Though several of the companions seem distracted and distant, setting up the camp is uneventful. Darkness falls and the moon rises, lighting the clear dark night with an ethereal light. Facing toward the small fire, it's glow could almost be missed completely, but looking outward, it outlines bushes and branches, some covered in snow, others starkly bare.
Nimeon proves a poor conversationalist, so miserable is he in his thoughts of his father's behavior in front of his friends. likely if Dorial had been more willing.. or prettier... no, that never stops him... he'd have commenced right then and there... I hope that box bites his bits and finds them wanting! No! That's the last thing this world needs, that man with a worm in his wor... what is Kast going on about? I should look interested, "Uh-huh, just like that, I should think. Maybe once we get Falcon's Hollow on its feet. " Does he always hold his leg that way? Makes him look constipated. Maybe he is constipated. What went on while I was wasn't watching? I'll Kill Him, so help me... no, not really. Well, maybe. He's a sh*tty father. He doesn't even deserve.....
While Nimeon continues lost in his thoughts, Kast sees the an odd outline silhouetted against the moon, A wolf, as large as the Worg or larger, head thrown back in a song to fill the night. Only as it registers, the beast raises on two legs, the shadow morphing to that of a man, though the head doesn't seem to change.
Kast gentle nudges Nimeon with the butt of his bardiche, his eyes affixt on the wolfie.
"Uh...Nimeon...do you see what I see?" Kast risks a glance at Nimeon's face to see if the half elf is paying attention or is still lost in his thoughts.
"Othoe? Chrysto? Chrysto?! Wake up!" Kast kicks some snow on Chrysto. "Wake up! We have company."
Kast steps in front of the party, putting himself between the wolfie and the party.
Any knowledge check for this?
"Go away. You don't want to tangle with us...there is easier food elsewhere." Kast waves his bardiche menacingly.
C'mon Nimeon, you slack-jawed halfling humper, wake up and help me. Quit hatin' your dad and help me out here.
knowledge local, believe it or not. knowledge local 19, please.
"What? Yeah, I said, we'll deal with Kreed once we've settled...oh. OH! What the hell is that?!?!" Nimeon stumbles back, drawing his bow while searching for any sort of information in his head about such a creature. I guess. Maybe
Though the beast is a distance off, and likely had no real idea that the company was there, he seems to turn towards Kast's voice. It howls again, long and plaintively, then after a moment, listens as answering howls come from all directions surrounding the campsite.
Othoe listens to the howling and catches a glimpse of a form in the darkness beyond.
"Kast! They're werewolves! Werewolves are known to frequent all of Darkmoon Vale in varying numbers. They are said to be tougher and stronger than their original form, though they bring whatever strengths they may have had as a human (or gnome or halfling or whatever) with them into their new life as a werewolf."
"They're tough too. They take less damage from any weapon that isn't silver."
Othoe shuffles his feet a moment.
"They usually travel in packs of 3 to 6 - though there was the Night of the Silver Blood in 4707 when Hobgoblins and Silver resistent Werewolves attacked Olfden in larger numbers. I pray these are not those wolves!"
"They are intelligent, after a fashion, maybe they can be reasoned with?"
Othoe shouts to the darkness, "You there! We are not the tasty morsels you might think we are! We're well armed, and carry silver to battle you. I suggest you find a less spiky meal this night!"
Othoe doesn't think much of his chances, takes out a scroll (color spray), and hopes his companions do in fact have some silver...
Simon can't help but wake with all the racket. "No! Not again, always when I'm having the best dream!" The irate herbalist springs from his blankets, smoldering with frustration. His smoking hands clinched at his side, the slight man takes in the situation for a few moments, then turns his attention to the dark woods. "Leave us be! We've harmed nothing in the vale as promised. We've no desire to kill you, but we will if you make it so. Now go, and leave us be!" hollers the herbalist.
The howls circle around, then suddenly take off, yipping and growling mixed with screams and yells that sound more human, or at least humanoid, some ways off towards the south. The sounds of attack sound loudly in an otherwise quiet night, out in the darkness. A long frigid trek through the trees, someone fights for his life.
Othoe settles back on his heels unaware that he had risen to the balls of his feet.
"Poor soul. At least it's not us."
I should carry a silver dagger... to loan to someone in a fight.
Othoe takes a while to calm down, but when he does he sleeps lightly and awakes often. Glad for his turn at the watch he peers into the darkness and pricks his ears for the sound of wolves in the night.
Kast stays on full alert until the screaming and sadness dies down.
I'm brave, but my first duty is to protect my companions.
"If you want to sleep again, I'm still on duty. Sounds like they found easier prey." Kast looks at Nimeon and the rest.
"Go back to sleep. Nothing to see here." I hope.
The sounds of carnage erupt violently, slacken then rise again. The man's screams seem to go on and on, echoing through the night, though it has only been a few minutes since Kast woke Chrysto and Othoe who woke Dorial, while Simon woke to some internal tie to chaos, and only a a minute or less since the wolves ceased their circling of the party to tear off after someone else.
Kast explains to Chrystosm.
"I agree with you and disagree. The bottom line is that they might be over a 1/4 mile away...and even if we were to get there in time, I'm not sure we want to pick this fight. We might not have the weapons to fight them." Kast frowns.
"I have the coldest of iron, not silver. In addition, it's dark...they might be able to see wherein I cannot. It does not bode to our advantage. I am sad that another was attacked...however, seeing at the volume of the noise it made, they might have been big enough to defend themselves. It might have been the *wolfies* who were screaming. We'll never know."
* * *
When it is Kast's turn to sleep, Kast sleeps.
"Chrysto may be right", Simon nods to Chrystosm, "I don't know if I can ignore those screams. It may well just be a hunting tactic they use to lure travelers away from their campsite, but we don't know that, so the question then is 'can we leave someone to die when we could have saved them?'" Simon looks sadly at his companions, "I don't know if I can do that. Chrysto, I'm with you, let's see if we can help." Simon starts strapping on his armor.
"Simon this is a mistake. We are ill equipped to take on this foe. If we were all together fighting one, maybe two, of them we might stand a good chance of success. But a half dozen?! They'll rip us up and feast on our innards for their breakfast."
"Not every fight can be won. You want to take these creatures on? OK. Let us go back to town, supply with silver weapons, and return and hunt them. I think that's a mistake too, but I'll compromise my beliefs for yours. Will you at least do the same for me? Let us wait, and prepare before rushing off to death!"
Dear god man!
"But it is the waiting that will be the failure. Those screams may be a person that needs help now, not later. If we leave now then we might as well not return later, for then we've already left that person to die. What say the rest of you? Each of us gets called "Hero" around Falcon's Hollow, but are we? When no one is watching on a cold dark night, who are we then?" Simon finishes strapping on his armor. "I'm ready Chyrsto, let's do this." A quick shake of his knees betrays Simon's fear. Clearly the man that has soiled his breeches in the past is currently terrified, but he stands resolved in his intent to help the person screaming in the dark woods.
Kast looks at Simon and gets steely eyed.
"Civilian, don't throw your life away. We don't know how many there are nor do we have weapons to fight them. Tramping about in the complete dark towards foes we cannot hope to fight might seem heroic, but in another more accurate way, it's suicide. Except that you'll not just be killing yourself, but us as well." Kast looks at Simon and breathes deep.
"Stand down. Do not throw your life away."
I've called called myself a hero. Nothing but a soldier. Soldiers aren't heroes.
Chrystosm's face forms into a rather incongruous expression of determination and resolve.
"Well, if we don't know, we can at least find out. Excuse me a moment, Simon - I'll be back in a tick"
Unless restrained...Chrystosm suddenly disappears into the shadows surrounding the campfire Stealth: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (10) + 7 = 17, running off into the dark to see what he can see.
Kast nearly echoes Othoe's silent yell with a verbal one of his own as Chrysto runs off, but doesn't want to alert the wolves that one of them has left their protective fire ring of joint defense.
Acceptable losses. If we just lose him during this trap, I'll be grateful...
...if he somehow survives, I'll have a new nickname for him.
Chrystosm runs off into the night, heading towards the sounds. They are a ways off, and he has to run for a full minute or more through the trees. Eventually, though, he sees the subtle motion and shadow up ahead (a shadow at best, do you have light?), a low growl coming from the same direction, though the screams have faded to nothing.
Chrystosm is currently the only one I have moving, but decided to roll all of them, just in case someone else decides to jump. I'm assuming this happens after Chrystosm gets within range.
Dorial: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (15) + 4 = 19
Kast: 1d20 + 0 ⇒ (5) + 0 = 5
Nimeon: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (13) + 2 = 15
Othoe: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (11) + 1 = 12
Simon: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (12) + 3 = 15
Large, ugly Wolf: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (18) + 2 = 20
Dorial: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (14) + 8 = 22
Kast: 1d20 - 1 ⇒ (7) - 1 = 6
Nimeon: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (9) + 8 = 17
Othoe: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (14) + 6 = 20
Simon: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (9) + 1 = 10
Large ugly wolf: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (2) + 10 = 12
Chrystosm stays as still as he can Stealth: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (6) + 7 = 13, not daring to show a light, and peers into the darkness, trying to make out what's there. After a few moments, if it looks like the slaughter's over, he'll return to the fire and report back what little he's found. Assuming that wolfie doesn't notice him. If wolfie does, RUUUUN!
Perception: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (3) + 9 = 12
Did he seriously just run off by himself?
Dorial rolls over and begins to get up, grabbing a rock or stick nearby. "I lost sight of him as soon as he took off, but let us prepare for his return."
She casts Light on her rock and throws it into the woods in the direction Chrystosm ran. "Everyone else do the same, but spread it out. If we can light it up enough then we'll be able to see them well before they see us."
She straps on her shield and grabs her club. Ready to cast entangle when/if any werewolves appear in the light. Aiming to avoid the party and chrystosm
With no more noise even as he comes close to the area of the attack, Chrystosm turns and heads back. He tries for silence, but can't help feeling the weight of some creature's attention as he heads back. It takes him several minutes, now that he doesn't run, to return. At least, he thinks he is going in the correct direction.
Several times, he hears a growl, a snarl, in one direction and must choose whether to head in another and circle around, or take on the wolf in the dark, alone.
Meanwhile, back at the camp
Sound is a curious thing, and seems to stretch thin while the others wait for Chrystosm. The crackle of the low burning fire snaps large, an obscene intrusion into the silence. Once, twice, three times it pops, and once a log settles, sending a shower of sparks up like a beacon.
Eventually, though, other noises begin to filter in, something stalking through the trees, headed toward the group.
Eventually the warm glow of the fire leads Chrystosm back, the man stumbling into the clearing only to be face to face with Kast's bardiche pointed at his nose.
As he does so, a howl goes up not too terribly far away, then the rustle of something takes off again in the night. Long moments of watching lead to nothing, as whatever it was is gone.
Chrystosm stumbles back into the firelight, white-faced and visibly trembling. He looks around at the expressions on his companions' faces.
That was stupid of me, wasn't it? Really stupid. Really, really, REALLY stupid. Ohs**tohs**tohs**t.
"Watch?", he mumbles in reply to Kast. "Don't know. I can't sleep, so I'll do it, if you want."
The rest of the night passes with only a few undefined sounds from the woods around them. The first rays of the sun stream through the trees the next morning, lighting a path through the trees.
Lighter but larger wolf prints bracket the boot marks, slow where they are slow, deep where the sprawl marks are, barely visible where the watcher must have ran.
Survival: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (8) + 5 = 13
"Tracks. Seems we were watched in the night."
Does it seem the wolves were following the tracks or traveling with the boots?
"Let us follow them and perhaps surprise the wolves. At the last we should look into whatever poor soul was killed last night while we debated."
It appears to your trained eye that the boots were watching the camp, only to be chased away by the wolves.
The tracks lead in the direction of the screams the night before, and it is not too long before the group comes across the remains of the wolves feast from the night before. Gore covers the ground in one spot, enough to suggest the man died there, though his body further away.
Chrystosm looks devastated.
I heard him getting eaten, and I didn't do anything. Just ran around in the darkness, panicked, then ran back to the group with my tail between my legs
He starts shivering again, though pulls himself together to ask Nimeon, "What can you see? Was he anyone we know?"
"Aye, I know him. Drelk, from town. He was a guardsman. Do not fear Chrys, this mark on his thigh puts him as one of our enemies, though we should be wary. A scout implies organization remains, so we've more followers to stamp out when we return to town. For now we should probably track the werewolves. We may be ill equipped to take them on as a pack but if they've eaten parts of Drelk here they may be infected with the same rot we are trying to prevent."t
Kast recoils from the body and Nimeon's words.
"It's weird that he chose to run away from us and into the wolves rather than come join us by the fire. He had an opportunity to see us as allies, yet tried to flee instead. That was an imperfect decision."
Kast ponders the idea of tracking the wolves.
Any knowledge to know/understand that the wolves could get infected from eating Drelk? That's going to throw Kast a bit...if that were the case, infecting everyone would be pretty easy.
"Track the wolves? Why? If they took out an enemy, and especially as ill-equipped as we are, I don't think that's a good idea yet."
Any knowledge to know/understand that the wolves could get infected from eating Drelk? That's going to throw Kast a bit...if that were the case, infecting everyone would be pretty easy. "Track the wolves? Why? If they took out an enemy, and especially as ill-equipped as we are, I don't think that's a good idea yet."
Kast isn't certain, but if it was as simple as eating the parasite, then they probably wouldn't have needed the magic box, they could have just fed the worms to people.
"I vote to return to town as well. We know the organization still exists and the town is still vulnerable, we need to get back as quickly as possible" Simon impatiently paces with the energy of a pub patron waiting for the wash closet.