Matty had been gone overly long. Guarf’s cottage, with its forlorn countenance, seemed subdued by dust and pests, almost resigned to give up and crumble into the hilltop. She let herself in, stepping over the piles of dirty linens, books, and firmly established mouse nests and spider traps. She took her finger, and scraped a line in the dust on the hearth. In the cupboards, mealworms feasted on flour. She needed to tell him that there was trouble in the allegiance of his comrades, but then she realized, he was not interested. Otherwise, he would have been back long ago.