“Why not take more? Why not a strike force?” Uud-Rement growled. “It will be in a formidable fortress that they are held. Is it not rash to go with such a small force?” The morning light cast harsh shadows on the gargoyle’s many deep scars.
“Indeed,” Lohxnahr replied with an even greater lilt. This seemed to completely nonplus his audience. Immediately, many feet began shifting around.
“What?” Peter cried. “Pray tell which part are you ‘indeeding’? That they’re held in a formidable fortress or that it is rash to go with such a small force?”
Danielle knew her father’s blunt question was mostly from his concern for her, but it was also borne out of his need for clear logic. Often, the manner in which gargoyles reached decisions—or at least argued a position—seemed to have no logical basis. She knew that was hard for both of her parents. They’d often talked, or more accurately, complained about such behavior from their university students. But Danielle had come to understand in her adventures the prior year that life doesn’t always follow a logical process. Sometimes, it is more important to follow one’s instinct, even when it flies into the face of what makes “logical” sense. Danielle knew somehow, not from her mind sorting out all the elements of the argument but from the confidence of her own intuition, that Lohxnahr’s plan was best. Even so, she knew it would be difficult for her scientist parents to accept. Hearing their teenager argue, “Well, I just know it’s the right way to handle this!” wouldn’t be very compelling to them.
“Yes!” Lohxnahr replied, his wings fluttering as he remained squatted on the dais.
“Bother!” Johann grumbled. “I gather you mean that you agree, Lohxnahr, that yes there will be a nasty fortress to deal with and that yes it is rash—rash, mind you!—to go after our loved ones with but four rescuers?”
Heidi, whose face was already lined with care for her dear friends, Gudrun and her son, Paign, sat next to Amy. Their friendship provided needed support for each other, as both had loved ones in great peril. Heidi rocked gently forward and then back, as Amy rolled her eyes at Lohxnahr’s quip.
“Lohxnahr,” Amy spoke first, gently patting Heidi’s hands. “You know that I have had my doubts about you on more than one occasion and that I haven’t hidden them. This plan is madness. All the evidence and experience I have of Kahrnahrgx and his soldiers is that conducting a rescue mission with anything other than a massive force is, well, reckless and foolish!”
Lohxnahr said nothing, but smiled and bowed to the mothers.
“And yet it resonates in my heart,” Heidi added, her voice breaking, “despite the skepticism in my mind. I have had a terrible foreboding that Gudrun’s mind is slipping, even now. It’s like she faces a torment of fear so great…that Paign….” Abruptly she swung her head down into Amy’s lap and wept.
“That is why it must be so,” Zarentil said. “In a fortress of great dread opens a door for great courage.”
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