I had ridden south to Trinsic, having heard of
strange rumors circulating there, and so missed a particularly important episode
in the mystery surrounding Beechel Kire, which I may now safely call, the Kire
curse. Finding the rumors in Trinsic unusual but unsubstantial, I returned to
Britain, stopping at his farmhouse to talk. His demeanor was one of unusual
calm, and, recalling the horrors of his wife's recent kidnapping, I found it a
bit odd. He fed and watered my mount and we spoke briefly.
"The Ghost of Eric reappeared in your absence," he said to me,
matter-of-factly. My curiosity must have been evident from my expression, for
Beechel smiled as he stroked my mare's mane slowly. I could see he did indeed
have a fondness for animals. "I managed to bribe a Guard at Lord British's
castle and he allowed me a bit of time to peruse the Hall of Records and Library
there. I found nothing, but realized more research could be done if I had some
help. I enlisted the aid of my neighbors, those who frequent the Brazen Monkey
Tavern, among whom are the Defenders of Justice, to assist me in the research
there. I took a friend with me earlier who marked a rune to the spot so I could
get back in later without a bribe," he confessed, grinning rather
I remembered we had both scoured the Britain public library for some kind of
record or tale about former inhabitants of the area, one of whom might have been
Eric, the restless spirit haunting his estate a while back. It was all to no
avail. Then I was called away on the aforementioned assignment for a few days,
and we lost touch during the interim. He continued..
"We got in easily enough and began looking for records. It wasn't long
until the ghost of Eric appeared among us, wailing and moving about from shelf
to shelf as if looking for something. With my friends there, all excellent
warriors who have committed themselves to protecting me, I was not much afraid,
but when the spirit pointed at me again and again my courage almost failed me.
It seemed to be accusing me of something - I know not what! Finally a book fell
to the floor.. an official land survey book. The ghost seemed to indicate things
therein were worth our reading and we hoped whatever it was would help solve our
I watched as his countenance fell. I asked if the mystery was indeed solved.
"Nay. It has only deepened. The records showed three families had lived in
the area generations ago, one of whom was indeed an Eric.. Eric Sundweld. There
were six of them, including four children. Apparently my great-grandfather,
Stanton Kire, had laid a counter claim to their land but his suit was
dismissed.. twice it seems."
Upon mentioning the family numbering six, I remembered it was exactly six bodies
found buried in his field. I inquired about how his great-grandfather finally
acquired the place.
Beechel shrugged. "My father told me Stanton lost it but won it again as a
gambling debt. It was never really talked about. I had no reason not to believe
what I was told. But next comes the strange part. After we read the book and the
ghost disappeared, there entered the room some bad-tempered fellow named Anton
Wyrgant. He looked like some kind of priest and was very impolite toward me. I
got the distinct impression he believed I had done him harm. Yet I have never
met the man.. never saw him before."
The name had no significance for me, either. I found it rather strange that he
appeared on the scene so coincidentally. Beechel did too. "He spoke for a
while and made some rather cryptic statement about the 'children suffering for
the sins of the fathers.' I did not take well to it, but we allowed him to leave
when he was ready."
I asked Beechel what his plans were now.
"Anton spoke of Justice, so we think he might be a follower of that Virtue,
and that would lead us to the Shrine of Justice, near Yew, the one on Trammel,
of course. I plan to do all I can to learn of his whereabouts and find out if he
is behind this evil toward me."
I sensed more than mere desire for knowledge that flashed in Beechel's eyes when
he spoke. It appeared to be anger, or perhaps.. malice. I decided to press him
about it.. what would he do if he found out that Anton was behind it?
Beechel, still admiring my mount, stopped abruptly. His knuckles whitened as he
gripped his shepherd's crook tightly. "I would kill him.. before he kills
me and mine."
One look in the tired, harassed farmer's eyes showed me what he said was no
jest, and no idle threat. I knew then this entire affair must end in death