“What do we do now?”

Cedric had joined her in the yard.  They stood beside the spilled soup, squinting into the darkness where the man and the merman had vanished.

“Go after them, I guess,” she replied.

“But It is out there.  Whatever It is.”

“All the more reason to find them.  And it sounded as if Seoc had an idea what it is, but he did not want to speak its name.”

Cedric raised an eyebrow.  “Did he give you anything to go on?”

“Mythology.  He mentioned mythology.  But I guess that doesn’t do us any good if we don’t know where to look.”

The merboy shrugged.  “He’s obsessed with mythology.  I’d bet you five knamick he brought a book of it from home.”

They returned inside, lit candles to ward off the gathering darkness, and locked the door.  Cedric began rummaging through Seoc’s possessions, leaving clothing, scraps of parchment and bottles of ink strewn about the earthen floor.

“Here,” he said, holding up a leather-bound volume.  On the cover, in curly golden lettering, was the title:  Mythſ &Legendſ of Ancient Timeſ.  “Erm…, ‘Mythf?’”

“I think that’s supposed to be an S.”

“I suppose that makes sense.”  He opened the book on his lap.  “Oh, for Rezyn’s sake, every letter S in here is like that.  How do they expect anyone to be able to read this?”

“Well, like it or not, we’ll have to try.  Does it have an index?”

“Yeah.” He turned to it.  “But what should I look up?”

“Try ‘Shar ah.’  It seemed to mean something to Seoc.”

Cedric flipped through the pages of the index, running his finger down the margins.  “Nothing.  Should I try ‘dismemberment?’”

“Go ahead.”

There were no entries for dismemberment, so Cedric moved on to ‘invisible.’  “Wow.  There’s about thirty different pages for this one.”

“Start at the first one marked.”

He turned to near the beginning of the book.  “No, this isn’t any use.  It’s about pixies.”

“Move on to the next one, then.”

“’The Invisible Horses of Boardbarrow.’”

“No.  Next?”

“’Mortua’s Invisible Knife.’”

“No.  Move on.”

“This mentions an invisibility curse, but it doesn’t go into detail.”


Cedric flipped to the next indicated page and froze, mouth open.  “I think this might be it.”

“What is it?”

“’And,’” he read, “’to fpite them’—excuse me, spite them—‘Queen Moriba created four immortal beings, and called them Sangr, Lyca, Necru and Jhra, and made them so they were both alive and dead, and set them on the world to do evil for eternity, and she named them demons.  From Sangr and Lyca came the races of Vampires and Werewolves, respectively, and Necru was fent (er, sent) to disturb the bodies of the dead.  But Jhra was given no form nor task but to wreak havoc amidst the living.  Having no corporeal form, Jhra is invisible to the eye, but its presence is occasionally marked by a very distinct and unpleasant odor.  It is told that Jhra may spend centuries at a time without making its presence known, but it will become suddenly and violently active once more at the least provocation.  Generally, it devours its victims almost entirely, leaving only the head and the occasional limb behind.’”

Cedric raised his eyes from the page.

Fern met his gaze.  “Yes,” she said.  “I think this is exactly what Seoc meant.”

The End

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