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Vahid rubbed at his temple nervously, making his scrutiny of the lamplight below waiver. The monster trembled with some unarticulated frustration. He sensed it. It manifested in the slight twitches to Erik’s hand. That letter made matters worse—far worse. He cursed himself for delivering it.

“Do you have any idea what risk you put your children in? You made the choice to put them first when you took them out of the security of that monastery. You can’t run off half-crazed right now.”

Erik touched his temple. He leaned in slightly. “I am half-crazed. What would you suggest I do?” With one graceful leap he pounced upon the railing and began to walk, stabbing the air with a finger. “My fuse is smoldering and every minute that passes without her is a minute of absolute agony. I am growing angry, Daroga.”

“You’re not in the position you used to be—”

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