Claudius, Luscinia, Gideon and Simon travel to Allerton. They are accompanied by the surly John of Stoke and the credulous Paul Threefinger.
They examine the ‘bad horse’ determining it to be a knight’s destrier, though the locals offer no satisfactory explanation of how they acquired it. Luscinia spots a number of odd occurences about the horse, but no one else does.
Entering the village tavern they speak at some length with the barkeep and effective leader of Allerton, Bart. Some gossiping and thought probing later they have established a number of points of contention between the villages; ranging from Edwinstowe’s jealousy of the horse, to the relatively recent refusal of the local priest to marry a woman of Edwinstowe to a man of Allerton.
Outside John of Stoke spots a child playing behind the horse which seems to have reacted with concern. The grog rushes over and manages to shield the child, as the mount delivers a vicious kick, Paul arrives a moment later and gets the destrier under control. The horse’s owner Luke scolds the child, and explains that it is a foundling, left in the village some time ago. The magi are interested by the locals’ cold reaction to the child and Claudius’ second sight picks up signs of the Gift. Gideon determines that his name is Nathaniel.
Claiming that the child may be the offspring of nobility they can contact, the magi bundle the child up and set off for home, making vague mention of possible rewards. John complains that his bruise feels strangely hot, and Luscinia reiterates her assertion that something about the beast is strange. Fortunately the strange effect on the grog fades once they are some distance back down the trail to Edwinstowe.
In the closer village they obtain Father Alan’s help, the priest rather flustered by their arrival but obviously anxious to exert his spirital authority to the newcomers. Simon’s attempts to provide helpful theological suggestions, clearly intimidate the priest; however seeing the Criamon’s difficulty with communication he invites him to assist with a sermon next Sunday.
The magi continue to gently provoke the tensions between villages and implant mental suggestions that a trip to the Thynghowe would surely resolve the matter.
Returning to the covenant the mages study the child a bit more closely and deduce that his muteness is the result of deliberate damage to the tongue. Before they can make many more inquiries Simon botches an attempt to read Nathaniel’s mind and the pair are cast into twilight together. The magus recovers quickly but the boy remains stuck in twilight.
Claudius travels back to Lincoln and gives the Redcap station a kick to get their missives in transit sooner rather than later.