After the battle with Aggie, the Revengers bury Petar. Bertram leads the eulogies for their fallen follower, in which he is remembered as one who “could have been a Revenger,” one who “wasn’t not skilled”, but who was, ultimately, “doomed from the start.” The death of yet another follower brings to mind others who have fallen in their service. Stiv, Canicus, that one friend of Stiv’s… is it even possible to remember them all?
As Teks and Ervendio bury Petar’s body they wonder aloud of what constitutes graverobbing. Does it count if the body is yet buried? What if it’s just something kept as a memento? Teks decides to keep Petar’s antler bone dagger, perhaps to return to his mother someday.
Teks convinces Svendar to let them stay in his holler for the night. Over a night of quiet reflection and conversation, Golgaraz inherits the Zephyr of the Winter Moon, Proteus’s dancing scimitar. One of Bertram’s darts tries to attack Teks (on Bertram’s jestful command), but misses. Svendar sings a song for the Revengers, which he calls Lament of the Dead…
From oldentime this mournful rhyme
Doth echo in my ears
I tell it true, this tale of two
Who should have loved for years
For she was fair as light and air
And he was strong and dark
She to the throne was next in line
He too had made his mark
He went away one fateful day
To fight on foreign land
And there he fell, mid battle’s knell
No more to claim his lady’s hand
And then one night by lantern light
They saw him in the town
His face, they say, was gray as clay
And in his hands a bloody gown
Men from town did track him down
And staked the villain’s heart
And they brought him into town
His woman wept upon his cart
And then her skin grew pale and thin
Her eyes shone wild and bright
Her blood-thirst grew, the hunters knew
She must be killed that night
The deed was done on sacred soil
Much to the town’s great shame
Its keepers fled, the grove soon dead
Was then consumed by vengeful flame
The townsfolk cry, and from the sky
Come tears of bloody red
They stain the very rocks themselves
These tears of the undead
So listen well to this tale I tell
Let love not blind your sight
When undead call avoid the fall
Stay pure, my friends, stay bright!
In the morning, Teks eats some herbs and makes a small monument to mark Petar’s final resting place. Svendar is given a letter of safe passage for the druids of Sanctuary, and Bertram asks him to Ursula that Petar is dead.
The Revengers move on to the Ruins of Birnham, the now-abandoned village that sits below the castle. It is seemingly empty and long-ago-burned-out — only one longhouse remains standing. The Revengers are suddenly swarmed by a host of small cat-like creatures, one of which nabs Bea’s spellbook and absconds to the longhouse with it. Bertram and Bea stand guard outside of the longhouse while Ervendio, Golgaraz, Jongle, and Teks go inside to retrieve the stolen book.
Inside, the Revengers encounter a hideous tree with severed heads growing from its branches. The tiny, thieving creatures swarm up to the rafters and hide behind rubble as the heads moan for help. Jongle explodes the creature that stole Bea’s spellbook with a magic missile, then retrieves the book. The heads begin to attack the Revengers, first by spitting tiny darts at them, and then by falling onto the ground and attempting to bite them.
Outside the longhouse, Bertram interrupts Bea’s attempt to cast a defensive spell — the risk of a wild surge is too great. But once blind Bea enters the room herself, Bertram cannot stop her from casting a burning arrow at the terrible tree — sparking a wild surge, its effects unknown.
The Revengers continue to battle the tree and its strange fruit, with Teks hacking away at the trunk itself. All the Revengers — minus Bertram — feel the quick prick of the heads’ darts before the tree is felled, with Ervendio landing the final cut.
With the tree — whatever it was — killed and the strange, thieving creatures in hiding, there is a moment of calm in the longhouse … until a shiver runs up Bea’s spine, warning her to something strange just behind her. Though unable to see, she alerts the rest of the Revengers who turn to see a ghostly woman — fair skinned, fair haired — running away from them and up to the castle, seemingly climbing invisible stairs, before disappearing behind the distant castle walls….
Burying Petar, 2000
Death’s Head Tree, 1400
Group Total: 3400 Individual Awards: 567
Bea 1517 (Goosebumps 950, Group 567)
Bertram 1517 (Eulogist 950, Group 567)
Ervendio 1517 (Treecutter 950, Group 567)
Golgaraz 1517 (Sworddancer 950, Group 567)
Jongle 1517 (Missilist 950, Group 567)
Teks 1517 (Graveborrower 950, Group 567)
- Petar’s antler knife
- Bea’s spellbook (recovered)