With a couple members away the rest of the part decide to do a little something less dangerous today, so that means no dungeon diving, as well as climbing.
It was just Teefa the halfling druid, Quinn the elven ranger and Marra the Halfling sorcerer. After waking from our slumber, and slight coma in my case we find both the rogue and fighter gone. The Fighter talking of returning home and the rogue something to steal nearby I’d guess.
After stumbling downstairs for breakfast, Talia the Tavern keep comes over with a desperate look and motioning to a large half orc man with a large weapon on his back and some broken furniture beside him. A tendency to go berserk at times she said, and mentally not there. “Can’t keep him here, and it would be too unsafe to just let em wander through the woods” and asked if we could take him.
Needing a meat shied – I mean compatriot, we accepted and then marched off towards the Abraaxus’s farm at the far end of town, where we had previously heard of wolves, and a large beast harassing the farmers livestock. We also heard of a bounty.
Meeting the old man was interesting at least, waving his hands around while describing a huge furry beast taking his livestock. He may be mad but for 200 gold it’s worth a look. We visit the neighbour as well to confirm, a cranky nasty man that hasn’t seen or heard nothing. Completely unhelpful he was, and rude.
With a few hours left of light we begin hatching a plan. Delving into the forest with no information just sounds like a bad idea, so maybe luring them out instead. I come up with the brilliant plan, of course, to lure them out, maybe stealing one of the cranky man’s cows but the rest oppose. We need another thing though, a scent… BLOOD. So we venture to the butcher to purchase blood, he looks at as rather strangely for the request but eventually sells us a pail full of blood.
We then begin debating the next plan: what, where and how to use the blood. I suggest dumping it on one of the mean farmers cows, but the rest disagree. Live bait is always best but whatever, and we’d probably up the bounty for the kill if another farmer saw the beast.
We slowly work out the plan of making a blood trail from the nearby forest towards a small stone fenceline. A large tree nearby seemed perfect for our ranger friend too who deftly climbed it like some kind of jungle cat. Twilight comes as me and the sorcerer squat behind the low fence and wait.
Then the wolves come, or at least I’m told. I think some of that blood splashed in my eye and it kinda stings. Four wolves in total, with one being a huge wolf beast following from close behind. They follow the path of blood for a time then stop. Then quickly their noses perk and two diverge from the path towards the rangers hiding spot. I ready my slings staff and wait.
Marra went to make a quick dash to behind the house, where we’d left the stupefied Orc, we now call Ork, and to loop around towards the tree but the wolves spotted her and dashed forward. The ranger and I fire off, the arrow sticks but my rock sails wide. The two wolves diverge on the poor sorcerer, taking one large slash from the Barbarian then biting, and dragging her to the ground – the knock sending her unconscious. ORK seeing this lifts that large weapon and cleaning slashes almost through a wolf. The other then bolts for the forest.
The large beast then stands, the sound of bones snapping, nightmare fuel, as it rights itself onto two legs and grabs a large crossbow from its back. Quinn gets in another shot, and then it unleashes a bolt into his side,nearly making him topple from the tree. I climb the small fence to get to my unconscious friend, the Rocks slipping and falling away as a try to get a hold the plop and roll onto the other side in front of her. I chant the words of my family to fill her with light, and she coughs then stands. We rush forward to meet the larger creature,who shifts back and is lost amongst the forests edge. Quinn firing two more times but missing as they retreated.
Instead of giving immediate chase, we scamper back to the local healer to fix the rangers wounds and then track the wolves retreat. An absolutely trivial task for us as the blood dripping from the wolves wounds is easy to see and smell, broken branches and brambles from the quick retreat. It all leads to a small natural cave, covered in vines and moss.
Entering the cave reveals several large, outcrops that stagger higher into the cave. A small body of water below, gathering drops that fall from the ceiling. A black Wolf perched close on the lower ledge, tufts raised and a faint growl. A cornered beast is dangerous, and I still did not wish to kill these creatures. I cast another family chant, and then speak to the Wolf – asking where the great beast, its master.
A scraggly man with a long, scratchy grey beard then steps forward to speak. He talks not just of the humans advance on their forest, and the wastefulness of man – but of a large beast stalking the forest and their hunting grounds. One that has killed most of the pack. They do what they must now to survive.
I reason with the man to stop, they are wasteful yes – but persistent. If not us coming to your pack then others for the bounty. Your pack is in danger if you mess with humans. We mean no harm, and my other companions repeat this. He relents finally, although quickly reaches for a knife and slices of an ear, tossing it before us. It morphs into a huge wolf ear. A trophy, to prove our success and stop the bounty.
He dumps his gear on the ground too, chain mail and the crossbow clanging to the ground. As well as a few other useless items then goes to leave. We move aside although Marra gives him a potion and says stay safe. I kind of like her now. Him and the wolves leave and we do the same, if in much different directions of course.
We deliver the ear, and wolf carcass to the albraxus, who whoops and hollers around the house and then hands us the coin.
Our first mission complete as a team. It feels rather nice, and even better because I’m still conscious.