Fallon had nearly given up, and was at that moment considering turning back, when she saw them over the next rise. There were two tall figures wearing dark hooded cloaks the color of red clay. Each held a long black pike. And between them, in similar garb, was Ira. They stood as if they’d been waiting for her. She dusted off her knees and arms and then waved at them from 50 meters out.
Ira walked down the dusty path in her direction, the two others flanking him, with the steep cliffs in turn flanking them. Fallon wished she’d brought a weapon. She hated to admit to Randall ever being right. Her eyes darted from Ira to the others and back to Ira. They were expressionless. When they were five meters out, Ira finally spoke, but to them, not to her. “Tyet, tyet,” he said, and the others stopped fast and gripped their pikes with both hands while Ira walked right up to Fallon. “You should not be here,” he said.
“Ira, I’ve got wonderful news. We’ve repaired the ship; we can finally leave. Randall and the others are preparing to launch in three days.” She smiled, and the dirt and sweat creased around her expression. But the smile faded.
“You’re mistaken, Fallon, about many things.” Ira turned his back and Fallon grabbed him by the elbow. The others sneered and advanced with the pikes. Ira spoke to them in their unfamiliar language and they stepped back, still looking tense. “Don’t do that again.” His voice was full of venom.
“But Ira, I said we can leave.”
“So leave, then. But you don’t have three days. Be gone by nightfall, or not at all.”
Fallon’s eyes welled with tears. “Ira—”
“Leave! And do not ever return.”
Fallon’s legs crumpled and she sat on the cold hard dirt as Ira walked away back toward the hilltops he’d come from, his escorts close behind him. As he crested the ridge, he called down at her. “Ira is dead. I am the Ru Rempisa, now.”
When her tears had finally gone to drought, Ira and the others were already kilometers away.
Notes: I used an image as a writing prompt for this piece. You may be able to find the image on the artist’s ArtStation page.