We rejoin our characters as they make camp in the woods between Kenmare and Killarney, just Northwest of the spot where they were ambushed by the mage from Kenmare. Here they forced him to talk, and discovered him to be a weak and pathetic mageling, lured by money and the promise of great powers to serve the man who had enacted the ritual of the Dragon at Killarney. His job was simply to keep a watch on the village, and kill any who went there seeking answers. In exchange he was given an amulet of dragon bone, which he would turn into an item of great power “one day”; money; and a promise of access to great power.
The mage revealed that the man who employed him was William de Bouverie, Earl of Radnor, whose ancestral home is Lanhydnock in Bodmin, Cornwall. The characters had their mark, and the circle was now closed – they knew who had sent the assassin to them, they knew that he was connected to the Irish mercenaries they had previously seen in Newfoundland, and they knew how to free those mercenaries…
… or, one should say, they would know how to free those mercenaries, as soon as they summoned a lore demon to tell them. Which would require a human sacrifice.
All eyes settled on the mage…
… and without much in the way of further qualms, the characters returned to Killarney, and enacted a ritual human sacrifice. Brian the Hunter summoned a storm as Father Cantrus, following the instructions in the book, paced out a circle. Anna Labrousse kept the mage occupied with her calming voice and enchantress’s ways, so that he only realised at the last – as they chained him to the pole – what would happen to him. His realisation came almost at the same time as Brian’s storm swept over town, Cantrus began chanting, and Dave Black hacked the wizard apart with a blunt wooden stake. His organs separated and cast about the circle, yet still vaguely alive, the mage was fed to the Demon Cantrus summoned. This Demon was 12′ tall, with praying mantis-like eyes atop an insectoid head, vestigial wings, long clawed fingers, and a wiry, black-scaled, vaguely humanoid body. When it had fed, it deigned to answer their questions:
- It told them how to enact a ritual to reverse the curse on Killarney
- It told them that the secret to protecting their fledgling red empire from war and ruin lay in Bodmin
- It refused to answer questions about who the characters’ main enemy was – possibly out of fear
The characters released it and then enacted another ritual while the storm raged. Russell Ganymede reactivated the old summoning circle that surrounded the Killarney town square, they cast the mage’s dragon bone amulet into the centre, and then Anna Labrousse and David Cantrus invoked the ritual. They chanted for the remainder of the night, working their will, and then, exhausted, left at dawn for their ship in distant Kenmare.
From Kenmare they sailed to Newquay, England, setting their ship aside at the docks, and travelled over Bodmin moor to the town of Bodmin. As they approached, they saw 4 Irish mercenaries riding up the hill. The two groups came to a halt and the characters learnt that the Irish mercenaries had indeed been freed. At first they were confused but now they were free. In town, parts of William de Bouverie’s ancestral home burnt, and some soldiers had been killed when the non-Irish guards turned on their newly-freed Irish colleagues.
Anna realised that the Irish soldiers were weak of mind from the ritual, and easily suggestible, so she talked the 4 soldiers into joining them. With their numbers increased, the characters rode through Bodmin to Lanhydrock, and entered the extensive gardens around the building. Here they were ambushed by two more of the infernal remade assassins which had first attacked them in Albany, but these two they slew quickly. They then charged to the house, where after a short gun battle with guards at the door they were ready to enter Lanhydrock, to uncover its secrets…