It was well into the afternoon before the mortals finally made it back to the tall cliff with the cave high above the ground. They had been reluctant to leave so many of their dead, and had lingered for a while in grief. Then after they had set off they had trouble finding the cliff, and had gotten lost in a maze of canyons and tumbled rocks.

Finally they spotted their goal and made their way toward it. Before they all started climbing the steep cliff face, Anson recommended sending out a scout the check out the cave, make sure it was safe and empty, and see if there were any other ways into it. A few of the more willing and agile among them made the climb and disappeared into the cave. Soon they emerged and announced that it was empty, large enough for everyone to fit inside, and only had one other entrance. It came out above the cave on top of the cliff, and would be even harder to reach than the one they were aiming for. Anson decided that this would be the perfect shelter.

They climbed up the almost sheer side of the cliff a few at a time. It was hard going, and they often had to scramble up loose stones or edge carefully along narrow shelves, with a fearful drop waiting below them. The sun was going down by the time the majority of them had reached the cave, and the slower ones were still barely over halfway up. Anson came last so he could watch and help the stragglers. Elma’s bonds had been cut so that she could use her hands, and she climbed up slowly behind the others with Anson just below her. She reached an exceptionally difficult spot and stopped to complain that it was too hard. Just at that moment a howl was heard, and Anson looked down to see a few black beasts making their way quicker than expected up the cliff below them. Spurred on by the danger, Anson encouraged Elma and climbed up to aid her. He pulled her up over the last ledge as the beasts were closing in behind. Then she hurried into the cave as Anson stood guarding the entrance, spear at the ready.

The beasts attacked ferociously, but Anson was able to keep them from getting into the cave with the help of only a few others. The creatures had some difficulty getting up the cliff, and once they did they had to face the well-defended narrow entrance with nothing behind them but empty space. Those that were not killed by weapons ended up falling to the rocky ground far below.


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