31 Days of Halloween #26

The Goosemother Scroll - Episode 13 Text below.

The soldiers had prepared for an attack from the skies, but they had not prepared for so many foes. Foes who were better armed and organized than they. Foes who were certainly better fed. In the end, it was the rhinoceros king and elephant queen who won, but not without terrible loss.

Pyg could not feel sad for all the death around her now. She could only feel anger.

“It just keeps happening!” she said to Leap. “No matter what we do or where we go, trouble is always close behind!”

“You can’t look at it like that,” Leap told her. “You’ve lived through all of it so far, haven’t you? You were meant for something important, Pyg. Like Father Longtail said.”

“We’ve both lived through all of it,” Pyg added. “So, maybe we’re both meant for something important. I just wish we’d hurry up and find out what it was so we could go home.”

Leap didn’t say anything to that.

The next day, there was plenty to eat for all. It was bitter meat - the meat of their fallen enemies - but it was more than the soldiers had seen for quite some time. Leap ate a little, but not much. Pyg found it difficult despite her hunger.

“Eat, little wanderer,” the elephant queen urged her. “It will serve no one for you to faint from weakness.”

“Have your kind always eaten your enemies?” Pyg asked.

“In hunger, all beastkind are the same, and the hungry have always eaten whatever they could,” answered the queen.

Pyg felt embarrassed by her high-mindedness and from that moment on, she graciously ate whatever she was given.

And there were more battles fought in the coming days. More of the dead to scavenge. The Master had built his armies from all nature of beastkind. Sometimes Pyg wondered if his fighters had ever been given a choice. Or were they just like her? Bound into service in order to survive? Suppose she was the enemy now? It was a thought she did not like to think. But when she did think it, she would remember that neither she nor Leap had ever been allowed to fight. They were always kept behind. Pyg had killed no one. She could not be an enemy.

The journey went on. The fighting continued. Then there were days of solemn peace. At long last, the tall, jagged form of Mount Historious broke the endless horizon.

“Whatever peace we have known is soon to be our last,” the rhinoceros king said before all his soldiers. “The Master holds the Mother’s Mountain fast in his grip. He will no doubt defend it with the greatest of force. If you are not prepared to die... then I am sorry for you.”

The elephant queen spoke next.

“Given that we are soon to fight the battle of the ages, I would like to take one last day for prayer and solitude,” she said. “There is a graveyard for my kind not far from here. I wish to take my soldiers there to touch the bones of our ancestors.”

The rhinoceros king agreed to this request and even permitted Pyg and Leap to accompany the queen, along with the ostrich priestess.

Would that he had not. For no one, not even the queen, knew what had awoken in that elephant graveyard. And no one, not even the Priestess of Gol, expected what so cruelly expected them.

But one among them would not be surprised. He had been waiting for this moment all along.