Gwendolyn was sure of it, Seymour was going to have to stay behind. The other sisters, however, weren’t so certain if they should even try to go on without him.
The Oracle Stone before them had clearly spoken the words, “No man shall pass.” But what did it mean? Breena needed no convincing, she being ever observant noticed that the parched ground before the temple was littered with the accouterments, armour and bones of men. All massive shouldered, heavy shod, and narrow hipped. No “man” had passed, but they were women. Surely that was the meaning of the warning, they would be safe, or at least as safe as they ever were on an adventure.
The problem was to convince Seymour not to come along to protect his “little sisters.” First things first, Maya the enchantress, crossed her arms across her chest and feigned a shiver. “Oh,” she said, “I am so cold. Seymour did you notice that dead tree about mile back? Can you be a darling and go get some fire wood?” Of course he would, and off he went.
But how to get rid of him for even longer? Someone else may have to stay behind to keep an eye on him. But who? And could they really afford to whittle their numbers even further? Gwendolyn weighed out the case. She was their leader and really should be in the party, and her thieving skills would needed as well. Breena, too would be needed as a healer, and the mysterious clouds around the structure suggested that her links to the spirit world might be handy. Maya, of course had the necessary spells for the endeavour, and without Seymour, Thilda would be their only “sword-hand.” It looked like Wilberta would need to be the one, though no one was happy with losing out on her dexterity and cunning.
As the returning Seymour began to emerge in the distance, Gwendolyn cried out in a loud voice, “Oh no, Wil are you okay?” Seymour dropped his bundle of wood and rushed back to where the women were waiting. Wilberta lay on the ground clutching her calf, as “blood” dripped through her fingers (thanks to a little enchantment by Maya). Seymour ran to her and tried to wrap it, but was shooed away by Breena, who inspected the “wound” and pronounced that Wil would be unable to continue.
Gwendolyn piped in, “Damn! And we were so close. I guess we will have to call the whole thing off. We can’t possibly go on and leave her here alone.”
Seymour, ever attentive to his “sisters'” needs announced he would stay and guard her, if the others thought that they could spare him.
There were some muttered objections, then a unanimous assent that “It would be for the best.”
Seymour went and retrieved the wood and built a fire, covered Wilberta with a blanket and set himself on watch, as the four other women strapped on their gear, and entered the mist towards the temple.