39 v) The heat, for Abia, grows

The heat, for Abia, grows. Waves of infernal fire wash over her spirit, leaving her body unharmed but her mind seared.

Twenty years or more since she’d left the dragon’s employ. Twenty years or more since she’d torn herself away from the shackles of its malignant expectations. It had been a few years since she’d even thought of the dragon, found herself surprised to find its scaly head invading her mind.

Years to quit, mere hours to return.

39 iv) Abia, for her part, remains calm, meditating a while in a corner

Abia, for her part, remains calm, meditating a while in a corner, her legs folded, eyes closed. Her indigo robes had hardly needed washing — perhaps a few extra creases and folds here and there, but scarcely comparable to the grime that plagues her companions.

Privately, Abia weighs her desire to return to the warmth of the dragon’s employ with her former desire to escape it. Those years seem long-ago now, somehow quaint with gauzy nostalgia. Her brow creases almost imperceptibly in her stillness. What to make of a will to return to fire and fangs?