Madam Arfa’s people are probably the most relaxed of the major Arkerran cultures, overall, despite their anxieties about their genocidal past and commitment to Harky’s  genocidal future. But even they are not so chill that Madam Arfa can afford to display weakness recklessly. She can’t let her people see her as fearful, to say nothing of letting Iver or the Don see her that way. So the line “she fears that will be too late” is not a negotiating tactic she would use unless things were truly dire. Gondolessa and Harky both know this and respond accordingly.

We haven’t seen Arfa in a bit, so she could’ve just been getting weaker and stiffer with age. But the way Harky questions her makes me think her infirmity is more of a sudden thing. That dream took something out of her. But it also gave her a clear sense of purpose, and she’ll use whatever she’s got left to get the job done here.