As Xan ducked away to unstick the candle, Lonan heard a creak from the old table. He bit his cheek. He was sure the Acolytes saw past the space Xan had occupied to the child in the house. With their hoods raised against the cold, Lonan couldn’t tell where they were looking.
A young man crouched over the embers, stirring them with a stick. His black curls were pulled back in wet strands and a raven skull leered on the shoulder of his tatty greatcoat, spewing its own feathers.
The runners bolted at the signal. Their feet pounded the rock, all Serafina’s teenagers galloping through the crevasses. Jeanie with the leg she’d broken summers ago lagged, but her torch was the first to find kindling. The long fronds of a fescue patch ignited.
Gilliana sat herself down by the fire, mottled brown robes bagging around her. The cage clanked to the floor. She handed him a warm, slightly muddy seagull egg from a brass bowl and pillowed the martin in her lap.
Shay crouched down next to the small fire, mesmerized by feeding wood inside and watching it be eaten at. He showed no sign of moving.
The fire bursts awake in the trees. It begins by eating the green from each leaf.
Before we were there, a volcano in Chico erupted.