I’m aware.”
He nodded slowly, twisting his reins around his hands. “Tell me that I didn’t talk all of us into making a mistake.”
Phelan deadpanned even as his stomach sank a little. “You haven’t talked everyone into making a mistake.”
“That wasn’t terribly reassuring,” Matt muttered.
Phelan sighed. “What do you want from me, Matt? Honestly, I don’t think that this is a mistake. All the reasons we’re going are right. I just can’t predict the ultimate outcome and that’s got me as unsettled as anyone.”
“For good reason,” Thordin said. “But we’re going anyway.”
“Aye,” Phelan said. “We are. And we’ll do what we need to do.”