Max and Calene stood over Father Lancaster's body. They had stood there in silence of nearly an hour now, unable to comprehend that their leader was dead.
Several ghosts that dwelled in the castle were also floating around Father Lancaster's body. They had come to pay their respects to the leader of the Ten Rings, despite how most of them rarely spoke with any member of the living.
Max clenched his fists angrily. He had known something was wrong in Goldpiece when they had fought against The Goatman's forces. But Max hadn't trusted his gut instinct, and had convinced himself everything was fine. And then, when they road back after helping the people of Goldpiece repair the damage, it had been too late.
They all knew the culprit of course. There was a massive hoof imprint in Father Lancaster's chest. The Shard was gone as well, stolen away by The Goatman. The Goatman had used the skinwalkers, and Lucien as a simple distraction. His "plan" had been nothing more than an ingenious series of lies, tricking everyone, even Max, into believing he wanted nothing more than the destruction of the hunters. But that had not been the case. It was clearly from the Shard's theft that The Goatman was planning the resurrect Tiamat, which would spell doom for the whole world.
Max shook his head angrily. "We should have been here," He said. "We could have stopped The Goatman."
Calene sighed, and looked Max. Her eyes were red, as she had been crying openly several minutes ago. Max had been crying too, but he hadn't let anyone see it. With Father Lancaster dead, he was leader of the Ten Rings now. He wouldn't let anyone see him being weak. The other hunters needed someone to look up to in this time of crisis. And that burden fell to Max.
"It's no use blaming yourself," Calene said. "There's no way we could have known, Max. The Goatman fooled us all. Even…Father Lancaster."
"We'll find him," Max said, grabbing his silver sword's hilt. "We'll find The Goatman, and kill him! Then we'll take the Shard back, and find the other two."
"We will," Calene said. "But we don't even know where to start. Besides, you want to stay for Father Lancaster's funeral, right?"
Max nodded, and took a deep breath to calm himself. He then looked at Calene and said, "Hunky Punk and Adam…are they okay?"
"Hunky Punk is still being tended to by Mendel," Calene answered. "He's infected with some sort of magical disease. Mendel thinks he should be able to cure it, but he'll need time."
"I hope he doesn't die," Max said, looking at Father Lancaster's corpse. Two ghosts, both old men with missing heads, flew over, holding a blanket. The ghosts carefully placed the blanket over Father Lancaster, covering him up. "I don't need to lose any more friends."
"Adam is going to be alright though," Calene said. "In fact, I think he's here."
Max turned, and saw Adam walking into the room. Adam limped into the room, his face grimacing as he did so. He had been knocked around by The Goatman, and although it was nothing fatal, it still looked like it hurt pretty badly. Adam was leaning on a twisted cane, which had its handle shaped like a crow's head.
"How are you, Adam?" Max asked.
"Fine," Adam said, striding past both hunters. He stepped up next to Father Lancaster's body, and leaned down, looking at his leader's body.
Max gulped. "Adam, I'm sorry," He said. "I should…should've been here! I could have stopped this, or at least…done something to help."
Adam looked up at Max and smiled. He touched his medallion, and whispered, "No."
Adam then turned back to Father Lancaster's body. Max sighed, and said, "I'm going now, Calene."
"Goodbye," Calene said. "I'm going to remain here for a little while."
"Alright," Max said, walking away. He took one last look at Father Lancaster's body, and saw the ghosts hovering above it were leaving, vanishing into the walls. Max pushed open the door, and departed.
We're coming for you, Max thought, as he slowly walked down the hallway. Do you here me, Goatman? You won't get away with this. Victory may be in your grasp, but you aren't holding it yet. There is still two more Shards to find. And the Ten Rings will find them first.