They don’t know how it approached the city without being detected.It avoided being seen from the coast all the way inland. Through rivers and tributaries and across Ducies and Baronies. It was already on the walls, and out of the reach of cannons, before the garrison realized what was happening.

The creature was unknown to the scholars and scientists of the City of Soeur Perdue, The Lost Sister. Neither crocodilian, serpentine or dragonoid. Eight squat legs on a long scaled body, a long snapping head with fibrous crests and fangs dripping in hissing venom.

The Franco Poet, Leyel, leaned back. He sat in a small off street diner. The mahogany walls dressed in antique paintings. Leyel was no reporter, the facts he had were second-hand and likely to be inaccurate.

He was a poet. Everything he touched had an air of theatrics and pretension. It didn’t matter. He would say what he had to.

A beast from the south pushed far off course for some unknown reason. Some say the warming of the climate changing, others say a curse, others say it was called by the catacomb cults. In any case, Franco couldn’t even pronounce its traditional Maya name.

A truck bustled by on the cobblestone street. The tall waitress placed a cup of tea for the poet. She had big blue eyes and a white frilled blouse.

The beast slunk over the walls, just as the garrison sounded the alarm, and dove into the Studio District. The beast tore through a theater, a gallery, three stores and a housing block before it was slain by the authorities.

The Knights and Slayers drank themselves into a victorious hangover.

It had been too late for the District. It had been too late for the apartment block. It had been too late for my wife, Catrin.

He slammed his pen deep into the paper, ink bleeding into the page.


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