Gareth had killed four fully grown, trained, and experienced war elephants.  Cecille had only seen the last graceful cut and that from a distance, but it was obvious that Gareth was at ease with a blade.  She had never heard of anyone slaughtering elephants with a sword, most use spears so as to keep distance from the stomping beasts.  

Anyone who could accomplish that had to be quite formidable.  He had also evaded Cecille when she had pursued him the first time, and that even with her senses heightened with blood lust.  That was no mean feat, either.  All she had managed to catch was a name: "Gareth".

When she thought about having someone approach her about buying tusks while she was on the road to the city to report her parents and elephants murder to the magistrate, it was pretty easy to deduct that Gareth had intended to be found out.  It was particularly evident when you consider he later indicated that he knew who she was.  Did he know that she would be overcome with a reflex change like that?  If that was his plan, then you would think that he would have drawn his sword but he never even did that.

So the answer was with the stolen tusks.  If he really was mercenary it would follow that he had been paid to return the tusks.  She had no illusions that it was out of some form of remorse, his eyes held nothing but humor in them when she was struggling with her grief and fury.  He didn't seem capable of compassion then.  Did he realize how close she had come to succumbing to blood lust?

The rope with the imperial markings was the real message that he had been employed to deliver.  Either the Empire had hired him or someone wanting to incriminate the Empire was responsible.  In either case it was with the Keeland Empire that she would find her answers.  

She had a very long treck ahead of her to make it to the Imperial court.  The city of Fosston was the centre of the Empire, but it was a good three week journey by elephant, and she would need to prepare herself.  Such a journey was not to be taken lightly, particularly now that the ranch was her responsibility along with the six young elephants that had remained behind in the compound.

She felt sheepish for her emotional charge of the previous day.  Now she had to backtrack for a full day to get home.  She had also driven her young Elephant companion to exhaustion with her visions of revenge.  She liked to pride herself on being mature for her age but she surely hadn't shown it yesterday.





The End

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