Location: The Green Cloak forest
POV: Karigan G'ladheon
- Master Ione
- Armsmaster Rendle
- Kariny G'ladheon
- An Owl
- Mornhavon the Black
- Aleric D'yer
- King Zachary€£ Hillander
- Bayberry sprig
- Bunchberry flower
- Professor Berry's Moonstone
Karigan, having ridden several days north from seven chimneys, rides through the green cliak forest. She is bothered by biting insects, and feeds herself from the provisions he berry sisters gave her. She observes a grey eagle flying overhead.
She follows a deer teail away from the road at dusk, seeking a campsite. Condor spooks when some large beast emerges from the forest. She is thrown from the saddle.
When Karigan comes to, she is being dragged by one ankle, which is gripped in the claw of a monstrous beast. The monster is like an enormous, disc-bodies scorpion with six legs, a venemous tail, black stalk eyes, and a metallic silver shell. Condor follows, attempting to strike at the creature with his hooves.
She manages to forcibly calm herself, remembering advice from arms master Rendle. She makes note of injuries to her head. She attempts to grab a stonr, eventually freeing one from the ground, and tgrows it at the creature. The rock does no damage, but drawd the creatures attention to ger. it shakes her into submission. Condor attempts to fight te creature, and it releases karigan. She cannot put weight on her injured foot. Condor is unable ro damage rhe creature.
Karigan flees, and becomes caught in an enormous, sticky web that entangles both of her legs and torso. She observes that the web has also trapped a doe, birds, squirrels, bats, a raccoon, and a wolf. She notes stripped bones, and the creature's eggs.
The creature stings Condor in the neck, and he collapses. The creature examines the prey trapped in the web, and the eggs begin to hatch. Karigan believes that she will die, until the bayberry sprig revitalizes her with its scent. Karigan uses the bunchberry flower to summon aid. The hatchlings begin to feet on the trapped prey. Karigan is able to kick many of the hatchlings off her legs, and crunches those she can reach with her boots. As more hatchlings sting yer, she begins to lose feeling in her legs, but continues to fight.
Softfeather the eagle arrives, and offers aid. He is able to communicate with her mentally, and fetches her sabre for her from its sheath on Condor's saddle. She cuts herself free of the web, and frees the wolf and the birds and bats not yet killed by the hatchlings as well. Softfeather tells her that Condor is still alive, and defends him from hatchlings. She and the eagle fight the hatchlings, destroying them all. The wolf flees. She slowly regains feeling in her right leg. Condor begins to recover. Softfeather rells her the creature us from Blackveil, and that the dyer wall us breached. He instructs her to inform his king of the breach.
The parent creature returns, and softfeather instructs Karigan that she must kill it. He warns her to avoid the creature's blood. Karigan, softfeather, and Condor fight the creature. She falls, but invisible arms help her to her feet. She attempts to circle, but is knocked to the ground again. The wolf returns, distracting the creature, and joins the fight. Karigan is again helped to her feet by the unseen hands. The creature grabs the wolf in a claw, and Karigan manages to sever both claws. She then ducks under the creature and stabs it in the belly, disembowling and killing it. However, its acidic, poisonous blood spills onto her wrists and burns her.
Softfeather leads her to a stream to wash her wrists. She uses the moonstone to light her way. She washes her wrists, but feels sick and feverish. She begins to feel dizzy, but returns o the site of the battle. Condor's neck is swollen from the sting, and he is resting but otherwise well. The wolf is dead. Karigan rages, beating on the dead creature's shell until ghostly hands take her sabre away from her. The ghost leads her from the clearing and has her lie down. She sleeps, and has nightmares of silvery creatures stinging her and making her drink black blood, and of burning.
When she awakens, te ghost of F'ryan is talking to the eagle, but she cannot hear their words. She sees the ghost of the wolf. She sleeps again