Wilfric is troubled by strange dreams – he witnesses the farm building burning again, but this time he is in the fields behind the back of the farm compound. He is not alone; something is there – watching him.
Upon waking, he discusses this with Benedict. Meanwhile, Maria chats with Brother Yackmann – the monk she met a couple of nights ago. He has nothing new to tell her.
Benedict asks Japeth if they may conduct a summoning of a recently passed soul, to reassure him that the practice of Necromancy is not inherently evil. Japeth acquiesces, and arranges a Necromantic summoning in the catacombs of the monastery. The spirit of a recently departed monk is summoned, and Benedict asks it some questions. He is happy to see for himself that the spirit is not in any pain or duress, and he feels reassured that the practice of Necromancy isn’t inherently evil. The spirit of the monk becomes agitated and imparts a warning to Benedict – that something is coming, something that disturbs the forces of the spirit world. He warns Japeth ‘beware the betrayer. Beware!’ before vanishing.
Wilfric returns to the Inn, to meet his sire for sword training. Marchettus the Bold presents Wilfric with one of his two bastard swords while they walk to the edge of the forest besides the Inn. Unbeknownst to The Founders, Benedict has been busy in the forest – he has summoned an owl (One of the animals that helped him track two of the founders to the farm compound), and Ghouled it by feeding it his blood.
As Marchettus and Wilfric began to duel, Benedict gave the word for his newly created owl to attack. It swoops down and attempts to attack Marchettus, but the powerful kindred easily avoids its swooping attack, before dealing it a wicked blow with his bastard sword. Wilfric was waiting for an opportunity to pounce, but he didn’t feel the time was right. Obfuscated, Benedict leaps upon Marchettus’ back and attempts to wrestle him to the ground. Marchettus easily throws Benedict to the ground, but the distraction is enough to allow Wilfric to deal a series of savage blows upon his sire.
Marchettus calls upon his reserves of will and stolen blood to deal with the wounds. As he prepares to deal a death blow to the prone Benedict, the wounded owl flings itself at him. This unexpected attack catches Marchettus completely by surprise – the savage creature uses its newly gifted strength to pluck an eye from Marchettus’ head. This grievous wound distracts Marchettus long enough for his childe to physically overwhelm him and drive a stake through his heart. As Marchettus slips into Torpor he balefully stares at his childe and managed to say ‘coward’. Wilfric drains his sire dry of the last vestiges of his vitae, then continues to suck, until he consumed the very soul of Marchettus. The corpse of his former sire withers into nothing more than a pile of dust, to be blown away by the wind. Wilfric and Benedict took his few worldly possessions, including his horse. As Wilfric consumes the soul of his sire, Benedict offers the owl enough of his blood to heal itself of the wounds inflicted upon it. He names the bird Minerva, and keeps it as his Ghoul.
During this time, Maria was stalking the night for prey of her own. She searches the lonely, windswept roads for something, or rather someone, that suits her specific needs. She happens upon a dying man lying in the side of a lane. He tells her that he is a disposed earl. He had been ousted from power by his brother many years ago. He was attacked by brigands and left for dead while travelling to a meeting of locals to build support for a popular uprising to restore him to power in the region of Galtre. Before dying, he tells Maria that his daughter is at the Inn of the Lion, his last request was for her to deliver his signet ring, the only worldly possession he was able to hide from the brigands, to his daughter.
Maria travelled to the inn. After talking to the nobleman’s daughter, she discovered that the young woman had no inkling of the identities of the people who were supposed to lead this uprising, or even her own uncle’s name. Maria decided such a simpleton didn’t deserve to live, and slew her – by consuming her life’s blood, and stealing her possessions; a beautiful hairbrush and hand mirror, and three exquisite ball gowns.
They return to the monastery, to sleep away the daylight hours in safety. But they are each troubled by powerful nightmares; Wilfric’s seems especially troublesome. Benedict and Wilfric discuss what they can do to resolve this puzzling problem, while Maria pretends she was unaffected. Benedict and Wilfric agree to return to the farm compound, to visit the site of their dreams. Maria feigns indifference. After they depart, she discreetly follows them from a distance.
When they near the farmland, Benedict sends Minerva the owl to search the area, but she doesn’t check the path behind them, so she is unaware of Maria. She sees nothing she deems important and tells her master so. Wilfric boldly strides forward, and Benedict obfuscates; all the better to watch his friend’s back. While keeping watch from his vantage point, Benedict spots an unexpected figure – Maria. He creeps behind and grabs her. She keeps her cool, swiftly grabbing him by the testicles and begins squeezing. After a tense moment, they agree to release one another.
Wilfric returns to the site of his nightmares, where he discovers a large old oak tree with a pagan alter carved into it. Figures crafted from straw and carved wood are scattered about the altar. Offerings of food surround the tree. Someone has desecrated the altar.
Behind the tree is a family graveyard. It is obvious that many generations of the farmer’s family are buried here. Wilfric calls the others over. They notice that the children they saw burned to death in the fire are not buried here.
Benedict begins digging up one of the oldest graves, as he is doing this he notices the wind intensifying in a most unnatural way. He stops digging, but the wind intensifies further still. He begins piling the dirt back on the grave, but the wind increases more and more. Benedict turns around and discovers he is standing in a field. Rows of plants bearing succulent fruit and vegetables stand either side of him, blocking his path. A large ominous figure stares at him from the distance. It watches him, waiting.
Wilfric and Maria find themselves in the same place, surrounded by rows of plants, being watched by the figure, but unable to see one another. Maria begins to consecrate the ground, but her attempts are stymied by the growing winds buffeting her, making it almost impossible for her to speak. Benedict experiments by walking backwards, then forwards, to see how the strange figure will respond. A heartbeat later, the creature stands behind him, his voice coming from the winds rustling through the undergrowth of the hedgerows.
The entity blames the group for what has happened to the farmers. It reveals that the family were pagans, that for generations they lived on the lands, worshipping the old gods and leaving many offerings. Since their children died, the family have lost their faith. They have turned their backs on the old gods, embraced Christianity and moved away – to escape the constant reminders of their loss.
The figure will only forgive the group if they perform three tasks. The first of which is to find a pagan family to move into the farm, work the land and honour the elder gods. He will not tell them what the remaining tasks are until the first is completed.