Linvin was trying to bite a nearly frozen piece of jerky. “Do I have a choice?” Linvin replied.
Rander looked back at the others who’d moved close enough to hear. He could see they supported his questioning of Linvin and proceeded. “Ever since we left the depot you have been a changed man. To be honest, you have been insensitive and even ill tempered. Surely you have noticed these things. My question to you is why have you changed?”
“My job is to get you all out of here alive, and that is what I am doing,” Linvin snapped at Rander. “If that means your breakfast is inconvenienced, that is your misfortune.”
“It is more than breakfast,” Rander said as he held his ground. “You run us ragged and resist any attempt to conceal our presence when you previously went to extremes to hide us. We travel the main road when there are adequate paths through the vineyards. As someone who is obnoxious, I can easily tell when someone else is behaving in that way. Stop treating us like children and tell us what you are thinking.”
Linvin held up his fist and brought the procession to a halt. He looked at the others and asked sternly, “Is this how you all feel?”
Anvar spoke. “Perhaps ‘obnoxious’ was a strong word to use but you must admit your behavior has been ill-mannered the last few days. There is something weighing on your mind, My Boy. It must be something most dire for you to drive us like you have done.”
Linvin pursed his lips and accepted the criticism far better from his uncle. “So be it,” he said at last. He dismounted and pulled Falconfeather from its scabbard. He stuck the end in the dirt beside the road. Pulling it along, he drew a straight line. The others stepped down and came over to watch as Linvin continued to make lines in the dirt.
When he finished, Linvin replaced his sword and pointed at the drawing. “That is the Sorrowful Sea,” he said as he pointed. “If we keep pace we should reach the northern shore at the midpoint of the lake by sunset. From there we must procure a boat and possibly a crew to sail to the southern shore.”
“We already know this,” Rander stated arrogantly.
“Do shut up and let me finish.” Linvin barked. Seeing Rander step back, Linvin returned to his presentation. “At the depot I saw the message the guards at the bridge mentioned. They were supposed to send a signal if we were found and then a larger force would move in to squeeze us between the fresh water sea and their armies. Our adversaries have correctly guessed our course. Though I have seen no flaming arrow, I must work under the assumption our position has been compromised. The enemy is closing for the kill and our only chance is to reach the lake first and escape before the noose is tightened around us.”