© copyright 2008 

     At daybreak, the satyr's bed roll was empty. 
     “He was talking in his sleep,” explained the brownie to Peter. “ Crazy talk . . . how he was going to go kill the basilisk . . . so you wouldn't die from its poison . . . an' you wouldn't laugh at him.”
     “I'm not laughing now,” said Peter. “Grab your gear, lads—Time for a lesson in tracking.”
     By mid morning the weary troop lagged behind the fleet legged centaur. “Hold up, Peter!” they cried. “We dwarfs and gnomes have only half as many legs as you, and half as long.” While they paused to catch their breath, the keen-eared elf heard something—the distant wail of a whistle. Each of them carried a distress whistle in their satchels and soon as the others heard, they knew it was their comrade calling for help.
     Peter was the first to arrive at the peat bog. He found the satyr entrapped and thrashing vainly to keep his head above surface. Peter latched on and held him up until the others arrived to pull him from the mire. 
     The satyr's eyes were glazed and he wouldn't stop ranting. “I saw it . . . saw it . . . It was right there . . . No, over there . . .” Then he started rubbing his legs frantically.
     “Poor lout,” said the brownie. “He's got the shivers.” 
     “Been traipsing through the nettles too, look at those blisters,” said the gnome.
     “Get him back to camp,” ordered Peter. “He needs warm blankets and some hot grog to stave off the shock. Whatever you do, wait there until I get back.” 
     The centaur grabbed a satchel and galloped off without another word. He had recognized the scorched tracks around the peat bog. He could still detect the stench in the air. And those blisters on the boy were not from any nettles. Peter felt the scabs on his flank. Ready or not, Peter had to kill the basilisk. And he had to do it now.