Nathaniel was still incredibly raw from his encounter with the Baird widow and her two young children. Even the lighter feel of his purse was not as concerning as the tears that had streamed down her face. The baby had been screaming for very different reasons, but the slightly older child knew that something was wrong. Madame Baird would tell them at a later time. The nel would hold them over long enough. Maybe they would even sell their home, board a ship, and sail away from Rynmere and all that it had cost them. Nathaniel would have to check in on them once in a while, just to see if they were managing. To see her waste away and have her children miss out on their childhoods would weigh heavy on his soul. Marshall, whom sat across him, kicked his boot to draw him from his thoughts. Nathaniel grunted, looking up.
"Do not dwell m'lord."
"You were there Marshall. What else am I supposed to think of?"
"You have a meeting ahead of you. Think about how to prevent this propagating through your mines. Think of the miners that are still alive; that fear for their lives. Think of their families. Hillard is gone. Make sure his death is not in vain."
Marshall had a very good point and Nathaniel straightened himself up. He reached into his pocket for the jar of worms. This was not the same jar of worms that they had collected. Hillard's worms had died. They dried up and perished without appropriate food. When he went back to show Florence, she provided him a new jar and mentioned that they would need to be kept in a dark, moist area. This was very similar environment to the body cavities that they called out from. Raw meat would suffice as a replacement for the organs that they had fed on previously. Her words still echoed in his mind.
"Go see Professor Maynard Straylor. He is a professor of Biology, and may have information about the worms and their strange hallucinogenic properties. He may be able to help us."
It had been a very cryptic message, but Nathaniel had set out immediately to Andaris City to inform the Baird family of their loss and meet with this Professor. He had waited long enough to inform the widow and had only the truth to offer her. He stuffed the jar back into the bag at his hip as the carriage continued to rumble along. Marshall seemed to be happier with the change in demeanor offered by his lord and settled back into his corner for a small cat nap.
Nathaniel would have liked to nap, but his dreams had been plagued with recurrent nightmares about the mine tunnel collapse long ago. Clearly, it was still fresh and not long enough ago for him to not be effected by the repercussions. Instead, he turned his gaze to the moving pictures of Andaris flashing by the carriage.
Rynmere University was before him before to long. Despite his comfort in his normal clothes, Nathaniel had elected to go with a more formal fashion. He wore his long sleeved tunic embroidered with his sigil to help stay the cold. Even the cape that was draped about his shoulder provided some comfort from the wind. Marshall walked ahead opening doors for Nathaniel. A lovely lady at the main desk provided them directions to Professor Straylor's office.
It took them some time to get there given that they had made a wrong turn. Nathaniel briefly thought about Caius and his skill in navigating these halls. Having a friend at this very moment would have alleviated the grim business he was present to discuss. Soon they were before a heavy wooden door with a simple placard in front of it.