“We can’t know exactly where the gargoyle parted to with Freida,” Kimar intoned. “He is a strong one.” He nodded to Danielle. He’d explained to her that especially powerful gargoyles could part without leaving a trace. “But he is not so strong that he didn’t leave us some clues…”
Unexpectedly and unmistakably, a smile emerged upon the great gargoyle’s face, like a long wished-for but unexpected thaw after an unforgiving, bitter winter.
“What?” Danielle cried. “Kimar, are you saying you can trace where the gargoyle parted with Freida? Honest and true?”
Slowly, he nodded. “Yes. He is very strong indeed. But I have tracked him. I know where he went with her.”
Johann jumped up, flailing his arms. “But how can you be certa—”
His question was interrupted when his wife leaped in front of him and threw her arms wide around the startled gargoyle’s neck, tears streaming down her face like drops running down a window pane in a rainstorm. Her feet dangled cheerfully off the ground.
“Please, please,” she cried, “help me save my baby, Kimar!”
“Jah!” Johann yelled, his eyes welling up. “Let me at them!”
Paign and Anders pulled out their swords, thumping their chests with the hilt, the blades aimed straight at the ceiling, right in front of their noses.
Kimar gently and carefully grasped Heidi and lowered her to the cavern floor.
“It is my honor to serve you. And it is my promise to ransom Freida, no matter the cost. We shall find them. We will be certain to encounter resistance, and we will, no doubt, be fiercely opposed.”
Danielle had not before seen the smoldering fire that was now in Kimar’s eyes. She shuddered.
“We must first finalize our plans,” he continued. He motioned for everyone to sit.
Peter guessed that it took half an hour for Kimar to lay out his rescue plan for Freida. It was impressive that the plan included not just general information about who they would be facing, but also elaborate tactical battle plans. He covered where each of them would be positioned, as well as how they would be armed. Only when each of the humans could repeat back to Kimar what their positions and purposes would be during this perilous mission did he relent to a meal break.
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