Chapter 02: Wolves

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Session Number: 114
Date: Sunday 27 November 2011
Venue: Craig's
PCs & Players:

Arrian? Rog1/Clr10? (Fergus) (kills: none)
Feren? Rog11? (Yeran) (kills: none)
Lionel? Rgr6/Wiz1/ArcA4? (Ash) (kills: 2 wolves)
Rowaine? Pal11? (Craig) (kills: none)
Troll? Wiz11? (Densial) (kills: 1 wolf)

XP Awarded: TBA

"Well, what an odd bunch we make," the half-elf says, switching to common. "You two," indicating the girl and the small sun elf, "speak dwarven like natives. Yet how am I to know that if I weren't one myself?" He tries a different tack. "What is everyone carrying? I have this long sword."

"A rapier, knives, a mace…" the elf with dark hair says, walking as far away from the group as he dares, looking around for anything that might reveal where they are. A difficult task in the dark.

"A very large axe," the girl says, "some coins, and this armour with a strange symbol on the front. I have no idea what it means. Does anyone?"

"No, the sun elf says, "but I can barely see it. Some light wouldn't go amiss." The forest canopy effectively blocks most of the faint starlight above. The sun elf can make out the girl's silhouette, but little detail. "I have a few weapons, and this book. A spellbook, by the looks of it."

The blonde elf neatly stacks his equipment before him. He picks up one of the items, a sunrod, and lights it.

"How about climbing up a tree?" the half-elf suggests to the circling elf.

"In this dark?" the sun elf replies, although the question was not addressed to him. "Wait until morning. It'd be safer."

"I can see well enough," the dark-haired elf rebuts, "although I don't know why. I shouldn't be able to." He starts climbing a tree.

"You know, come to think of it, so can I," the girl says. "I'm human, right? I should see less well than you elves, and yet the shadows are as day to me." She shivers, her armour wicking away her body heat. "Perhaps you are a dwarf, the sun elf says, smiling. "Here," he adds, offering his cloak. The girl takes it, wrapping it around her shoulders. It is obvious the garment is far too small for her frame.

"Look at me," the sun elf says to the girl. She turns her head towards him. The sun elf extends a finger, touches it to the girl's forehead, and gives a small push.

"What are you doing?" the girl asks.

"Just checking something. Guess what? You aren't inside my head."


"You're not an illusion, dear."


The blonde elf walks around, looking for signs in the dirt that may explain their situation. He finds none. The half-elf surveys their collective inventory. "No blankets, no food, no means of lighting a fire. We obviously aren't adventurers."

"I'm not hungry," the girl says. "At least not right now. But I am cold. So, what are we doing? Staying here, or setting out? I'm inclined to agree with the sun elf. Something tells me wandering about in a dark, unknown forest is a bad idea."

The dark-haired elf jumps down the last few feet from the tree he has climbed. "I can't see very much, even from up there," he says. "No hills, no clearings, no signs of civilisation. Just flat forest in all directions."

The consensus is to stay put. The elves get together and try to make a fire, collecting dead wood. It is not easy. The forest is rather damp: not so much as for there to be mud and pools of standing water, but enough that the whole area smells fresh and verdant, like it has been raining recently.

"I remember hearing something about using a bow to make fire," the girl offers. "Why can I remember that, but not my own name?" She stamps her feet, either from frustration or cold. "Sorry, friend elf, this cloak is not enough. I wonder if all this metal I am wearing is making me colder?"

"Do you want more clothing?" the sun elf offers. "I feel fine."

"Thank you, but I do not … wish to damage them," the girl replies, embarrassed. Excuse me for a moment…" she says as she heads away from the light.

"Great," the sun elf thinks. "I've gone and offended her now." He looks at his arms, their girth less than the girl's. "Maybe I'm not a warrior after all."

The girl returns, still in her armour. "I have no idea how to get out of this," she admits. "There are straps, but I can barely reach half of them."

All are feeling tired, sore and stiff. Their heads ache also, as if they have fallen and struck the back of their heads on something hard. The half-elf feels above the nape of his neck: his hand comes away bloody.

"Can I check something?" he asks the sun elf.

"Be my guest."

The half-elf checks the back of the sun elf's head. He too suffers from a small wound at the base of his skull. In fact, everyone does.

"Someone has left us here for some purpose, and I'll bet that they are not kindly," the half-elf says.

"Maybe we got ourselves here," the girl says. "Maybe we are are all bitter enemies."

"We can guess anything we like," the sun elf says.

"You're right," the girl replies. "We need more information."

"Well, it looks like we are going to have to move around to get it," the half-elf says. "I vote that we all go in an agreed direction for a time, say, ten minutes, and look for higher ground."

"We should vote," the sun elf says.

"…and it should be unanimous," the dark-haired elf adds.

"Alright then," the girl says. "Those in favour of moving out, say…" her sentence is interrupted by a long, blood-chilling howl.

"…aye. What under the earth was that?" the girl finishes.

"Wolf," the blonde elf answers.

"I vote that we stay," the sun elf says.

"I vote that we go," the half-elf counters.

"It's an aye from me," the blonde elf says, "and soon!"

"I think we should stay," the girl says, cradling her heavy axe and thanking the gods that she was unable to remove her armour. Moradin, in particular, since it is his symbol she carries.

"Two versus two," the half-elf says. "Your vote decides it," he says, looking at the dark-haired elf.

"I think we should stay."

"Alright then," the girl says. "Fire. We need fire. Um, elf," she says to the blonde elf, "can you help me find dry sticks?"

The elves and the girl walk about hastily, trying to find dry kindling. There is another howl, from a different direction to the first. It is difficult to estimate how far away the creature is; some believe it to be close, some up to half a mile away. Another howl, from the same direction as the first.

The blonde elf tries to make fire by rubbing two sticks together. The dark-haired elf does the same. The half-elf looks at the treetops. The sun elf unsheathes two knives, bends over the blonde elf's tinder and and strikes the knives together, generating a shower of sparks. He tears off some of his cotton shirt and adds it to the tinder pile.

The blonde elf's attempts at firebuilding is proving fruitless. He abandons his two sticks, tears a strip off his tunic and binds the wound at the back of his head.

"What can I do to help?" the half-elf whispers. The sun elf throws him his third knife, saying "Wood chips!" As the half-elf starts carving off slivers of wood from a branch, there is yet another howl - closer this time.

"We need a contingency plan," the half-elf says. "If we still have no fire after five minutes, I say we take to the trees."

"And if the wolves get here in four minutes?" the sun elf asks.

"We'd better have a fire ready!"

The sparks from the sun elf's two blades ignite the cotton material. He gently blows on the infant flame. A howl, from just in front of the girl's left shoulder. Another, off to her right. Yet another somewhere in between. They are closing!

"I will keep watch," the dark-haired elf says and climbs a tree. The sun elf tends to the fire while everyone else collects wood. Another howl: closer, and behind the others. The fire burns, but is vulnerable. Another howl from within the group's forward arc. The sun elf rips up his shirt and wraps the pieces around two stout sticks. He sets them on fire and thrusts them into the dirt around a nearby tree. The blonde elf picks up a bone next to a pelt of some animal, maybe a deer. All continue gathering fuel for a handful more seconds, dumping it atop the fire, then start climbing trees.

Less than a minute later another howl comes. The creature must be almost on top of them! It is closely followed by another in a different direction. The fire is taking hold, almost eighteen inches across now and burning brightly, but will it be enough?

The girl hesitates at the base of a tree. The sun elf notices and crosses to her. "What's the problem? Climb!"

"It's this armour. I don't think I can get up!"

"Bugger that," the sun elf says. "Grab a branch!" He heaves, but the armoured human is beyond his strength. "Moradin's beard," he thinks, "this girl must weigh two hundred and fifty pounds!"

"Help!" the sun elf yells. The blonde elf runs to assist. Together, they propel the girl up into the lower boughs.

The half-elf and dark-haired elf both look for separate trees near the fire and start climbing. The half-elf spots glowing yellow eyes in the distance. "They're here!" he yells, then bolts up a tree. He is a scant few feet off the ground when two wolves streak in. One takes a running slash at the blonde elf with its fang-filled muzzle, opening his calf and staggering him. The sun elf steps back, picks up a flaming brand and waves it at the wolf. Its eyes track the movement and it snarls. The blonde elf grits his teeth, draws his sword and swings it in a horizontal arc. The wolf bounds out of the weapon's path.

"Get into the trees!" the girl yells. The half-elf stashes his borrowed knife in his teeth and keeps climbing. A third wolf joins the fray, leaping straight past the fiery brands and attacking the injured blonde elf. Its teeth sink into the elf's other leg, forcing him to his knees. He manages to fend off a snap from the wolf at his front.

The wolf before the sun elf lunges forward and clamps down on his calf. It takes a mammoth kick to shake it off. The sun elf limps, favouring the leg. He withdraws and climbs up a tree.

The blonde-haired elf staggers to his feet, presenting a tantalising target to the wolf before him. It takes full advantage, but its snap fall short. Despite his injuries the elf leaps nimbly, catching the lower branches of a nearby tree and swings out of reach. His blood splatters the tree's trunk. The wolf follows, the flaming brands giving it no pause. It smells the fresh blood, places its forepaws on the trunk and leaps - but not high enough. It sinks to its hind quarters and lets out a howl that raises the hairs on everyone's necks.

The girl throws a dagger at a wolf below, but the blade thumps harmlessly into the forest floor. The half-elf does the same, but also misses his target. The sun elf draws his bow and looses an arrow at the wolf below his tree, which passes through its shoulder. The animal cries out in pain. The blonde elf fires another arrow that misses. The dark-haired elf throws a dagger that bounces blade-first off its skull. Blood oozes from the injury.

The wolves move out from under their respective trees and begin circling, howling and snarling. Two more arrows lance down from above; the blond elf's takes down one of the wolves. But beyond the fire light are the flicker of eyes: more are at hand!

"I've only got one more dagger!" the girl cries out.

"You're better off than I am!" the half-elf replies. He looks around, but cannot see any more wolves… Oh wait, yes he can. Lots more. About a dozen more, lean and growling.

The wolves circle the trees as a group, growling and occasionally jumping up, snapping at the trees' lower branches. The sun elf descends to around fifteen feet off the ground. The wolves see him and go into a frenzy. He takes his time with his bow shot, and is rewarded with a hit. The wolf is hurt, but lives on. The blonde elf bends his bow again, his arrow taking down another wolf.

The girl seems frozen in place, holding her lone dagger. "Enok!" she blurts in a fear-filled voice, then throws the dagger. It bounces hilt-first off the dirt.

Not that she knows it, but the girl has faced such horrors before...

"Where is the enok?" the dark-haired elf yells, not understanding. The sun elf's next arrow hits an already hurt wolf, killing it. He sees another wolf plod out of the undergrowth, staying close to the tree trunks. It is much larger than the others. The monster must weight close to 150 pounds. He turns around and targets a smaller wolf, one previously injured. His arrow marks it, but does not fell it. The blonde elf skewers another animal with an arrow, but the beast continues circling as if nothing happened.

More growling, from a direction opposite the massive wolf. The sun elf fires another arrow, wounding a wolf but not dropping it. He counts the arrows left in his quiver, then counts the wolves. The maths is not encouraging. The blonde elf wastes an arrow that deflects off a low-hanging branch.

The girl seems transfixed with fear at the sight of the circling wolves, scarcely noticing the new growling behind her. It continues and gets louder. The dark-haired elf looks in its direction, but cannot make out its source. Neither can the half-elf, but he thinks it sounds different to the wolves below. If anything, he thinks it sounds bigger.

In comes a huge animal, snarling and bristling. It is larger again than even the largest wolf, and stands differently to them, lower to the ground and more solid. Can it climb? Who can say? Strangely, behind it there seems to be a faint light source.

The sun elf fires another arrow at the largest wolf, hitting and wounding the creature. It shies away behind a tree trunk. The new creature continues advancing, growling and flashing its three-inch long canines. Its forepaws gouge divots out of the ground as it closes with the ring of wolves. One dances towards the creature, and is batted away with a massive clawed paw. Behind it is a humanoid…

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