That night they light the skull and get their bearings towards the village west of Luckau where another attack happened. Xarth believes that it will take then 2-3 days of travel to reach the village, but he cannot be sure they will not find themselves back-tracking to avoid impassable terrain. Still, everyone agrees it is better than traveling a well-known road through territory controlled by Lord Himmel.
During the morning of the second day they notice that they are being followed. Briz agrees to hide Xarth with a glamour, but it goes horribly wrong and instead covers him in faerie fire, but Xarth and Briz believes that everything worked correctly. Sofiya, unsure why Xarth is now glowing, uses the distraction to slip away.
Xarth turns around and tries to walk silently towards their followers. He believes that he is invisible, but the two following them believe he is casting a spell at them. One shouts in elves and they both draw and throw daggers. Xarth catches one and deflects the second with this shield. Briz keeps walking forward with Ian pretending to talk with Xarth.
The elves realize they have been surrounded and rather than fight they agree to parley. The elves tell them that they have been looking in this area for who has been attacking the human villages. They identify the arrows as human-make from a wood that is sacred to the elves. They tell them that dark spirits are moving into these woods and driving out the fae.
Before leaving the elves give them a small packet of herbs for them to burn on their fire to drive away dark spirits. Once they are gone, Ian tells them that when they talked to themselves in elven they called the arrowheads, “Spirits of Metal.” They also lied about knowing nothing about the scarred elves that attacked Ulrichstein.
The encounter with the elves means that they will not make it to the village until late at night. Rather than risk entering a village of angry spirits at night they camp a couple of hours away. During the night, Sofiya is on watch and notices one of her daggers moving across the camp towards Xarth. She slams her hand on top of it – picking up at welt on her palm from someone sharp.
When she picks it up, she notices that one of the arrowheads is in her hand as well. She wakes up the others and demand that one of them figure out what is going on. Briz can tell that the other arrowheads are wrapped in enchanted thread where the missing arrowhead is just simply gut.
Sofiya notices that there are small footprints in the dirt from Xarth’s pack into her pack and halfway back – yet they find no other evidence of fae in the area. While everyone is looking around the arrowhead turns into a tiny humanoid. It has no distinct features, but basic arms and legs. It responds well to the formal courtesy offered by Xarth and begins speaking in what they believe to be dwarven,
It gestures that it wants the knife,which they allow the little manikin to take. It goes over to Xarth’s pack and drags out the other arrows. While everyone watches it sings and cuts the gut around the arrowheads. There is a sharp strike of elven magic and Briz was too close to the effect. Something inside his own magic seems to snap, cutting him of from his natural connection. While everyone else is fascinated by the new silver puppets Briz staggers out of camp.
Each of the silver men join together and form a slightly larger man with more distinct shape, gaining hands and feet. It wildly gestures to the west, eventually communicating with simple maps. When they given it paper and charcoal it begins writing page after page of poetry or song. Xarth leaves in search of Briz who is sitting by himself in the woods. Briz has not lost his connection with his magic, but it hurts to use it. He refuses to talk to Xarth.
When he finally comes back to the camp he finds everyone humming the beat of the song that he silver man wrote out. Briz recognizes it as a dwarven dirge about their lost magic – something that would cause a fight if any dwarf overheard a non-dwarf singing it. The song relates a shameful period in their history and was penned by what is believed to be the last dwarf able to create magic.
Sometime during the night the silver man leaves. His tracks go west, but nobody but Briz wants to follow them. Xarth redirects Briz towards the village to the northeast.
They find the walled hamlet disconcertingly quiet, even the birds know to stay clears of this area. Outside of the area they find tracks of someone moving along a fence line for the goat pen. Briz can sense the strength of the wards, which still seem to be intact.
With great caution Ian and Sofiya enter the village. Each of the four houses inside the wall are barred from the inside. Sofiya examines the bars and declares them very difficult to get by without alerting the occupants. Even worse is the signs are clear that each of the inhabitants were killed in their sleep. Not even the dogs were disturbed by the attackers.
Outside, Briz sees a young boy hiding by an animal shed. When the boy sees him he flees. Briz yells out, which draws Xarth towards the area and both men give chase. The boy nearly outruns them, but is eventually caught by Briz. The boy is hysterical, but Briz manages to calm him down.
He tells him that he was in the shed with a goat near birthing. Suddenly all of the animals went quiet and he saw shadows moving by. He peaked out and saw more than five men move by without making a sound. They had white skin, pointy ears, and glowing white eyes. The men went to the village and climbed over the walls. He wanted to raise the alarm, but he could not move.
When the men came back he saw they had knives dripping blood in their hands. He hid in a straw bin while they took away all of the animals. He was too afraid to enter the village, he knew what happened to his family. Ian finds a clearing where the attackers slaughtered the village and took the meat, allowing forest animals to drag off the rest.
Vengeance is a Dark Path
While Briz and Xarth are talking to the boy; Sofiya and Ian are just finishing up in the village. Sofiya notices that each of the bodies is missing its right hand. More interesting is that she sees one of the knives used by the attackers in one of the cottages. When she goes inside to get it the door and windows slam shut and a floating apparition of a young woman begins to form in the center of the room. The apparition is dressed in a woolen nightgown covered in black along the chest.
Ian throws himself against the door, but he cannot break through. He can hear Sofiya yelling something inside, but he cannot hear exactly what. He yells for help. Inside, Sofia tries her best to reason with the ghost, but it continues to advance on her as she tries to stay away inside the house. The only response it seems to give the word “Vengeance” in Dakarian. Sofiya tries to drive it back, but it finally reaches out and tries to possess her body – she screams out.
Briz grabs the boy and runs with him to the shelter of the woods, while Xarth is helped over the wall by Ian. Inside, Sofiya throws off the spirit’s possession, but now its visage turns much darker and seems to grow in strength. Xarth and Ian both try to break down the door, but the power reinforcing the door seems to grow in strength.
Sofiya grabs a knife from the kitchen gives the spirit a focus for its anger. The spirit pours its anger and hate into the knife. Outside Xarth begins to summon his power and tries his best to turn back the clock of time on the wood. He wants to open up the wood to the life it possessed before it was torn from the earth.
As he opens himself up to the past the spirits of his ancestors rush in and fill a void within him. As Ian looks on in horror, Xarth’s form changes to a large lizardman standing over 7 feet tall with a jaw full of razor-sharp teeth. Ian takes the length of chain he was using to beat on the door and attacks the monster in front of him. From the door and frame burst forth a large tree to soon rose above the village. Its branches grow and tear down the walls around the village, destroying the wards that penned in the angry spirits.
As Sofiya crawls out of the wrecked house she feels a desire to hide the possessed knife until a later date. In front of her she sees a large dragon-monster being attacked by Ian with a large length of chain. She shakes her head to clear her eyes and sees that it was only Xarth surrounded by a glow of magic; although Ian continues to attack him until she orders him to stop. Briz sees them stagger from the now wrecked village.
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