With the boy in tow, they walk through the forest towards Luckau arriving late in the afternoon. Sofiya leads them to Sir Kaufmann’s manor and after some negotiating with the Seneschal is granted an audience. Sir Kaufmann is glad to find that there has been a survivor, but more than a bit concerned that he men could not find the boy when they investigated the village.
He begins to rapidly question the boy, but Sofiya steps in says that the boy is still frightened. She helps the boy answer what questions he can. His line of questioning strong leads them to suspect that Sir Kaufmann suspects elves, but cannot prove it enough to take it to Lord Ulrichstein. Near the end of the questioning they mention meeting a priest of Taur in the woods to the east.
After conferring with the captain of his guard he summons Father Tobi. When the good father appears he tells them of the news and that a survivor has been found. The father is glad that someone has survived, but he cannot answer questions about the priest of Taur. He says that he will send a letter to Dominick in Ulrichstein for clarification on this matter. Father Tobi prays for the faithful before leaving.
Sir Kaufmann hosts a dinner for Sofiya, Ian, Briz, and Xarth – along with several families of the village. They see that Sir Kaufmann is genuinely well-liked by everyone in attendance. There is some tension between Sir Kaufmann and his wife, but nothing too out of the ordinary. His humble beginnings as a trapper and hunter are plain to hear from the stories
Spirits of Revenge
In he middle of the night a cry goes up from the wall, Shortly after a runner arrives at the manor and says that lights have been spotted in the woods. Sir Kaufmann tells Xarth to grab his men and meet him on the wall. Once they climb up to the wall they can see phantom spirits just on the edge of the woods.
There are 15-20 spirits floating at the end of the woods. Sir Kaufmann calls for Father Toby then works to settle him men down. Once everyone is distracted by the father climbing up the steps, Briz silently casts a small spell to see why the ghosts are hear. Surprisingly Briz sees small threads that link the spirits to Sofiya.
While Father Toby builds a circle of faith to drive off the spirits, Briz confronts Sofiya about the spirits. As she becomes increasingly defensive he eventually finds the end point of the threads and take a kitchen knife from her. He tries to unravel the magical energy around the knife, but the woman inside manifests and begins to fight back.
Briz is clearly over-matched by the spirit, but he continues to struggle. With everyone else distracted by the growing spiritual presence in the woods, Xarth sees that Briz is in danger of losing. He quickly puts a hand on the good father’s shoulder and drives his other hand into the spirit.
The ghost screams and disappears, but once again spiritual energy causes Xarth to return to his natural appearance. Everyone on the wall was scared of the spirits, but they become absolutely terrified by the giant dragon-man in their midst. While Sir Kaufmann is shouting orders, he draw his blade and tries to attack the fell beast. Before his blade can strike home, Xarth once again returns to his human form.
Sir Kaufmann calms his people down before leaving for his manor. He leaves his guard captain in charge of securing the wall for the night. Both Father Toby and the guard captain attempt to talk to him, but he brushes them off as his way past.
When most of the men have left, Sofiya tells her companions how she came into possession of now broken knife.
A Dangerous Secret
The next morning Xarth requests and audience with Sir Kaufmann, but finds out that he left before dawn with his huntsmen and is not expected back until after lunch.
While they are waiting Briz visits Father Toby to see what he knows about necromancy. Other than hatred for anyone binding spirits for his own power he knows little about them. Hunting down and killing them is the job of the Followers of Taur.
Sofiya and Ian walk through the village asking if anyone knows something about Sir Sattler. After several hours they do not get much more useful information about the knight other than he comes from a family to the east. Sofiya does find that the boy has an uncle in the village and that Sir Kaufmann has offered the boy a job in the kitchen.
When Sir Kaufmann returns he is in a foul mood and does not talk to anybody in the village. His two huntsmen return with him, but one of them is clearly seriously injured. Briz helps the man’s wounds and with the other huntsmen they carry the injured man to the manor.
While Sir Kaufmann angrily stalks across his great hall the huntsmen tell what happened. They were following goblin tracks in the north when they were ambushed by the gobs. Sir Kaufmann cuts his huntsmen off and says that they were not goblins. They were attacked by this phantom killers that have stalked his people. He swears vengeance upon those responsible.
Sir Kaufmann is still angry when Xarth decides to speak up. He sympathizes with Sir Kaufmann and his people and offers to help. He also tells everyone in the hall that the dragon-man they saw last night was actually his true form. He was transformed by the spirits of his people into this human form.
Sir Kaufmann is very quiet when he tells the tale of his first family in the mining towns along the Iron Mountains. His father, wife, and children were killed by goblins that worshiped a dragon-men – this shoag as Xarth calls himself.
He banishes Xarth from his lands upon pain of death. Sofiya and Briz try to argue with argue with Sir Kaufmann, but his anger is far to great to be reasoned with in this matter. Seeing no other options before them Sofiya, Briz, and Ian leave with Xarth. They head north to the sign of this ambush and see if they can uncover what is really happening.
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