She is in the wild again, and I am not with her. Instead I am guarding the hatchling. From what? The things with teeth and claws are out there, where Jura is. She doesn't want me there. She doesn't want me. She has abandoned me. Unforgivable.

The hatchling puts a hand behind my frill. “No, this way!” she says. I turn and drive my horns into her. She dies easily, this weak thing keeping me from Jura. I look down at the tiny bleeding body I was supposed to keep safe, and feel wrong. But it was also wrong for Jura to leave me alone.

I run for the wall. Jura is outside, and I must find her. The gate is open. The people who find food outside are going through. I swing my head and they get out of my way quickly.

Jura is not at the druid place. I do not know where she is, so I keep going. I find tasty grasses in the fields, and sweet water. After several days and nights the man who smells like death finds me. Jura doesn't like the men who smell like death, except for the one who lives in town and eats dirt. That one is not bad, she says. But this one she doesn't like.

"Now where is your mistress?" he says.

I don't know, things would be all better if I knew.

"Then why are you alone?"

Abandoned, left with the hatchling.

"You should come with me."

I snort and back away. I need to find Jura.

"She'll never take you back. She'll probably kill you."

She loves me. She abandoned me. I killed her hatchling.

That one man who smells like death isn't bad, Jura said. Maybe this one isn't bad either.

He takes me to the place of bones and does something to me that hurts. Then it stops, and I do not hurt again, or feel hungry for grass, or thirsty for water.


I thought that nothing could hurt more than finding what Zuni had done while I was away, and I was right. But finding out what she had become, that came close.