Malygos flew alone again, the proto-dragon warier than ever. Thanks to images flashing through Malygos's mind, Kalec quickly understood why. The proto-dragon flew over lands to the east, where there had been several sightings of the not-living. However, as with many other things in previous visions, the exact reason why Malygos was scouting on his own was not so apparent.
As with the last area the proto-dragon had flown over, the landscape below appeared empty of animal life. However, in this bleak place, neither Kalec nor his host had expected to see many beasts. Still, Kalec gathered that Malygos had seen absolutely nothing.
Alighting on a low peak, Malygos peered around. More thoughts crept through Kalec's mind, filling in some missing pieces. Malygos sought the reason for Galakrond's frightful transformation into this hungry fiend terrorizing all, and he sought it very near where the behemoth kept his lair.
Kalec questioned the sanity of what Malygos desired but had no choice but to hope that Galakrond was far, far away. Malygos believed that to be the case, but both were aware that there was a chance he was wrong.
Malygos's heart pounded from tension as the proto-dragon drew nearer to where the lair was presumed to be. The peaks there were so tall it seemed that they were trying to touch the cloud-enshrouded sun. Such giant mountains would be likely to provide caverns large enough to house a monster the size of Galakrond.
Something below caught Malygos's attention. He dived toward it. At first, Kalec saw only rock, but then he realized that a portion of that rock was of a disquieting and familiar color.
The bones had lain there for some time, possibly four or five seasons. Those that were visible indicated a beast as large as many proto-dragons-or, as Malygos discovered after scraping away the earth from one area, it was an actual proto-dragon.
This one had perished violently. Many of the bones were cracked, and the partial skull that verified just what lay there had been crushed by a tremendous force.
Galakrond, Kalec knew. Here was an early victim. While to him it only served to show just how long Galakrond had been on his murderous rampage, Malygos evidently saw something more in the bones.
Although no one had yet witnessed how Galakrond reduced some of his victims to emaciated corpses that would rise as parasitic undead, the evidence of their existence was without question after Malygos's battles. Yet Kalec now wondered, if this was one of the leviathan's prey, why had it not transformed as the others had?
Silence reigned about them, but something made Malygos look to his right. To Kalec's observation, there was nothing to see. Even a proto-dragon as courageous as Malygos could not be blamed for being jumpy under such conditions.
Returning to the bones, Malygos nudged a few around. With little exception, they revealed that Galakrond had ripped apart and chewed up this unfortunate creature. Malygos's memories of a much smaller but still imposing Galakrond briefly arose, giving Kalec a startling glimpse of how the latter had changed. Galakrond as seen in the earlier stage had looked much more like a normal proto-dragon and not nearly large enough to swallow others whole. His body also had had a smoother, streamlined appearance. His coloring had been more muted, and the eyes had not had that incessant hungering look to them.
Malygos continued to ferret around among the bones, seeking clues. It was yet another hint-not that Kalec needed one-of how intricate his host's thinking was compared with that of many of the other proto-dragons.
Somehow, he survived, the disembodied blue thought. Somehow, some of them survived... but how?
The proto-dragon tensed again. This time, Malygos looked skyward.
To the east, a shape already far too massive to be a normal proto-dragon raced toward the mountains-and Malygos's position.
The mountains were too far away for Malygos to reach before he would be seen. Kalec's host had no choice but to flatten himself out where he was. His coloring did not blend with the land, but the hope was that Galakrond would not fly near enough to notice.
A constant, heavy beat preceded Galakrond, the sound of his vast wings flapping. Malygos knew that with each beat, the gigantic proto-dragon crossed miles. The beat grew louder, closer. Malygos and Kalec knew that Galakrond was almost upon them.
But then the beat began to recede. Through narrowed eyes, Malygos watched Galakrond head away from him and toward the mountains. However, just as the icy-blue proto-dragon dared draw a new breath, Galakrond halted. Hovering, the behemoth suddenly began heaving as if choking on something.
Neither Malygos nor Kalec paid much mind at first to whatever assailed Galakrond, the giant creature's physical appearance drawing their initial attention. Although it could not have been that long since the vision in which they had previously encountered Galakrond, Kalec was especially stunned by how much more misshapen the fiend had become. Not only was Galakrond oddly distorted, but he now had several growths randomly dotting his body. There were also a number of gray splotches that made it seem as if parts of Galakrond were decaying.
But just as Malygos and Kalec came to grips with this new, deformed Galakrond, the monster disgorged what had caused him such distress.
Bodies. More than a score of shriveled, limp proto-dragon bodies. They dropped in a horrendous heap to the ground, some flopping about as they struck. Malygos radiated immense distress at the sight, not only because of the awful slaughter but also because among the limp forms, he saw red, brown, gray, and even greenish-yellow bodies.