[This post is from Phelan’s point of view.]
Phelan watched the others’ faces while Matt recounted what he’d heard from Gilad, the news of what the Hunt’s scouts had seen and encountered on their patrol. The word that a detachment was headed for New Hope to check on Lara and her people there elicited some nods, some quiet sounds of agreement, though the overall mood was the same.
All of them, to the last, was worried—worried about what this meant, worried that the long peace was finally breaking. Phelan realized as he watched their faces that it was no longer a question for him.
It was breaking. There was no doubt. They’d all known that it wouldn’t last the span of years agreed upon below that cliff so many years ago, now. They’d known that a long time ago. But now it was finally ending for good.
He looked away from the others, his lips thinning as Matt finished recounting Gilad’s report, staring off into the ravine. All he could see out there was the usual play of light and shadow. Nothing felt wrong, felt off. Perhaps it had only been the one.
You know that’s not how it works. If there was only one, it was a scout, and even scouts usually work in pairs. There’s another out there watching—waiting. Probably more.
“Well,” Thordin said quietly as Matt finished. “That’s quite the mess we’re looking at.”
“That’s not all of it,” Matt said.
“What do you mean?” Sif crossed her arms, a frown creasing her forehead. “The Hunt had more to tell us?”
“Not the Hunt,” Matt said, then glanced at Phelan and Jacqueline. “There’s more.”
Phelan rolled his shoulders as the others followed Matt’s gaze. He took a deep breath, exhaled quietly, buying himself time to gather his thoughts.
“He’s right,” he said quietly. “There’s more.”