The Bard glanced at Vakarr, because she did not have the strength to look him straight in the eye. Frankly, she was afraid of him, and his threat against Meara had only increased her feelings of intimidation. Thus, "My thanks" were all Per'dra could give at the moment. All other bets were off. Who were her companions, truly, underneath their various garbs and guises? She didn't believe that any of them would betray and kill her, as they were all keen to escape the Purge. What of V'toryv, however? What if the call of the sacred blood of the Great Wyrm was stronger than the calls of honor and loyalty? She herself had said that the blood of her slain children was what gave the members of the Purge their power! If V'toryv were killed and claimed...
Fear not, human child. You shall know what to do when the time is right.
I certainly hope so, Per'dra thought, but can we really save you?
You must try. If you do not, then all is lost before the battle starts!
Oleg the ferryman startled her out of her reverie and contact with the Wyrm:
"Lass? Lass!" Per'dra's head whirled around. "I suggest ye sleep now, along with all you other riders on my ferry. Don't fret about me: I can go without slumbering for a full seventy-two hours. My heart is strong, and my frame is stronger! We'll be halfway to Borthar'nal before you even know it. There are three sections of the river, and three trials, that we'll have to pass before we even reach the mountainous entrance to the Dwarven capital, but those can wait. Lay your heads down, and leave all the rowing to me. Aye?"
"Agreed," Per'dra replied slowly, her voice slurring with exhaustion. Looking pointedly at the others, she announced: "This mission, this fatal calling, is ours whether we want it or not. 'Tis for all of Sazhen that we'll answer it!"
Unconsciously nestling her head against Emi's shoulder, Per'dra slept deeply.
In the darkness and stench of the midnight hour, an assassin's arrow found its way through forest, brush and leaves, through air, and through Oleg's muscled neck...
In the morning, the Bard woke with a piercing shriek. The ferryman was dead.