was looking at the Del road. Endon and Sharn had no doubt followed
it from the city, the night they escaped. They would not have tried
to go overland, with Sharn so close to giving birth to her child.
He tried to imagine how it would have been. The road would have
been crowded. Many fled from Del that night. He remembered his father's
sad voice, telling him about it. "Your mother and I stayed shut
up in the forge all through the uproar. When at last we opened our
gates, we found ourselves alone. Friends, neighbors, old customers
all were gone. Killed, captured, or fled."
"We had been expecting something of the sort," Lief's mother had
added. "But the confusion was worse than even we had imagined. It
took a long time for life in Del to begin again. When it did, we
were ready. And so grateful because we were safe, and so
were you, my son, for by that time you had been born, and were the
light of our lives. But . . ." Her strong voice trembled. "But we
feared for those who had fled."
Those who had fled.
Unrecognized in their humble working clothes, Endon and Sharn
would have lost themselves in the panicking crowd. They would have
hurried along with others moving west, suffering who knew what terrors.
Then, when the black bird carrying Tora's message reached them,
they would have realized that there was no point in continuing.
What would they have done then? Moved off the road. Found a place
to hide. Endon knew the Belt would never again shine for him. Deltora's
only hope lay with his child. He and Sharn had to find a place where
the baby could be born in safety. Where?
Lief was roused by Jasmine's sharp voice. "Lief! We must go, so
we can find a place to stop for the night."
Lief turned to the caravan. But his thoughts still dwelt on a time
before he was born, and on two desperate people he had never known,
searching for refuge.