|Heart-Broken Marigold Blames Herself For Peter's Death..|
After a night of consoling Marigold, Cobblethwaite's Companions sat in silence in the main room of The Merry Riot as Darly, Dayla, and Dayl mopped the blood-stained floor around them.
Kirchin took control of the situation, realising that 'busy work' might help to keep the mind of traumatised Marigold off the gruesome death of her mentor.
Davian and Harry he tasked with the job of moving Peter's body as best they could into the back of the wagon, then covering it, for the journey back to Bendwyn.
As he trudged off, Davian muttered something about a bucket, but luckily Marigold didn't hear anything over her sobbing.
"I'm going to see if I can follow any of these trails," Kirchin said, gesturing at the blood, "Holly, why don't you take Marigold and..."
"See what I can find out about these creatures," the enthusiastic young scholar finished.
After a quick word with Bothwell, and learning that this was not the scheduled time for a visit from the druid, Holly knew exactly where she wanted to go first.
She guided Marigold south of the village and across the dried riverbed towards a hut on the outskirts of the village. Outside the hut she could see the fearsome, one-armed and ancient, warrior Tarik chopping wood.
They exchanged pleasantries and Tarik invited the young women into his hut for a drink. Holly immediately noticed a rack of a old books over the old soldier's bed and knew she had come to the right place.
As she explained, as tactfully as she could with Marigold by her side, what had occurred, she could read in the lines of Tarik's face that the adventurer had an idea of what these creatures were.
He reached up to his shelf and pulled down a couple of books, silently thumbing through them until he found what he was looking for in a large tome that Marigold recognised as the Monstrous Monstorum. "Peter has that book..." she started to say and dissolved into tears.
Tarik set the volume down on his crude table, open to a page dominated by a large etching...
|The World-Breaker In The Monstrous Monstorum|
"What you describe," he growled, "is the larval stage of a tarrasque... a world-breaker... a god-slayer. The most fearsome beast on all of Cidri. They are spoken of only in legend; one has not been seen in 500 years."
He ran his finger down the text that accompanied the picture and quoted: "The larvae are believed to combine into an entity known as an alitnil, a terrifying warrior in its own right, which then grows into its ultimate manifestation: the tarrasque. These beasts cannot be killed by the hand of mortal man."
Slamming the book shut dramatically, he shook his head: "I cannot believe that fool Jerol was keeping a tarrasque egg. What was he thinking? He has brought doom to Elyntia!"
Marigold was rocking to and fro, muttering something about "don't disturb the snark" as Holly decided it was probably time for them to leave.
Back in the forecourt of The Merry Riot, Harry and Davian stood by the cart, which had been secured to Kirchin's mule, Charles. In the back of the cart, covered by an unfortunately bloody sheet, lay the roughly human shape of Peter's remains.
Kirchin came back, shaking his head, and explaining that the blood trails had thinned out and become impossible to follow.
Bothwell, his sons, and the barmaids of The Merry Riot gathered for a somber farewell as the party set out towards Bendwyn like a funeral cortege, transporting Peter to his final resting place in the graveyard beside the Temple Of The Lady Of Healing.
To be continued...