Ercen raised her head and looked softly towards Gudrun. Freida could see the woman’s back facing the children. “It is my doubt that I should, rather, question. My doubt of your story. My doubt of Lohxnahr’s story. My doubt of”—her voice breaking—“Kimar’s story. In these have I proven faithless.”
Ercen stood up. More firmly now, she continued, “While I have no explanation for how Zarentil came to you, nor how he affected your rescue and return to us, I believe he did so. It is profoundly unclear why he would not also return Paign to you…and us. Finally, it remains a great mystery how it is that the same Zarentil who redeemed you should also be the one we so greatly fear now. Nevertheless, it is beyond question that only one of the Great Ones could affect a rescue of such magnitude. Though you may not believe it, I am convinced that Zarentil snatched you back from nothing less than the inner sanctum of Kahrnahrgx himself!”
Freida could stand it no longer. Without letting go of Anders’s hand, she ran over and stood next to Ercen, dragging Anders along.
“But where was Paign? Where is Paign?” she cried, clutching Ercen’s hand.
“I know not, child. Caverns beyond counting could have held him. Based on what Gudrun has shared with us, Zarentil returned her to us prior to seeking out the boy. Through Gudrun’s heart’s eye, Zarentil knew where to retrieve Paign. But, with no description of his place of captivity, I have no way of guessing it.” Seeing the obvious fear in her eyes, Ercen added softly, “I am most sorry, Freida.”
Tiny, who had been sitting at the edge of their camp, walked over to Freida and curled up at her feet, actually covering them, while his long, bushy tail swept back and forth over his mistress’s feet.
Freida dropped to her knees, releasing Anders’s and Ercen’s hands as she did so. She folded herself over Tiny and wept.
Click Follow to receive emails when this author adds content on Bublish