It was in the western parts of the great Ogrebelly forest, just where the river Broad splits and turns into the Ten Snakes, that Billobi first met Herogrios Minor. Or rather what turned out to be one of many people with that name, as he found out during a rather confusing interview for the Inquisitive.
But these people had more than a strange name in common, Billobi learned, even if that was a remarkable thing in itself. When he asked around, they all answered the same: it was a name given to them not by their parents, but some higher cause. All of them had run away from home at the age of eleven, regardless of social class or background; some came from nobility, others from poverty. They hailed from all over the world, even from across the great waters. Billobi couldn't help but wonder if Tristan had met any Minors on the Acorn Afloat.
Besides sharing a name that no one could explain to him, they also had a firm belief that therianthropy was a disease that the world needed to be rid of (after asking around a couple of times, Billobi made a short note in his papers that said "theriansomething = human to animal to human to animal & so on"). As a Herogrios Minor, they made pilgrimages all over the world in search of these "sick" people. Through prayers, they explained, they transferred the disease from the victim to their own body so that they'd become a prison of flesh and blood to bind the illness. The transferred animal would live inside the Minor's body, and as more and more diseases were transferred these animals would become either a hunter or the hunted; nature would continue its way inside the Minor.
When Billobi asked about the consequences of these transfers, he was taken to a glade outside the camp. It looked like a slaughter had taken place, maybe a great bear finally catching up on its prey, but who lacked the hunger to eat it all. When he bumped into a fleshy piece that without doubt was a human arm, he wasn't so sure anymore.
"This is the last battle of Herogrios Minor", one of the Minors told him. "As our vessels fill up, the internal struggle between the animals therein builds up to enormous strength, until the day when our bodies no longer can bear the tension. This is what we strive for. This is the sign of approval we need. This shows us that we have completed our mission."
The 2016 Cartographic Review!
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