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Now Linnet’s story made me smile, for perhaps the boy might predict the location of a horse, yet that gave no credence to a dream of tunnelling through the earth, to fall out into the blackness below. Yet I had seen something more solemn in the eyes of the villagers, and I picked at this tale but gently.

‘And what purpose had this strange journey?’

‘I asked the boy that very thing, monk, and he knew nothing, except they must beat the evil. It was a journey to beat some terrible evil. It was a fragment without sense. Then a week after the dreaming began, the faggot seller came to our village. He was the first to tell us of the powerful evil on the move. And though it seemed far away, he said, still it was coming closer, hopping toward twenty miles on every full moon.’