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A walk in the wood

After a long night, Malcolm Chaser goes out into the woods to speak with Lily alone. Lily reveals that she is upset that Chaser hasn’t spoken to her since they came to this valley, and when she needed him he chose the monster he saw as Adacius over her. As they go for a walk in the woods to reminisce, Lily tells Chaser that he should have chosen her to speak to the Hudbeklaaid warriors instead of Socrates. As he falls asleep in his tent, Lily strokes his hair and speaks softly to him, reminding him not to forget she is there for him.

The missing volume

In the morning, Tulasa goes into the Infinite Stacks to learn about Timmy Lupitz. While there, the Curator tells him that Krenzi or his demon took a crucial record from the library: the document compiling his mother Shaghira’s findings on the weakness of the Eater of Knowledge. He presses Tulasa to recover it quickly.

A Crusader’s eyes opened…

Upon waking, Chaser checks in with the leader of the Felkiezers, Jacobus. Jacobus reveals that his brush with the world of sorcery has unsettled him, and he wishes to learn from the Magisterial lorekeeper, Tulasa.

Chaser notices that Jacobus now has the dagger Adacius used during their confrontation in the Kirk, and Jacobus’s hand goes to its hilt while they are talking.

After taking his leave of Jacobus, Chaser finds Tulasa to tell him about the Lieutenant’s request to meet him, and Tulasa informs Chaser that Timmy Lupitz is dead, according to Chaser’s own account from the future. Chaser remembers that Adacius called the old man in the Stacks “Lupitz”, and Tulasa bolts when he realizes he must visit the Stacks again to find what he can about the old man.

After Tulasa departs, Lily reveals that she has found a Klav woman to possess so as to provide more visible help to her husband.

Cutting the gold

After his meeting with Armentad in the cottage, Duke addresses Renke Hinnemûs to warn him to tell no one of the gold that he has decided to share with Hinnemûs for the care of his family. When Renke says he can’t guarantee that no one else has heard of Niehege’s gold already, Duke tells him to spread the word that the gold has been confiscated under Magisterial authority and is no longer in play.

Renke tells Duke that it’s not safe for him to travel the Klau as an unarmed messenger while foreign armed forces occupying the land. Duke uses Maiven’s power to slice off a chunk of gold for the Klav and sends him away. Duke then orders his mercenaries to ready themselves to set out immediately for Heksepunt.

The Vaults under Deltoss

Returning to the Stacks, Tulasa finds what records he can about Krenzi Lupitz. He learns that the old man was a crusader who fought in the siege of Deltoss, who was captured as a war prisoner by forces carrying the Sultan’s banner, using ancient catacombs beneath the Sultan’s palatial estates. According to the Stacks, this was actually a covert Inquisitorial operation led by Adacius Fet, in which Krenzi and the other prisoners were subjected to novel and extreme interrogation methods which drove Krenzi to renounce his faith in Crucian. After that, the operation was cancelled.

Before Tulasa leaves, the Curator tells Tulasa that the scribes are idle and the Stacks are hungry for more lore that only their master can provide.

Chaser treats with Avga Akh, who agrees to send horsemen with the Inquisitor to scout out the Deenryk. Chaser readies his men and the Felkiezers to depart right away, and then hangs back tensely until Tulasa returns.

After conducting his research on Krenzi, Tulasa returns to tell Chaser about special project that broke the old man. They resolve to part ways, with Tulasa going North to find a lead on Lupitz at the Hinnemûs farmstead, while Chaser takes his search party Northwest toward the Deenskewâl. Jacobus decides to leave the remaining Felkiezers under Chaser’s command to go alone with Tulasa’s escort.

Encounter on Caer Hyvel

As the Baachus party escorts Tûk and Ghanna across the ridge called Caer Hyvel, Krenzi takes a shortcut to head them off, meeting them at an inconspicuous location. They decide that the place is good enough to make camp, and Tûk offers to go gather more firewood as he turns over his haul to them. The mercenaries build a fire as the dusk rapidly turns to bitter darkness, but Ghanna dismisses herself to follow Tûk, with Pinaka in hand. While Tûk is gone, Krenzi informs Duke that he saw the man dead just yesterday.

Ghanna follows Tûk’s snowtracks from at least a furlong behind, and notices them picking up pace—not meandering as if he were gathering firewood. She fires an arrow and uses Pinaka’s sight to spy out where Tûk went. Through the arrow’s perspective, she see’s Tûk reach a place in the forest where jagged, weathered stone markers stand between the trees, and Tûk’s body crumples into the snow. Out of the snow around him rise about thirty skeletons, clad in ancient armor and splintered spears, but as they stand in the moonlight the snow clothes them with the appearance of flesh and their ancient armaments look as new.

Ghanna opens her eyes and begins running back toward the camp. Duke realizes that Ghanna has been gone too long and calls his mercenaries to alert just before Ghanna returns to the circle of firelight, warning them that more than two dozen warriors are coming for them.

As Duke instructs the Baachus to pack up for an orderly retreat, Krenzi commands the Invader to take everyone to safety immediately.

The Warden and the Eater

Before nightfall, Tulasa and Jacobus ride side-by-side on the northbound path toward the Hinnemûs farm, with Kurik and Limnas riding close by. Tulasa asks Jacobus what he knows about Tulasa’s Magisterial mandate, and when Jacobus expresses a limited understanding of the mundane side of Tulasa’s operation, Tulasa reveals that he is at war with a demon known as the Eater of Knowledge.

Jacobus smiles at Tulasa and speaks in a different voice, “I am called by many names”. Kurik draws his horse to a halt to hang behind as Limnas draws her sword. Jacobus launches himself off his mount at Tulasa, but Tulasa leaps off the horse in time to escape. On Tulasa’s mount, Jacobus turns and rides down Tulasa, but Tulasa manages to dodge all but a glancing blow from a hoof as the horse goes over him.

Jacobus and Tulasa draw their swords, and Jacobus throws his into Limnas’s neck, felling her, while Tulasa leaps upon Jacobus, slashing the wrist of his weapon hand, hitting something harder than bone. Tulasa collides with Jacobus, knocking him from the horse and pinning him.

Jacobus laughs, goading Tulasa to surrender. When Tulasa refuses, Jacobus rips his skin off and Tulasa is thrown back by a massive golden coil that bursts forth. Out of the human skin comes a colossal golden serpent, crowned with horns, and bearing a mane like a lion. Tulasa leaps from the path into the frigid pools of the meandering Fuorjen rivulet.

Hyvel’s Fortress

The Invader snatches Ghanna and the Baachus crew by ones and twos, taking them through a screaming void to the ruins of Hyvel’s fortress some miles away at the top of the ridge. There they find Nolduske and Remke Hinnemûs, but Ghanna is missing. The Invader says he mistakenly dropped her at his Vault and disappears to fetch her.

While the mercenaries retch and recover from the shock of their first demonic exposure, Krenzi and Duke learn that Beppe Hinnemûs has pressed on to the standing stones at Heksepunt, in order to call upon Granaatmem for aid.

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  • Krenzi finds his demon’s stash of ancient Crucianite lore, as an offering to someone he calls “the Eater”.
  • Eywa departs after warning Duke not to enter the Deenryk without precautions.
  • Chaser prepares a message for the Hudbeklaaid war chief, and establishes fellowship with the Skaalruter hetman.
  • Tulasa spots a curious child asking questions about him.
  • Krenzi learns of the Hinnemûs family’s attempt to flee the Klau.
  • Duke and Ghanna capture Renke Hinnemûs, who wants to take Niehege’s gold for the care of his family.

Sarchannan’s Vault

After being crushed in the Infinite Stacks, Krenzi wakes in a frigid underground chamber filled with books and scrolls, seemingly gathered over a long period of time. Krenzi opens a scroll and finds a hymn about an apocalyptic battle, followed by a hymn about Gedyon taking up Crucian’s armaments to fight the Fiend.

The Invader returns, bringing a carafe of piping-hot coffee, a satchel of black lotus, and an old woman—Beppe Hinnemûs—all to heal Krenzi. Beppe calms down after taking a pull from Krenzi’s pipe, and the Invader fetches a roll of bandage that she uses to dress his wound. Once his needs are met, Krenzi orders the Invader to take Beppe back where he found her.

Krenzi questions the Invader about the contents of this vault, which appears to have once served as a Crucianite chapel. The Invader seems embarrassed and extremely reluctant to talk about his collection, but finally leaks that it is a stash he has been making for someone he calls “The Eater”.

Krenzi orders the Invader to take him elsewhere, and the Invader offers the cellar where he took Beppe Hinnemûs, or the old ruins on Caer Hyvel. Krenzi decides to go to the cellar so that he can give the old woman his thanks.

Goodbye to Eywa

After hearing that Eywa wishes to leave the Klau immediately, Duke asks his “brother” about Ourora. Eywa tells him he knows the Ourora he knew is lost, but the Ourora he has now reminds him of his beloved. They work out how they might establish contact again, if and when Duke ever leaves the Klau. But Eywa warns Duke that, should he follow Tûk to Heksepunt, he should not set foot in the Deenryk unless he leaves a part of himself behind.

Eywa becomes alert to a change in Ourora’s “breathing”, as if someone has approached the farm, and he flees into the corn. Duke orders members of the Baachus crew to stay sharp.

A Message to Sjef Hun Tegn

In Klausted, Chaser speaks to Jacobus Leonhart-Avadon about how to get a message to the war chief of the Hudbeklaaid warriors who departed for the Southfarthing, Sjef Hun Tegn. Jacobus warns him that she would only speak to Adacius himself, whom she calls “Eldgluggar Ofurst”, and may have Hudbeklaaid ancestry; she warned Jacobus not to allow his men to speak to her warriors if they valued their lives.

Chaser and Jacobus decide to pass Chaser off as the bastard son of Adacius, saying that he would speak on the old man’s behalf while Adacius is unavailable. Chaser orders Socrates to take the message into the Southfarthing, and flag down the Hudbeklaaid without speaking.

Socrates informs them that their horses were taken by the Skaalruters in the skirmish, after Chaser and Jacobus disappeared inside the burning Kirk.

A Watchful Child

Tulasa remains with Avga Akh and learns from the survivors of his armed escort—Kurik and Limnas—that Akh’s men gave them a chance to surrender. Tulasa appologizes to Akh for the misunderstanding and bloodletting.

While he is speaking to Akh, Tulasa sees a young Klav approach Kurik, and they two speak briefly before the boyd disappears into the crowd. Tulasa cuts off his conversation to ask Kurik about the encounter. Kurik tells him that the boy was just curious to see foreigners from the Magisterium in the Klau.

We Are Brothers Now

Chaser approaches Akh to speak with the Skaalruter hetman about the horses his riders took from Chaser’s Hounds. Lily uses Chaser’s arms to embrace Akh, but Chaser masters himself before kissing the hetman. At the peak of the confusion this stirs, Chaser greets Avga Akh as a brother, and they swear blood oaths of loyalty to each other. Akh releases some of the horses he took from the Hounds for Chaser’s needs.

As he walks away from the Skaalruters with Tulasa, Chaser asks for Tulasa’s help with something. They hear Elder Kristus and Thomas Begenhof calling out for Timmy Lupitz, and Chaser orders the Hounds (except Socrates) to search for the boy—but they fail to find him.

Flight to Caer Hyvel

Krenzi finds himself in the cellar of the Hinnemûs farmstead, which has been ransacked in a rapid packing effort. The family is outside loading up their mule after learning that their cellar is “connected” to an underground vault. Krenzi learns that they are leaving a note for the father Renke to meet them at Caer Hyvel after gathering his two older daughters and their husbands. Krenzi agrees to keep their secret, but says that he must stay in the Klau until he finds his grandson Timmy.

Krenzi follows the Fuorjen toward Klausted, and some time after sunrise he comes to Niehege’s farm, where he hears some disturbance. He hides in the wood beside the river as he watches mercenaries drag Renke Hinnemûs out of a thicket to Niehege’s property.

Questioning the Klav

Duke and Ghanna question Renke, and Renke reveals that he came here looking for Niehege’s gold. Armentad grows angry when Duke offers the Klav some of the gold, and warns him that others may know of the gold as well.

Ghanna begins untying Renke while asking him what he knows about Heksepunt and the necromancy there. Renke reveals that there was a fire on the mountain after the Burners took Jon, Matilda, and Timmy up there, but he assumed they were all dead.

Some Revelations

At daybreak, Tulasa goes into the Infinite Stacks seeking information about Timmy Lupitz. There he finds the records of a Magisterial inquest launched after Chaser returned from the Klau, including Chaser’s full report. It mentions Timmy as one of three Klavs whom the Felkezier’s caught carrying out heretical worship. It says that Timmy was taken with his parents to Hichtepunt, where they died, killed by the Necromancer (~two weeks ago). The Stacks hold no further records of Timmy Lupitz after that.

At daybreak, Krenzi asks the Invader to locate Timmy, the Invader can sense him moving in the Deenryk—the valley on the other side of the Deenskewâl, where no fire may be kindled.

After sending Socrates riding south with a letter for the Hudbeklaaid warriors, Malcolm Chaser retires.

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A recap of the events of our Sorcerer & Sword scenario.

In the Infinite Stacks…

Tulasa learns of an intruder in the domain, and attacks Krenzi. The Invader pounces on Tulasa in retaliation, injuring the Warden gravely. At the same time, Adacius takes advantage of the fray to take a bite out of Jacobus, gulping down the Inquisitor’s blood. The Stacks send a pile of books toppling over Krenzi, and the Invader takes Krenzi away using shadow travel.

At Eywa’s cottage…

Snow begins falling lightly over the corn field as the sun rises. The charcoal burner Tûk Stokken approaches Eywa’s farm, calling out for Niehege. Eywa greets Tûk and Tûk notices both Eywa’s and Ghanna’s telltales. Tûk has heard that the Burners brought the boy Timmy back to the Klau when they returned yesterday, and asks if Timmy returned to Niehege’s farm. When he learns that Timmy has not returned, he urges Niehege to come with him to Heksepunt, assuming Timmy went there to find his parents.

Ghanna wants to follow Tûk to Heksepunt, but Eywa warns that they ought to leave the Klau immediately before the Fraustgap becomes impassable, trapping them for the winter: No one has survived the mountain pass after Granaatmem’s Nacht (the Winter Solstice), which is rapidly approaching. Ghanna informs Duke and the Bacchus crew about her intention to go to Heksepunt, letting them know she does not completely trust Tûk.

Dumping a Demon in Adûnibad…

After Krenzi and the Invader depart, Adacius rises up smoldering, and his mouth and eyes erupt with golden flame as he speaks to Chaser. While Chaser bandages Jacobus, Adacius threatens to burn the Infinite Stacks if they do not let him out of this place. Tulasa opens a door displaying a rampant ciaccobo on it, and they take Adacius through it into a twilit city—Adûnibad. When Chaser realizes where they are—a city hostile to the Magisterium he serves—he turns back, leaving Adacius to prey upon the teeming millions.

Going back into the Stacks, Tulasa recounts the Tale of Appelmem and Granaatmem to the phantom scribes who inhabit the place, and they copy the tale into their records. Chaser asks Jacobus what Adacius promised the Luu and the Konur Villtar, and urges the Lieutennant to help him investigate the Necromancer’s movements and complete Adacius’s mission.

Tulasa searches for records about the conflict in the Klau, and finds a hagiographic chronicle of Adacius based on Chaser’s own testimony, in which Chaser described the key factions involved: Sjef Hun Tegn, Avga Akh, Beppe Hinnemûs, Pryster Jurryt, Timmy Lupitz, and others. Tulasa pores over the lore about Avga Akh’s destiny before leaving the Stacks.

In Klausted…

Long after dark, Tulasa, Chaser, and Jacobus exit the Stacks in the burned-out shell of the Kirk. There, they find that Avga Akh has slaughtered most of the Felkiezers—Adacius’s elite witch hunters—and surrounded those who surrendered in the Kirk’s graveyard. Seeking out the Skaalruter hetman, Tulasa invokes Akh’s fear of the Skaadkeninginne (“Shadow Queen”), and likens his own enemy the Eater of Knowledge to that ancient foe of the Skaalruters. Avga Akh frees the few remaining Felkiezers, along with Chaser’s Hounds and some survivors from Tulasa’s armed escort.

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Another session log for our game of Sorcerer & Sword.

On the Caer Hyvel…

Krenzi and the Invader are crossing the ridge of Caer Hyvel after their visit to Hichtepunt on the Deenskewâl. Having gathered a bundle of Skunkblum, the Invader is manic.

They hear a voice speaking, and spot the hunter Thomas Begenhof speaking to an unseen companion. Krenzi strikes Thomas with a stone, and impresses the hunter with his derangement.

They hear a cry, and find Timmy kneeling beside a body. Krenzi recognizes the corpse as a charcoal burner named Tûk Stokken, but there is a huge row of puncture wounds crossing Tûk’s neck and collar-region, as if he was bitten by a massive animal, and his body is descicated and emaciated.

Thomas notes the freshness of the kill and gathers up Timmy under his cloak to hurry away. He urges Krenzi to follow.

In Klausted…

While Chaser and Tulasa exit the Kirk with Jacobus after their clash with Adacius, they notice burns on their hands were they touched the Lord Inquisitor. Chaser tries to tell Jacobus that Adacius has gone mad, or worse.

Adacius, meanwhile, barricades himself inside the Kirk and begins kindling fires using old hymnals and broken benches. When they see smoke issuing from the Kirk, Tulasa and Jacobus rush toward the door to break it down while Chaser goes to one of the Skaalruters to get a handaxe. Once they gain entry, they see Adacius pouring spirits all over himself, warning them to stay back, so he can burn his sins away.

Tulasa gathers some hymnals and throws them outside while Jacobus tries to stop Adacius from hurting himself. Adacius hurls Jacobus aside and throws himself into burning brazier, engulfing himself in flame.

Tulasa draws his sword to end the spectacle, but Chaser throws his overcoat over Adacius to smother the blaze. Tulasa uses his sword to open the Infinite Stacks instead, dragging Adacius in while flames crawl up the walls of the Kirk and the wooden beams begin to strain.

Chaser struggles to persuade Jacobus that what they are doing is good, but the Lieutennant splutters in unreasoning shock after seeing Tulasa open a door in mid-air. Chaser drags Jacobus into the Stacks as well. As they enter, a curator of the Stacks appears to welcome his master, Tulasa.

At the Abandoned Farm…

Wind blows through the cornfield, making the leaves rustle in a way that sounds like a voice. The voice introduces itself as A Senhora de Ouro—the Golden Lady—and invites Ghanna to sing a hymn in her honor. When Ghanna declines, “the Golden Lady” reminds her that Ghanna and her companions came here as strangers and are currently under her protection.

Seeing this from the cottage, Duke approaches after asking his mercenary team to keep alert. “The Golden Lady” recognizes him, and calls forth her steward, Niehege Eywa. Eywa appears at the edge of the corn, looking like a younger version of Duke himself.

Invading the Infinite Stacks

Krenzi arrives in Klausted with Timmy and Thomas after nightfall, to find the Kirk burning. The Felkiezers and Avga Akh’s riders work alongside the Klavs to carry water from the Fuorjen to fight the fire.

The Invader takes Krenzi into the Infinite Stacks, whose door is hidden in the blaze. Krenzi comes out of the shadows to see Chaser speaking with Adacius. The curator takes Tulasa asside before he sees Krenzi.

Adacius apologizes to Chaser. When Adacius spots Krenzi, he confesses that the torture Krenzi endured was not as a prisoner of the Sultan of Deltoss, as he thought, but a secret Inquisition operation to test the limits of human pain and humilation. They pushed Krenzi too far, and he renounced his faith.

While Adacius speaks to Krenzi, Chaser takes Jacobus aside to steer the Lieutennant’s understanding of the situation. Jacobus has regained his composure, and he goes to Adacius to pray with him to fight off this fiendish mood. Adacius asks Jacobus to give him blood to drink or kill him, but Jacobus continues to kneel beside the Lord Inquisitor, praying more fervently.

Growing bored, the Invader begins pulling out books from a large stack beside him, making it unstable, alerting the Stacks to his presence…

Niehege’s Tale

On the edge of the cornfield, Duke Ahwe and Niehege Eywa take stock of each other and share stories about their past. Eywa tells how he lost his beloved Ourora while fighting side-by-side at the battle of Vale Verde—241 years ago. Heartbroken, he ventured into Deenryk to restore her. When he summoned her at last, she came in the form of miraculous corn seeds.

Duke asks about Eywa’s miracles, and Eywa confides that they were Ourora’s doing: Her maize and its syrup bring healing. They have traveled, putting down roots in one place after another, departing from each place when Ourora’s miracles begin drawing unwanted attention.

Eywa notices Silionna eavesdropping, and recognizes her. In a revery, she tells Duke that it was Eywa and not Duke that she has been remembering in her dreams. Eywa recounts how he was fleeing after an incident when he came across a village massacred by Inquisitors who were hunting for him. Among the charnel, he found Silionna, barely clinging to life. Ourora used her power to heal the girl, but left her in a coma. Eywa took her and left her under the care of a convent in Adûnibad, paying them handsomely for their discretion.

Duke and Ghanna suggest that Eywa pack up and flee the Klau, but Eywa says Ourora cannot release the seed corn while she is starving for her need. Eywa asks Duke and Ghanna to sing hymns to her with him, offering her worship. Ghanna scoffs, but Silionna bows low before the corn. Duke joins in the singing, planting Maiven in the earth before him and weaving in lyrics to sate her need as well.

As the sun begins to rise, snowflakes drift down from the steel grey sky.

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  • Chaser confronts Adacius about the war hosts gathering in the Klau and learns that his mentor is mad or possessed.
  • Tulasa finds a family hiding from the warriors now converging on the Klau, and they tell him some local lore in exchange for a letter of protection.
  • Duke and Ghanna find a cozy cottage surrounded by ripe corn and take shelter there for the night.

A Report from Elder Kristus

Kristus briefs Chaser as the Hounds lead their horses down the steep descent into the Klau: Adacius led the Felkiezers here several weeks ago to establish a Magisterial presence in the Klau and began searching for any signs of heresy. Soon, he found a family conducting heretical worship in a barn.

Under interrogation, they revealed that they were mere minions of a Necromancer abiding at the spire of Heksepunt on the Deenskewâl. Adacius left a tithe of his force in the Klau while he force-marched the family into the mountains so that they could guide him to the Necromancer. Two nights later, Kristus saw a fire on Heksepunt.

When Adacius did not return, he sent a messenger to summon Chaser. But Adacius came back this morning after long travels, and he brought an army of Hudbeklaaid mercenaries and their dogs with him. Adacius is planning war with the Necromancer, whom he claims is gathering strength in the Deenryk, and he has sent for other warriors to join him in the Klau.

Chaser and Kristus ride into Klausted, where a crowd of angry Klavs confront Felkiezer sentries who surround the village. A Felkiezer tells the Klavs that Adacius will address them shortly. Chaser asks him about Adacius, and he recounts making the ride to Heksepunt with Adacius.

He reports riding up the mountain with the heretic family, and seeing someone climb up the last stretch like a spider while carrying a body. The other Felkiezers were uneasy, but Adacius could not be detered and made the last climb, taking only the boy with him while the other men kept watch over his parents.

The parents broke free and pursued Adacius up to Heksepunt, and the Felkiezers followed. When they reached the summit, they found only Adacius and the boy. Adacius was badly wounded, and the boy was stricken with terror and would not speak. As Adacius recovered, day broke over the Deenryk and they saw signs of the Necromancer mustering forces there.

Just then, the Kirk bell tolls and Adacius appears in the bell tower. Klavs crowd around the hilltop on which the Kirk stands, and Adacius tells them that they will have to endure sacrifice in the fight against the Necromancer in order to defend their way of life. He tells them that their stores for the winter will be taken and redistributed so that Adacius can provision his assault on the Deenryk.

After the speech, Adacius recognizes Chaser in the crowd and comes out to greet his pupil. Adacius takes Chaser into the Kirk to speak privately. Adacius tells Chaser about the threat posed by the Necromancer, and says the Klau’s geography offers them a perfect fort. Adacius insists that they can foil the Necromancer’s plans to attack Magisterium lands if they strike before the enemy’s forces are ready to march.

As Adacius looks Chaser over, he marks the heretical Kasai amulet Chaser wears. Chaser tries to deflect suspicion by telling his mentor that the amulet belonged to his wife Lily, who was killed by necromancers. Adacius expresses sorrow for Chaser’s loss while continuing to scrutinize him.

The Hinnemûs Farm

Tulasa and his armed escort follow Chaser’s path down into the Klau. As they follows the Fuorjen, they pass a farmstead that appears recently abandoned. Tulasa investigates, and notes an external cellar door. Knocking, he gains welcome from the family hiding inside.

They tell him that the Magisterium took the Lupitz family away and killed them, and now they have brought Hudbeklaaid barbarians to the Klau. Tulasa offers them his protection, in exchange for a story from the local folklore. The grandmother, Beppe Hinnemûs, tells him the tale of Granaatmem and Appelmem. Once satisfied, Tulasa dictates and letter which the monk Kurik in his escort takes down, granting the First Warden’s protection to the Hinnemûs family.

According to Beppe, Granaatmem and Appelmem were witch sisters. Granaatmem was a bitter old misanthrope who kept a golden grass snake in her garden named Jhaltys. When some Klav children wandered into Granaatmem’s garden to steal her produce, Jhaltys caught them and Granaatmem held them prisoner until Appelmem came.

Appelmem challenged Granaatmem to a game of riddles for the fate of the children and for her grass snake. When Appelmem won, she returned the children to their parents in the Klau. Granaatmem flew into a rage and went up to Heksepunt, from which she sent storms and plagues to smite the children of the Klau. But no matter what magic she wrought, Appelmem’s magic was stronger. Appelmem defused and countered every plague sent by her sister, so that it became a blessing for the Klav children.

Finally Appelmem turned the last curse back on her sister, sapping all of Granaatmem’s power, and they all lived happily ever after.

After taking leave of the Hinnemûs family, Tulasa sees a hundred Skaalruter horsemen riding down into the Klau following the same path as Tulasa, passing the farm to press on to Klausted. Tulasa follows with his escort, and speaks briefly with the riders in the rearguard. They say they were summoned by Altin Qarga.

Golden Patch on the Landscape

Duke and Ghanna ride into the Klau with Duke’s Baachus mercenary crew, and Namuu of the Skaalruters.

As they ride, Siliona tells Duke that she is feeling deja vu, but can’t quite place why. When Ghanna nocks her bow to use Pinaka’s far-seeing sight, Namuu draws his instinctively and they enjoy some sport in aiming for a circling buzzard.

Ghanna uses Pinaka to get a wide view of the Klau, and she catches sight of a golden patch surrounded by grey and brown lands that have already been harvested.

The Ring of Fire

Adacius presses Chaser with questions about the heretical amulet. Chaser says he is ready to be purged of his sins, and jots down a regret on a piece of parchment as Adacius kindles a fire in the Kirk’s central brazier. Chaser drops the note into the fire, but Adacius urges him to burn the amulet as well. Chaser looks into Adacius’s eyes and sees a ring of golden flame illuminating the deep wells of darkness.

Chaser takes the amulet, and orders Lily to possess Adacius while Adacius knocks the amulet into the brazier. Lily struggles with Adacius and recoils, burning; she gives out a cry of pain and shock, which Adacius hears.

Panicked, Adacius draws his knife to stab Chaser, but Chaser catches his arm and they struggle beside the burning brazier.

Sjef Hun Tegn and Her Puppy

Tulasa follows the Skaalruters to Klausted, where he sees Magisterial Inquisitors. Inquiring after Adacius, they direct him to the Kirk hill, where he finds the Felkiezer Jacobus speaking tensely with the Hudbeklaaid war chief Sjef Hun Tegn.

Sjef Hun Tegn warns Jacobus not to let his men speak in the presence of her warriors, because men are not permitted to speak among the Konur Villtar. Her wolfhound growls over Jacobus’s protest. She tells him that she will speak only with Adacius, who can find her making preparations for war in the Southfarthing.

Rattled, Jacobus takes his leave of Hun Tegn when Tulasa approaches. Tulasa asks where he can meet Adacius, and insists on seeing him immediately when Jacobus reveals that the Lord Inquisitor is in a private meeting. Jacobus leads him to the Kirk, were they throw the doors open to see Adacius and Chaser struggling over the brazier.

Tulasa and Jacobus pull the men apart. Adacius wearily withdraws to a seat beside a table placed on the dais, and asks to be left alone. Chaser exists with Jacobus and Tulasa, and begins to convince Jacobus that Adacius is losing his mind.

The Golden Field

Namuu parts ways with Duke and Ghanna when they reach a farmstead surrounded by ripe, golden corn. Namuu wants to catch up with his uncle immediately, but Ghanna and the Baachus crew want to make camp here for the night.

Armentad and Sidney check out the burned ruin of the barn, and find a massive lump of gold in a charred brazier buried in ash and blackened beams. They inform Duke and celebrate their unexpected windfall. Something watches them from the corn, marking Ghanna’s pocked scar, Duke’s earrings, Pinaka’s heat waves, and the flaming shimmer on Maiven’s blade.

As the sun sets, they determine a watch order and shelter in a tiny cottage untouched by fire. Ghanna takes the last watch. Before Duke turns in, she sees that the corn has surrounded the cottage, cutting off their path to the Fuorjen.

She sends an arrow from Pinaka into the rows of corn to see what is watching them. Ghanna sees nothing, but Pinaka recognizes a demonic presence in the field, and greets Ourora in the Old Rumadhic tongue. A wind blows through the corn, and a rustling voice greets Pinaka in Old Rumadhic, and then greets Ghanna.

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