I knew that cockatrices were stupid creatures. Only now can I fully appreciate how stupid they are. Makes them easy to deal with I suppose. It didn’t take us long to deal with the pests in the village, even if Father Brandt insisted on bitterly complaining to the local villagers. He certainly can go from napping to cranky very quickly. In fact, that could be the theme of this excursion, completely unexpected anger. Anyway, we managed to bag a couple for later study. That was the hope anyway, turns out they are too stupid to survive in the controlled environment of a sack. Shame that, I’m sure Cosmo could have gotten something to write about out of them.
With the cockatrices in the village dealt with we entered the swamp hoping to find the source of these pests. It was a tough slog between the humidity, the fetid swamp water and the irritating local wildlife. Those leeches certainly gave Father Brandt even more to complain about. However, we were to have a breakthrough when Raphaella spotted a very large set of tracks in the distance. Following them, we came upon a nest filled with misshapen eggs which cockatrices hatched from and one very large egg. As Caelena approached the egg the creature revealed itself and it was terrible to behold. A huge serpentine beast with multiple sets of eyes and legs. In addition to its prodigious size and strength it also had the capability to turn creatures to stone with a glare. With Butch too focused on slaying the cockatrices and taking their skulls things looked dire. Not that I would dare speak ill of Cosmo or his new compatriots but they lacked the raw power to deal with this beast. I figured our survival might very well rest upon me, so I didn’t hold back. I must say, I’ve never felt more alive than I did during that fight. No need to hide, no need to restrain myself for fear of breaking something or someone. In the end, we felled the beast and informed the High Priest of our success so that they could take it away. It was close though. Father Brandt had nearly turned to stone, which was an endless source of complaint. What’s more it was continually directed at Caelena, not really sure why. Then Cosmo started talking to Caelena about writing a book on this creature and she completely flipped. I have no idea why and judging by Cosmo’s bewilderment neither did he. Lots of shouting then followed. I couldn’t help but stare disbelievingly at this sudden, meaningless feud while the beast’s blood dripped from almost every inch of me. Maybe it’s a scholar thing that I don’t understand.
Well on a positive note, because of fortunate positioning, the size of the beast and the fact that everyone was avoiding making eye contact my secret is still safe. Talk about luck!