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Ghost of Eric Returns
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 mischievously. 

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 mystery." 

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 eventually.. for someone.

Published: August 2000
Please Note: Some dates are estimates as exact dates were unavailable.
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