13 Planting, CY 576
In which Derringer Rollingrock, Danith, Hedrick and Hoftar Graycloak drag Korlyn and Dorien through the woods looking for sheep and finding goblins that knew more than we did, undead near Monastery Hill, and a scary scary demon wolf in a golden collar.
What I thought I could contribute best to investigating ’bout the disappearing sheep would be to quiz the guard in their natural environment, the bar.
After a couple of rounds of some beer that was more sour than I prefer, I got next to nothing from them about what they found after investigating the shepherd’s loss of livestock. There were a bunch of dead sheep. It was within what they patrol even on foot, and they’ve never seen anything like the fire-breathing bear that the shepherd boy said he saw.
They did see a trail from where something drug some sheep away.
It isn’t one of Dumathoin’s secrets, but I reckon we should find out what it is anyway. While Hedrick was training he new pet, I used some of Dumathoin’s gifts to make some water holy. If it’s a demon out there, I figure that we’d best be loaded.
Speaking of which, I need some better beer than that sour stuff.
Hedrick had a good idea to buy a sheep as bait. Hoftar talked to Yffia about what she might know about such a beast and what was in the area.
We all talked to the shepherd boy, I’d do wonder if there is a fire breathing beast. Yep, there was one. The guards saw the dead sheep. But that boy needs to sober up – and that’s my prescription as a vocational alcoholic. He did agree to come with us and show us where it happened. So we trudged out towards Monastery Hill and the river.
The weather was bad. Trudging through fields is never fun but trudging through mud? At least the fog and clouds kept the sun out of our eyes. I don’t think Moradin meant for dwarves to be outdoors.
Hoftar was looking for tracks. We were nearly to the site, we could see the trees where the river is, and then we heard goblins in the trees and saw them with sheep parts. They saw us. About 4 at first, but a couple more showed.
Hedrick wanted to just kill’m, but I convinced that bloodthirsty little shorty that we could talk to them. They don’t have much treasure and we were here to kill the big beast. They didn’t kill the sheep after all. If they had, they’d have made off with the sheep already.
We shouted back and forth and the goblins agreed to talk for some jerky. They called the beast the ‘demon wolf’ and that they did the “big ritual in town so demon wolf come after you.”
The goblins continued, the mouthy little runts, “Wolf not in swamp anymore. In forest we think. Does not breathe fire as much as they know. Few have seen and live. Eyes are on fire though.“ Come to think on it, the swamp goblins weren’t in the swamp. Interesting.
We let them go. Even Hoftar agreed that “this diplomacy thing may be useful.”
Searching the site, Hoftar found that animals were dragged to the river. Couldn’t see any marks of anything burnt. There were some wolf prints, but hard to tell with the recent rains.
Here the river was 70’ wide and was slow but cold. Usually about 12-15’ deep at its deepest river. So we went downriver to the bridge and back to the site. But before we did, we came across some orc bodies, spread out. They were unlooted. (12 gp, 3 spears, 3 suits of orcish leather, and another part of an orc body with 6 gp, spear, tattoos on forehead of goat skull with horned demon thing on one side of face) killed by big claws and bites, a day ago. Hoftar found some wolf tracks, though rained on. Somewhat large and only one. So, possibly useful to note that the wolf had stopped going after the swamp goblins and now was eating on the goat skull tattoo-ed humanoids. Also interesting was that the wounds seemed to be cauterized by the bite.
We debated setting traps but decided to track it. As Hoftar tracked, it seemed to double back and show more than animal intelligence. Interesting, in that kinda way that makes you think between sips of ale. We followed the tracks on the game trail into the forests south of Monastery Hill.
As it was getting late and harder to track the wolf, we decided it would be better to set a trap with snares around our sheep bait. So we found a spot with some tall trees.
First watch – Korlin and Derringer
2nd – Dorien and Danith
3rd Hoftar and Hedrick
We were all in trees, with rope to keep us up. Dorien didn’t sleep too well. But we didn’t see anything all night.
So I wondered why we were out here in the first place instead of trying to find treasure. Hedrick and Hoftar started talking about a ‘duty to nature’ but I have to say that when I think of a duty to nature it means something entirely different.
Hoftar found some tracks from the orcs this time. They pulled off 300-350’ away from the river. After ¼ mile they lead to a game trail parallel to the river. Hoftar thought that the wolf used this trail often. There were also a set of tracks of 15 or so mixed humaniods – goblins, hobgoblins and orcs less than 2 days old, more recent than the wolf tracks.
We made it to the forest again. Lost the humanoid tracks from the game trail. Can’t say I missed them. Into the forest. We found a spot before sundown to set our snares and get into the trees.
Wouldn’t you know it, what Korlin and I hear in the middle of the night isn’t a howling wolf but the trudging of many armored boots. Figuring to wake the crew without alerting the marches, I tagged the sheep with a rock and the sleepy heads woke up.
A few of us came down from trees and Hedrick threw a light spell. He also threw an entangle. The shiny nuggets of Dumathoin scared a skeleton, but some zombies and a ghoul came up at us too. The ghoul paralzyed poor Dorien, but I stunned the ghoul with the power o’ Dumathoin and then I turned him with the shiny nuggets. Danith fell down in a tussel with a zombie, and Hoftar took that goblin cleaver of his and took the ghoul’s head off. A couple of skeletons were still in the entangle and then got free. So that kept us busy and we all worried that Dorien, being paralyzed, was gonna bite it.
But we persevered. It was worth it, too. The ghoul had a bronze bracelet, and a gold amulet of a sun with a face on it. It was somewhat like a Pelor holy symbol, but a different style. It turned out to be magical. And lucky me, the group thought I should have it.
During Danith and Dorien’s watch, he saw a pair of glowing eyes up the trail…. the game was on!
But… then Danith came down out of his tree and walked toward the wolf. Why? I mean, Danith does some silly things sometimes, but he usually has a spit’s worth of a sense of self preservation. It was scary how he seemed drawn to the beast like he didn’t have a will of his own. Don’t know but the wolf bit him for his trouble. And worse, the wolf didn’t get entangled by Hedrick’s spell.
And Moradin, did it even get badder than that. The wolf could howl and make claws of shadow to fight us. Normal weapons bounced off of it. But with the strength of Dumathoin, I ran forward and used the blessed waters to splash and hurt it. Danith’s magical mace couldn’t hurt the shadow claws. But then Hedrick made a magical rainbow spray that blinded it. Korlin threw a sound burst on it.
It kept coming, but blinded. Dorien went down when the shadow claw chased him. Hoftar threw another flask of holy water, and then Danith found his courage and smacked it with his magic mace, slaying the damn thang.
The shadows left it, and the fire went out of its eyes, leaving a very large but surprisingly a normal looking wolf. But it did have a solid gold collar that had a reddish glow that also left with the shadow and fire; just a collar, no way to attach a leash or something. And gold, so not even functional as armor but only decoration or should I say perhaps a magical purpose?
I’d guess it was a possessed or ensorceled wolf?
But now it’s dead. Where’s my ale?
Oh, and the sheep bait survived.