Maribeth shared her secrets with me. When we were back at the Native village, an old witchwoman gave her a gift, and promptly passed away. That’s why there was lightning in the sky before we ran away. Maribeth said it showed her strange spirit things, and there were towers and books and things. It sounds very strange to me.
James told us his secrets, too. He’s been having dreams of the sea, and he’s really scared. We’ll protect him, though, we always do. Remy has secret dreams, too, since he lost his eye. He says they’re someone else’s dreams, or memories maybe. They’re all about war, but not war dreams. More like dreams about someone experiencing war. He says he can feel things, but he’s not seeing a war played out, no battles or anything. Then Remy tells us all about his family are old nobility and he was trained as a Knight of the Realm, even though there aren’t Knights or Kings anymore.
Kendrick tells us that someone else went missing last night, so we all head into town to solve the next problem on our list. Asking around, we find out that Brucey Dickenson was his name, and he left sometime before dawn. Brucey had been telling people that he had strange dreams, too, but he know one knew what about. He was just a baker’s apprentice who walked down to the shore and disappeared into the mist. None of the disappeared people came from the same area of town, and they were all sorts of different people. I ask the folk I talk with to send anyone speaking of strange dreams up to the castle so we can protect them. It seemed like a few of them even listened to me.
We spend the rest of the day discussing plans to protect and/or follow James. Dalish thinks we ought to tie him to the bed and to Dalish himself, to keep him from wandering off. The others think we should just set watch and follow him down to the sea. We can’t solve the problem if we don’t know what is calling these people. Gerhardt even sets an alarm outside Dalish and James’ room. Naturally, us being all prepared, nothing happens that night.
In the morning, it’s Harvest Close Festival. We all get decked out for a Festival Day, some of us more than others, and have a nice breakfast before heading into town. Some of the boys are still frightened of the orange juice, and I really don’t know why. It’s delicious!
The town has a huge Wicker Witch in the square, once green and now turning brown, that farmers are placing offerings in. There are games around and dancing and a stage for some competitons. There will even be a talent competition that evening. It’s so exciting, I can’t wait to see what people do. There are archery, pie-eating, arm-wrestling, and drinking competitions throughout the day.
We all wander around a bit until the Pie Eating competition starts, then head back to the stage. James, Dalish, and Gerhardt decide to enter against three townsfolk. It’s all fun until people start puking everywhere. Why would people do this?! I watch, but just barely, until Dalish finally wins out over everyone, and even that by only a few seconds. That was disgusting! I am Not watching the drinking contest, as I’m told it ends just about the same way.
We wander around a bit more and some of us find a few bites to eat for lunch. Then we head to the Archery contest. Nat and Remy decide to enter, but they are far outmatched by the local hunters. Next up is the Arm Wrestling competition. Nat and Klyce decide to enter, just for the fun of it. Nat actually wins her first round, and unsurprisingly, so does Klyce. Klyce goes up against a local blacksmith next, and through a very intense and exciting bout, actually comes out on top. Nat somehow ends up in the final round against Klyce, and while she loses, she gives a good showing first.
Next we head over to the edge of the festival where a bunch of Traveling caravans are set up. Nat introduces us to her mother’s family, and they welcome us warmly. We exchange stories of our recent adventures, and they tell us of a coming storm. Nat tells them of the plant creatures, but they are unfamiliar. They pass on news of the Royalists heading back to the Old World, afraid of the wizards. We ask them about henges and the old gods, but they say that’s all Old World stuff and invite us to relax and dance with them.
We have a lovely time dancing, and even get James and Dalish to put on swishy skirts to dance like Nat’s aunties. Just before we leave, we ask about getting our fortunes read. They say they won’t read the boys’ fortunes, but they’ll read for Maribeth, Nat, and me. Maribeth comes out with a nice sachet of tea, as does Nat. But then Old Baba invites me into her tent.
She asks what I want to know about, and I tell her about my magic having no apparent source. And about my dreams where the ground has a heartbeat. She asks if I have Native blood, but my parents have never said such a thing. Not that they would, it wouldn’t be Proper. Baba takes my hands, and we sit around her glowing orb. And then… and… well, it all goes horribly wrong.
The wind starts blowing through the tent, and around in circles, blowing everything around. I try to apologize, but I’m not doing it. I try to ask her what’s going on, but she just holds my hands and stares harder at the globe. It starts glowing brighter, and brighter, and brighter! Until it Explodes! Baba falls back and I keep apologizing and yelling for Nat to come in. When she does, Baba yells at me to Get Out!
I ran all the way back to the castle in tears. All the way in and back up to my bedroom, and threw myself into bed. Maribeth and Nat followed me all the way, and sat with me, trying to find out what happened. I tell them about the wind and the glowing and the explosion. It was all my fault. No, I didn’t do it, but my magic doesn’t make any sense. And I shouldn’t have asked her about it. I shouldn’t have exposed her to things that don’t even make sense to me. It was wind and light, and it Must have been me. And she must hate me for breaking her globe!
Nat and Maribeth do their best to calm me down. Nat says Baba was just surprised, she’s not mad, and she has plenty of other globes. It’s okay, it’s not my fault. They wonder if the source of my magic was just trying to communicate with me, and just didn’t know how. Maribeth gets some tea from the kitchen and we all decide to have sleepover in my room.
That night, James goes for a walk. Dalish and the others come and get the three of us, and we all follow him down to the coast. We hear whistling in the distance. There’s a light in the mist, and when it approaches, we see a nicely dressed young man. With glowing red eyes. I levitate James up in the air to keep him from going to this spectre. Nat says it’s his brother Stephen. Said brother recognizes Nat and runs away from us.
The chase is on, but I have to keep James safe, so some of us just walk quickly while others run after him. Eventually, we all get to a cave in the cliffs. Nat and Klyce muscle a big stone out from the entrance so we can get in. While they’re doing that, Nat tells us that Stephen was too young to be a useful zombie, so he’d just been lying in repose in the catacombs below the castle. I can’t carry James anymore, so we wake him up before we head in and down.
We find ourselves surrounded by burned out buildings after awhile. Nat says that some years ago, a Harvest Festival went horribly wrong and burned down the village. Great Grandpa Nathaniel ended up burying the town so that they could forget and rebuild. The people who died in the fire where buried with the town. It seems that they’ve all become shadows, we discover as a handful attack us and have to be put down again.