Ar-Nen, seated beside Torik, looked this way and that as they moved forward. If any lurking enemy should move or make a sound, Ar-Nen would spot them. Gradually they neared the wall, nearer and nearer until it loomed above them. Lowering itself down the sky to the west, the sun shone strongly on the old stones, softening their hardness to beauty. Now the gateway itself was near, and where it passed under the wall it fell soon into shadow. Ar-Nen peered ahead, trying to see beyond the patch of sunlight where the gate stood open, into the dark where danger might be. Mor-Len looked back and signalled to Torik, who hauled on the reins to slow the tired horse. The guard walked carefully forward, drawing his sword as he went. He passed under the arch of the gateway and soon vanished into the shade. In the wagon no-one moved or spoke, except that the baby girl, Karett, was weeping as quietly as she could in her grandmother’s arms. Ar-Nen was afraid to breathe.

sue bridgwater