Birds squawked and circled in the air above and as I looked up, a huge butterfly came down. I'd like to say it fluttered but with a wingspan of nearly half a meter across, it more or less just dropped out of the sky. Being the twit that I am, it frightened the bejeebers out of me and I squealed like a silly schoolgirl. The others laughed as I flailed about, fighting the thing as it flapped about in the air above me like a ill-tempered duvet cover on a washing line, but they did have the good grace to agree that it was an exceedingly large butterfly!
Despite my little scare, it was all breathtakingly beautiful and we stood admiring it for some time. Al screwed her eyes up as she peered hard towards the lake and nudged me, pointing towards the water's edge. There, snuggled against the shoreline was a settlement. It wasn't very big but had one stone building and a number of smaller, wooden huts, but we could see little else from up here. The cover afforded by the trees hid much of it.
"I can't see any signs of life," said Traeth.
"Maybe the savages got to them," replied Rutter.
"We don't know that there are any savages," I said in all seriousness. Rutter looked at me in disbelief.
"Skulls? Remember? I don't suppose those people chopped their own heads off and shoved them up there!"
"But who knows who did that and when. Dirrian history isn't particularly exact over its dates. That was probably centuries ago. The people that did could be long gone and these people might be really friendly."
The chorus of tuts told me of their disagreement and Al pulled a face.
"I would have thought that if it was centuries ago, the skulls would have disintegrated completely by now. I mean, they are exposed to the elements and everything."
It was a valid point, but if it wasn't the Dirrians from Traeth's tale, who was it?
Traeth interrupted my thoughts.
"Always the optimist," he said. "Even when the ship is sinking, Jen will be the one saying, 'Oh well, at least we won't have to wash the decks tonight'."
I'm not sure that was particularly funny but Traeth said it so matter-of-factly, we couldn't help but laugh.