Pavel watches his feet as Vanna leads him along down the hall. Noticing an open door beside him he looks up.
Vanna: Maybe we can sneak you in without Sofia notic-- Oh, gods.
The open door looks in on a room with an altar, lit from behind with a burning blue bonfire. On the stone slab, emblazoned with a peacock and surrounded by burning candles, is a human shape draped in a gauzy shroud. A skeletal hand hangs off the edge, scraps of flesh and skin still clinging to the bone that shows through the muted grey of the rotting flesh. Blond hair shines around the crown of the otherwise bare skull, and a spray of white flowers rests on the body’s chest.
Vanna: Don’t look, Pavel… Don’t look!
Her warning is too late and Pavel’s face goes ashen as he zeroes in on the ghastly hand. After months at sea, the princess’s body is a horrific sight, just as Vanna had predicted.
Pavel: Mom-- I feel SICK.
Vanna guides her son past the door and he leans heavily on her leg, weak in the knees with nausea. Behind them, Garth follows Lady Halea through the halls of the shrine. Garth frowns after the head priestess, but Halea smiles disarmingly, earrings glinting.
Lady Halea: That was not a new seabite scar, Garth. Permit me to ask-- How many years has it been since that child was bitten?