For the last several days we had seen signs of a true beast in the area. Normally the giant creatures of the Ironlands kept to themselves if we stayed well off their territory, but something had been roaming closer to us lately. On Lona’s last trip out, she had heard rumors to the same from surrounding communities which means this beast has a wide range of operation.
Three days ago, Lona set out on a tracking mission to find the beast and its lair. She swore this would not be the trip to kill the foe, just to discover its whereabouts. That sounds nothing like my sister at all, but she swore to return by the third day to give a report to Redheather so we could make better preparations for an incoming creature of unknown size and power.
Just an hour ago, an emaciated and nearly crazed man stumbled into the village using Lona’s broken spear as a crutch telling a wild tale of her saving him from a great white beast of some kind. Scared out of his mind, Owen ushered him into his own hut but waved me inside. Through tears and crying, the story is jumbled, but one thing is clear. My sister is out there. Alone.
Owen looked at me and said, “Now’s the time bannerman. Rise up for your family and this community. Go and bring your sister safely back to the fold.”
“This I do swear,” I say grasping my staff and slinging my bow over my shoulder. (+heart + 1: 4 vs 2,4, weak hit) (Dangerous quest)
“I have to know where this man was at, but we have to get him to talk sense,” I say in a rush. “Without his input, I’m walking blind out there.”
“We need some way to calm him down,” I say. “Maybe if I speak with him of my sister.” Owen nods to me giving me permission to speak to the man. Time to shepherd the people.
“Excuse me, sir. I know you’ve been through an awful ordeal this night, but I want you to know that you are safe now. You are in the company of friends, nay, even more than that, the company of family. For my sister is the one who put her life on the line for you. My sister is the one who pointed through the madness. My sister is the one who gave you that broken spear for you to walk with. And it’s my sister that needs our help, my help, now. Can you return her boon? Just tell me where to go, and I’ll take care of the rest.” (Compel: +heart: 4 vs. 4,7, miss)
The man just shakes for a moment before blurting out, “This is her fault! It’s her fault! Her fault!” and lunging violently at me. In his weakened condition, Owen and I quickly wrestle him to the ground, but he only continues to jibber mindlessly after that. What did he mean that this was her fault?
Taking command, Owen turns to me and says, “Dead deals are dead deals. Cut your losses and get out there. Lona is necessary if we are to move forward!”
“And you love her, right?” I ask.
He eyes me angrily and says, “Of course, I do. Now fulfill your vow.” I back out of Owen’s hut and start to think. Where are the dangerous places for the flock. Where would a beast come if it were to attack? I begin stitching together pieces of the land in my mind looking for the right spot. (Gather Info: +wits + 1: 9 vs. 2,8 strong)
That must be the place! Two miles past the red flowers of the sacred hill is a stream. Another mile up that stream, the water widens out to make a shallow drinking pool that many of the woodland creatures use. Surely if a beast were to attack, this would be an ideal spot to ambush the weaker animals. (Milestone: A starting place, 2 progress)
Making it to the watering hole during the day was not a problem, but everyone knows to not venture too far into the Deep Wilds at night. However, I have no choice. Do I encounter anything along the way? (Oracle: 20, no)
Looking around at the watering hole, I want to figure out what happened here. (Gather Info: +wits: 6 vs. 6,7, miss) Unfortunately, I can’t see any evidence of a beast, my sister, or a fight. It’s a dead end. (Pay the Price Oracle: 23, Your action has an unintended effect, Action Theme: Create Fellowship)