"IT WAS FELLING NIGHT, and the usual crowd had gathered at the Waystone Inn. Five wasn’t much of a crowd, but five was as many as the Waystone ever saw these days, times being what they were."

Chapter summary

The story opens during the felling night and gives us a glimpse of the situation inside the Waystone inn. The usual crowd, a group of five people were gathered inside and Old Cob was narrating a familiar story of Taborlin The Great to Jake, Shep and Graham. The innkeeper smiled as he listened to the old familiar story. As Old Cob narrates that Taborlin is stripped of his tools and has been locked in a high tower, where the lamps were burning blue, which implied the presence of The Chandrian. Everyone knows that the blue flame is the sign of The Chandrian.

Meanwhile, the innkeeper appears with bowls of stew, bread and beer. The story is paused till the men tend to their dinner. Old Cob resumes after finishing the last loaf. He continues, telling them how Taborlin knew name of all things and escapes from the cell by calling the name of the stone and flying down to safety by calling the name of the wind. Taborlin wasn't injured anywhere thanks to the amulet given to him by a tinker few days ago. Graham says at this point that "a tinker pays for kindness twice". Jake points out that he wrong and corrects him. The quiet innkeeper then spoke for the first time that day and said that they were missing by more than the half. This is how it went:

“A tinker’s debt is always paid:
Once for any simple trade.
Twice for freely-given aid.
Thrice for any insult made."

Everyone was surprised to hear him speak. He had never interjected in their conversation before, not that he could. He was still a stranger there even though he has lived there for more than a year. Old Cob continues the story which later turns into a heated argument about the nature of the Chandrian. As they are arguing, Carter enters with A scraeling whom they all assume to be a demon. The innkeeper even encourages them to think so. He slowly brings down an iron on it and there was a sharp cracking sound and a smell of rotting flowers and burning hair.

Hours after the incident with the supposed demon, the innkeeper is standing by the door of the inn and observing the road outside, which is described as "it was not a large road, or well travelled. It didn't seem to lead anywhere, as some roads do".

The innkeeper then looks up at the sky to the stars he knows so well. An interesting paragraph describes his name,

"He called himself Kote. He had chosen the name carefully when he came to this place. He had taken a new name for most of the usual reasons, and for a few unusual ones as well, not the least of which was the fact that names were important to him."

Bast enters when Kote is cleaning up the inn. He is introduced as his student, and he calls Kote "Reshi" probably a respectful term for a teacher. Bast is supposed to study from a book called Celum Tinture which of course, he didn't manage thanks to the intervention of a beautiful girl. Kote tries to make a stern face and scold him but couldn't manage to do so. He then tells Bast about the Scrael, who is rather stricken by it and shows slight signs of panic. Kote assures Bast that he made sure the Scrael was buried deep enough and correct procedures were followed while burying it.

He then mentions to Bast that the ironsmith will be doing a brisk business, which seems suspicious. At this point, we don't know anything about Bast, but this does points towards him being a Fae.

Kote then goes back to his room and tries to avoid looking at the roah wood chest at the foot of his bed, but he ends of looking at it anyway. It is described as,

"It was made of roah, a rare heavy wood, dark as coal and smooth as polished glass. Prized by perfumers and alchemists, a piece the size of your thumb was easily worth gold. To have a chest made of it went far beyond extravagance.
The chest was sealed three times. It had a lock of copper, a lock of iron, and a lock that could not be seen. Tonight the chest filled the room with an almost imperceptible aroma of citrus and quenching iron."

The next day, at the inn, men come and voice out their concerns. The conversations take a really dark turn after a few drinks or so. They talk about the third levy tax by the Penitent king, how they should have bought more stuff from the caravan which stopped a few days back. They talk about how bad the roads have become, They talked and voiced their concern about everything happening and possible, but they all avoided speaking about the previous night.

"The conversation took a downward turn from there, and even though none of them said what they were thinking, the evening ended on a grim note. Most evenings did these days, times being what they were."

Character list


Townsfolk didn't believe their town was A Place for Demons.

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