[This post is from Thomas Merlin Ambrose’s point of view.]
“You’ve still got questions,” she said softly. I choked on a laugh.
“Of course I do,” I said, then sighed a little. “A thousand of them. But I’m not sure you or anyone else has answers to those questions, do you?”
“Probably not,” she admitted. “Though you’re welcome to try me.”
“You don’t know where they went,” I said. “That’s the biggest question.”
“As it should be,” she admitted. “And you’re right, I don’t know where they went—just a direction, one that probably doesn’t surprise you at all.”
“They went south,” I said. “Toward New Hope.”
Carolyn nodded. “I don’t know if they passed through or not, but they headed in that direction.”
“They wouldn’t have,” I said. “Not if the ruse was that they were dead. They wouldn’t have risked it. More folks than Cameron head through there—and I’m guessing he’s in the know?”
Carolyn nodded. “He is.”
“A few,” she hedged, and I decided not to press. I could guess who might be involved—my aunt and uncle, of course, probably Phelan and Jacqueline, obviously Carolyn and J.T., plus Cameron and Neve. For all I knew, that might have been it, but something told me that Sif and Thordin might know, too. It was a distinct possibility. Odds were good that I didn’t go any further than that, though.
I closed my eyes as she hugged me a little closer.
“I’m sorry, Lin,” she said, resting her cheek against my head. “I’m sorry we kept this from you.”
“It’s okay,” I said faintly. “I can understand why you did it. They asked.”
I nodded, my eyes still closed. “Then they knew what would eventually happen.”
“You want me to stay with you out here?” she asked.
“You don’t have to.”
“If I want to?”
“Then stay,” I said quietly, eyes opening again. “Just a little longer. Then we’ll go back. I probably have to talk Tory off a ledge.”
“Do I want to know?”
I had to smile. “Probably not. Not yet. But you will.”
“Yes,” she said, tone wry. “I suppose I will soon enough.”