"She lives in the Shaemsaerr Wilds... a day or two ride from here. Some say she moved there to get away from the minds of others... to find some peace. The general gossip is that she's a witch and she can mold minds," Malek said.
The Prince drained his cup and put it down. "I've heard of this one," he belched. "Isn't she supposed to be rather dangerous as in 'not friendly to trespassers?'"
"As a rule, most hermit types aren't, but supposedly she can be reached if you go through the right channels," Malek replied. "If she's half as powerful as they say, she could turn the tide... perhaps even have an effect on the lich itself."
"And the price?"
"We'll have to find out up front," Yrmus smiled.
With the three agreed, Thing #1 and Thing #2 were left in control of the manor house in the mean time. The Prince and his new allies mounted and headed southwest.
The journey took a little over a day and as darkness fell, they found themselves riding into the outer reaches of the Shaemsaerr Wilds. The forest growth on the roadsides took on a decidedly sinister air with branches reaching out to snag the unwary. Their mounts became skittish and the air was subtlely colder here.
"There's a tavern about an hour from here," Malek said. "It's called Bagher House and it's there we can make inquiries."
In time, they reached Bagher House... a dilapidated two story structure with smoke pouring from each chimney. The riders stabled their mounts and eased through the front door.
Though bright and warm, there were few patrons present. Two men sat huddled around a corner table; a hooded figure sat at a table near one fireplace, and the barkeep lurked in the shadows. Malek approached the bar and the keep slid toward him. Drinks were ordered, and the riders took a table in the middle of the room.
The Prince looked around and pulled his cloak closer. "Charming place."
"You have to undestand it's slightly off the beaten path," Malek replied. "The patrons are going to be almost all locals... any new faces are here for a reason."
"Now what?" Yrmus asked.
Malek shrugged. "Like I said, new faces have a reason to be here, and visiting the Witch is the main reason. Let's see what happens."
Let's see what happens, the Prince thought, and shook his head in derision.