Similar thoughts had dogged him the whole way there, which had been a full night's journey over the Fences and then the Southern Ridges. As thrilling as the speed and the height should have been, and as awe-inspiring as anyone would have found the view – lit by a magnificent full moon above and the shimmering lakes below, like carved mirrors scattered across the land – Orabas's thoughts had been more about revenge and turning tables. Should he wait until after he had found the shamir to make his move? Let Modo have the gem, then journey north and steal it back? Or should he take his chances now, at the soonest opportunity?
Even as he pondered his option, he had been aware that Modo was listening. Indeed, from the moment their eyes had met, Orabas felt as if a kind of silvery fog had entered his mind and was creeping through, invading and enveloping every corner and crevice. That was how they'd navigated, in fact. Orabas wasn't steering the dragon so much as thinking where they should go. The dragon understood.
By the time they came upon the Ord and followed it down to Monpel, the fog had entered him so deeply, he felt as though there was nothing he could feel or think to which the dragon was not privy, and that included any plots he might be hatching. Modo was not concerned. Try, was his reply (for the communication ran both ways, still). So much as flex a single muscle in defiance of my will, and I will slough you off, let you drop from here. Orabas had no doubt of it, and that long before Orabas even hit the ground, Modo would have turned around and be headed back to find his family – the born, the bearing, and the unborn. Modo knew about that as well.
But strangely Orabas did not resent him. On the contrary, as dawn arrived and they set down beside their cave, a kind of intimacy had been established between them. They were kin, in a way – as keepers of the jewel. They were like soldiers on opposite sides of the trench, opposed in color and purpose, but victims of the very same spell.
Sleep, came the silent lullaby, and Orabas closed his eyes. Sleep, said the dragon, even as he slept. The word was like a blanket covering over all of Orabas’s best intentions, their two minds much too intertwined to accommodate the thought of taking up that boulder. Killing Modo would have been like carving a tumor from his own brain...