Kimar paused for a moment and peeled more bark from his tree limb. There was a large pile now in front of his feet. At first, Danielle smiled at the strange sight of a massive gargoyle idly stripping a huge branch of its bark. She found it to be oddly comforting. Then, her eyes widened as her brain slowly computed that Kimar’s feet—very much like her own, but enormous by comparison—also had talons. His slab-like feet had four long talons that protruded through the skin just behind the toes and arched forward ten inches or so. Only now, she also noticed that a single talon thrust out behind his feet, beginning just above his heel. Danielle guessed that his “human” foot must be around twenty-four inches long, with the talons adding another twelve inches in both directions, front and back. No talons protruded over his big toes.
“The member of our tribe who was banished from among us—his name is Kahrnahrgx,” Ercen said, with her back turned to Danielle and Kimar. Her head was lowered and facing the ground, but her voice was strong. Then she turned and faced them.
Kimar glanced up from his tree limb, now completely skinned of bark, and stared at Ercen. Danielle could not place the expression on his face.
Her amber eyes glistening in the falling dimness engulfing the forest, Ercen continued. “The gargoyle Kahrnahrgx rebuilt his forces and remounted his attack on our realm. Before he was defeated a second time and cast out of our lands, our leader, Osberg, was killed by Kahrnahrgx, as were many of our kind. Those of us who survived were scattered.” A tear dribbled down her leathery face.
“What does this have to do with me?” Danielle was confused, tired, hungry and wanted desperately to go home. Yet something stirred deep within her at the pain and sadness in Ercen’s face.
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