In time, though, as the bōs were restricted further and further into the mountains by the hand of man, their songs turned more and more to dirges for the dead. Even the mastery of iron by the bōs, given to them as a result of Gervos’ Treachery, proved only a temporary respite.

For many years, the only sign of the bōs were their death-songs, mournful operas in a tongue no man could ever speak and only a few could comprehend. They served as living monuments to the deceased, a song of all their noteworthy deeds and even some deeds of their sires. The valley-folk, fearful of the strange sounds, would only redouble their efforts to pen in the mountains and slaughter the herds of goats and deer which provided the bōs with their only sustenance.

Nearly fifty years after the last living bōs has been seen by human eyes, and more than a decade since one of their songs had been heard, a new and powerful death-ballad echoed over one of the most fertile valleys in the realm. With only the barest breaks, it went on for days. At the lord’s request, an aged scholar from the College was brought in to listen. Perhaps the last human alive who could interpret even a word of the bōs language, he listened intently as the song went on, taking notes as it did.

Finally, after nearly a week, the bōs fell silent. The scholar, with tears in his eyes, finished his writing and began to pack his things for the long journey home.

“Wait, father,” said one of the farmers, a man who had greatly expanded his lands at the expense of the bōs. “What does it mean? Are they to make war on us?”

“No, son,” said the scholar, sadly. “The bōs are no more. That was their last, singing the death-song not only for himself, but for all his people.”

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