Back inside the convent, the boy was taken to the infirmary for treatment. Shea, who was strangely entranced by this small mystery child, was allowed to stay there with him. After the Reverend Mother heard of the boy's strange appearance, Grace was summoned to her office. She knocked on the door and was bid to enter. The Reverend Mother was sitting behind her desk; the parchment, quill, and pot of ink that she and Grace used to communicate were already prepared. She approached the Reverend Mother and kissed her ring, as it was customary, then took her seat. "How are you doing today, Grace?" the Reverend Mother asked her gently. Grace leaned forward to take the quill and write her reply but stopped. She had already spoken once today, though Shea may not remember it later. Even when she had first arrived at the convent, Grace had not spoken to the Reverend Mother; her father had done the talking for her. Taking a deep breath, she started out quietly, still not used to the sound of her own damaged voice, "I am doing well, Reverend Mother, thank you." The Reverend Mother was mildly surprised that Grace had chosen to speak. Sisters Ann and Brigit had explained to her the story of finding the little boy behind the garden wall, but were unable to tell her how Grace was out there in the first place. "Grace, can you tell me what you were doing outside the garden wall when you found the little boy?" Grace continued, with her raspy voice slowly gaining confidence, "I went outside the garden to look for something that belonged to one of the children. He thought that one of the other novices had thrown it over the back wall and was worried." The Reverend Mother asked, "What did he have that would have been thrown away in such a manner? Surely the novice did not mean to take something from one of the children unless it was harmful to them." Grace shifted in her seat, "When the boy, Shea, arrived here yesterday, he came bearing several sprigs of an unidentifiable herb. Someone made the mistake of thinking that was his donation to the convent and it was taken from him. After the sprigs were delivered to the pantry where I was working, I accidentally cut my finger and some blood may have dripped on them. One of the novices, I suppose Teresa, must have decided to discard them over the wall. Last night, after you had me remove him from supper, he told me about his father's wish that the herbs always be with him. And he was quite desperate to get them back. I had to stop him from trying to go outside to look for them. So I was outside the walls earlier because I wanted to find these herbs and give them back. I am worried about him." That was the most Grace had spoken in at least two years. The Reverend Mother had sat comfortably in her chair, listening patiently to Grace's narrative. "Did you find the herbs?" "Yes, Reverend Mother," Grace replied and pulled them from her pocket. The Reverend Mother took them from her hands and examined them closely. Grace thought for a second that she saw a flicker of concern cross the Reverend Mother's brow as she observed the small flecks of dried blood, but it was gone the next moment. She wanted to ask if the Reverend Mother knew the name of this strange herb, but politeness dictated she stay silent until spoken to. "I will keep the herbs here, but I want to speak to the boy, Shea, later today. You may go now, Grace." Grace nodded and rose from her chair, kissed Reverend Mother's ring again, and left.
With nothing in particular for her to do until afternoon worship, Grace made her way over to the infirmary to check on the little patient. When she arrived, she found that Sister Brigit must have left to get something. Shea was not there either. There were no other patients in the infirmary besides the little boy. Lying on the cot, he looked so small, his body completely covered with blankets so that only his face was visible. He was still pale. Grace sat down in the chair positioned next to him. She leaned forward to touch his cheek and found it to be quite cold. No wonder he was wrapped up in all those blankets. As she moved her hand away, the boy whimpered slightly and said, "Cold." It was very quiet, but very clear. His face contorted as if he were going to cry. "Cold." he said again in a pained voice. Grace placed her hand against his cheek again and he pressed his face into it, savoring the warmth. After a few moments, he opened his eyes to her. They were an icy blue, a harsh opposite to her own warm brown eyes. The boy stared at her. Grace stared back. "Who are you? Where am I?" he asked rapidly. Grace, whose vow of silence was clearly gone, replied, "You're in the Convent of the Terra Forrest." The boy looked alarmed upon hearing her raspy voice but Grace continued, "My name is Grace. I am a novice here." He asked her, "Does everyone here talk like you do?" Grace shook her head in reply, frustrated that her voice had frightened the boy. "What's wrong with you?" Though an innocent question, Grace did not want to answer him. "Where are you from?" she countered. This question, the boy did not seem willing to answer and they lapsed into silence. Grace realized her hand had remained on his cheek and removed it. A moment later, Sister Brigit returned with a bowl of soup. "Oh, Grace, I didn't know you would be here. Where did little Shea go? I brought him some soup. Oh, our little patient is awake, how wonderful." She placed the soup on a small table near the wall and bustled back over to the patient. "How are you feeling, dear? Does anything hurt? Are you hungry at all? Can I bring you anything?" The little boy had a look of fear as Sister Brigit came closer to him and reached down to adjust his blankets. "Why whatever is the matter, dear? I'm not going to hurt you." But the boy still looked terrified. "Get away from me!" he whispered menacingly. Sister Brigit drew back, shocked at such impudence. "You will not speak to me in such a manner, young man. In this convent, we treat each other with respect. Now, I don't know where you come from, but while you are here in this convent, you will abide by our rules." The color was coming back to the boy's face as he struggled to free himself from the pile of blankets. "You're an old hag. I don't want you anywhere near me! You'd better leave me alone or you'll be sorry." Grace was surprised at such strong words from such a little boy, but by now she had heard enough. "Quiet, you insolent snippet of a boy! How dare you speak to Sister Brigit like that. Where I'm from, such behaviour would be punished." The boy looked mortified that he had incited Grace's anger at him. He immediately apologized to Sister Brigit and returned to his cot. After getting him settled with the soup originally intended for Shea, Sister Brigit drew Grace off to the side. "Thank you, Grace. I don't know what I would have done without you. I must say, it's very nice to hear you speaking." Grace blushed. "Now, where do you suppose Shea has gone off to? Maybe you had better go look for him. He can get his own soup this time." Grace looked over at the little boy slurping his soup. He never took his eyes from her as he ate. It made her uncomfortable. "Yes, I think I will go look for Shea." she told Sister Brigit quietly and made her way to the door. "Where are you going?" the boy called after her. "I need to find someone. I'll return later." She left quickly.
Meanwhile, when Grace had been with the little boy in the infirmary, and Sister Brigit had been getting soup from the kitchen, Shea was once again looking for his herbs. He was unaware that Grace had brought them inside earlier, so he thought the first place to look would be outside the garden wall, now that he knew how to get out there. He crept through the convent, ducking into dark corners whenever someone approached. Eventually, he made his way back to the door to the garden and snuck outside. The garden was still unoccupied but Shea was still cautious of the windows facing it. He quickly darted across to the outside door and pulled it open. The forest just a short distance away was still dark and foreboding. Shea inched along the wall a few yards to the left, looking at the ground. There was the spot where the boy had been, the leaves around the area quite disturbed. He was searching around near the wall when he heard approaching voices. They seemed to be coming from the forest! Shea scrambled back to the garden door, ready to shut and bolt it, but curiosity got the better of him. He stayed at the door, only leaving it open enough for him to peek through the crack.
It took a while before he could actual distinguish what the voices were saying. They were coming from somewhere to his right, walking towards where he had just been. It sounded like two men were having a heated discussion about someone else. "Are you sure he was looking around this close to the convent?" one said, "You know he was deathly afraid of this place." "I just heard it from someone else that he was sent to look for a boy." the other one replied. "Is this that same boy whose family didn't bring him to the initiation ceremony last night?" the first one asked. "The very same. Master wasn't very happy to find him not in attendance. It took a bit of coercing the rest of the family to get them to reveal that they had left him here. There was something about the mother not wanting him to transform. Rumor has it that she died trying to find a way to save him from becoming one of us. Silly mortal." The men shared a chuckle. Shea was in shock. Too many of the details were similar to his own situation for this to be a mere coincidence: They were looking for a boy. Him. His mother had died for him. Shea could feel the tears forming. He was wracked with guilt. He had killed his mother. Luckily, the wind picked up just as a small gasp escaped his lips. His presence was still unnoticed by the men. They now passed into his limited sight line. The sight of their peculiar style of dress triggered something in Shea's memory: When he was younger, probably no more than 7 or 8 years old, he was playing a hiding game with his older brothers. Shea had gone to hide in his father's closet. He had been in there for a while before looking around through his father's clothes. In the very back, behind some very old looking tunics, Shea had found some odd robes. They were long and black with an insignia of some sort over the left breast. The insignia was a red color, with an intertwining half circles and a small star above then. Later that night, during dinner, Shea had mentioned these strange robes to his father and innocently asked him what they were for. He was too young to have noticed the look that passed between his father and mother. His father replied that the robes were a gift from a friend, and that was the end of the discussion. The next time that he and his brothers played the hiding game, Shea hid in the same place but the robes were gone. And now he saw this two men wearing what looked to be the same kind of robes, though he wasn't sure if they had the same insignia on the left breast since they faced away from him. They stopped near the disturbed pile of leaves where the boy had been. "You don't suppose he was attacked and had to revert back to his other form, do you?" the first one asked, "We're right on the edge of enemy territory, and he did come out here alone." The other scratched his chin for a moment before replying, "That is a possibility, in which case he may still be around here somewhere. I suggest we report to Master and get further instructions on how to find Norlien." The two men turned back the direction they came, and Shea thought for a second that one of them had looked straight at him, but they continued walking. He was sure to wait a few extra seconds after the sound of their footsteps had faded away before shutting and bolting the garden door. He had to find Grace and tell her.