The messenger leans forward, their weariness, hard to hide. “Yes, ma’am, uh, sir.
From Portland. Six days on horseback.”
A silence follows. And then stretches. Tangaroa gives in by asking, “What has happened?”
Kalapati starts to hand over a cup of water but stops when the Haida states bluntly, “Seattle’s been overrun.” The messenger takes the water and slowly drinks her fill. “The clans are making a fighting retreat eastward past Spokane. Moving families and civilians.”
There is hardly any change in Tangaroa’s stance, only a bunching of muscles at his jaw. Kalapati lets her shock show. React now, then plan.
“How many in the Horde?” She needs to know what they will face.
“The clan leaders estimate two million moving down the coast. We’ve gotten intelligence of port towns, down into California, being overrun.”
Tangaroa and Kalapati stare at her silently, stunned. After a moment Tangaroa’s next to question Makah. “How long do they think, before they arrive?”
Kalapati examines the grit-lined face of this young clan messenger. “A month.”
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