We didn’t investigate why serious monsters were so uncharacteristically attacking a village. We have no legal and minimal moral authority in Srineia, after all.
The people with the actual legal and moral authority did investigate. And Rehit made a special trip to Strayway to tell us — by “us” I mean mainly Yerenthax and Jyondre — since they had been so helpful.
So: Beetheart was the wife of the baron of Pwishika (the old man killed by the skagganerax last night). They are quite old people. Their mari had died over the last few months, and Beetheart knew she didn’t have many more days left. So she decided to do something memorable and valuable for her village with the last of her life. She negotiated with some conlee to get seeds and live plants of the herb tapepy, so the village could cultivate it.
Tapepy is a culinary herb — we had it at Gutrumy House on one of the poisonous mushrooms. It’s sort of a mustard, and sort of a pepper, and very aromatic. It grows underneath the world-branch: not even on the Verticals, but all the way underneath, in the least safe places available. Adventurers sometimes bring back a sackful of it, and sell it for a lot, to expensive restaurants who then use it in miniscule amounts and sell it for even more.
So, Beetheart thought that it would make a wonderful legacy for her village.
The conlee flew down to the Underneaths, which was a very hard voyage, even for some monsters. They brought back a nice bushy tapepy plant … which was obviously dead when they put it in Beetheart’s hands. It didn’t like the change of venue very much. Beetheart healed it, but it did not survive very long.
“Well, that won’t do,” she said, and sent them back.
The conlee made the hard voyage under the branch again, and brought back a little cage of crawling tapepy seeds. They’re very odd things: they’ve got four little spiky tentacles, sort of like a miniature and very limber starfish, with which they crawl around hunting for a good place to grow.
Beetheart died the night that the conlee set out, though.
When the birds came back to deliver the seeds, the Pwishika villagers explained that Beetheart was sick; they took the seeds, and sent the birds off. The details of who exactly did what are very confused, for there is blame to be had there, and nobody who wants to either claim it for themself, or to give it to anyone dead. Also, only a couple of people in the village actually knew about the conlee or about the precise deal that Beetheart made.
Anyhow, the conlee came back the next day, and the next, and were turned away, and turned away.
So they talked a skagganerax into being their collection agency. Skagganerax are usually glad to think poorly of primes, and, in this case, certain primes arguably deserved it. I daresay they had an easy time persuading the monster to help them.
Skirret unarguably did not deserve it, but she was killed nonetheless.
This, in case you are wondering, is why we don’t much like or trust monsters.