With the trail in Abernyte running running cold, Dundees newest would-be heores seemed at a loss, but luckily fate smiled on them with the arrival of an ork crone. Agnes, had watched the battle and, even as she spoke with the Deputy sheriff and the noble, she noticing an odd individual leaving the scene. What really drew her was the nams aura – he had none. Not just an absence, this man was a hole in the astral, nothing but a fleshy shell!
Agnes attempted to follow the figure but the shell was faster than her and as she followed him out of Dundee and on to the Perth road she began to loose sight of him. Swiftly she called on the aid of a zephyr, requesting the spirit to follow the figure for as long as possible, returning every few minutes to point her in the right direction. The spirit was happy to help and worked tirelessly to guide the old Ork. She followed it for hours as it went in a straight line through the wilderness until, eventually, the spirit no longer returned. Not knowing what had happened, she went to the last mark the spirit had conveyed to her – a small hamlet nearby.
As she walked into Abernyte she was greeted with no little surprise and suspicion the the others there, but was quickly welcomed with her new information. With the sun beginning to set and the tales of the wild Sidlaws in their heads, the heroes decided to take shelter for the night in the hamlet and depart in the morning. With the corpses that littered the down burried, they chose a house an settled in for the night – all except for Orion. The odd elf insisted that he was more comfortable in the wild and that he would look for game. Hours later her returned with a few grouse and tales of a strange light off near the ruins of Castle Dudhope, only to depart shorty after dinner.
The night was cold and dark and all was quiet until almost 3 am when Deputy Sherrif Struman and Cid Sitron-Blodåre, who were on watch, heard a noise outside. Deciding to investigate the left the house and quickly discovered the sound, a feral scrabbling noise, was coming from either inside, or behind the barn outside. The snuck carefully and quietly to the corner of the bar and finally, turning the corner, they came across one of the most stunningly beautiful sights either has ever seen; a Firefox. It had been scrabbling at the rear of the barn, eager to get in….
For a heartbeat it looked at them and they looked at it… before Deputy Sherrif Struman decided to shoot it! It ran and he missed. Cid Sitron-Blodåre gave chase while Deputy Sherrif Struman reloaded and fired again, missing a second time. With the Firefox a distance off the pair gave up the chase, but as they watched a shadowy figure dropped from a tree into the Firefoxes path, with sword drawn, and savagely struck the creature down. The figure began hacking at the body even as the pair yelled and ran towards him. As they closed, the figure looked up at them and barred its teeth and snarled, twisting Orions otherwise handsome elven features into a mockery of savagery. The figure fled into the night leaving the savagely mutilated corpse with nothing left recoverable of that glorious pelt.
Even as the pair mused on what they had seen and tried to see if any of the creature was recoverable, Agnes was woken by a whimpering sound, as if a child wept nearby. She followed the sound to the rear door and in the astral saw the pure blue aura of a being hiding just outside. It was Orion, sat on the muddy ground his back against the wall, weeping like a child his bloodstained hands shaking and his oriental iron sword glinting crimson beside him.
She talked to him, tried to calm him and reason with him, but to little avail, so instead she went to get his friend, Elara in the hope that she might help him. And so she did, taking him inside and loosening his tongue. He told her about the dark spirit that haunted him and that, very occasionally, snuck in through a crack in his defense and could possess him, even if just for a short time. He told her that it had only happened once before, the night he killed his parents that he could remember everything when it did. He remembered the fox, bright and pure in the moonlight, he remembered striking it down, the glee at the destruction of something bright and the distress and confusion that it would cause those around him when they learnt it was him. It was gone now though, absent like it hadn’t been since he was young, and for a moment he dared to believe that it might truly be…. gone.
After Struman and Cid returned they spoke to Agnes and Elara and told them what they had seen. The two mages decided to take a look for themselves while Orion recovered upstairs. What they found was something they hadn’t expected. Yes, they found a corpse, but in the stral they found the Firefoxs spirit, small, but bright, lashing itself against a cage of magic and thorns and beating itself bloody and howling. Shocked and not knowing how such a thing had come to pass, they nevertheless resolved that the creatures spirit should be freed its cage. Without knowing how the cage came to be they didn’t truly know how to remove it, so they took the simplest route. With Struman and Cid guarding their bodies, they projected their spirits to the astral and hurled magic and their spirits at it, even as they stilled the soul of the creature within it. It worked and a few seconds later the cage crumbled and, once released, the spirit fled. As they returned to their bodies, they awoke to the sound of screaming from the house. Rushing back, the discovered Orion, twisted in agony on the floor, marked with the scars of the electrical magic they hurled at the cage and with the marks of the demon returned to his soul. Cid healed Orion as best he could and with that the evening passed quietly, each with their own thoughts.
The next morning it was decided that they must continue to pursue the trail of Kathryns kidnappers into the Sidlaws but that Orion needed help to try and control the demon that haunted him and that an exorcism at the hands of Brother Claudius could be exactly what he needed. He decided to travel to Dundee along with Hamish while the others continued their search. And so they parted ways…
The rest went north over Kirkton Hill hoing to avoid the longer journey round the peak and hoping to pick up the tracks of those who survived Abernyte on the other side. All was well with the climb and the descent, and they found the tracks on the other side, but that was not all they found. The trail was warded, but what did it do? With little experience in the group and a ward that extended either side of the trail, Sir Arthur Fergusson decided to proceed and entered the area. Immediately he was ambushed by armed men, barely catching the crossbow bolt on his shield. The battle was joined. Murdo rushed in to aid him even though he couldn’t see the attackers, and second later Agnes and Elara rode into the area seeking the attackers. They didn’t see them, but instead Elara saw a manifested spirit of earth a distance down the track and made for it with all haste, dumping Agnes on the ground. Struman still outside the ward was unclear on what was going on but with an ambush in progress didn’t hesitate and fired into the bush behind which the archers were hiding and Sir Arthur Fergusson watched the attackers face explode, half a heartbeat before his downswing would have killed the man. His kill stolen, Sir Arthur Fergusson felt the rage rising….