The Darknoll Journals (2)

Dr. Adaline Maxwell Darknoll, writing to her sister, Isabel Constance Darknoll, on the fifth day of the month of Rain, in the year of Peace, twenty-one days into the expedition.

The month of rain has lived up to its name. All the world seems to be a thick, red mud that stains anything it touches. I feel like one of those golems of lore — tell Sophie that I very much suspect this mud is where the stories came from.

Progress has been slow. We were forced to remain in Endtown until Regnis changed her phase, and now that we are on the road, all of nature seems bent on keeping us in place. It is a less than auspicious start, to say the least.

I have had a chance to study the toads further. Isold has taken to calling them “togons” — a portmanteau of toad and dragon — for the subsonic rumble a chorus of the creatures make at night. Nell was quite excited when I showed her how to work the audioscope — I shall include all relevant data on its own sheet — and it was a relief when we could ascribe the feeling of unease we all had to something that was quite natural and scientific.

The togons — please, for the sake of all that is holy send me a new name for them when you reply — have proven to be quite fearless toward humans, often coming into camp in search of pests. They do not seem to be poisonous as their bright yellow color would have one believe, but having seen the result of their spiny defense first-hand now, I am not surprised at their fearlessness. Emil put the poor coyote out of its misery. I shall spare you a photograph of the damage.

Togons are quite carnivorous — they seem to mainly eat insects, but I have seen one with a mouse in its jaws, and Isolde swears she saw one kill a bird. Unless they are hermaphrodites, I have not noted any dimorphism between male and female, although it could be that I have simply not encountered any members of the opposite sex. I do not have the tools now for a full dissection now, but on our way back I intend to bring you a specimen.

Alternately, the Institute might send a more focused expedition to this area for detailed study. I have focused on the togons, as they are the nearest and most present, but this landscape has a very unique ecosystem. I shall only be able to scratch the surface, but I hope that those who follow after will expand our knowledge exponentially.

Your dear sister,


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