The beast is dead! God knows it happened so fast, my mind is still playing catch up. But it’s dead! Dead! Dead! Dead! After all the misery, confusion, fear, and pain, of the past fourteen months, I have to keep repeating that word in my head just to convince myself it’s true. Dead! The fucking Basilod is dead! Dead! Dead!
But it almost brought us with it so easily.
Maya saved us. Yes, Maya warned us we were walking into a trap. We were exiting the seventh chamber when I heard a tiny cry above me. I knew immediately it was her—or at least a part of her life force. I hadn’t noticed anything different about this tunnel, but when I looked up I saw that the colour was all wrong. Instead of the blue grey rock, the walls had a pinkish tinge to them, a fleshy tinge. The Basilod. God knows how it happened, but the beast had managed to mould itself along the ceiling. Or maybe a better way to put it might be that ‘it became the ceiling.’
It was only a brief cry, a three second warning, but it was enough time to get the laptop open before that terrible fleshy, ceiling collapsed down around me. Its weight dragged me to the ground and pinned me there. But not for long. The laptop saved me. I used it to cut my way into out of the beast. And it was like fighting my way through the worst nightmare. Elements of Maya were everywhere—scattered memories, images, a thousand different faces, all the same, yet all terribly warped with agony. She knew I was there. That much was sure. She knew because she called to me again and again and again, from a hundred different places, with a hundred different words.
I burned my way out of that thing. Though the battery was low, the radiation from the laptop seared away the flesh and opened an exit.
When I finally emerged, Kanar was cutting the beast asunder with some invisible energy. Strips of the Basilod’s flesh were plastered all over the walls while its innards were a bubbling mess that covered the floor like boiling tar. Kanar was standing in the mouth of the tunnel. His eyes were closed, but I knew right then he could see everything, and more. There was something about the intensity of his stance, the way his entire body trembled, that made me wonder if I was simply looking at a shell and that the important part of him was off somewhere else and locked in some titanic battle.
I waded through the Basilod’s remains, and enjoyed every step of it. After so long chasing after this thing I couldn’t help stamping that bit harder on the flesh. It was over quickly. But it could so well have gone the other way. Even Kanar hadn’t known the beast was there. It’s dead now. And, thankfully, Maya’s life force has been released. I don’t know what’s going to happen next. Neither does Kanar. We only hope her life force knows which way to go.
So why did Gerridian sacrifice the Basilod? The only theory Kanar has (or at least the only theory he’s telling me) is that we’d damaged the beast fatally the other day and Gerridian didn’t see any point in keeping it. Instead, he tried to use it to snare and kill us with its dying strength. Typical Gerridian. Always opportunistic. Never prepared to risk himself in head on confrontation.
If I didn’t know his strengths already, I’d say he was nothing but a downright coward.
Kanar says that Gerridian has abandoned this place now. He admitted that he knew as much before the Basilod encounter, but didn’t want to say anything in case we didn’t find the Basilod and I became despondent. If anything, would have expected him to be despondent. After all, his prey has eluded him. Apart from being depressed about it, Kanar views this as a great victory. We’ve forced Gerridian to abandon his empire. It will take him time to construct another one and he’ll be exposed in the meantime. Kanar keeps talking about the future, and how we can plan another expedition after the magician once we rest up inCraterCityfor a while.
But all I can do now is watch Maya. She hasn’t as much as blinked since the Basilod died. Kanar told me not to worry about, says it might take time for a recovery. O’Heir’s optimistic, too. I’m not. I guess I just expected her to sit up and smile the moment the beast released her energies. Maybe she still will. I’ve got to have patience now. Lots and lots of patience. And it doesn’t help that the laptop battery is almost drained.