I should have known Joshua was up to something when he said:"The peoples of this
world have grown numerous, haven't they Mara? In three hundred years they've become
diverse, spreading out into places of the world you haven't been to, speaking in different
ways, finally showing variation in height and appearance." And when I asked him what
the point of all that was, what did he say? "Now that you can pass as a native, you can go out among them." So of course I had to mock that idea, and then he had to say:
"Mara. There is a child I want you to find...." And his last words were "Be the child's
Mara looked back down at Brynn, who was still fast asleep. Mara got up into a crouch,
rummaging in her bag for something useful, muttering to Brynn all the while. "First things
first. You, girl, look like you're suffering from a pretty bad case of heatstroke. Which means
I need to find you some water and cool you down. Dogs are supposed to be loyal, right?
Dagnabbit Joshua, do I look like someone's dog to you? Pass as a native he said, don't
deep-freeze a village accidentality he said. I've had three hundred years of practice,
Brynn, I think I've managed to learn control in that short space of time."
Mara stopped rummaging in her bag and looked at Brynn, noting her cracked lips and
sweat-covered body. There was nothing useful in her bag. Brynn needed water, a way
to cool down, and she needed to get out of the sunslight. "If I treat you like a native
Brynn, you're going to die on me. I've never been directly responsible for the death of
someone, and I have no intention of starting now. Maybe... If I don't get caught....
Perhaps I could."