I’d heard plenty of things about the Preacher, long before he ever came around these parts. Just stories mostly, bits of talk that flies around the cookpot. I’m from Leerya, and we’re not backwards like them Grufton nutters, so I’ll tell you the truth of it. Leastwise what I can remember.
Summer before last, I went hunting with my da and Unk Kobel up to Berlenwood, where we got that big chessex 10-pointer. Yeah, I reckon everybody has heard that bit of talk by now. Anyways, da took us east into Amest to find the man Jool the Tanner. By the time we got there, all the Amest folk was up town at the city office. We talked to the one Amestman on the watch pole and he said they were all meeting with the Preacher, including Jool the Tanner. He said there’d be no time for tanning, with meetings all week. Unk Kobel and I started pondering maybe we should go see about the Preacher too. Da was in a fire to get that chessex hide tanned, so we turned around to go home and never did see Jool or the Preacher.
I’ve never forgotten what happened later that year at the Winter Fest either. About midtime on Eve Day, the Leeryan horn started blowing. Most of the families were decorating and costuming up for the Feastday, so some came faster than others. Da and I got to the gate with the first bunch while Klin was still climbing down from the watch pole. He’d seen a ghoul outside, but called it dead with his seeing mind. After we got the gate open, 10 Leerya men went out to burn the thing. I didn’t see it up close like, but my Unk Kobel did, and he swore up and down it was Jool the Tanner. Except for the bat-wings and the extra hands.
Later that night, and after a long spot of jawing in private, the mayor and the councilmen told us all that no Leeryans could go up to Amest or the Berlenwood. It was now Bad Berlen to us. We killed a bunch more ghouls that summer and the next, and folks say all of them were Amest-folk. Or used to be Amest-folk. Me? I’m sure as a third eyeball that that Preacher was behind it and I sure am glad we never got up to that meeting in Amest after all.