Emiliana had to stop walking and eye the bones anew. The previous Keeper? The skull did look vaguely humanoid, but it was far too large, and the cuspids were much too long and sharp. Not to mention, the cranium was wildly misshapen.
Or, wait. No.
It wasn’t so much misshapen as it was smashed in, she realized. There were cracks all along the sunken cleft where the forehead should’ve been, and most of the occipital bone was simply missing.
She was almost afraid to inquire any further. “...Did Gohvis do this?”
Germal gave an affirming nod. “The Keeper would not allow him to take more than one book at a time.”
“So he killed it?”
“The creature had been in thrall to the Library since eons past. Letting it live would not have been a mercy.”
Emiliana wondered about that. She crouched down and ran her fingers along the front, side, and upper sections of the old Keeper’s skull. It was as she thought. “...And punching it so hard that its brain flew out the back of its head? You call that a mercy?”
Germal seemed confused. “How--?” He blinked a couple times. “You figured that out from touching it just now?”
She pointed to the fractured indention above the eye sockets. “The brow bone is incredibly thick--noticeably more so than the rest of the skull. If not for that, I imagine the impact would have caused the entire head to explode.”
“Impressive. I am student of anatomy, too. But then, I suppose we all are, hmm?”
“I didn’t do it to impress you.”
“Hmph.” Germal started walking again. “The creature died so quickly that I doubt it felt any pain. So yes, I would still call it a mercy.”
Emiliana gave the bones one last look and then followed.
It didn’t take much longer to find Gohvis.