They say that the black-haired boy could talk to snakes, but that was before my time. That was the other boy, of course, the one who grew up to be one of the four first chiefs of the school here - it was he brought us here. He came from a place of many waters and he liked anything odd, not human. He had a snake, a basilisk, and when he quarrelled with his lover and left we could hear her twisting through the pipes for so long, so lonely without a mate or a master.... When she was young they say she used to come out of the pipes into the loch and swim, and we had to stay away from her gaze, but that was before my time.
Then the other one, the one called after a puzzle-with-words who wanted to devour death, he let her out and let her kill but she didn't feed, though we fed her fish, from pity, through the pipes. Did he eat the bodies himself, that he kept from her, do you know? He was born the same year I was, but you air-