SPAWNHEIM, Aug. 16--Feldwebel Peter Blasius, changing the sentries about the redoubt as the sun set into the gathering mists about the Hochwald, received last for the day the report of Corporal Ernst Collet, commanding the afternoon watch posted at the crumbling, ruined southwest tower looking down the Kognat Road, from the top of which tower lookouts could see as far as the ruins of Spawnheim Abbey, nearly two leagues distant. Corporal Collet reported that, while no sign of the Waldreckerheer had been detected, two of his men had been injured establishing the lookout atop the ruined tower when an unexpected shift in the tower's seemingly stable remaining masonry caused the collapse of a considerable section of the tower into the courtyard below.
Villagers impressed from the village to assist in freeing the trapped men insisted that the accident was in fact an ill omen, and refused under any threat to stay till sundown to complete the cleanup, leaving as soon as the last man had been freed. Signing against the evil eye, they retreated back down the track to the village at the crossroads in a tight clump over an hour before the parish churchbell distantly tolled vespers into the gathering fog.
Feldwebel Blasius, while disinclined to indulge in the stories the men muttered amongst themselves of the mediaeval feuds, black sorcery and witch hunts darkening the repute of the long-mouldering Counts of Spawnheim-Obersayn, was forced to concede that the sickly, blighted trees around the ruins indeed gave the castle an ill-favoured appearance, even in the full daylight. The loneliness of the ruins with the mists descending about them gave the air a heaviness which seemed to swallow up the sounds of the 150 or so men in his company left behind to hold the redoubt while the rest of the battalion double-timed over the Hochwald in pursuit of the Waldrecker supply convoy. He preferred not to reflect on the aspect the ruins would have tonight, in the nearly moonless night completely shrouded in the full weight of the mists, electing instead to focus on noting the names of the injured men in his muster rollbook and then walking down to double check the battalion guns before nightfall.