The door flew open before Gerald's knuckles hit to knock.
"What in the blue hell were you doing out there?" shouted Helga as she grasped him by the shoulder and hauled him into the cottage.
talking," Gerald muttered, most of him in the cottage, a part of him elsewhere.
Helga eyed the crowd of irg-wraiths just yards from the door and hissed an incantation. A clutch of the creatures barreled backward, driven by a force unseen, as if Helga's very words smashed them into a battering ram that toppled scores of others behind them.
The door slammed shut.
"Talking to who?" Arnold joined his friend at his side, familiar with his distracted look.
Gerald took a breath and said, "Rhonda."
At Arnold's perplexed look, he said, "Lloyd. Rhonda Lloyd. Lady Wellington."
"No, no," said Helga, having finished an incantation she'd performed on the door, "Lady Wellington is gone, Gerald. I know you had history with her, but that couldn't have been her."