Amaya’s hands were wet. Drenched. The water splattering her gloves might as well have been blood. She couldn’t pull him back. He’d slipped out of reach. Fallen off the ledge. Been swept down the foaming cataract from the mouth of the cave.
Callum was gone.
She knelt on the wet stone lip before the silent rage of the waterfall. It hung like a curtain, hiding the future. Hiding the truth. Left her hands in the water. Its cold rage soaked her, but it couldn’t cool the magmatic horror of her shock.
He’d been right there. And then he wasn’t.
Sarai, I’m sorry. I failed you.
She snatched her hands back from the water, and they shook, they shook. Her words, if she could sign them to anyone—Callum, Sarai, Gren—would stutter with horrified grief. But she was alone.
Alone without Callum. Alone with no one else to blame. Alone with no one else to help.
She wrapped her arms around her waist and leaned forward, silently keening. Her arms shivered hard. The cold reality of Callum’s fall had literally begun to sink into her skin.
It would reach her heart soon.
That ice, again. She knew its bite now, after Sarai. She couldn’t stand to let it chill her a second time.
Not for Callum.
She could feel the look Sarai would give her, if she could. For losing Callum. Outrage, betrayal. No tears. Sarai was never the soft one, no matter what anyone else thought.
How could you, Sister. You let my son fall. How could you?
Amaya buried her face in her shaking hands. Her whole body strained with despair, rocking forward. Nearly toppling her off the ledge. Her hair got wet, she leaned so close.
She jerked back, eyes wide. Her hands flew to the first buckle on her armor, fingers cold and numb, slipping, wet, gripping, wrenching.
Amaya tossed the last piece of armor aside, stood up, and took a running leap into the thundering waterfall. Its icy rain pounded her, tumbling, downward toward the pool below. Toward the rocks.
The pool accepted her sacrifice, and her world went blue. She looked around, started swimming hard, searching for any sign of her nephew. Her hands spasmed as she swept them through the buffeting water.
I will find you, Callum. Or I will die trying.