Disclaimer – As usual, I don't own it and never will.
Waiting for Lyra.
Roger shuffled through the busy marketplace. He had been sent to buy some vegetables for dinner. He fingered the coin in his pocket. He wished Lyra was with him.
Lyra was his best friend. She could do anything, Lyra could. He wondered where she was. Probably making fun of the Gyptians. Once he'd taken the vegetables back he'd go and join her. They'd have fun teasing the Gyptians. They always did.
He paid for the large bag and started the tedious journey back to Jordan College. Lyra was lucky. She never had to go shopping, or anything like that. She got all the luck. His Daemon, Salcilia licked his cheek, shaped as a ferret. He rubbed his cheek against her.
"We'll go and play in a minute, Sal. We'll find Lyra and Pan and have an adventure."
"D'you think we'll ever have a real adventure? Like what Lyra's Uncle does?"
"'Course we will. One day, you, me, Pan and Lyra'll run away from Jordan and go to the North. 'N we'll fight Tartars and Skraelings. And then we'll come back and there'll be a big parade for us." Salcilia nodded and changed into a finch, sitting atop his head.
"We'll have to wait for Lyra first though."
"'Course. Can't go without Lyra." By this time they'd reached the college. Roger took the vegetables to the kitchen and then went to sit outside one of the houses near the college.
Roger was just having a marvellous daydream in which he and Lyra had defeated a band of Tartars when Salcilia pecked his hand with her sharp beak. He looked up and saw an angel standing next to him. Or what he thought Angels must look like at least. Her monkey daemon was standing near Salcilia and she changed into a mouse, sniffing warily. The lady smiled.
"Hallo. What's your name?"
"Hallo Roger. What are you doing out here?"
"Waiting for Lyra." He was so enraptured by this beautiful woman that he didn't notice her start at the name. She recovered her composure and smiled.
"Would you like some Choclatl?"
"Yes please! But… would we be gone long?"
"Oh no. Ten minutes, maybe? Then you could come back and wait for Lyra." Roger nodded enthusiastically. She took his grubby hand and led him through the streets.
He was in a complete daze. This was so strange, sitting in this warm palace, drinking choclatl. The lady smiled at him and the six other children.
"Now, children. I have a favour to ask of you. I would like you to come to the North with me. You'd be well looked after and if you wanted you could write to your parents."
Roger froze. The North! That mysterious land he and Lyra had dreamed of? He asked her,
"Can I write to Lyra? She'd want to come."
"Of course you may. I shall bring her next time, if you wish."
Roger wrote out a note in his shaky writing.
I'm going to the North. You can some too. Ask the lady with the monkey daemon.
As Roger boarded the ship he grinned to himself. He was doing it. They were going to the North at last.
* * * * * *
(Some time later)
Roger lined up for dinner in the queue at Bolvangar. He hated this place. It's cold hallways and terrifying people. Salcilia nestled against his neck and whispered,
"Lyra'll come for us. She will."
Roger tried to believe her. But in his heart he knew she wouldn't come.
He should have stayed on the steps.
He should have waited.
Waited for Lyra.
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