Rouffe and his escort rode back to his father’s walls. They were granite and marred by previous assaults. Smaller stones set within the larger boulders were patches from hurled missiles from catapults. They looked like scabs. Rouffe had been a baby when the last war occurred. They crossed a bridge and entered the gate flanked by two rearing dragons.
Rouffe worried about what his father wanted. He was fourteen and the age when he might be required to make a formidable adventure. One of which many young men had not survived.
They passed under a round vaulted portal. Torches blazed on the walls. Rouffe always felt humbled by this place. This would become his if he lived long enough.
They approached two men who sat on the ground with swords across their knees. “Ha, you got the boy, good work.”
Rouffe and his escort stopped at a wooden door held together by iron bands. Gouges pitted the door. It was more evidence of an assault by an invading force. The door opened with a groan. Armed guards nodded as they entered.
The great hall was lit at the far end by a huge fireplace. Along the walls leading to the flames were captured battle banners, swords of their vanquished enemies and battered pieces of armor.
Roffe saw his father sitting on one side of the burning fire pit. He sat slumped over as if mourning a loss. The baron was not a tall man but he was thick and muscular. His beard was gray was gray and matched his hair in color. His leather shirt was worn and patched. It reminded Rouffe of the man who wore it.
Without looking up he raised his arm. “Sit next to me, we must talk.”
Rouffe bowed slightly and sat. “How are you father?”
“I am well.” He nodded, sighed and grabbed his elbow as if feeling some invisible pain. “This has been a wonderful. No wars and now we have had a wonderful harvest.”
“I watched the fire,” Rouffe said. He rocked his shoulders and smiled at his father. “Everyone was dancing and laughing. They were happy.”
“No more Loup Garoux. But still people are cautious.”
“I have heard he had a son.”
“That is possible.” Choud nodded. “If there is a son he will be hell bent on vengeance.”
“He would be after us.” Rouffe shook his head.
“That’s why I hesitate to ask this.” Choud bowed his head and looked away from Rouffe. “I want you to go to the Outer Mountains and find a All Hallows log.” Choud looked into Rouffe’s eyes and frowned. “People are afraid to go to that haunted area.”
Rouffe nodded, “I will go.”
“It will be good for the people to see and hear the voices when it burns.”
“The voices of the dead.”
“Yes those warriors who were killed around the tree.”
“When it burns the voices will come out?”
“Yes.” Choud gave a slight shudder. “I have heard the voice of your grandfather coming from an All Hallows log.”
“It must have a strong spirit in it.”
“Yes voices of ther dead killed in combat.”
“It sounds scary.”
“Yes and there are still All Hallows logs out there.” Choud leaned back and sighed. “I would like to hear the voices again.”
“This is a task for a true warrior.”
“Yes it is Rouffe, and this is something you must do for me.”

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