The journey was not as swift as Migal had hoped. The last streams of the sun were fading over the horizon and torches were already being lit in the village. Migal watched the increasing lights with dismay.
"It looks like the whole village is waiting up for us." Torin said, peering over Migal's shoulder.
Migal did not share his apprentice's enthusiasm. He longed only for a decent bed, but knew rest was still a ways off. "And if I had failed, they're a very visible target for a dragon."
Migal scanned the village as he approached; hoping to slip in on a deserted side road as he had done in the past, but every street was illuminated. The horse shirked as they entered the swarm of torches. It moved forward slowly, swishing its tail in discomfort. The torch bearers closed around Migal, and the procession began heading toward the village square.
No one asked a question. There was not even a murmur of voices passing through the crowd as they gathered behind. He looked at their faces, trying to