in colour from red-purple to blue-purple and about one inch in length. There were also many seedpods drooping down towards the ground, for which Nomis was quite thankful, as that would make half a scruple, or ten grains in weight, easier to collect.
After digging up and cutting a few small root tendrils, he cut two small stems at the base sawing with his vicious-looking hooked, serrated knife. He quickly divested the felled stems of all their leaves and flowers stacking them into neat bundles inside the leather boxes, as he had been taught. He placed the full boxes in Hiral’s special pack and reached up to pull the ripened seed heads down with a hooked twig of ivy. When he opened the seedpods, he realised that the plant was not only named for its healing properties, but also after the seeds being shaped like little vipers’ heads! Ugh! Nomis was not very fond of snakes. They gave him the creeps.
His work completed, he wandered back around the base of the Hunters’ Tower on the narrow path by the side of the moat. Nomis felt quite pleased with himself; it was still relatively early in the day, giving him some free time to explore. When he reached the tower’s west corner, he was just debating whether to explore a little further round or to sit awhile and mull over the happenings of the previous night when suddenly, he heard a hollow-sounding, small, impatient voice.
“Wake up! … Come on! … If you don’t wake up I’ll leave you and you can stay there forever!”
Nomis curiously headed towards the sound. It had come from behind a mossy mound at the foot of the Hunters’ Tower. Unlike the Great Tower, this tower did not have many windows or arrow openings until very high up, so it could not have been a Dynol child inside the tower. Thinking the hollow sound must have come from a cave somewhere at the base, Nomis climbed nearer to the south-west-facing wall to investigate. He scanned the surface but there was no evidence of any openings at all. Suddenly, there was a hollow high-pitched squeaking noise and the echo-filled voice began scolding again. “It’s for your own good you know. Yes, I know it hurts but you have to move or you’ll die right there!”
Nomis went noiselessly round the other side of the large mossy mound and saw a handle-less, brown earthenware jug. It was leaning half on its side, about three times his height, with the end of a large twig moving in its mouth. Looking upwards, he judged that the jug had been