It had taken ten days to return home. On the night of the full moon, just more than halfway back, Iolanthe had told Terrence the story of the attack on the colony, how Zurfina had created a magical pestilence to destroy the lizards, how she had discovered that he was a captive and was going to be executed, and how she had mounted a rescue mission, leaving to the sorceress just how he would be extracted and just how retribution would be laid down upon his captors. He made few comments. His mind was on how he had been duped into leading one hundred eighty men to their deaths. How his brother had been killed.
Just before they had reached the colony, they had found Zeah Korlann. The way he was wandering around in the woods, seemingly dazed and quite confused, it had seemed impossible that he could have traveled faster than they had, even considering the burden of carrying men on stretchers. When Iolanthe had asked him where he had been and how he had traveled all the way back to the colony so quickly, he began muttering something about being carried across country by a dragon.
“If you don’t want to tell us,” said Iolanthe, “then don’t.”
As they had finished the last few miles of the journey, Zeah had related in an uncharacteristically erratic and undetailed way, the story of being captured by a dragon and being delivered to this spot in the forest, after having been carried in the monstrous claw of the beast as it flew across country. Terrence wasn’t sure whether to believe the story or not, especially without the benefit of looking into the man’s eyes, but Zurfina apparently believed it and planned to interrogate Zeah when they finally returned home, which they had, safely, the day before.
“It will be another month before we find out if the church plans to replace Father Ian with another full priest, and I don’t know how much longer it will be before they send a replacement,” said Iolanthe. “You could wait.”
Terrence didn’t say anything.
“On the other hand, the S.S. Dormouse leaves for Brech tomorrow. You could be on it.”
“The Dormouse? When did it get here?”
“It arrived on the sixth. It was sitting in the harbor when we got home.”
“I didn’t see it,” he said, knowing that this would hurt his sister, and knowing that she didn’t deserve it.
Iolanthe was quiet for a moment, and then said. “You have to decide what you want to do.”