The Return, known as 1017 because of the number on the brand on his arm- put there by Davy Prentiss Jr- is the last suriving menber of the Burden, a group of Spackle who were enslaved by humans after the Spackle War. He was origionally a house servant, living in his Mistress' garden with his One in Particular, a fellow Spackle with whom he had a special connection.
1017 first encounters Todd Hewitt in Prentisstown, and the two have several altercations- 1017 is angry and vengeful because of the death of his One in Particular, directing this hate at Todd Hewitt, because Todd (also known as "the Knife" to the Spackle) knows that the horrors he commits are evil.
The Burden are finally murdered by Mayor Prentiss, leaving only 1017 alive so that he may return to his people to tell them of the horrors the humans have comitted and lead them to war. This is what earnt him the name of the Return.
The rest of the Land (the true name for the race we humans know as Spackle) were hesitant to welcome the Return at first, but quickly embraced him in spite of his reluctance. Unable to speak the true voice of his people because of his time in captivity, the Return became the charge of the Sky, the leader of the Land. He almost wages war on all settlers, but stops short because he realises he is not doing what is right for the Land. With the knowledge that only peace can bring calamity, he lets the humans go.
The Sky began to mentor the Return, promising him his revenge against Todd Hewitt and the rest of the humans. As the war between their people raged on, the Return began to understand his enemy and grew close with Ben, Todd's adoptive father who the Spackle treated in his ill health. When the Sky is murdered by Mayor Prentiss, the role of the leader of the land passes to the Return, who becomes the new Sky and leads the final spackle charge against the Mayor.
At the ocean, the new Sky charges towards Todd Hewitt, mistaking him for Mayor Prentiss as the two wear a similar uniform, not knowing that his true enemy is already dead. He shoots Todd with an acid rifle, killing him almost instantly. He admits that he was unsure wether it was really the Mayor or not.
He offers his own life to Viola, but she refuses to kill him as well as denying him forgiveness, so that he will regret his action for the rest of his life.
The Sky tries to rectify his mistakes, overseing that Todd is brought into the spackle camp and watched over the way that Ben was when he fell into the arms of death. He shelters Todd and his companions, hoping for a day when the Knife will awaken and he can finally recieve the forgiveness he craves.