On the second night of travel, the halflings and their friends are forced to stop at night to rest the ponies and themselves. As a fire is started, Cotton looks into the flames, then says: “This time of year always makes me think of scary stories. Why, I’m sure y’all have heard of the Three Witches, but it’s one of my favorites…”
On dark, windy nights in Zella’s Vineyard, Halfling parents tell their children the tale of the Three Witches.
Long ago, it is said that three hags terrorized the vineyard, luring children into the swamps and shallow waters, and stealing them away as morsels of food to sate their unnatural hunger. Hunting parties sought the hags, but they were tricky, and held congress with evil spirits that gave them strange powers unheard of in the land. Many believe that these stories are told to keep children from wandering too far. However, there are halflings left on the Vineyard who are old enough to know better.
These elders tell of a wizard named Bemfirr, who was finally convinced by the halflings to help stop the terror of the witches two hundred years ago. Bemfirr and his halfling friends lured the sisters to the rocky shoals at the very tip of the Vineyard with the sounds of lost children. There, a massive battle ensued. Many halflings were killed by evil hexes and cold claws. The coven summoned strange powers of the Sea and Death, but Bemfirr had his own access to old magic. The wizard was able to entrap two of the sisters in a magical prison with an artifact now known as Benfirr’s Key, it is said. The last one, Loya Jirga, escaped this fate, but was first blinded and then cast deep into the sea.
This was the last that the village heard of the hags, or so the legend goes. But the rocky area at the end of the cape to this day is known as Hag Hook. And there are those that claim to have seen Loya Jirga blindly roaming the seas, looking for Bemfirr’s Key so she can release her sisters and form her coven once again.
As for Bemfirr’s Key, the legend says that the magic is powerful enough to imprison the sisters for eternity, but only as long as it is kept intact. The halflings believe that Bemfirr passed the key down to a noble soul to protect and pass along to those of pure heart.