This next excerpt takes place in the tunnels that lead from Dombre to Pasadagavra, when they are about to climb the last stretch of the tunnels.
Pasadagavra Excerpt #4
Biddah lay, trembling, on the cold stone floor of the tunnel. She had not seen fire for what she guessed was nine days.
Yes, it must be nine days, she decided. They had reached the foot of a huge cliff, rough but fine for climbing. It went up until it was lost in darkness no eyes could penetrate. Syra had said that they would need nine days for climbing, which left nine days for traveling. There was more than enough food, but Biddah was still scared. The great cliff was dominating, and a horrible thought had entered her mind: where would they sleep?
Lady Raven hurried out of the darkness. She kept glancing nervously at the cliff, but she had mastered herself.
“Biddah, Karrum, Marruh, Rainbow, Cinder, Maple, Raspberry, Shinar, Dejuday, Colobi,” she called out softly.
Biddah and Karrum stirred.
“Yes, Lady Raven?” Karrum asked her.
Lady Raven shuddered, a rare sight. “We may as well hurry and get up that cliff part of the way. Syra says that there’s a large cleft where we could rest for a while, and that’s a ways up. Let’s hurry, and rest then. Queen Demeda should follow later.
Biddah nodded. Karrum wrapped her blanket about her, and then wrapped his blanket around her, too.
“You go first,” he whispered to her. “I’ll go behind you to keep you from falling.”
Biddah took a deep, uneven breath. She vaguely heard Lady Raven giving quiet orders.
“Rainbow, go find Plum, Hosta, and Dogwood. Maple, find Birch, Aspen, Rowan, and Mayberry. Ouch! Oh, shoot that rock. Raspberry, find Cedar, Apple, Snowgoose, and Foam. Bring them all here, we’re going. Marruh, are you ready? Right, don’t worry. Cherry! Since you’re awake, you may as well come with us. Everyone ready? Shinar, see if there are any others ready to come. Wait here. I’m going to check in with Queen Demeda. Wait for me before you climb.”
Lady Raven hurried off into the dark without a backward glance. By the time she had returned, the last of the summoned Rangers had hurried up, their gear buckled on, and Shinar had hastened out of the gloom with Crispisin, Orgorad, and Sibyna in tow.
Sibyna gaped at the tough of the cliff. Orgorad put a paw about her shoulders as Lady Raven came sprinting up out of the gloom.
Considering the speed she had, Lady Raven stopped surprisingly abruptly. “Well,” she commented, “this cliff isn’t going to get any shorter. Let’s go.”
Aspen, one of the Rangers, exchanged a nervous glance with Rainbow, his friend. The two Rangers walked over to the wall and gingerly felt it. Lady Raven was just above them, having walked straight to the wall from informing Queen Demeda of their departure. Cinder had found paw holds not too far away, and Snowgoose, one of Lady Raven’s captains, was just above him; Orgorad and Sibyna were having little difficulty as they climbed side by side.
Karrum and Biddah glanced at each other. Then, trembling, Biddah walked to the wall and Karrum followed. Tentatively, Biddah hoisted herself onto the cliff, and Karrum followed.
The climbing of the great cliff had begun.