Once back at the store, Esandeor explains that the attack was probably because of his status with the elves. While the elves in town have been sociable to him, he is considered one of the forsaken – an elf in blood, but not in spirit. Many elves consider the forsaken to be outcasts and not worthy of life. Briz knows that he is hiding something, but elects to keep it to himself.
Briz spends his day wandering through the various taverns and shops of Ulrichstein looking for juicy rumors and innuendo. What he finds troubles him. The town may not believe the “outsiders” are dark wizards, but not they speak of them as “elf friends” in the same manner that one speaks of garbage or refuse. To little time has passed for the mood of the town to swing so wildly, something must be influencing them.
That night everyone is discussing what has happened over dinner. It is decided to bring this to the attention of the Baron and Inquisitor Valten in the morning. While they are cleaning the dishes there is a loud sound outside and something heavily hits the front of the shop. Sofiya peeks outside and sees a small mob of people gathered with torches and stones. A few of them hurl stones at the store while shouting insults of “elf lovers” and “traitors.” Briz steps outside ans while he is able to diffuse the situation, the leader eyes Amer angrily. Amer recognizes him as the craftsman whose arm he twisted to secure a better price on the repairs to the store front.
The next morning they go before the Baron and request to speak to him and the Inquisitor. Father Oswald is also there when they bring to his attention the dark miasma that is coming towards the town. The Baron is less that pleased it took this this long to bring it to his attention, but when they mention the lack of watchmen driving off the mob last night, he relents that things are difficult for everybody. Before they leave he agrees to send two of his huntsmen along with Father Dominic to investigate this miasma.
When they return to the store it shows obvious signs of decay – far too quick to have happened naturally. Briz discovers that an entropy curse has been placed on the building – lending it an aura of disrepair and danger. He opens himself to the curse, but instead of dissipating it, the curse affects Briz causing his clothes to immediately rot off.
While Briz tends to his curse, Amer goes in search of the carpenter. Although he is tempted to deal harshly with the man, Amer charms him instead. The carpenter breaks down and tell him that someone gave him the tools that he used to construct the new store front, including a small wooden plaque with strange markings. He has been wracked with guilt and simply wants to be done with the entire thing. The only thing he can remember about the man is the strong perfume he worse. In the end he asks Amer to please take the tools with him. Amer declines, but agrees to send his workman back to fetch the tools.
When Xarth reaches the carpenter’s shop he finds the carpenter dead and a ghoul feasting upon his remains. Xarth yells out for help and as he attacks the creature. The two struggle back and forth as Xarth cannot effectively use his magic due to the chance that a townsman might come to his aid. Eventually two guardsmen come to help him and together they manage to destroy the ghoul. Although the carpenter is dead, the guards are very impressed with Xarth and offer to speak with the constable if he wants to join the watch.
Sofiya, he left the store to find out what was taking Xarth so long, was standing outside of the circle that gathered around Xarth and the guards. She noticed that a man standing outside of the circle was taking a very strong interest in what was happening. She follows him and sees that he enters a building that must have caught fire last year. Rather than risk and ambush, she goes to the store and returns to the building with Briz. Inside they find some simple traps have been set to discourage nosy neighbors. Upstairs they find an observation room has been set up that looks through the alley straight to the front of their store. A journal indicates that someone has been monitoring their comings and goings nearly since the attack on the east gate. Most disturbingly it even specifically mentions conversations that took place inside the store.
A hidden cellar reveals a partially drawn summoning circle. Briz deduces that this is actually a teleportation circle that stops anyone from using it unless they know what both halves of the pattern. It is clearly the work of a fairly skilled wizard. Briz wants to see how it really works, but Sofiya manages to convince him to leave it alone. Luckily for both of them because a religious procession passes by the building on their way to the carpenter’s shop. The follow the procession and when Father Oswald reaches the shop he calls down the power of the purification and destroys the building with white flames.
Once back at the store Xarth shows Briz the books that Carina left behind when she fled. The stories talk about a great war between the dwarves and some notes indicate a major battle took place near here. It speaks of a “Great Machine of War” the likes of which the dwarves have never seen before. It hints that this machine killed tens of thousands of dwarves before it was finally shackled. They worry that Carina could find this machine and release it without really knowing what it is. Scary.
Sofiya and Amer go to speak with the Baron. Inside his courtyard they find Squire Himmel in armor and talking to a pair of hunters. He scowls at them, but takes no further action. The Baron does not have time to speak with them, but they do manage to speak to the town’s perfumer. He tells them a customer does in fact purchase a very strong perfume fairly regularly. He says the poor man seems to be cursed with a strong and very distasteful smell. With a great deal of coaxing he tells them the man is staying at the Blue House Inn.
Xarth and Esandeor leave a note for Sofiya at the store and go northwest into the woods. Briz settles into the shadows around the teleportation circle. Sofiya gets the note and spends the rest of the day at the store cursing her employees. Amer talks to the gate guards and gets the name of the young man, Owen, then he buries the cheese. It was bad cheese.
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