Elder Lorem turned to her, as did everyone else. “And why ever not?”
Carissa replied, “He’s with us. We journeyed together from Nysia to Esmeray.”
The entire crowd bristled with murmurs:
“What’s the meaning of this? Are they Nysian spies?”
“I knew we shouldn’t have trusted them.”
“We ought to rid ourselves of all the Nysians and be done with them.”
Elder Lorem shouted, “Silence!”
But the Elder’s voice was barely audible amidst the increasingly loud voice of the crowd. People began to cluster around her. A hand snatched the sleeve of her shirt before she turned away. Someone pushed her from behind.
Carissa could sense the rising thirst for violence in the crowd, like a wolf’s warning snarl before it attacked. Someone slammed one of the tent rods into her side, making pain pierce her abdomen, and she spun around. With everyone pressing so closely around her, she couldn’t tell who’d hit her.
Elon was trying to make peace with the caravan members. Perhaps if she remained calm, they’d settle down.
But then someone shoved her, and she tumbled to the ground. Someone else delivered a kick to her back. If she remained on the ground, she had no doubt they’d kill her. When someone else kicked her in the chest, narrowly missing her face, Carissa decided it was time she defend herself.