The Witch Hunter

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Booksie Classic
A guilt stricken witch hunter finds redemption during the hunt for a murderer.

Submitted: January 19, 2017

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Submitted: January 19, 2017

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The Witch Hunter

 

 

by Matthew Bissonnette

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

England, 1578

 

The town of Banbury was a secluded community to the north of England near the border to Scotland. It was a village of simple wood homes surrounded by several farms, in the center of town was the small stone church and the town square. During a frigid morning in Autumn, the towns people had gathered at the square to watch a woman named Chelsey White be burned alive at the stake. The simple peasants, dressed in cloth garments, stood around a pole to which the woman, a young blonde with fair skin, was tied, at its base was a pile of lumber. The crowd cheered as a man dressed in a black robe approached the pole with a blazing torch in his hand. Chelsey cried and continually professed her innocence.

“I am not a witch,” she screamed, “I serve God, not the devil.”

Someone in the crowd yelled, “burn, burn for lying with the devil!”

Chelsey began to pray as a guilt stricken Geoffrey watched from behind the crowd.

Geoffrey Hall was a tall, muscular man with prematurely gray hair though he was only of the age of 37. He was dressed in black clothing and a gray cloak which flapped about in a mild wind from the North. His piercing hazel eyes betrayed the guilt he felt, for he looked both melancholy and sad.

Beside him was his portly servant, Clayton Smith; He had on a brown cloth tunic which matched his short brown hair. Clayton looked at his master and said, “so master, we have rid the world of another witch.”

Geoffrey looked sympathetically at Chelsey and replied, “no, we have sent another woman to her death.”

Clayton asked, “what is it with you lately, you seem to feel sorry for these criminals.”

Geoffrey said nothing, but watched as the executioner set the pile of wood at the base of the pole on fire as Chelsey began to scream. He turned away when her clothes caught fire.

Geoffrey Hall was of noble birth, gifted athletically since youth, he had been a knight in service to a baron. He had fought in two small wars and had gained the reputation as a fierce warrior, though when the baron had asked him to help root out witches in England, he turned in his sword and armor and began to hunt those who had given their allegiance to the devil. In the beginning he believed that people where involved in witchcraft and where serving Lucifer, and had sent many to their end. But even then he did not engage in acts like torture against the accused, but would simply act upon accusations made by neighbors and friends of the guilty. But he had witnessed tortures perpetrated by others of his trade and it had always made him uneasy. But as the years past, he came to the realization that he had never once seen any genuine use of maligned sorcery or the presence of demons on Earth. He had only seen people accused who would only confess after the most brutal forms of torture, and he began to doubt that there where any witches at all. He began to believe that he was having innocent people murdered, and it made him feel like he was more of a monster then the individuals that he was hunting.

He had arrived in Banbury after Chelsey White had been imprisoned by the local authorities. He had questioned her but she maintained her innocence and he believed that she was guilty of nothing but being someone who the people of Banbury hated. He had prevented the authorities from torturing her, which was risky since those who where moderate in witch hunting where often accused of witchcraft themselves. But he could not spare her, the local nobleman was adamant she be put to death. As he watched her being burned alive as the villagers cheered, he began to hate who he was and what he did. This was not the work of God, it was the work of evil he came to believe.

Geoffrey bluntly asked, “Clayton, how many witches have we sent to their death?”

He thought about his masters question then said, “around twelve.”

Then Geoffrey asked, “had how many times have we ever seen sorcery or demons with our own eyes.”

Clayton then said, “master, your words could have you and I put to death ourselves. I know you doubt that the devil is working his evil influence in these lands, but it must be true if even the king believes it.”

Geoffrey replied, “and even a king can't be wrong?”

Clayton seemed worried. “If you have doubts, keep them to yourself. I do not wish to hear them.”

Chelsey, covered with burns and her hair now aflame, stopped struggling and then died. The crowd was in a frenzy, they seemed to relish in this woman's torment and death.

Geoffrey turned away and began to walk towards the stable where his steed was housed. He said coldly, “let's get the hell out of here.”

 

The baron whom Geoffrey served, a man named James Robinson, lived in a large manor outside of London. Geoffrey had arrived the next morning after a days ride having received a summons from the baron. He rode atop his black steed, his faithful horse he had named Shadow, galloped into the courtyard. He dismounted his horse and a servant of James Robinson led the steed away. Geoffrey looked at the manor, a lavish building made of red stone and covered with stained glass windows. He took a second to ready himself and entered the manor.

As usual, Robinson was in his chambers sitting in a large oak chair in front of a roaring fire place, his face covered with the dim glow of the flames. The baron was a large man dressed in expensive robes with curly red hair. He was in his early fifties yet still seemed younger then his age.

When Geoffrey entered the room quietly, the baron turned and looked at his long time friend and dutiful knight. The baron jovially said, “so you have returned. How was your time in Banbury?”

Geoffrey seemed stone faced and unemotional. “I did as you asked. The White woman was put to death yesterday.”

Baron Robinson looked at Geoffrey's face and asked, “are you OK old friend, you seem bothered by something?”

“Nothing I care to trouble you with sir,” Geoffrey replied.

The baron resumed looking at the fire. “I am not a fool Geoffrey, I know doubt has crept into your heart about what it is you do.”

“Baron,” Geoffrey said, “I wish to serve as a knight again. I prefer battle to hunting for supposed witches.”

Baron Robinson looked at Geoffrey again. “You prefer to risk your life in war?”

“Yes,” Geoffrey replied, “there is honor in battle, I see no honor in what I do now.”

The baron said, “both the king and the pope are convinced that the devil has many servants in this country, and to doubt their convictions is dangerous. I know you feel compassion for the accused witches, but do not let others discover this for it will put you in great risk.”

“I have seen many people tortured, people who have done nothing in my opinion, and my conscience is weighing heavily on my mind. Please baron, have me serve in the army again, I never want to see another woman put to death.”

The baron looked towards the fire. “I will grant you request Geoffrey if you do one last task for me.”

Geoffrey asked, “and what is it that you would have me do?”

Baron Robinson told him, “there is a convent outside of a village called Dovercourt, it is run by a priest named Vincent Wilcox. I wish you to ride there tomorrow.”

“And what is it I am to do,” Geoffrey asked.

The Baron explained, “the people of Dovercourt are convinced that there is a coven of witches in the area. It would be the usual task of finding the guilty, but this situation is different. There have been several murders, people have been discovered who seemed to have been ritually sacrificed. They say words in some unknown language have been carved into the skin of the victims. This time, there is a certainty that something evil is afoot.”

“So why do you ask me to go to this convent and not Dovercourt,” Geoffrey said.

“Because,” the baron replied, “a nun in this convent is said to be possessed by a demon. I am sure that these two events are linked. Go speak to Vincent Wilcox and interrogate this possessed nun, discover who is committing these murders and what evil is at work in Dovercourt.”

Geoffrey was reluctant to agree but asked, “and if I do this, I may serve as a knight again?”

The baron nodded. “Geoffrey, do this, and you will never have to hunt for another witch. You may return to battle if that's want you want.”

Geoffrey then said, “I will do as you ask. I will find who is responsible for these foul deeds being committed in Dovercourt. When do you want me to leave?”

“Now,” the baron ordered, “the convent is on the coast to the east. If you ride fast you can be there by tonight.”

Geoffrey turned to leave but said as he left, “then I depart for Dovercourt immediately.”

The baron smiled. “Be careful old friend, I fear that this time, you may be in peril. Good luck.”

Geoffrey then left the baron's chambers leaving him alone. Robinson muttered, “I fear I shall never see you again.”

The baron then returned to gazing at the fire, the flames dancing rhythmically bathing him in their soft glow.

 

Geoffrey arrived at the convent just before dusk as the sun began to disappear beneath the horizon and night loomed to the east. Geoffrey, atop Shadow, was at the base of a tall cliff overlooking the frigid waters of the English channel. On the peak of the cliff was the convent, a large brick building which seemed to be of Gothic architecture, along the edge of the roof where stone gargoyles where perched and seemed to look at Geoffrey. He felt that there was something dark and unnatural about how this convent appeared.

Geoffrey looked to the south and saw Dovercourt. It was a large town built on the coast and seemed to be a wealthy community as all the homes and shops where made of fine stone and of elegant design. It was a fishing community as there was a massive series of docks where many small fishing vessels where anchored.

Around the convent and Dovercourt in every direction was thick, deep forests which enclosed this place like a wall. As night fell, the woods seemed engulfed in darkness. The only way to this place was the stone road Geoffrey had traveled.

Geoffrey then rid Shadow up towards the top of the cliff and arrived in front of the massive wooden doors to the convent. A nun was waiting for him, a young woman who was dressed in the garb of a nun. She had a youthful, attractive face though her robes concealed both her body and her hair.

Geoffrey rid towards her then stopped. He said, “I have been sent by baron Robinson to meet with Vincent Wilcox.”

The nun smiled. “I am sister Miriam. He is waiting for you Sir Hall, you will find him in the chapel. Have you come alone?”

Geoffrey shook his head. “My servant will arrive tomorrow. He rides by mule, and a slow one at that.”

He dismounted Shadow and Sister Miriam took the horses reigns. She said, “I shall take your horse to our stable. The chapel is at the end of the hall beyond the front doors.”

Geoffrey approached the doors. “Thank you sister.”

 

Geoffrey came to a large room. Along the sides where ornate pews of polished wood, to the far end of the room was a large stone alter covered with lit candles held by gold, jewel encrusted candlesticks. Along the walls where stained glass windows with the image of saints built into them. The room was entirely empty but for a man in his mid thirties standing behind the alter, he was dressed in the garb of a priest and had long brown hair.

Geoffrey approached him and asked, “are you Vincent Wilcox?”

The man nodded. “Yes, I must be, since I am the only man who lives within the walls of this house of God. So why have you come to our modest convent?”

Geoffrey replied, “Baron Robinson has sent me to investigate the murders in Dovercourt.”

Vincent frowned. “Yes, it is most tragic. I knew some of the deceased, good men who deserved a kinder fate. Why are you here instead of Dovercourt?”

Geoffrey told him, “it is said that a woman is here who is possessed.”

The priest seemed to hesitate for a moment then said, “yes, sister Adeline. About three months ago she became gripped by some madness. She spits and curses, says the most terrible things. I have had her confined to her room for her safety and ours.”

Geoffrey said, “I wish to speak with her.”

Vincent seemed reluctant to do this. “I know who you are, you hunt witches and have them killed. I will take you to her, but I want your promise that she will not be harmed.”

Geoffrey replied, “you have my word that no harm will come to her.”

“Also,” Vincent said, “I do not want the people of Dovercourt to learn of her condition. They are simple country folk and would surely have her put to death if they think she is possessed.”

“No one will be told,” Geoffrey said.

“OK, I will take you to sister Adeline.”

 

The priest led Geoffrey through the convent up some stairs to the second floor when they came to a small wooden door at the end of a hall. Torches lined the walls and where lit so they could provide light. Geoffrey noticed some tapestries which covered the side of hall, images of strange things embroidered upon them though he could not discern what they where exactly.

Vincent pulled a key from his pocket and unlocked the door. He then stepped to the side as the door swung open. He said, “I will wait here. Call if you need help.”

Geoffrey entered the doorway and then was standing in a small bedroom. There was some wooden furniture around the room as well as a mirror on the wall. To the far side of the room was a bed over which hung a canopy which concealed who was laying in the bed.

Then a soft, woman's voice spoke from the other side of the cloth canopy.

“I have been waiting for you witch hunter.”

Geoffrey slowly approached the bed and moved part of the canopy so he could see who was speaking to him.

A woman who seemed to be in her early twenties was sitting up in the bed. She was not dressed in her robes but a silk nightgown. She had pale skin, short curly brunette hair and had deep blue eyes which seemed to look right through Geoffrey. Her hands where tied to the headboard of the bed.

Geoffrey, taken aback by this woman's beauty, asked, “how did you know I was coming?”

She replied, “I know many things. I know you have been sent here to find the servants of Satan.”

Geoffrey looked at her. “They say you are possessed by a demon. Am I speaking to sister Adeline or the spirit who possesses her?”

Adeline began to laugh. “You are speaking to both.”

Geoffrey at that moment did not believe that she was possessed, for he had grown skeptical of such supernatural phenomena. Surely, he thought, she was just mad. But he decided to indulge her delusion.

Geoffrey said, “and what is the name of the one who possesses you?”

“Decarabia,” she replied in a deep voice.

Geoffrey asked, “why do you want the soul of this woman?”

Adeline smiled and her pupils rolled back into her head and her eyes where white orbs. “Because I want her, is that a good enough of a reason witch hunter?”

He then sat on the bed and said, “you know of the murders in Dovercourt?”

Adeline then leaned towards Geoffrey and replied, “people have been sacrificed, an offering to the dark lord of hell.”

“Do you know who is responsible,” Geoffrey asked.

Adeline then leaned back against the head board. “That you will have to discover yourself, but it may cost you both your life and your soul. Witch hunter, in the coming days you are going to be made to suffer just as you have made others suffer.”

Geoffrey stood up, chilled by her words. “You seem to know many things spirit.”

Adeline then spat and a wad of spittle flew through the air and hit Geoffrey's cheek. Then she began to cackle and threatened, “you don't know what you are about to go through. I promise you, soon you will wish that you had never come to this convent or Dovercourt. Now leave, you bore me.”

Geoffrey left the room and found Father Vincent waiting for him outside. The priest asked, “what did you learn?”

Geoffrey replied, “nothing. That woman, she is mad surely.”

Vincent said, “you do not believe in possession?”

“No” Geoffrey told him, “I have spent years in the pursuit of demons and witches, and I have never encountered anything which would leave me to believe in such things.”

Vincent then said, “so what will you do now?”

Geoffrey began to walk away. “I will go to Dovercourt,” he said, “the answers are surely there. I will learn nothing from this mad woman.”

Vincent then quickly approached Geoffrey and stopped him. Vincent said, “please, it is late. You may stay here for the night and travel to Dovercourt tomorrow. You must be tired from your travel from London.”

Geoffrey thought for a moment, he was exhausted and in need of sleep. “Thank you Father Vincent. I will sleep here for the night.”

“Good,” Vincent said, “I will take you to your room.”

 

It was a chilly morning when Geoffrey exited from the front doors of the convent and found Shadow waiting for him outside. A dense fog had rolled in from the sea and covered the land in a thick mist. Clayton, sitting atop his old mule, was waiting for him.

Geoffrey looked at Clayton's mule and asked, “I have offered to get you a horse Clayton. Why do you insist on riding that rickety old mule.”

Clayton replied, “this mule has been good to me over the years, I could not possibly part with him. He may be old, but he is reliable.”

Geoffrey said, “you would have gotten here faster if you walked.”

Clayton then asked, “so what are we to do master?”

Geoffrey mounted Shadow and said, “we will go to Dovercourt. A nobleman is the authority there, I will speak to him and learn more about what is amiss in this place.”

Geoffrey then noticed a very familiar broad sword hanging from the saddle of Clayton's mule. “Why did you bring my old sword,” Geoffrey asked.

Clayton shrugged. “My gut told me that you would need it.”

Geoffrey had wielded that sword many times, it was a fine blade; a gift from his father. Many men had met their end because of that sword upon the battlefield, but since he had ceased being an active knight he kept it in his home outside London.

Geoffrey said, “Clayton, why do you put so much faith in your gut; as massive as it is?”

“Because,” Clayton said, “it has never led me wrong.”

Geoffrey then rode towards Dovercourt as Clayton followed.

 

A member of the town watch directed Geoffrey to the home of a nobleman by the name of Edgar Carter who was the authority in Dovercourt. Clayton waited outside with his mule while his master entered. The nobleman lived in a large, extravagant home near the center of the town. A servant led Geoffrey to Edger's office, as Geoffrey walked through the house he saw that it was furnished with expensive furniture and adorned with valuable objects made of gold, he deduced that this nobleman was extremely wealthy.

Geoffrey entered the large office and found Edger sitting behind a large table made from the finest wood. On the table where ornate relics which seemed valuable. Geoffrey approached the table and said, “I am Geoffrey Hall, I am here by the request of baron Robinson.”

Edger was a middle aged man, partially bald and somewhat heavyset. He was dressed in an expensive green tunic and wore several gold rings on his fingers.

The nobleman said, “Yes, I know baron Robinson. An eccentric old fool, no offense. What is your business here in my town.”

“I have been sent to investigate the murders which have transpired in Dovercourt,” Geoffrey told him.

Edger grunted. “Sorry, but your journey here was a waste of time. We have the culprit and are interrogating him now.”

“What,” Geoffrey said.

Edger explained, “a crazy old hermit who lives in the woods, Russel Mason, has been captured. The town watch will surely get a confession from him soon. So you can go back to your baron and leave my community.”

Geoffrey asked, “mind if I speak with this hermit?”

Edger shrugged. “I don't see the point. My men don't need any assistance.”

“Still,” Geoffrey said, “I wish to speak with him myself.”

Edger shrugged. “He is imprisoned in the quarters for the town watch down the street, a stone building with bars in the windows. But once you speak with him, I want you to leave Dovercourt.”

Geoffrey turned and was about to leave when he said, “thank you for your time.”

“One thing,” Edger said, “I want you out of this town as soon as possible. The last thing I want is an outsider meddling in the affairs of this community, we don't need your help and to be honest, it is not welcome.”

Geoffrey told him, “if this hermit is the culprit, then I will leave by noon.”

“Good, see that you do.”

 

Geoffrey arrived at the structure where the town watch, men who upheld the law and guarded Dovercourt, slept and kept prisoners. It was made of cracked, old stone and seemed to be a rather bleak and cold building. He found the captain of the town watch and one of his men in a large prison cell where the hermit was being held. The old hermit, a bearded man who seemed malnourished and fragile, was being hung from the ceiling by a rope, the rope was tied around the hermit's hands which where behind his back. The rope went through a pulley and was held at other end by the member of the town watch. The old hermit was moaning in pain.

Geoffrey asked, “are you the captain of the town watch?”

The captain, a large thick necked man with no hair and wearing chain mail armor, turned to face him and replied, “yes, I'm captain Todd Thomas. And who are you exactly?”

“Geoffrey Hall, sent by baron Robinson. I wish to speak with your prisoner.”

Captain Thomas looked at his man holding the rope and made a gesture. The member of the town watch loosened his grip on the rope momentarily then violently jerked the rope. The hermit screamed as there was the sound of the bones in his arms breaking. Then the hermit fell to the floor and moaned in agony.

Captain Thomas said, “ask him anything you want.”

Geoffrey then knelt down beside the hermit, who was in agony, and asked, “what do you know of the murders in Dovercourt?”

The hermit, still in agony, muttered, “I know nothing, I am innocent.”

Captain Thomas then pulled a whip off the wall and looked down at the hermit. “I will whip you till you either die or I get a confession.”

The old man begged, “no, I know nothing. Please have mercy on a poor old cripple.”

Captain Thomas laughed. “I am not known for mercy as you are about to find out.”

Geoffrey looked over the old hermit, this man was obviously in extremely poor physical condition, his legs where crooked and lame. Geoffrey got up and said, “this man, I don't think he is physically capable of committing murder.”

Captain Thomas raised the whip but before he could strike Geoffrey grab his arm and prevented him. The captain barked, “get your hands off me!”

Geoffrey bluntly said, “this man is obviously innocent. He is not capable of the crimes he is accused of.”

Captain Thomas yelled back, “sure, he looks like an old man. But the devil gives him the power to do these crimes, he is guilty. Now get the hell out of my way.”

Geoffrey frowned and released the captain's arm. Captain Thomas then began to whip the hermit who screamed with each lashing. The captain smiled and seemed to revel in the old man's pain. Unable to watch or listen to the hermit's agonized screams Geoffrey left.

 

Clayton was sitting on his mule outside the quarters of the town watch, Shadow was beside him. When Geoffrey exited from the building his servant asked, “did you learn anything master?”

Geoffrey replied, “that man is obviously innocent. All I saw was a feeble old man being tortured, the captain of the town watch seemed to enjoy his pain.”

Clayton looked around then asked, “so what do we do now?”

Geoffrey replied, “taverns are always a nest of gossip and information. We will go to the local tavern tonight and ask the locals about what they know.”

 

The only tavern in Dovercourt was an old inn known as The Anvil, a large two story building outside of the town. As night fell, Geoffrey and Clayton arrived and found it packed with many of the local men. They tethered there steeds to a post outside the tavern, the din of men talking and laughing bellowed from within The Anvil. Clayton remained with Shadow and the mule as Geoffrey entered the establishment.

Geoffrey stood at the doorway and surveyed the room. The air was smoky as many men where smoking pipes, they drank ail while some of them sang and they all seemed to be indulging in merriment. The room was full of round tables which the locals sat around as they drank, and they seemed to be completely oblivious to Geoffrey's presence. To the back of The Anvil was a long counter, behind which was the burly bartender who served drinks to the patrons. Geoffrey approached him and sat on a stool before the counter.

The bartender approached him and asked, “what will you be having?”

Geoffrey replied, “it is not drink I seek, but information.”

The bartender then scowled at Geoffrey and said, “you, you are that Witch Hunter. Everyone is talking about you, they say you are soft on servants of the devil. I won't tell you anything.”

Geoffrey then pulled a small bag tied to his belt and dropped it on the table, several gold coins rolled out from the bag and the bartender looked at them greedily. Geoffrey said, “I'll make it worth your while to talk to me.”

The bartender, still transfixed on the bag, asked, “what would you like to know?”

“In my experience,” Geoffrey said, “the barkeep is usually the most knowledgeable man when it comes to what goes on in any particular village or town. Would you know anything of the murders in Dovercourt?”

The bartender picked up the bag of coins and stashed them under the counter. He then said, “three murders, three men who I knew where found dead. All in the same place, the edge of the woods to the south of town. The last victim, Marvin Taylor, was a close friend of mine. He was buried only two days ago. The bodies, they where all found on the day after the full moon. Hearts and eyes cut out, archaic words carved into their skin.”

Geoffrey asked, “what else do you know?”

The bartender continued. “The murders, they have everyone in town scared. Nothing like this has ever happened in Dovercourt before. But now the culprit has been killed, this will all stop. That hermit always rubbed me the wrong way.”

Geoffrey said, “anything else you could tell me?”

The bartender replied, “you might want to speak with Drake Wilkinson, he is a hunter. He has been telling strange stories about something he saw, he is a drunk, so no one believes him. But I know him, and I don't think he is lying.”

Geoffrey asked, “where can I find this hunter?”

The bartender pointed to a table in a corner of the bar. A man dressed in brown garments sat alone at a table and drank a mug of ail. He had a hunter's cap on and seemed somewhat more restrained then the jovial rabble who filled the tavern.

Geoffrey walked across the bar and approached the man. He asked, “are you Drake Wilkinson?”

The man nodded and asked, “who wants to know?”

“Never mind that for now. I was told you may have witnessed something involved with the murders plaguing Dovercourt. Can you tell me what you saw?”

Drake drank deeply from his mug then said, “sure, you won't believe me anyways.”

Geoffrey told him, “what did you see?”

Drake then began to tell his strange tail. “The night of the last full moon, I was in the forest to the south. I had laid some traps and was seeing if I had caught anything. But they where all empty. I was going to go home when I heard these strange noises coming from deeper within the forest. As I neared I could see a massive fire in the center of a clearing. The noise was of a lot of men and women chanting, I cautiously hid at the edge of the clearing and watched. Two Men and many women where dancing around the fire, they where dressed in black robes so I could not see who they where. As I watched they took off their robes and where completely nude. Then they all started to engage in carnal relations with each other as I watched. They became a massive pile of flesh as they all made love with each other. Then a man appeared in the clearing, but he was not a man. I know it sounds crazy, but he had the head of a goat with two large horns coming out of his head. He was naked but fur covered his legs. Then those people indulging in the sinful behavior stopped and started chanting. I got scared and ran, I didn't stop till I was home.”

Geoffrey knew the man was claiming to have witnessed a Black Sabbath, he had heard many stories of supposed orgies with the devil but grew to doubt they took place. But something about the way Drake spoke convinced him that he was being genuine.

Geoffrey said, “thanks.”

He then left the bar and found Clayton waiting outside. His servant asked, “discover anything master?”

“Maybe,” Geoffrey said, “when is the next full moon?”

Clayton replied, “three days from today. Why?”

Geoffrey told his servant, “we will remain in Dovercourt until the next full moon, maybe we will find the perpetrators then.”

 

Geoffrey and Clayton rode to the convent. Father Vincent had offered them lodgings during their stay in Dovercourt, but when they arrived they found the priest waiting outside for them. Geoffrey and Clayton got off their steeds and approached Vincent.

Geoffrey asked, “is something wrong Father Vincent?”

“Adeline, she seems to have regained her senses. She says she wants to speak with you.”

“For what purpose,” Geoffrey said.

Father Vincent replied, “she will not say. Please, go to her.”

Geoffrey turned to Clayton and said, “take our mounts to the stable. Vincent will show you to your room.”

Clayton did as he was asked as Geoffrey went to meet with Adeline.

 

Geoffrey entered Adeline's room and found her sitting up in bed, her arms no longer restrained. She looked at Geoffrey and weakly smiled, she then motioned for him to come closer. Geoffrey approached and stood at the foot of her bed.

Geoffrey said, “I was told that you have recovered.”

She nodded. “I think I am better now. I think what ever had possessed me left for some reason.”

Geoffrey told her, “I am pleased to hear that. Now, why did you wish to speak with me?”

Adeline explained. “I have barely any memory of the last few months, all I do remember was you. I think you are responsible for my recovery, soon after we met I felt what ever it was possessing me leaving my body. I wish to thank you.”

Geoffrey said, “no need for gratitude.”

Adeline looked into Geoffrey's eyes. “I think you where sent here to help me, like a guardian angel.”

Geoffrey shook his head. “I am here merely to find a murderer, that is all. If I may ask, what was the last thing you remember before your illness?”

“I was in the woods,” she said, “sometimes I like to walk alone at night. I don't remember what I saw, but I know it was responsible for my possession. And I know that I am in danger.”

Geoffrey asked, “what kind of danger?”

Adeline replied, “I don't know, but I do know you are here to protect me.”

Geoffrey told her, “it is late and I need rest. We can speak at some other time.”

As he left Adeline pleaded, “promise you will protect me.”

Before he exited through the door, he said, “I will let no harm come to you. I promise.”

Then he left and Adeline was alone.

 

Geoffrey lay awake in his bed as Clayton, on a cot to one side of the room, snored loudly.

Geoffrey thought about Adeline and another woman named Elise Cook, the first witch he had ever discovered once he was tasked with witch hunting. She was a young woman who looked much like Adeline, and often lately Geoffrey thought about Elise. Of all the witches his actions helped condemned to death, he felt most guilty for her execution. He knew she was innocent and that he was guilty of a terrible crime which he thought he could never be forgiven, either by himself or any higher powers that may exist. But as he thought that night, he promised himself that he would protect Adeline if she was in danger. Maybe if he did this, he reasoned, then maybe he could forgive himself for the lives he helped end.

Before he finally drifted off to sleep, he hoped that he could redeem himself for what he had done.

 

Geoffrey awoke the next morning to find Clayton still asleep in his cot. Geoffrey stood over him and ordered, “Clayton get up.”

The servant slowly awoke from his deep slumber then groggily asked, “what do you want master?”

“I think,” Geoffrey said, “we will rest for today. But I do have one task for you Clayton.”

“What do you need of me?”

“I want to to acquire shovel,” Geoffrey told him.

“Why a shovel,” Clayton asked.

“Because,” Geoffrey said, “tonight we will go to Dovercourt's graveyard and exhume the body of Marvin Taylor.”

“For the sake of God why master.” Clayton asked.

Geoffrey replied, “I would like to inspect the body myself. Now get out of bed and do as I said.”

 

Later that day Geoffrey found himself walking around the grounds outside the convent. He came to a small patch of land the sisters had turned into a meager vegetable garden. He found sister Adeline, in her black nun's habit, kneeling down in the dirt working in the garden. He approached her and she took no notice of him.

“May we speak sister Adeline,” Geoffrey asked.

She, startled, turned around and said, “oh, Mr. Hall, didn't see you there.”

Adeline got to her feet and wiped the ground from her nun's garment and asked, “what would you like to speak about?”

“Just some questions,” he said.

“OK,” Adeline told him, “walk with me.”

Then she took his hand and she led him to an empty grassy field and they talked as they walked across the grass.

“So what would you like to ask,” she said.

Geoffrey replied, “while at the convent, have you ever noticed anything unusual happen?”

“Well, I've been here a year. My parent's where of noble birth, but when I had a relationship with a young man they sent me here to become a nun. At first everything seemed normal, but I have noticed some odd things.”

“Such as,” Geoffrey asked.

“Father Vincent, he has a lot of private meetings with nobleman Carter as well as captain Thomas. They meet privately in Vincent's quarters and on a few occasions they have argued, though I know not what of which they spoke.”

Geoffrey frowned at the mention of Captain Thomas's name, Adeline noticed and asked, “what is wrong Geoffrey?”

“Captain Thomas,” he said, “that man reminds me of all the things that are wrong with this world. I watched him whip a poor old man to death, and he enjoyed doing that.”

Adeline looked at Geoffrey for a moment and asked, “Geoffrey, you don't seem like a man who would hunt witches and have them put to death. Why are you involved with such a grim profession?”

“That is a long story,” Geoffrey told her.

“I would like to hear it if you don't mind.”

Geoffrey told his story. “I did not always hunt witches. For most of my life I trained and served as a knight, a member of the court of baron Robinson. I fought many men, slew many foes with my own hands but never once did it make me feel guilt. Actually, when I was in battle I knew that it was what I was meant to do. But I returned to the baron after having fought in a great battle, and he asked me to root out witches and those who serve the devil.”

Adeline said, “you don't believe in the devil or witches do you.”

Geoffrey told her, “once I did, when I first found and helped have witches put to death, I was sure that it was a just thing that I was doing. But over the years I never once saw proof of the unnatural. Now I just believe what I've seen with my own two eyes, and I know now that I have sent innocent women to their ends because of what I've done. I killed more men then I can remember in battle, but never once did it weigh upon my conscience, but those women, I know I am guilty of a crime for which I fear I will be punished.”

Adeline held his hand, “you don't seem like a bad person to me Geoffrey, just troubled.”

Geoffrey pulled his hand away from hers and turned away. “Adeline, I sent twelve women to their death, because of what I did they where burnt alive at the stake. Do you know how horrible it is to see someone meet their demise that way?”

Adeline put her hand on Geoffrey's face and turned his head so they where looking at each other again. “Geoffrey, you at least feel guilt, there are so many these days who are so quick to accuse their neighbor of witchery and have them put to death and never once do they question the morality of what they do. You Geoffrey, just from your eyes I can see you carry a heavy weight on your shoulders which cause you much pain. You may have done something horrible, but you know that it is wrong, that is more then most people these days.”

Geoffrey felt a rush of warmth cover him as her hand touched his face. He put his hand on her's and said, “Adeline, you seem like a very sympathetic soul.”

Then from the distance in the direction of the convent, a small bell rang. Adeline then started to walk towards the convent but said as she left, “Vincent is calling us for mass. I look forward to speaking again Geoffrey.”

He watched her leave, and came to the realization that he harbored feelings for Adeline which he could not understand. As he saw her walk away, he knew that she was important to him for some reason. He vowed that he would let nothing happen to her no matter what the cost.

 

It was night as Geoffrey and Clayton entered the cemetery. A mile beyond the town was a small stone church beside which was a large, ancient graveyard where marble statues of angels stood between the graves. The moon as nearly full and bathed the land with soft light.

Geoffrey and Clayton, who carried a shovel, left Shadow and the mule outside the cemetery, and now where walking amongst the rows of headstones. It took them awhile to find the grave of Marvin Taylor. They looked down at the freshly dug up ground for a moment.

Clayton asked, “what do we do now master?”

“Start digging,” Geoffrey replied.

For the next hour Clayton dug down into the ground, Geoffrey watched as he stood a few feet away. Already the servant had shoveled his way five feet down into the earth and their was a mound of dirt beside the grave.

Clayton stopped digging and wiped the sweat from his brow and asked, “why are you not digging master?”

Geoffrey flatly said, “when you have your own servant, then you can get him to dig.”

Clayton then returned to shoveling when the shovel hit something and there was the sound of a small thud. The servant used his hands to brush away the dirt and now was standing atop a wooden coffin. Clayton climbed out from the exhumed grave and stood beside his master.

Clayton said, “do what you must, I do not want to watch.”

“Clayton, stay close, I may need you,” Geoffrey ordered.

Geoffrey then jumped down into the grave and looked momentarily at the lid of the coffin. He then used his massive strength to pull off the lid of the coffin revealing the body of Marvin Taylor.

The man's body was surprisingly fresh even though he had been dead for almost a month. The corpse's skin was a greenish white, but the skin of his exposed chest and face where covered with symbols carved into the flesh with some sort of blade. His eyes where open and Geoffrey was looking at the eyeless sockets which where gawking at him. Also there was a hole in his chest from which his heart had been removed.

Geoffrey looked more closely at the symbols when Clayton said, “master be quick, this place scares me.”

Geoffrey replied, “I will leave when I have what I came for.”

He inspected the symbols when he came to the realization that it was ancient Latin, the body had been covered with symbols and words; incantations which where meant to enslave the soul of this victim to his killer.

Clayton, unable to look directly at the body, asked, “discover anything?”

Geoffrey grimly relied, “necromancy.”

“What,” Clayton said.

“Necromancy,” Geoffrey said, “an ancient form of pagan magic which is meant to give its practitioner control over the bodies and the spirits of the dead. These men where murdered so that their spirits may serve who ever was responsible for their deaths.”

Clayton asked, “OK, can we go now?”

Geoffrey climbed out of the grave and stood next to his servant. Geoffrey said, “we have learned enough for tonight. Let us return to the convent.”

 

Later that night, Geoffrey was asleep in the room he had been given. Clayton was in the cot and still snoring. It was late when Geoffrey was awoke from his slumber when he realized that someone was on top of him and he felt something warm and moist in his mouth. He realized that Adeline, dressed in her nightgown, was straddling his waste and kissing him.

He pushed her away and said, “what are you doing Adeline?”

She cooed, “my name is not Adeline witch hunter, it is Decarabia.”

Then she began to kiss Geoffrey again but he resisted and said, “no, you should not be doing this.”

Adeline stopped and seductively smiled. “I know you want this, I know you lust for Adeline. Just sit back and let me give you what you want.”

Adeline then pulled open the top of her nightgown revealing her breasts and she laughed softly. “Am I not beautiful, don't try to resist, I promise I will give you pleasure that you have never dreamed of.”

Geoffrey then grabbed Adeline and began to shake her. He said loudly “Adeline, wake up!”

Adeline's eyes began to flutter then she went limp and almost passed out. She then opened her eyes and looked down at Geoffrey. She covered her mouth and said, “oh God, what am I doing?”

Geoffrey then helped her close the top of her gown and she climbed out of the bed. Clayton then awoke and looked at the two of them, he asked, “what are the two of you doing?”

Geoffrey firmly said, “Clayton, go back to bed.”

Clayton shrugged then went back to sleep and Geoffrey got out of the bed and stood next to Adeline who was crying. Adeline sniffled as she muttered, “Oh God, what is happening to me Geoffrey?”

Geoffrey put his arms around her to console her and said, “Adeline, it is not your fault. Go back to your room.”

She held him tighter and pleaded, “please come with me, I do not want to be alone tonight.”

“Sure,” Geoffrey replied.

They went to her room and spent the night together. Adeline slept in her bed as Geoffrey sat in a chair nearby and watched her sleep. She would occasionally mumble in her sleep and seemed to be having a nightmare. He remained there till dawn.

 

Geoffrey left Adeline's room at dawn before she awoke and left the walls of the convent at dawn. He found Clayton waiting for him on the front steps, smoking a pipe and looking smug.

Geoffrey said, “Clayton, out with it.”

Clayton smiled and told him, “hope you and the nun had a good time last night.”

Geoffrey scowled at Clayton and threatened, “I have never given you a lashing Clayton, but speak about Adeline in such a way again and I will surely give you forty lashings for your insolence.”

Clayton nodded. “OK master, I will hold my words.”

Then they both heard the sounds of the clomping of many horses and Geoffrey realized that six men on horseback where riding quickly towards the convent. It was captain Thomas and five of his men. They stopped at the stairs to the convent and captain Thomas looked at Geoffrey.

Geoffrey asked, “what is your business here captain.”

Captain Thomas, looking arrogant, said, “by orders of nobleman Edger Carter, I am to put you under arrest.”

Clayton seemed more shocked and upset then his master, Geoffrey was cool and unemotional.

Clayton excitedly asked, “for what reason?”

Captain Thomas explained, “Geoffrey Hall is to be arrested for the crime of sorcery and making a pact with the devil. We will take him to Dovercourt to be imprisoned and interrogated so we can get the truth.”

Clayton, looking afraid for his master, said, “no, there must be some mistake.”

Captain Thomas seemed unmoved. “I know that your master, though he may hunt witches, has also been soft on the guilty. Only one of the devils minions would be compassionate to his followers, also we know you desecrated the grave of Marvin Taylor. Now Geoffrey Hall, you will either come with us quietly or we will kill you, do you understand?”

Geoffrey nodded. “I will go with you without a fight.”

Clayton shook his head. “No, I won't let them take you.”

Geoffrey put his hand on his servant's shoulder and said, “Clayton, wait here until I tell you to do otherwise. Watch over Adeline for me.”

Geoffrey then approached the men on their horses as captain Thomas dismounted and stepped up to him. The captain said, “now you will find out what happens to those who serve the devil.”

Captain Thomas put iron shackles on Geoffrey's hands, gloating quietly as he did so. He then rode off with his men; taking Geoffrey with them.

 

Geoffrey was taken to the quarters of the town watch and spent the day alone in the prison cell they had put him in after they stripped off his black coat. He stood leaning against a wall he was tied to with chains and was looking out through the bars of a window. He knew that when they came, they would subject him to torture to get a confession. Though he should have been afraid, strangely he felt nothing but arrived at the icy resolve not to tell them anything. He just waited for captain Thomas as

the day dragged on.

It was about dusk when captain Thomas arrived and stood outside the bars of his cell, Thomas had a grin on his face and seemed ecstatic. Geoffrey looked at him and said nothing.

Captain Thomas had a whip tied to his belt and behind him was a table with some tools of the torturer on it such as thumb screws and other devices for causing pain. The captain opened the cell door and walked in, he pulled his whip from his belt.

Captain Thomas said, “no doubt you have seen many tortured, how does it feel to know that now you will get to experience it yourself.”

Geoffrey, with a blank expression on his face, said, “let us just get this over with please.”

Captain Thomas then whipped Geoffrey's which left a long red wound running down his chest which bled slightly. Geoffrey neither yelled or even flinched when it happened. The captain seemed disappointed that Geoffrey did not react and began to viciously whip him, soon Geoffrey's chest was covered with wounds yet he did not make a sound.

Captain Thomas yelled, “why don't you scream!”

Geoffrey replied, “I won't give you the pleasure.”

Then two of the captain's men came into a cell carrying a wooden chair, then put Geoffrey into it and tied him up with a rope. The captain and one of his men carried the table into the prison cell and put it in front of Geoffrey. They forced one of his hands into the thumbscrews. The thumbscrew was a small metal device which would slowly crush the victim's fingers.

Captain Thomas loudly said, “confess!”

Geoffrey then said, “I will tell you nothing.”

“Fine,” the captain said, “have it your way.”

Captain Thomas began to turn the screw on the device and slowly two of Geoffrey's fingers where crushed. Geoffrey grimaced and recoiled in pain yet still made no sound. When this proved futile, the captain removed Geoffrey's hand from the device and took it away.

The captain looked at him and said, “you are a tough bastard aren't you.”

Captain Thomas's men then removed Geoffrey's boots and socks revealing his bare feet. The captain took two small wooden wedges off the table and place the end of them under two of Geoffrey's toenails.

The captain said, “just tell us what we want to hear and you will be spared.”

Geoffrey coolly replied, “I will not tell you a thing.”

Captain Thomas used a small hammer and began to use it to force the wedges deeper under Geoffrey's toe nails. Geoffrey struggled and grunted yet did not scream, the captain continued.

“Talk,” captain Thomas yelled, “tell us what we want to hear!”

Geoffrey told them nothing. After the captain had forced four toe nails off Geoffrey's right foot off, he stopped and looked at his prisoner. Captain Thomas seemed impressed.

The captain said, “it almost sad that you are going to be put to death. Never met someone who could take so much pain.” He looked at his men and told them, “OK, that is enough for tonight. We will continue tomorrow.”

Geoffrey's torturers left the cell and he was alone. Since he seemed unable to move they left him untied. Geoffrey put his black coat and boots back on and sat on the small cot. Captain Thomas left one of his men to watch Geoffrey for the night, the man sat in a chair outside the prison cell. So Geoffrey waited for his inevitable death.

 

It was around four in the morning, the guard outside the cell was asleep. Geoffrey sat on the cot and was almost was going to drift off to sleep when a voice spoke from beyond the bars of his window.

“Master, are you alright?”

Geoffrey turned to the window and saw Clayton looking in. Geoffrey weakly said, “I've been better. What are you doing here?”

“I'm here to rescue you,” Clayton told him, “wait here.”

Geoffrey remained still as he waited when Clayton appeared in the room outside the cell, a wooden mallet in his hand. The servant then quickly hit the sleeping guard in the head with the mallet and the guard fell to the ground unconscious. Clayton took the keyring from the guards belt and opened the prison cell door and Geoffrey walked out.

Clayton asked, “what did they do to you?”

Geoffrey smiled and looked at his servant. “Clayton, you may be my servant, but you are also my best friend. This is not the first time when I have been in your debt.”

Clayton said, “OK, let's get the hell out of here and go home.”

Geoffrey shook his head. “No, we will wait for tonight.”

“For the love of God why?”

“The murderers will surely kill their next victim during the full moon in the woods to the south. We will confront them, once caught, my innocence will be proved. Also I do not want to leave Adeline till I am sure she is safe.”

Clayton asked, “so where do we go until tomorrow night?”

Geoffrey replied, “we will hide in the cemetery until dusk, they will surely look for us at the convent. Now let's go.”

 

Night fell over Dovercourt as Geoffrey and Clayton rode towards the forest to the south. It was a clear night and a bright full moon hung in the sky casting a surreal light over everything, though thunderclouds loomed to the west. A cold wind swept across the land and the tree's swayed slowly.

Geoffrey and Clayton had been careful to avoid Dovercourt for surely they would be arrested if found. Now they where at the edge of the darkened wood, as they sat atop their mounts they readied themselves for what ever it was they where about to find.

Clayton, concerned, said, “master, you are not well enough to do what must be done.”

Geoffrey firmly replied, “I have suffered worst things and still went on. Now come on, let's finish this.”

They then rode through the wood. The forest as thick and deep, full of willows and massive oak tree's and their steeds had a hard time traversing through the forest. The forest was full of the noise of crickets and unseen birds chirping.

Clayton asked, “what do you think we will find?”

“I don't know,” Geoffrey said, “but we are about to find out.”

They rode deeper into the wood for awhile but there was silence but for the ambient noise of the forest. Geoffrey feared that he may be chasing a dead end when he then heard it. The faint sound of women chanting in the distance, and as they went on it got louder.

Clayton, afraid, said, “master, you may be brave enough to face the devil himself, but I am not. Would you mind if I remained here?”

Geoffrey nodded. “Clayton, you may remain here.”

“Thank you,” Clayton replied, “may you prevail.”

Geoffrey dismounted Shadow and said, “Clayton, watch over my steed.”

He then began to walk by foot towards the chanting. After a few dozen yards he could see the light of a fire in the distance shining through the trees. He stealthily moved forward and came to the edge of a clearing, a large circular grassy field in the center of which was a large, flat rock. About twenty people, who's identity was obscured by the black robes and hoods they whore, where dancing around the massive fire near the rock. They all chanted in some arcane language as they danced about in a frenzy.

This continued for about twenty minutes when they all stopped and look towards the fire. They then began to shed their robes and reveal their naked bodies. It was two men and about twenty women who all stood as their naked skin was covered with sweat. Then they began to come closer together and began to kiss and caress each other. Men with women, women with women and they began to fall to the ground and make love in a pile of heaving flesh.

Geoffrey looked closer when he recognized the people partaking in this orgy.

The two men where nobleman Edger Carter and captain Thomas who where having sex with the many women. Though Geoffrey did not know who most of the women where, he did see sister Miriam among this lustful congregation as well as a few other nuns from the convent.

They all moaned as they where in ecstasy, a chorus of groans and screams of pleasure. But then they stopped and stood up and looked towards the far end of the clearing and all became silent. Then a man appeared from the wood, a tall man who was completely naked but for a thick coat of fur which covered his legs and crotch. A large phallus fashioned from waxed was strapped to him. He had the head of a goat, a black goat with two large horns arising from his head. Then the nude women crawled towards the man with the goat's head and caressed the wax phallus as they chanted. Then they all stopped and resumed to dance.

The man with the goat's head, in a deep voice, said, “tonight, we will sacrifice another soul to our master. Another offering to appease Lucifer, the angel of light and pleasure.”

Then two more women still in their robes appeared in the clearing and had a prisoner with them, Geoffrey nearly gasped when he saw it was Adeline who seemed to be in some sort of trance.

Geoffrey muttered, “Adeline.”

The goat man went to Adeline and put his hand on her face. He said, “shame to rid the world of such beauty, but there is no more fitting offer to our master.”

Then the robed women led Adeline to the stone and laid her upon it. They stripped off her nuns habit and the goat man stood over her and held a curved ceremonial dagger in his hand. He raised it and was about to plunge it into Adeline.

“No,” yelled Geoffrey.

He ran into the clearing and approached the rock and Adeline when captain Thomas charged him. Geoffrey, as the naked attacker was close, simply kicked him in the crotch and the captain fell to the ground moaning in pain. The goat man then forced Adeline to her feet and held the dagger to her neck.

The goat man said, “make a move witch hunter and she dies. Now down to your knees.”

Geoffrey reluctantly did as he was told. The naked nobleman Carter and captain Thomas put their robes back on and went to Geoffrey and forced him to the ground. Then the goat man approached, leaving Adeline at the stone, and stood over Geoffrey.

The goat man said, “you care for her, and that makes you weak.”

Geoffrey asked, “who are you?”

The goat man removed his mask, and now Father Vincent was looking down on him. The priest laughed maniacally and then pressed the dagger into Geoffrey's neck. He said, “I will not kill you, not yet, but you will suffer I assure you.”

Geoffrey asked, “and what of Adeline?”

Vincent looked at Edger Carter and captain Thomas. “We need not sacrifice dear Adeline, let's have the people of Dovercourt do it for us. Take her into town and burn her as a witch. Have the towns people burn her alive.”

Geoffrey yelled, “no!”

Vincent bellowed then kicked Geoffrey in the head knocking him out.

 

Clayton had waited for an hour and Geoffrey did not return. He dismounted his mule and started to approach the clearing, but when he arrived it was empty. He turned to leave when he heard Geoffrey's agonized screams coming from the far side of the clearing.

He yelled, “master.”

He ran towards the screaming and was horrified to find Geoffrey crucified to two tree's near the clearing. Each of his hands where nailed to a tree and he yelled in pain.

Clayton went to help him and said, “I will get you down.”

Then with a mighty effort Geoffrey pulled his hands free and fell to the ground, blood gushing from his palms. He knelt on the ground in pain and muttered, “Adeline.”

Clayton ripped two strips of cloth from his garments and bandaged Geoffrey's hands. Clayton asked, “are you OK?”

Geoffrey got to his feet and said, “we must go to Dovercourt, Adeline is in danger.” He then yelled, “Shadow!”

A few moments later Shadow galloped onto the scene followed by the old mule. Geoffrey got on his mount and was about to ride off when Clayton said, “you will need this.”

Clayton pulled out the sword from the saddle of his mule and said, “go save her master.”

Geoffrey took the sword and said nothing then swiftly rode off.

 

In Dovercourt the people had gathered in front of the home of nobleman Carter and where ready to see Adeline put to death. The towns people stood around a wooden pole with a pile of lumber at its base. Adeline was tied to the pole and was crying. Captain Thomas stood beside the pole and held a blazing torch in his hand.

Nobleman Carter, standing at the front of the mob, said, “we have discovered the witch responsible for our torment and now she will be punished. God's will is going to be done.”

The crowd cheered and yelled and captain Thomas went to light the pile of wood. Then Geoffrey rode onto the scene and dismounted his horse behind the throngs of towns people. He pushed his way through the crowd, holding his sword, and yelled, “make a move captain and I will kill you.”

Edger Carter yelled, “he is a servant of the devil. Captain, do it.”

Then with a mighty swing Geoffrey threw his sword, it spiraled through the air then hit captain Thomas in the chest and he fell back dead. The crowd gasped and Geoffrey went to the dead captain and pulled his sword free from the body. He turned to face Carter and slowly walked up to him.

Edger Carter pleaded, “I am a noble, killing me is a death warrant.”

Geoffrey said nothing and with one swing cut the nobleman's head from his body. Geoffrey turned to the crowd and yelled, “try to stop me or hurt Adeline and you will meet the same fate!”

The crowd said nothing and began to disperse. Geoffrey then went to Adeline and used his sword to cut her free. She fell into his arms and sobbed. Adeline said, “I knew you would protect me.”

Geoffrey told her, “you are safe.”

Clayton arrived on the scene atop his mule and got off. Geoffrey, Adeline still in his arms, walked to his servant. Geoffrey said, “Clayton, take Shadow. You and Adeline will ride to my home in London. Don't stop till you are there.”

“And what of you master,” Clayton asked.

Geoffrey, still holding his sword, mounted Clayton's mule and said, “I have one last thing to do.”

Geoffrey and Clayton rode off in different directions.

 

Geoffrey rode the old mule to the convent and dismounted in front of the looming building. He then went through the doors and heard chanting coming from the chapel. He slowly walked towards sound, his bloodied sword in his left hand. He entered the chapel and yelled, “Vincent, I'm going to personally send you to your master.”

The nuns of the convent filled the chapel, sitting in the pews and praying in an ancient language . Father Vincent, in his black robe, stood in front of the alter and ceased chanting. As Geoffrey approached, Vincent said, “so what of poor Adeline?”

Geoffrey replied, “she is safe. You will not harm her.”

Vincent smugly laughed. “We tried to get her to join us, to take part in the black sabbath. But she, so weak and fragile, went mad when she witnessed it. She really thought she was possessed. Stupid tart.”

Geoffrey said, “you seem unafraid for a man who is about to die.”

Vincent laughed again. “Every soul I enslaved by their death now gives me power. My master, Lucifer, has given me magic that you cannot defeat. What you see is not a man, but a God. You can do me no harm.”

Geoffrey said nothing as he thrust his sword and stabbed father Vincent in the stomach. The priest fell to his knees and blood poured from his wound and he seemed surprised that he was about to die.

The priest muttered, “how can this be, why would my lord allow me to perish?”

Geoffrey pulled out his sword from father Vincent and said, “you are not a god, just a man. Give my regards to your lord when you arrive in hell.”

Father Vincent then fell to the ground and died as a growing pool of blood spread out around him.

Geoffrey then walked his way through the throng of nuns. They had stopped chanting and now where crying and calling Father Vincent's name. They did not try to stop Geoffrey as he walked past them.

Once outside the convent, Geoffrey mounted the mule and said, “OK old mule, off to London.”

The mule and Geoffrey rode away from the convent.

 

In the following months there was a scandal known across England about the events in Dovercourt. Geoffrey might have been arrested had not the hearts and eyes of the murder victims been discovered in the homes of captain Thomas and Edger Carter as well as the bedroom of father Vincent. Baron Robinson made good on his promise and said that he would allow Geoffrey to return to his post in the army after he recovered from his wounds incurred during his investigation in Dovercourt. That would be the last time Geoffrey ever hunted for a witch.

 

Geoffrey lay in his bed a month after he left Dovercourt. He lived in a modest home near the Thames River in London. His hands where still bandaged but he was recovering. It was early in the day when Adeline entered his room.

Geoffrey looked at her and asked, “what is it you want Adeline?”

She smiled and replied, “thanks again for letting me stay in your home for now. You saved my life Geoffrey, and I will always be in your debt.”

Geoffrey told her, “it was my pleasure.”

She asked him, “so what are you going to do now?”

“As soon as my wounds heal,” Geoffrey said, “I am going to serve in his majesties army. What of you Adeline, what will you do?”

She told him, “my parents want me to return to Liverpool and stay with them. I leave tomorrow.”

“I am sorry to see you leave,” Geoffrey said.

Adeline then quickly approached the bed, leaned down and kissed Geoffrey passionately. She then pulled away and said, “I will never forget you Geoffrey Hall.”

Geoffrey replied, “nor I.”

Adeline then left leaving Geoffrey alone. He looked out a window beside his bed which overlooked the Thames. He wanted to ask Adeline to remain with him, but could not find the words to tell her. He would have to let her go, but doing so made him feel sorrow.

Geoffrey then fell asleep, and for the first in years, his conscience was clean.

 

 

 

The End

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


© Copyright 2017 Matthew Bissonnette. All rights reserved.

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