“Everyone lead your horses to the water and let them drink all they can handle. While they drink, we will fill our water skins. When all is complete we will stake the horses on the grass between the hills where they can graze out of sight. Then we will eat.”
No one spoke. They simply followed Linvin’s orders. The parched animals were most appreciative of the water and drank with great eagerness. Meanwhile, each party member filled his or her water skins. The water was frigid and all but the sweaty horses tried to avoid entering the lapping surf. Before long the skins were filled and replaced on the saddles. The horses meanwhile continued to drink.
At last the exhausted riders fell upon the beach and stretched out to relax near their steeds. Linvin found lying on the shrunken staff and Falconfeather to be uncomfortable and removed both from his back. He laid the staff on the ground along with the scabbard for Falconfeather. Linvin withdrew the blade to clean it against his cloak. No one spoke. They were simply too tired.
Miri was to Linvin’s right and the Greenliths were to his left with Anvar the farthest away. They’d raised their hoods on their cloaks to act as a barrier against the abrasive sand. Other than that, they laid completely flat. They were exhausted and were reluctant to even take nourishment.
After a while, the horses stopped drinking and looked around. They became restless and began to stammer back and forth. “Looks like they have had their fill,” Linvin noted. “I will take them back to the grass while you all rest here.” Stabbing Falconfeather into the sand, he marched to the water where he took the reins of the increasingly spooked animals. The horses bucked wildly as Linvin struggled to control them. One thing they did not fight him about was moving away from the water. Linvin could hardly keep up as the horses led him back inland. So focused was he on the animals he did not notice the water stirring nearby in an unnatural manner.
When they were well off the sand the beasts slowly calmed. Linvin found several bushes near a drumlin and tied the animals but gave them enough of a leash to graze as they wished. Though he expected the horses to begin eating at once, they chose instead to move as far away from the water as they could and stand with their backs to the lake. Well that has to be one of the strangest things I have ever seen, Linvin thought.
Suddenly there was screaming from the beach. Linvin turned to see a ghastly sight. Thousands of small tentacles no wider than a finger had sprung from the water and had entwined the other party members by the legs. They were winding their way up the bodies of their victims.