Massachusetts Bay Colony, 1640
An ancient evil awaits the arrival of the Dunbar family from England on the shores of the New World called the Americas. After landing at Scituate in the Plymouth Colony, the Dunbars, which includes William and his wife Ursula, travel west to the town of Weymouth, where William Dunbar has been appointed the new Water Bailiff. Three other families travel with them along with one man no one will speak to except for the youngest Dunbar, Maxwell. After much pestering, the man tells Maxwell he’s going to Weymouth to seek justice for his brother’s death at the hands of the local Indians.
Along the route through the Algonquin forested lands, the travelers encounter members of the friendly Massachusetts Tribe, who invite them to rest the night among their people and continue to Weymouth in the morning. Among the party of natives is young Sachem, who immediately befriends Maxwell and becomes smitten with his oldest sister, Margery.
The stranger decides to leave the party, wanting nothing to do with the native tribe and will not accept their hospitality, even after they beg him not to leave the camp. He strikes out for Weymouth on his own and disappears into the fog. After sharing an evening of pleasantries, a feast and warm fire, the travelers and their hosts turn in for the night. Sachem warns Maxwell and his sisters that the woods are full of wolves and other creatures of the night, and no matter what sounds come from the darkness, not to venture out from their shelter.
In the wee hours of blackest night, Maxwell awakes to Margery’s piercing scream some distance from the camp. As the rest of the party wakes to find what happened, Sachem finds Maxwell to tell him he saw Margery leave the camp to make her night water. He followed, only with the pure intention of protecting her, and that’s when he saw it take her.
“Did I not warn her to stay inside?” Sachem’s voice was quivering with anguish. “I should have done something. I should have stopped it from taking her.”
“Who took her!?” Maxwell asked above the din of confusion.
“Not who. What,” he replied. “The creature who traveled with you took her. It was a widjigo—the Grimworgen.”
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