Later that night, three people approach the encampment and introduce themselves as a brother and sister, Hank and [Henrietta?], and their friend [Vincent?]. They ask for help with something going on in the church, and the group agrees to go along. James remains outside to watch the horses while the other are led into an old stone church, and asked to follow the trio into a dark cellar. With only token hesitation, the group goes down into a room with a large table, where an unpleasant smell is emerging from two grates in the floor.
The girl attempts to ease the situation, but the large, well-armed friend is barely controlling his anger. The conversation deteriorates until the girl calls out a summons to others that can be heard in another room, and the scene explodes in violence. Septimus pull his rapier and holds off the three youths while the rest of the group deals with four enormous, cleaver-weilding chefs who burst out of a side door moments later.
Septimus dispatches both the swordsman and the girl, and holds her brother at bay. The chefs barely get a lick in before they, too, are lying on the stone floor in pools of their own blood. After the battle, a grizzly picture comes to light in the back room. Several animal and human carcasses in various states of dismemberment and decay litter the floor around a table laden with foodstuffs, and a bubbling cauldron proves to be the source of the evil odor coming up from the grates.
The story emerges that this girl had set up a trap for solitary travelers along the main road, and was serving their remains to the townsfolk who had become leery of eating the local fish. Hank is delivered to the mayor, and confesses to his reluctant involvement in the plot. The mayor expresses his gratitude to the group, and one of the poor townsfolk later comes and offers them a gem for finding out what had happened to his family members, which they refuse.
We never do find out why the fish were being poisoned, but this plot point will have to wait for development at another time. Many thanks to Joe for guest hosting!