The Ghost Of The Inquisitor was in the air within an hour. Naluitha had wished them luck, and they had left the camp. Nerui looked as though she couldn’t bear to spend anymore time there.
The Windglider flew over the trees, with the fire blazing. The winds battered the balloon, sending them off course twice.
As they left Rillwynn, the trees became towering rock walls as they entered Granden Garde. The Murdered Mountains were one of the five great mountain ranges across Kandrakah, and was rarely travelled over because of the dangerous crevasses and caverns that claimed the lives of many that dared to venture across it.
“The King and Kenn were friends. When the Illuminism Act was introduced, Streylen smuggled him from the city and hid him here,” Danyel spoke loudly over the winds.
“Do you know where?” Deadrick asked. Since he had discovered that Danyel actually had a use, he was being slightly warmer- at least till they found Kenn.
Danyel shook his head and Deadrick growled, his usefulness had run it’s course, it seemed.
Danyel made a small noise and held his arms out.
“It will be the only house within a few hundred miles of here, does that help?” He cried.
Deadrick shot him a look.
“There!” Bruad yelled, “I can see a house!”
Deadrick leant over the side of the ship. Perching on the edge of a canyon, there sat a small house with one window and a chimney- that to more experienced eyes was actually a miniature mage tower, which would usually spill out colourful smoke from mixed potions.
Nerui twisted the rotor slightly and Deadrick began to turn down the flame, and the ship began to fall to the canyon edge.
They landed it away from the house, so not to startle its inhabitant, and Deadrick threw himself over the side and stood on the ladder.
“I’ll go by myself,” Deadrick explained, “He’s been here a while, with no kind of visitor. It will be much less intimidating for him,”
The group agreed, and Deadrick looked towards the house. Deep inside him, he felt something… a shiver… a tingle. The house looked in a state of disrepair, and almost uninhabited if it wasn’t for the one, solitary lit window.
“Keep the fire burning,” He said quietly.
Deadrick wandered warily towards the house. The tingling in his stomach still there. It wasn’t his Sense… it was something else. His body telling him that there was something that wasn’t quite right.
He stopped at the door, pressing his ear to the wood. From inside, he could hear somebody speaking.
Putting his hand on the rotten handle, Deadrick pushed the door inwards.
The house was a simple one. It was all one room, a desk, a fire, a bed and a worktable, over which a small man hunched. The whole place stank, of rotting reagents and potions, a possibly of the man himself.
Deadrick took one last breath of the mountain air, and stepped inside.
“It wouldn’t be long, I told them. I sure as rain from grey clouds I told them it wouldn’t be long!” The man mumbled.
Deadrick watched him carefully.
“Kenn?” He spoke slowly, not to startle the man.
“Kenn… I knew a man called Kenn once. Crazy as a bucket of Bleggs, he was. I told him as well. Told him good!”
Kenn stayed hunched over. He was shivering, his hands slowly running up and down empty beakers and mixing pots.
“What happened to Kenn? I haven’t a clue, I think he burnt. Burnt under the glare of a beast so evil, so sinister and… unholy. Yes, that was it,” Kenn was insane, Deadrick decided. He was babbling on, Deadrick didn’t have time for him.
He scanned the room, finding a cabinet in the far corner. Deadrick slowly walked past Kenn and opened the rotting doors. It was almost empty, but for one lone felt lined box about the size of Deadrick’s palm.
Deadrick opened the top to find what he was looking for. It was a stone, small but felt somehow much bigger than what it was.
It was a Veil stone. A solidified spell cast by an Illuminist, it would give the person who activated it a life as someone else, with a different face, for as long as the stone existed in one piece.
He closed the box and slid it into his pocket, and turned to find Kenn facing him. His eyes wide set back in his old face, his thin lips quivering slightly.
And he was blocking the door.
“You are one of the first people to come here in so many years,” The old man said. Deadrick would have brushed him out of the way, but it was something about his eyes. They kept him there, burning into him.
“Who else would come? You live so far out of the way-“ Deadrick stopped in his tracks, “Wait… one of the few?”
Kenn nodded, his hands balling into a fist, then opening again.
“Who else has been here?” Deadrick asked suspiciously.
“The King used to visit me here… so often. He used to talk to me, say he was sorry,” Kenn said, a tinge of sanity in his voice, “But then he stopped coming. I was alone then… then, I met him,”
Deadrick’s blood ran cold.
“He came and spoke to me, kept me company. And he told me that you would come… and said you were bad. He asked for help,” Kenn’s voice was changing, becoming deep, “He was my friend, and he said you’d hurt me… and he said he’d protect me,”
What happened next Deadrick would remember for the rest of his life. Kenn’s eyes went red, a burning blood colour that seemed to light the room. His mouth opened into a soundless scream as long, razor sharp teeth grew from his gums. His long unkempt hair began to fall from his head, cascading onto the floor, until all was left was a scab-covered scalp.
Deadrick went to reach for his gun, but the creature held out a clawed hand, and Deadrick froze. He tried to yell for the others, but no sound came out.
“Greetings, Inquisitor,” Kenns voice had become deep, inhuman and snarling- the voice of a demon. It entered Deadrick’s ears and seemed to penetrate his soul, “My name is Juhra, and I’ve been waiting for you,”