Monday, December 20, 2010

Where's Beatriss?

The five monks who had left Khanbaliq in order to escort Beatriss to Tetsukichi's wedding on the plain of horses, returned about a month later to explain that they had left Beatriss at a house in the woods, in consideration of a promise of safe passage from the "handsome peasant" whom they generally believed to be the father of the child she was carrying.

Shenandoah N.P. in Winter
Originally uploaded by Brayo

The monks had protested, but Beatriss herself had ordered them go on. When Beatriss never joined them at the winter camp, they had felt some concern and this was greatly increased when they found that she had also not returned to Khanbaliq. Gwinch agreed that, provided they could show him the way, he would confirm that she was safe.

The monks brought Gwinch to the forest, but they could not find the house, much less Beatriss. In searching, they were tormeneted by various magic tricks. For instance, the head of one of the monks was turned into a spider's body, and the sight of him drove the others into a panic. As Gwinch brought his men into control, a voice warned him to leave the forest, that Beatriss was safe, and would be returned to Khanbaliq in six weeks, "when her babies are ready to travel."

Gwinch agreed, but back in Khanbaliq he sought more information. He met a samurai from Zipang who had encountered the fox spirit, and believed him to have caused the death of his favorite concubine. He want vengeance and would be indebted to Gwinch for the opportunity to confront the wicked creature.

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