After speaking with Father Baldar everyone is concerned about the plot of land blasted by Siguard to investigate. Simply stepping upon the land creates a feeling of unease that Ludwig finds extends to the animals, even grubs and worms avoid the land. Not much remains of the pair of cottages, but they do discover a leather strapped iron box buried under where one of the cottages was built. After unearthing the box, the general feeling of unease intensifies as dark clouds roll in from the west followed by a deep rumbling thunder.
A cold rain quickly follows creating a dense ground fog about the land. All around them the box move against the wind rather than pushed by it. The fog centers grows denser around the box and several people swear they saw a pair of goat’s eyes in the fog that are never seen when they look again. The sense of “wrongness” about the land increases as does the tempo of the rain. Briz panics when he sees the fog gather about Xarth’s shoes then seem to flow into him, nobody else saw anything and Xarth feels nothing untoward.
Sofiya has Ludwig run to the chapel and fetch Father Baldar, while the rest of them guard the box. After receiving a simple blessing Ludwig all but drags Father Baldar to the cursed land. Father Baldar has no knowledge of the box; although he did know the last family to tried to work this land. The husband slew his wife, sister, brother-in-law, and their two children one night as was never seen again. Less than a week after that Siguard called forth the north wind and burned the area clean with over a dozen strokes of lightning.
Father Baldar has no knowledge of the box, but agrees to bless the object. While he is blessing the box, a fog rolls up from the ground and gathers above the box. It gathers into the shape of a man from the mid-torso up holding a knife in his left hand his eyes are like those of a goat. The sacred oil and cleansed dirt that Father Baldar is using for the blessing on the box begins to move and shift form into a horned skull. As everybody moves to help Father Baldar his voice ever rising as smoke begins to emanate from his hands and the leather straps. With great difficultly they manage to get Father Baldar’s hands from the box and drag him out of the blighted land. When the box falls to the ground the fog disappears followed by a minute of hard rain before the clouds begin to break up and sunlight again falls upon the town.
They help Father Baldar and immediately request an audience with Lord Kuhn. The lord listens to their story, which is supported by Father Baldar although he remembers nothing after he began to bless the box. Supported by Father Baldar they implore the lord to guard the land until they return from seeing Siguard with both Isabella and information about the box. The lord agrees the peril demands action and assigns Captain Adalfuns to keep one man on guard at all times with orders to keep everyone away.
A cold northern wind blows through the village all night bringing with it a hard rain mixing with sleet, which makes it difficult to rise in the morning until Roza, the innkeeper’s wife, stokes the hearth to life. Xarth, Briz, Ralph, and Ludwig slept in the common room – but she gives Xarth a angry look because at some time during the night he must have gone outside because his boots are covered in mud which he tracked into the inn.
After a quick meal of cheese, ale, and bread they gather themselves together visit Father Baldar. He is looking much better this morning although both of his hands are bandaged from the burns he received from the box. He agrees to send Dominick, the acolyte assigned to the temple, to guide them to the cottage they maintain in the woods north of the town. The cottage is roughly midway between the town and Siguard’s tower and they are free to take shelter and sustenance while there. The temple maintains the cottage as a safe haven for those caught in the forest at night, which can be quite dangerous.
The weather never fully clears as they spend their days traveling through the forest in mud while wearing rain cloaks to shield them from the constant popup showers. It is a miserable journey for both man and beast, but after three days they finally reach the cottage. They spend their days at the cottage drying everything out, caring for those bits of metal that have begun to rust, and helping Dominick prepare the cottage for the coming winter.
3 days in rain walking
2 days to reach tower – large ring cleared land, sheer rock tower, with larger tower on top
Sofiya hails the tower – told to stay there – cold rain lashes her for 30 minutes
She is granted audience
Isabella naked on roof learning magic, she wants to stay
she suspects her father killed her mother because she had magic
talk about cursed land – Siguard claims there is a powerful spirit there
Siguard notices the spirit inside of Xarth, prepares to do battle
Briz sees wild magic forming at top of tower and runs to help Sofiya
Xarth stabs Ralph in the back with ghost knife and attempts to kill Ludwig – they fight
Briz turns and Siguard appears between him and the tower is a stroke of lightning
As Siguard blasts the trees, Briz hauls Ralph free of the battle.
Xarth turns his bones to iron and the spirit flees
A long serpent-like dragon appears in the forest with dozens of legs (centipede like)
Siguard and the dragon face each other and engage in a contest of veiled threats, while the party retreats
In the end Siguard returns to his tower and the dragon moves deeper into the forest.
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