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Gray Forest Patrol Two

Patrol in the Gray forest. This Patrol is organized by Reese icly, but she will not be actually coming. It is to range out in the forest and check on the condition and deal with any threats that might arise. I have a few modules to run, which one I choose will depend. I can take up to 5 people, but no more. Please reserve a spot with an mail or page. I am looking to take people who might icly be interested in doing such a patrol. Priority will be given to new characters who have not had many prps yet and to those who it seems highly IC for them attend (such as those Reese talked about about going). There is the potential for danger. It is not as high as it was, but it still exists. I am willing to take non-combat characters and I like to include some if possible, just long as we can find an ic reason. I can think of reasons why healers, scouts and naturalists might attend. Feel free to page me with any questions.

Date

July 18, 2017, 8 p.m.

Hosted By

Reese

GM'd By

Reese

Participants

Silas Luca Lou Reese Esoka Estaban Aiden

Location

Outside Arx - Eastern Approach - Gray Forest Outskirts

Largesse Level

Small

Comments and Log

Esoka

While the efforts to restore the Gray Forest have yielded much better health for it, dangers still remain. I was reminded of this when I joined one of the Grayson patrols into its depths this past week. We found a mother from a shav'arvani tribe and her two sons, who'd been set upon my monstrous, cursed beasts. We escorted them safely to the city, where they were tended to. I need to look in on them to see how they are faring. The Compact offers much in the way of security, but it can be frighteningly foreign if you are not accustomed to its ways.

As for the beasts, twisted creatures that they were, we managed to slay them. I fought beside Lord Commander Silas and Prince Luca with my blade, while Princess Lou Grayson and Lord Estaban Saik laid into them with arrows. And Prince Aiden Grayson worked to calm those wolves which could be turned peaceable, to remarkable effect.

For all that we were victorious over the cursed wolves themselves. But they were MADE that way by someone wielding very dark power, and that one we did not find.

I shall venture back to the forest again soon. My work is not done.


Giuseppe, a kindly old man arrives, following Luca.

It is a nippy autumn morning when the party gathers together at the outskirts of the Gray forest. Reese as the Grayson minster of war arranged this party, but she explained that she wouldn't be able to attend herself. She did detail out the mission, asking the party to stay together, range into the forest following the northwestern path and to check out the condition of the land, look for any Shavs, help any refugees, subdue hostiles and so forth. She doesn't seem to know what they will or will not find. She is not here now though as the party gathers.

Silas sits upon his prissy gray stallion, Damascus, as the beast plods along near the front of the party. The task seemed straightforward, but there was something notable missing -- at least to him. "Did the princess assign a leader for this party, or are we all just kind of going along together?" He inquires of the rest assembled.

Unfortunately Reese forgot to assign a leader and is not here to ask.

Aiden Grayson is among those who have been arranged into the party, for reasons likely to do with the fact that he aided in the recovery of the Gray Forest itself and likely, as a practice run for adventuring beyond Arx. He's on a sorrel gelding borrowed from the Grayson stables, the livery on the saddle declaring his royal lines and therefore the privileges of borrowing such an animal. While the horse wasn't a fancy breed, the animal walked with a certain spring in it's step, excited to be out of the paddocks. Aiden looks back to Silas, "She didn't say anything to me about it..." His eyes flick toward the front, "I'm either better at scouting or staying in the back for long range, should we need it. If there's an incident involving an animal, let me try to calm the beast before people try to carve a skin rug out for themselves, please?"

Lou moves with the gentle sway of the mare she's been assigned as she makes her way into the designated meeting spot. She nods to those assembled, some she knows and some she doesn't. She catches Silas's question as she enters upon the scene and shakes her head. "Reese just said to meet here and do a patrol, she didn't particularly say who was in charge. I've a fair hand at tracking though, should we come upon any tracks."

You'd think that with autumn chill starting to set, Luca the Lazy would consider changing up his usual preferred lack of style with something a bit warmer than black kidskin pants and rumpled linen shirt, but the only thing the Champion prince has changed to fit the weather is adding a simple black linen cloak that's not even fur-lined or something. Despite that, the duelist married to the woman who arranged this is here early for once. Clearly eager for something to do that might involve stabbitying things. Despite that, the man looks like he's _literally_ just rolled out of bed, with longish dark hair mussed in way that somehow still seems charming and his eyes half-lidded as he sits a gigantic black steed aptly named Gluefoot for its plodding stubborness. Apparently he's not completely asleep though, since when the talk of leadership comes up, Luca's perking up to add with a degree of desperate fervor. "Not fucking it! All on you, Si. Not that you can expect me to listen any better than I ever do, but at least you can shout at me for not listening this way!" The prince is giving a fond, lopsided sort of grin at this for the guard captain, clealry joking at least a little...but only a little.

Esoka rides a sturdy, rud-colored courser with the Grayson party. She's dressed in lighter leathers rather than steel, which gives her some ease of movement and better blends with the color of the forest. "I am not in charge," she says simply. "I can manage in woodcraft, though..." Slight bow of her head to Lou. "And I speak the language of the Crownlands shav'arvani, should we encounter such that are not prone to aggression." Fingers crossed.

Estaban comes to the gathering spot where he was told to meet up he is just pulling on his leather glove as if he was etting dressed on the run. He has his new bow strapped to his back and sword at his side. He is not on horse back who has time for land boats when you use to be on a water boat all the time! He lets out a sigh shaking his head yet something else he will need to learn to do. "Whos it? what?"

Lou sits up straighter at the chorus of 'not its' and elicits a soft sigh. "I suppose then, I shall head the mantle." She looks to Silas, asking. "Unless you'd prefer the reins of erstwhile advent... er... patrol. Right. Patrol." Not an adventure, though it could be! She nods to Esoka, stating simply. "Duly noted. Should we encounter any." She nudges her horse closer to the others. "So then, what tract of land are we patrolling?" she inquires.

"Looks like it's you," Aiden notes back to Silas, "Naturally, you're someone I believe everyone here would follow." He nudges his gelding along, the sorrel setting an quick walk along the northwestern path. What's a ride in the woods anyway.

His blue eyes drift from person to person as each pipe up, confirming his suspicion that Reese did not assign an official leader to this expedition. No matter, he thinks -- that problem usually solves itself! "Alright, so... we have trackers, scouts, and someone who speaks Crownlands shav'arvani. Not a bad spread of expertises." He chortles at Luca's retort. "I kind of think we're out of place here! But we can fight." He hums thoughtfully, clearly assessing the situation. "If we come upon hostile forces - me, Luca, and Esoka in the front - the rest of you in the back. If we want to try the diplomatic approach, you'll have to step up, Esoka." He's curiously dropped the titles. "If we're lucky this will be an uneventful morning and all we'll encounter is hostile squirrels and geese." Silas nods to Aiden and begins to guide his steed to the front. "I just like to have a plan."

Lou seems all too happy that Silas moves to the front. She still hasn't recovered fully from having served as Voice. "There's nothing wrong with having a plan. She mentioned the northwestern path right?" she asks, nodding in that direction. Her mare snorts and stomps her feet, indicating she's ready to get a move on for this ride. "And, it definitely seems like she planned appropriately." She looks to Silas to see when he'll signal for them to move out.

Estaban watches his two friends on horse and his brow raises up but he says nothing he brings his bow off his back and holds it in his hand with a arrow knocked and ready the tall man seems to falls to the back of the pack keeping watch of their raers moving along following them keeping watch silently.

"Well, as much as I follow anyone but Ribbons properly." Luca an't help but mutter full of sleepy mirth to Aiden's declaration of willingness on their parts. After a jaw-cracking yawn, a brighter grin is cast over Lou's way for her offering herself up in turn, and he's offering up her way. "Just don't get dead or Ribbons will never let me hear the end of it, whoever is leading." Following which, he's turning cinnamon eyes on Silas' declarations of direction, the latter part of it bringing a pouting frown tot he prince's face. "Aww Si, don't say that! If I dragged my ass out of bed for hostile squirrels, I'm going to be dire pissed!" A pause, a cock of head as Luca starts trying to kick Gluefoot into motion (it takes three or four tries), and then the Champion's adding. "Well, unless they're undead squirrels. I'd be fine with hostile undead squirrel horde!"

Esoka's brows arch when she's called upon for 'diplomacy.' But she nods. "I may require some assistance with the lattter. I am better with blade and fist. But, I shall serve as I'm able. Hopefully we will not meet any undead squirrels." It's deadpanned dryly. Hard to tell if that was an attempt at a joke or any. In any case, she's ready to ride.

Aiden offers outloud, "Does everyone know eachother?" He looks over his shoulder, doing a fair job of staying his seat as the sorrel challenges Damascus for the lead spot, ears pinned and tail flicked hard, annoyed likely that he's being by passed. On the quip about the squirrels, he smirks quietly and shakes his head. A bow is upon his person if necessary, offering, "Should I go on up ahead?"

The party continues into the forest upon their mounts and they are traveling for quite sometime. For the first few hours it looks like all they are going to encounter is some birds flapping away at the sight of them and likely hostile squirrels scampering up the tree with their nuts. As they continue deeper the animal sounds soften and soften until the forest starts to seem too quiet. The trees start to look twisted and sinister and the birdsong becomes so very faint.

Aiden checked perception + survival at difficulty 20, rolling 26 higher.

Lou checked perception + survival at difficulty 20, rolling 26 higher.

Luca checked perception + survival at difficulty 20, rolling 14 higher.

Esoka checked perception + survival at difficulty 20, rolling 24 higher.

Silas checked perception + survival at difficulty 20, rolling 6 higher.

Estaban checked perception + survival at difficulty 20, rolling 0 higher.

Everyone in the party is able to make out that behind a thorny and twisted bush are a group of three Shavs. One appears to be a woman in her late thirties and two are boys who look to be in their late teens. One of the boys is bleeding. They seem to be trying to hide from the approaching party. The more alert, notice the wolf tracks, lots of them spanning out over the forest ground. It seems that a pack was recently through this area.

Aiden continued to ride scout, coming back to the group at the odd point to report that nothing was amiss or switching out with someone else to do the same. Until a few hours into it, there was something more to report than the regular game trails that waved through the forest floor. "There's been an attack here..." Aiden comes back upon his mount with a jaunty seat, "A hunting trip gone wrong is my guess." He inquires to the rest of the group, waiting to see if they concur or see something more than what he has, or rather, sums it up more than he has.

Lou pulls her horse up short at the uncanny silence and takes a moment to gather her bearings. As she does, she peers around the forest path and notices the tracks, the people, and the wolves and says loud enough for her group to hear. "Hold. There's trouble afoot." She checks to see if the others see what she does, keeping her features calm and stoic. "There might be fighting yet, as there's a pack of wolves here." She motions to the pack in general to bring the rest up to speed, then turns a wary eye toward the Shavs as well. Her more immediate concern is the wolves. "About a dozen or so."

Silas nods to Lou when she chimes up. "Northwest it is," he answers, though he may be simply -pretending- he knows which way to go. His gaze flickers back to Luca. "Not getting people dead should be our top priorities, yes. If the squirrels aren't out there's not much I can do, I'm afraid." He casts his gaze to Aiden and nods. "If any trackers want to go ahead and track, they may do so. Just be careful and don't go too far ahead." Sure enough, it appears there were irate squirrels. But thankfully they were more preoccupied with their nuts. As the woods around them become eerily quiet, he seems a little concerned... but waits for those who know better to pipe up with their findings. The tracks he can perceive draw his eyebrows together and his eyes alight upon what appears to be figures moving beyond the bushes. Huddling people aren't usually in a hostile state! He gestures for Esoka and Aiden to approach the front of the party. "Approach slowly. We need to communicate to them that we will not harm them, and he will need to be healed."

Hours! Hours without even a single zombie squirrel!!! Luca's about ready to start picking fights with trees at this point, sighing discontentedly every time they come around a bend of potential danger and find nothing! Nothing at all! And then, something at least! Some figures up ahead the lazy prince's uncharacteristically sharp eyes pick out, leaving him to point out the direction of the huddled figures and declare hopefully. "Please tell me that is a fucking ambush up ahead behind those bushes!" He perks up to Lou's words though, glancing back to her with a big, silly grin. "Wolves?! That's not undead squirrels or shav ambush, but I'll take it!"

"As for the wolves, keep an eye out and ears pricked. You're right... they're probably nearby," Silas intones. Their prey was still alive, after all.

Esoka turns to nod to Lou. "I see the tracks. And their poor pray." She juts her chin toward where the shavs are hiding, riding up to the front of the party with Aiden. A nod to Silas. "They likely fear we shall be hostile to them." She raises her voice to call out of the shavs, in the language of the Crownlands tribes. 'They come in peace! They will not harm you! They can help the wounded (well, maybe /someone/ in the party can, and provide protection!' And such.

Aiden sends a look toward Luca, "There's no need to /kill/ everything you see. There's some of us who know a thing or two about animals on hand." There's a look of frustration on his face, "Yes, about a dozen of them. They tend not to attack humans unless we've stumbled upon their den!" He swings off the horse and descends, flicking his arm behind him to settle his cloak, "With this many of us, there's no reason even a sensible pack should attack." He moves to his saddle bags and grabs some of the bandages he had there, coming prepared was essential for questing. Or in this case patrols.

Luca gives Aiden a long-suffering sort of sigh, but rolls eyes and relents. "Fiiine! But if they're undead wolves, I get to stab them!" He goes back to peering about the area hopefully, with one eye kept vaguely the direction of the huddled people others with sharper eyes declared victims.

Esoka you can roll charm+empathy or manipulation to see how convincing you are toward the Shavs. Anyone who wants to study further tracks further can roll intelligence or percetion+ animal ken. I will give you a heal roll here in a moment, after we see how Esoka's rolls does.

Esoka checked charm + empathy at difficulty 15, rolling 9 higher.

"Why would they be undead wolves?" Aiden looks over toward Luca with a brow hitched, "I thought the blight was cured in this area..." He does step forward though, with the little satchel of bandages and gauze and all the medical tools one could bring without fear of breaking. He does pause though, to stoop down to consdier the tracks.

Aiden checked perception + animal ken at difficulty 15, rolling 34 higher.

Estaban brings his bow up with the arrow knocked looking around eyes and ears open for the Wolves keeping the parties back safe so they are not circled around on. "They can't be far, eyes and ears open guys." he breaths deeply his blue eyes scanning around the woods.

Silas can perceive Aiden's reluctance to kill the wolves, but he keeps his attention focused on his surroundings. "We'll attempt to move elsewhere as soon as the boy is tended to." If he can avoid being attacked by wolves, he'll gladly do so. Luca's apparent glee at the prospect of bloodshed doesn't seem to phase him any more.

Lou checked perception + animal ken at difficulty 15, rolling 9 higher.

The woman peeks out from behind the thorny bush. Her face is sunburnt and lined beyond her years. She seems protective of the two young men, despite being clearly much frailer than at least the non-injured one. She seems to understand Esoka's words. Her brown eyes are wide as she looks over the well equiped and well feed party. Still she seems somewhat charmed by Esoka and gives her a tentative and somber smile. She speaks in Crownlands Shav. "Please...don't attack us..my boy is hurt. It is just us three. The rest our tribe is gone." She looks thin, too thin. She has yet to fully leave the bush, but she isn't running and she hasn't drawn her knife. She does have a knife, a rusted and poor quality weapon.

As Lou looks over the tracks she will notice that these are really big tracks, much larger than one might expect of a normal wolf. Although not all the tracks are oversized, just some of them.

"Because it'd make a better story than 'we came, we saw some birds and tracks, and then we came home." Luca offers back to Aiden in a surly mutter, but he moves to follow along with Esoka a little aways, playing guard and thank the gods keeping his trap shut at the Shavs, thus minimizing his likelihood of causing them to try and stab them all perhaps. Of course, he hand resting on the viper-headed pommel of the alaericite sabre at his left hip isn't probably giving exactly a 'friendly' vibe, but at least he's smiling at the people. "What'd they say, he murmurs aside to Esoka though as he slouches on his horse nearby her."

Aiden also notices that the tracks are far from normal. While studying them he notes there is about about ten giant wolves and maybe two normal sized ones in this pack. Something is off.

Esoka's manages to speak calmingly, tongue wrapping around the little-used but familiar words with a certain warmth, as she approaches the shavs. She gestures to Aiden, and tries to explain that he will tend to the boy's wounds. That they're here to help. She translates readily for the others, kneeling by the bush. "They say their tribe is gone." She takes a moment to bow her head. "Whether dead or something else, I do not yet know. They are alone, the three of them. Probably made easy prey for the creatures."

"Because the trees don't look so great here. At least, they don't look 'normal'." Lou counters to Aiden. "It's possible the wolves are not so normal either. Couldn't it be possible that the blight has mangled some of the animals?" she suggests, keeping her tone as reasonable as possible. Of course, she's seen things in her past travels. It's not out of the realm of possibility for her. "Just be prepared for the worst, that way you can't be disappointed when something better comes along." She dismounts her mare and also takes a look at the tracks, frowning. "These tracks are mixed. See here? These are normal wolf tracks. But these over here. These.... are not normal. I've never seen wolf tracks so big before." She motions to the tracks with her hands as she's explaining so people have a clear indication of which are which.

Aiden was the officiator at the menagerie, he'd be doing all the animals in that menagerie an injustice if he didn't at least try to stand up and prevent open genocide on the pack of wolves running in this area. He settles down near to the paw prints, as he waits for Esoka to attempt communicating with the injured party. His eyes dart to Silas, nodding, "I'd be best if he were taken back toward the city." He considers Estaban's additional comments, frowning, "If the wolves attack us now, in this large of a party, there is something wrong." A glance to Luca, "A story? You could better make one up and perform it at the theater." He does squat down at the wolf tracks a little longer, his features darkening as his hand runs over some of the larger ones. "Has anyone heard what the forest when sick did to animals? These... tracks, you know... they're massive. Like...." he turns his gaze to Lou, "I'm not sure. I didn't research what the blight did to the fauna."

Aiden rises then from lookin gat the tracks, heading toward Esoka, turning his silver eyes on the three huddled and showing them what was in his satchel, drawing out bandages, "Do they understand you?"

The woman looks fearfully toward Luca when he draws near. "Don't let him hurt us." She says to Esoka, crouching in front of her sons. Her rusted knife is stained with blood. The woman then looks toward Aiden, hopefully and nervously at the same time. "He will help my Aspen?" She says in Crownlands Shav. Maybe Aspen is the boy's name. She goes to put her slender arm around the boy's shoulder and tries to encourage him to inch foward. His right arm is wrapped in blood soak gauze and his expression is one of agony. He seems willing to let Aiden tend to him.

Silas frowns lightly at the news that these may be abnormal wolves. "It may be better to hunt them down, then, so they do not harm more travellers who go down this road. If they're rabid or something similar, they are a threat that must be dealt with sooner rather than later." He considers the way forward. "We could escort them to the nearest settlement -- we shouldn't travel long with the wounded and he shouldn't be long on his feet in that state. If the city is closer, then we'll do that." He has no idea how far out they are!

They are about three hours into the forest. It will take them three hours to get back to Compact and another three hours to make it back to this spot.

Esoka's gaze flits up to Lou, her posture tightening. She nods. Preparing herself, plainly. A wince, she she takes in the state of the boy, and she nods to Aiden. "Aye. Our tongues are not perfect matches, but we can understand each other well enough. Mostly, they are frightened. If we can stabilize him, I can keep them calm while we get them somewhere safe, I do think." She offers a nod up to Silas.

Aiden seems to at least recognize body language, or well, simply put, the gesture for the boy to inch forward has the tall prince descend once more to his knees, this time, staying upon them. Silas' conclusion on the matter of the wolves turns his expression tight, "We're jumping to conclusions. The blight may have killed off the pack that was here and they could be replaced by northern wolves. Simply because we haven't seen it before doesn't mean we need to kill it." He huffs a little, "However, I will admit if there's ten of them coming to attack... may Petrichor guide their spirits." He looks to Esoka then, with a firm nod, "I'll see what I can do." He starts rummaging into his satchel, while he waits for the lad to come out of hiding.

Luca actually looks briefly more serious when he sees the fear of him in that woman and he's taking hand away from blade with hands upheld to her, giving a charming sort of smile and offering softly back whether she understands their crownlands words or not. "I'm not threat if you're none to us, lady. Be at ease." Then glancing back to this talk of giant wolves from others, giving Aiden a pointed sort of 'Toldja so!' look before turning to Esoka to murmur a bit more urgently while he turns his horse from the people to scan for threat. "Ask them what it was attacked them, eh Soka?" Did he just nickname her or did he just mispronounce the name? Either way, for all his knavery in face of no danger, in face of actual danger, the Champion prince seems to be steadying down into something actually approximating seriousness. His hand is back to blade again, but it's decidedly in the sense of guarding the people now.

Esoka's brows arch at Luca. //Was// that a nickname? She will ponder whether she approves of it or not later. She asks the shav woman, as clearly as possible, for more details on what attacked them. She'll translate readily for the others, whatever she gets.

Aiden checked intellect + medicine at difficulty 15, rolling 29 higher.

Estaban looks to silas, "I don't like this, why would they attack and leave them there why not finish them off wolves are attracked to the scent of blood specialy since its getting cold and they need to store up fat for the winter." he looks around his eyes darting back and forth arrow ready to let lose if needed!

"Maybe, maybe not. I'm not going to mull much on theory or prejudices. We are here to scout and take care of threats, human and non-human. If they pose a threat, they will be dealt with," Silas quips back at Aiden before nodding to Luca's suggestion to Esoka. "Ask them what they were doing before they were attacked. I am well aware that animals do not typically attacked unless provoked, but these are clearly not normal animals."

The woman seems to calm down a bit when Luca gives her a charming smile. She isn't afraid of him any longer, but the fear remains. Clearly her time in the Gray forest has not been pleasant and her son is injured so the fear might be related to such. The family of three comes out from behind the bushes and the mother holds her son's good hand while Aiden tends to Aspen. The wound appears to be deep and serious. It is likely to get infected and sick and it certainly hurts. Interestingly it seems that he was cute with a blade instead of bit by a wolf. Aiden is able to take care of the wound. He cleans it, wraps it and stops the bleeding. His skill is great and the boy is doing better. The family is all huddled together and not talking to much at this moment.

It's not lost on Lou that the family seems malnourished. She walks over to her saddlebags and pulls out some of the snacks she brought with her for the day; she can do without them for now. She walks over to Esoka and hands them to her; a bit of bread, cheese and some dried fruit. "When he is finished with the healing, pass this along to them. It's not much, but at least it's something." Once that task is complete, she goes back to her horse and stays close by in case she needs to remount in a hurry. Also, all the better to draw her weapons from their place of storage should they be needed. She rests easy next to the mare, patting it gently on the neck as she scans the forest for any signs of trouble. "Will we be looking into the wolves prior to getting these people resettled, bringing them with us to scout things further, or settling them somewhere safe and coming back?" she asks. "If we do the latter - it's very possible the pack will move on before we have a chance to properly investigate things."

"Wolf didn't do this-" Aiden says to the group after some time that he spends trying to clean the wound with the salve and balms he has on hand, and the fresh water from a canteen that had also been tucked in the satchel. He looks up toward Aspen, nodding at him as he seems brave enough to handle the cleansing. "A wolf would have had several laceration and puncture wounds..." he looks over toward Silas, "This was from a blade ..." He furrows his brows, "Did anyone see any more human tracks outside of these three? Could it be there is someone running a command company of ... well, large wolves? Do the Shavs traditionally hunt with beasts at their sides?" Clearly he is deflecting the blame to humans! All day, every day. He proceeds to try and do his best on stitching the deep wound up. It's on the spot with a bone needle and thread, "Thank the gods for Ailys." Apparently his mentor in medicine!

Estaban pulls a water skin out and looks to Lou, "Here they maybe thirsty as well." he tosses the water skin to Lou its got water in it. He then looks back around patrolling in a half circle around the group keep a watch out as he is not liking this situation more and more.

Silas bites his lower lip at the point Lou brings up. It was a good one. This was the problem with self-appointing yourself as leader. "We should prioritize the boy's health over the wolves -- we have you skilled trackers to help us find them afterwards, yes?" He looks from Esoka, then to the boy, and then to Aiden when he reveals the wound he's treating isn't likely to have come from a wolf. "Then we really need to know what happened. If the wolves aren't responsible..."

Esoka shrugs a touch helplessly to Silas and Luca when the shavs clam up. "Whatever happened to them has left them very shaken. I doubt we'll get much useful from them now. Perhaps when they've had a day or two to rest. But." Shrug to Lou, as she speaks of the wolves moving on. And a grateful smile to her and Estaban the shared snacks and water. She takes a nibble and sip from eeach, to show it is tasty (and also not poisonous). Before offering the food and drink to the shav woman. "Blades?" Deep frown. She she asks the shavs again, as gently as she can but intently, who attacked them. Wolves? People? People //riding// wolves?

The woman eagerly takes the offered food and has a smile for Lou. She isn't able to understand the princess' words, but she seems to grasp her gestures. She murmurs her thanks, but it is said in Crownlands Shav. The boy and his family seem grateful for Aiden's help and more thanks are murmured. They probably cannot understand his words. "My boys wouldn't leave me." She says in Crownlands, hugging Aspen on his good side. It is now getting to be about noon.

"How big of wolves are we talking? Horse sized?" Luca asks of Lou and Aiden as he's moving a little further off from the gathered, starting to circle about in patrol of them all with a certain eager light to eyes but a steady somber air to features. Apparently he jumped to the riding idea as well. Undead men riding dire wolves!!! Best. Story. Ever!

It is the uninjured boy who responds to Esoka in Crownlands Shav. He appears to be in his late teens and while young, is malnurished himself. "People. That bastard Jonas wanted to sacrifice our mom to the beasts and we wouldn't let him. We fought and ran. My brother was injured."

Lou walks back over to make certain the woman has the water as well, taking a small drink from it first - after seeing Esoka eat some of the food before passing it along - before giving it to her. She looks back to Luca, and motions to the tracks. "I can't be sure of size exactly. But those paw prints are pretty big. Not quite horse but..." She looks to Aiden to see if he can confirm. "Possibly bear?" she asks.

"If we need I can send word back ahead of us and have someone from Southport come to the gate and get them so we can return here as fast as we can if they are to be taken back first." his eyes follow Lucanow as well trying to keep everyone in his sight.

Esoka's eyes widen and she rattles //that// translation off promptly to the others. People intent on beast sacrifices at all. "Something large enough to prompt a very dark sort of worship, whatever it is," she murmurs darkly in Arvani to Lou. "Gods."

If the party leaves right now they probably get the Shavs to the gate of compact at about three in the afternoon. The sun will probably set at about six and it will take them until six to get back out here, assuming that all goes well.

Lou checked perception + survival at difficulty 15, rolling 18 higher.

"I'm for escorting them back. But I'm coming back out after, whether rest of you do or not. And dibs on the biggest undead god-wolf!!!" He...probably doesn't mean to keep as a pet. Oh why does anyone let Luca out of bed? He never is very helpful.

Aiden puts on a gentle smile as the boy does good with the pain, little to do about the pain when out here in the boonies, save for a bit of chewing on willow leaf that will help. "Tell him to chew on the leaf Esoka... It'll help with the pain..." And he continues to do his mending job on serious injury to the boy's arm. The question poised from Luca goes at first, unheard, since he's focused on the boy. However, when Lou makes to confirm the size that's when he's nodding, "Maybe. About that size... though I really hope not."

Esoka checked perception + survival at difficulty 15, rolling 33 higher.

Luca checked perception + survival at difficulty 15, rolling 35 higher.

Aiden checked perception + survival at difficulty 15, rolling 20 higher.

Silas groans from on top of his horse, when Esoka translates for the rest of them. "Great. Another fucking cult," he grumbles and wheels his horse back in the direction of the city. "Your offer is generous, Estaban, but I think the House of Solace would handle the situation better than your kinsmen from Southport. They will need an escort, though." There is a pause. "Aiden, can you put the boy on your horse with you?" A pause. "We may need to ride like the wind..."

Estaban checked perception + survival at difficulty 15, rolling 6 higher.

Silas checked perception + survival at difficulty 15, rolling 4 higher.

Lou's head comes up sharply as she hears the howling, and she narrows her eyes. "There were probably a dozen or so wolves in that pack.... it's probably best we decide to leave now lest they decide they're hungry enough to attack. Especially if they caught wind of the injuries. Prey and all that. I can take someone on my horse with me. I'm wearing leathers, so it'll be less burdensome for my mare."

Aiden looks back over toward Silas, nodding, "I can put him with me... Someone else will have to take the others--" he pauses as he hears the howling in the distance, ... trying to determine if that was a regular WOLF or not.

The woman hears the howl as well and a shudder runs down her spine. "Hurry, hurry!" She says in Crownlands Shavs. She encourages her boys forward. "Hurry! Hurry! We all must run. They are very fast."

Aiden checked intellect + animal ken at difficulty 15, rolling 54 higher.

Lou looks to Esoka. "Can you explain that we're willing to take them to safety on our horses." She motions to the people, then her horse, as a way of helping. "But we've got to do it now."

Estaban looks to Luca, "Shit." he looks back to the other, "Thats not good, not at all," he looks to the others, "Go, start back I will keep behind a bit and protect our guard! Go." he looks around his diamond plated bow and arrows are at the ready unless he is stopped of course.

Aiden can't quite finish the entire stitching but at that howl, he does his best to wrap it up. "That..." his eyes turn toward the direction of the wolves, "makes me believe that not all the wolves are willing participants..." He quickly goes about trying to bandage that arm up, "That's a hunting howl Silas!" He barks back toward them, "And it's not natural. Not at all. There might be normal wolves in the mix, but not at their own desire to be. Trust me. We either get them to safety now or stand and fight. They're not far away... With how large they are, their gait... may well out run our horses!"

"They seem willing enough to travel with us. And eager to go," Esoka says, murmuring a few more reassuring words to the shav woman before ushering her toward Lou. "My horse can bear the weight of the other boy. He's used to carrying me in armor, and probably thought this day a light one." She herds the lad toward her courser, ears pricked toward that howling. It brings a chill down her spine.

Lou remounts her horse with an easy swing of her leg over the saddle, then holds her hand out for the woman, indicating she should come up wither. There is an imploring urgency in her expression, which hopefully prompts the woman to come and ride, if the wolf howls do not.

"I can stick behind with Ban and he can double up on Gluefoot if we get into the shit. Or I guess we could just join the rest in case they bypass us. Call it, Si." Luca's grimacing saying that, but apparently he's actually going to behave for once and take an order. Probably. Maybe. At least a fifty percent chance!

The woman scrambles up behind Lou, seemingly eager to get out of here. The boys follow suit and they are all mounted up. The howling is louder now.

Aiden helps the injured boy up off the ground, nodding to him with encouragements of body language rather than voice, to show him toward the sorrel gelding that is more than anxious to get the abyss out of there as well. Horses do not like wolves howling at best, wolves on steroids... a lot less! Aiden gives the boy the front seat of the saddle, swinging up behind him and taking the reins. He looks toward Silas, awaiting the orders, but offers, "We need to stick together!"

"Let us go!" Silas exclaims in light of the howl and Aiden's words. "Take the wounded with you -- I know you ride a horse well." The others were already helping with the rest of the shav party without his orders, much to his relief, and Silas quickly maneuvers his steed towards Estaban. He leans forward to help him up. "You picked a great time not to be on a horse! C'mon - we may need your arrows, but you're no good to us if you're turned into wolf food." When Estaban presumably climbs up to join him on Damascus, he turns to Luca. "As the unburdened one, I trust you to stay a pace behind and to ward them off, if you can."

"Don't make me explain to my sister how you died at the teeth of wolves, Luca." Lou says sharply as she settles the woman behind her, makes sure she's holding on tight, then reins her horse to go in the direction they came from initially. She hesitates leaving only long enough to make certain the others are ready to follow and once they do - she kicks her horse into motion.

Lou checked dexterity + ride at difficulty 15, rolling 0 higher.

Aiden checked dexterity + ride at difficulty 15, rolling 21 higher.

Esoka checked dexterity + ride at difficulty 15, rolling 22 higher.

Silas checked dexterity + ride at difficulty 15, rolling 16 higher.

Luca checked dexterity + ride at difficulty 15, rolling 13 higher.

The howling gets louder and closer. The horses are getting spooked, but this is party of talented riders and so far all is well. The wolves cannot be seen yet.

Estaban takes the mans arm and swings himself up onto the horse, "I never learned to ride a land boat!" he does pulls his bow back out and hold it while they move to take off, "I will make sure to not try and hit you back there Luca!" he calls to the prince.

Esoka hauls the shav lad up behind her, shouting out a high-pitched cry in that twisting, non-Arvani tongue before setting off. Whatever it is she shouts, her horse is familiar with it, and seems motivated. She has the look of one who does her fair share of yelling, so the beast is probably used to it.

Lou checked command + animal ken at difficulty 15, rolling 39 higher.

Aiden checked command + animal ken at difficulty 15, rolling 46 higher.

Esoka checked command + animal ken at difficulty 15, rolling 0 higher.

Silas checked command + animal ken at difficulty 15, rolling 7 higher.

Luca casts a big toothy grin to Lou and winks her way. "But what a story it'd make!" With that, he's kicking Gluefoot in the ribs and wheeling the gigantic black warhorse around. Apparently it's sensing blood on the air or just hearing the wolves, and so uncharacteristically willing to move without prompting. Silas' orders get a nod and the Champion Prince settles in behind the rest, waiting for them to get moving and falling into drag position, keeping a sharp eye over his shoulder and to either side for attackers, letting the front people take ahead. Estaban's quip earns a deep, jovial laugh of a man excited for action clearly, and a retorted. "Well as long as you _try_!"

Luca checked command + animal ken at difficulty 15, rolling 3 lower.

Luca checked dexterity + ride at difficulty 25, rolling 2 higher.

Lou checked dexterity + ride at difficulty 15, rolling 1 higher.

Silas checked dexterity + ride at difficulty 15, rolling 16 higher.

Aiden checked dexterity + ride at difficulty 15, rolling 27 higher.

Lou's mare hesitates just a moment in the beginning, as that's what Lou had directed her to do - however she does finally get her mare up and running along with the others. Every now and again she checks to make sure the woman is holding on, and glances over her shoulder to make sure the beasties are not upon them. Her mare plods along stolidly, and perhaps not quite as fast as everyone else - but she is in go mode, rather than whoa and that's what counts. "Ride, Destiny, ride!" she calls to the horse.

With the boy seated firmly in front of him, Aiden whistles once and then nudges his heels into the sorrel's side. The gelding doesn't need any convincing to go! Aiden looks back toward Silas and Estaban, once, before he looks ahead to help steer the animal down the trail and through the bushes, keeping the sorrel well out of harms way of low-branching the passengers on it's back!

Esoka checked dexterity + ride at difficulty 15, rolling 15 higher.

Silas isn't the best rider amoung them, but thankfully basic riding skills are part of a squire's learned skillset, so Damascus remains on course and continues to forward as fast as his pristine hooves can carry him. He does look aside to make sure the others are following, and frowns when he observes Luca having some difficulty with his horse. Maybe that wasn't the best choice! "Estaban, get an arrow ready." He would have to continue to steer and urge his stallion further, so any fighting he does would have to be directly in front of him.

The party is all mounted up and they are able to out run the wolves. The sounds of their howls become fainter and fainter. Eventually the wolves are not heard at all and it seems they escaped the beasts. The woman and her sons, seem so very relieved. It is about three in the afternoon when they reach the city gates.

"Estaban..." Aiden pulls up rein when they're far enough away from the wolves to rest the horses, "You'll need to find a mount... and maybe we all ought to find fresh mounts as well!" For once, he doesn't look all that tired, letting the sorrel trot to cool down as they near the city.

Esoka is a fair rider, and a highly motivated one. She pushes her horse harder than is //probably// wise, but the animal puts up with it, and the shav boy behind her holds on for dear life. Esoka reaches back to clap the lad on the shoulder, once they're in sight of the gates. Some instructions to take care of his mother are relayed, and she tells him she'll look in on them at the House of Solace later.

The party is able to get new horses and they can get a horse for Estaban if they wish. The Shavs are taken in by the Knights of the Solace who will probably escort them to the house of Solace. It is now about three in the afternoon and it will take another three hours to reach the wolves again.

They outride the wolves! Relief floods Silas's expression when they arrives at the gates of the city and he urges Damascus to make a gradual stop. The knight looks over his shoulder at the man seated with him. "If he doesn't know how to ride, a horse might be useless to him. Worst yet, he might get injured." He lets Estaban answer for himself, though.

"GODS DAMNIT GLUEFOOT!" Is a phrase roared out from behind the group more than once by an irritated Champion Prince wrestling with a spooked warhorse. By time they're back, Luca's in a fine state of fury at both the horse and the wolves that never had the decency to catch up to them and so he's declaring readily enough. "There! Safe! Now I'm going to go stab something before I do my own bloody mount in!" Funny how his Lenosian accent thickens when he's got his ire up!

Estaban looks to Aiden as he has his Arrow ready as Silas told him too, "I have no idea how to ride!" he looks to Aiden from the back of Silas Horse then he looks to Luca with a smirk on his face, "See I did even have to use you as a pin cution, I do think these puppies hurt more then my normal arrows."

Aiden quips over to Luca, "Horses pick up on their rider's emotions, like fear. I don't think it was his fault really... and maybe if he had a better name than Gluefoot... That's disrespectful to him." Because animals were people!

Lou easily switches out horses, this time she rides a gelding. "He can ride with me if he wants," she says to Silas, then looks to Estaban as she makes her offer.

Aiden offers, "I could teach you one day," this to Estaban while he dismounts from the sorrel and their arrangement for fresh mounts is inevitably made.

Silas nods to Lou, then looks back to Estaban. "She -is- prettier than me." He snickers at Luca. "Now's the time to trade him in, if you want to."

Estaban looks to Aiden nodding his head, "Thank you Prince Aiden.

Estaban looks to Aiden nodding his head, "Thank you Prince Aiden." he chuckles looking to Silas a hand moving up to ruffle the mans hair and slips down off the horse, "Thank you?" he does not remember if he has meet Lou before or not.

The party all has their fresh horses save for Estaban who joins Lou on her mount. They are able to make it back to the location where the howls were heard from without much trouble. It is getting to be dark though and thinks are more difficult to see.

Lou checked perception + survival at difficulty 15, rolling 36 higher.

Esoka checked perception + survival at difficulty 15, rolling 17 higher.

Aiden checked perception + survival at difficulty 15, rolling 31 higher.

Silas checked perception + survival at difficulty 15, rolling 6 higher.

Luca checked perception + survival at difficulty 15, rolling 2 higher.

Estaban checked perception + survival at difficulty 15, rolling 15 higher.

The journey back is comfortable enough, and the gelding handles okay under Lou's light touch in the reins. She makes sure Estaban stays on the mount as they move along, and when they get back to the place where they left the tracks she starts searching for them again, squinting a little because it's gotten a bit darker in the day. "I think I see the tracks again. We didn't manage to mess them up too much." However, she does search for anything fresher - since the beasties were chasing them after all.

Esoka is paired up with a solid mare, after she's traded her courser off to be stabled and rested. She gives the new horse a pat on the neck, as if to introduce herself. And off she goes with the party, once they're all mounted and ready. Her eyes stay on the ground as she rides, edging her horse carefully so she doesn't trample those signs the others spot on the ground. One hand rests on the hilt of her sword, posture ever ready.

The party reaches the location where they found the Shavs at. The wolves were in a Northwestern direction, but they are hunting wolves on the move and they are not exactly where they were. Silas and Luca are able to figure out that the wolves are now toward the south-ish, based on their tracks. Estaban and Esoka are able to get a more precise southwestern location. Aiden and Lou can tell that based on the age of the tracks, they are probably about two miles toward the southwest. It seems they can find these wolves if they wish to pursue.

Silas knows what he knows and knows what he doesn't know. On the trek back, he does a good job pretending he knows where to go, and actually just follows the people in the party with actual tracking skills and sense of direction. Damascus is quite done with this whole expedition, really, but he has little choice but to do what his master commands. There is an indignant snort or two, as well as whipping of his white mane, but he plods alongside Aiden's steed.

The horse that Aiden receives in exchange is a flea-bitten gray mare, with a large hoof and a more stout build of her frame, making her an excellent seat for the tall Grayson Prince. Aiden settles up near Silas, with a look given over toward the man upon the long ride, some of the important pieces of the conversation was likely debating over if the wolves could be 'saved' or not. "If they are merely under the power of something like how Brand put the Shavs under control, there /is/ a way we could save them. At least don't aim for the smaller ones... they're frightened but have to go along with the pack..." He frowns as he looks up, then around, scouting over his saddle to look for tracks. He furrows his brows as they come along the spot they left previously, "Do we really need to slaughter them? What if there is a cure?"

Estaban looks over to Aiden, "I know you do not want to kill them Aiden but we may not have a choice here, all we can do is wait and see what is going on." he looks at the ground and points in the direction they are in, "There are off south that way." he has his bow out now with a arrow at the ready.

"We can't let them run free and terrorize villagers while we're trying to figure out a cure. If you can find a way to -capture- them, then we can see what we can do... but forgive me if I'm doubtful we can pull that off. I don't want any of you to risk getting killed just to save a wolf or two." Silas is sympathetic, but also practical and values human lives over animal lives. Especially the lives of his allies!

Lou glances over at Aiden as they amble along. "How do you propose we handle this? There's about a dozen of them in the pack. If not more. Do you think the smaller ones will go away if we focus on the larger?" She notes to Silas, "They are about two miles that way," she points in the southwest direction.

Luca stayed with Gluefoot, as the grumpy, stolid warhorse seemed tireless, albeit semi-reluctant to return out to the howling things. With some coaxing though, he went along and once out along the road, he was searching along for signs of where they'd been and the tracks from before. Once they were on the trail of things, he was growing more serious again, but with that gleam to his cinnamon eyes of potential violence afoot. And when Aiden's comment reached him, he just shook his head a bit and grinned back to the other Prince, offering up terribly. "If it makes you feel better, I fully intend to kill the shavs first if they are even slightly seeming to give orders." But that's just a matter of cutting the head off the threat rather than actual kindness to the animals. He's also very clearly not making promises not to kill the wolves if it becomes necessary.

Aiden side long glances toward Estaban and then back to Silas, his shoulders lifting up as he takes in a deep breath and exhales, "If you must... kill them, then the larger ones yes. The smaller ones... from the sound of their howls, are more of what we're used to with wolves. They aren't giants..." He turns his gaze over his shoulder to Lou, to acknowledge her words with that aforementioned answer, as well as lifting his brow to Luca for the comments received, "I hope you don't solve all your problems by killing and stabbing things." He looks grim, "Let me at least go on ahead and see what I can make of the animals before you attack them?"

"I wonder if this man the tribespeople spoke of is with them," Esoka mutters. A short nod to Luca, as to the killing. "Perhaps slaying the masters can frighten the beasts, even if it does not make them kind and passive." Her eyes narrow with concern when Aiden speaks of going on ahead. She looks to Silas.

"Gods, wouldn't that be a wonderfully simple world if I could?" Luca offers back with a deeply wistful sigh and dreamy sort of look off into space for a moment, responding to Aiden's talk of solving everything with violence.

Silas nods to Luca. "Not a bad plan, to be honest..." A beat. "Nor is killing the abnormally big ones first. If the smaller animals disperse, and they're clearly not affected by whatever thrall is upon them, we have no reason to pursue." He offers Lou and Esoka a smile for their suggestions. He frowns, not terribly pleased with Aiden's request to go ahead. "Ugh. Alright, but do -not- approach them or attempt to communicate. We will be close by."

Estaban frowns as Aiden is let go ahead and he looks at Silas, he breaths deeply and moves to pull his bow out, "Sit slightly to the side please Princess." he asks of Lou and aims the bow dead center on Aiden and waits and watches.

Aiden, given permission to at least go out ahead to see if he can do some field biology on the wolves, which is purely observational... nods to Silas, "I'll be quick... If I get into trouble, I'll probably scream." The full truth and nothing but the truth. He does smirk at Silas and heads out quickly enough. He senses the wind direction, then wheels his horse around alongside the tracks and ploughs through the bush... at least long enough until a point that he dismounts, once in that two mile range. He'll gauge staying up wind from the pack... to see if he can catch a glimpse and report back to the awaiting team.

Lou adjusts her seat a bit so Estaban has the room he needs for his bow, otherwise she quietly watches as Aiden does his thing with the animals.

Aiden checked dexterity + stealth at difficulty 15, rolling 4 higher.

Aiden checked perception + survival at difficulty 15, rolling 18 higher.

Luca checked dexterity + stealth at difficulty 15, rolling 12 higher.

"If he gets into trouble, I'll probably scream louder." Luca murmurs as he slips off Gluefoot to start after Aiden, offering back dryly as he goes. "It'll be something like 'I told you so!'." With that though, the lazy Champion prince is slipping in behind the other prince and...moving with surprisingly decent stealth in his own right, letting the other pick the direction and tracks and such, but keeping silent and at enough distance to let Aiden do his thing, but also to have the slight protection of a blade nearby if it looks likely he'll get eaten.

Esoka mutters something else in Crownlands shav tongue as Aiden goes off. Maybe it's some sort of prayer for his safety. Maybe some sort of speculation on his sanity. It could go either way. She waits with Estaban and Lou, muscles drawn tight as she holds herself ready.

Aiden is able to sneak ahead and get a glimpse of the wolves. He sees ten giant bear-sized wolves with glowing sickly yellow-green eyes and mangy black fur that glistens with some kind of oil. They do not appear to be natural wolves by any means. Their are claws are sharp. Their fangs are sharp and their salvia looks greenish. Among this pack are two normal looking gray wolves who seem frightened and who are cowering in an omega like way. Luca is able to follow after Aiden and so forth both are not heard or smelled.

Silas sort of eyes Luca when he goes off after Aiden without being instructed to do so! But it appears he is content to let it happen. Silas doing stealth is ridiculous, but Luca is Lycene... he's totally skilled in sneaky stuff, right? His gaze is intense as he looks on, ready to jump into action at any sign of trouble but eerily quiet.

Aiden checked composure at difficulty 15, rolling 11 lower.

Estaban is still like a statue see this is why he practices being a statue Silas! He is quiet his breathing is deep as he watches and waits his bow and arrow aimed in the direction the two princeses went off too and waits.

Luca checked dexterity + brawl at difficulty 15, rolling 8 higher.

Aiden keeps low to a crouch when the tracks become more apparent that they're fresher than the others. His hand numerous time goes to check the direction of a bent twig or a blade of grass trampled, or even a rock upturned or a leaf rustled from it's position of rest. Each of these are indicators and when he gets close enough, he has a good vantage point of which to view the pack. For a long time he studies the giant wolves, his eyes wide as saucers, sure as he abyss was black, those wolves gotta be demon spawn! He might have even forgotten to breathe! Their oily fur has him concerned and the greenish slime foaming out of their mouth - oh he studied and he was starting to look on the verge of panic. The normal looking gray wolves that are cowering to their new alphas, pulls on Aiden's little heart strings - so tempting to run for them, wasn't it?! Though he lives up to his promise and doesn't call out to them. He starts to back up and when he pivots he isn't expecting Luca - and with his adrenaline already racing, the stealthy Luca well... It's that guy who has to be blamed for any screams or noises! Aiden's mouth moves out of instinct upon being snuck up on!

Luca indeed seems alright with the Lycene sneaky stuff. A bit too good even, given Aiden seems to have missed the other prince following along behind him. That is, until they're coming on sight of the wolves and Luca's left grunting out a faint "Huh!" at the glowing eyes and such about the time Aiden's pivoting back to leave. It's a damned close thing, but thankfully Luca the Lazy still has a viper's reflexes and he saw that opening mouth and look of shock on Aiden's face. A hand is slapped to the other Prince's mouth with a slightly painful force of grip to clamp the jaw shut as, wide-eyed, Luca shakes his head and makes a silent, emphatic gesture towards the wolves like 'Jeez man, don't you see those big scary things over there?!'. Once clear Aiden's not going to scream out, the Champion prince gestures at him with a pointed finger, then back to the gathered others, then to the wolves, and making finger gestures, he signals Aiden should bring the others back while Luca circles behind the beasts to attack their flanks at same time.

The wolves don't seem to have noticed Luca or Aiden yet. Luca is able to attack the canines by surprise. But he will be one against ten or maybe twelve until the others get here.

That stings! Aiden's wided eyed panic turns into relief, after all, Luca could've been some Shav beastmaster. He doesn't waist any time after Luca gives him the signals, hurrying quietly back to the waiting group...



"Ten... big ones... Demons, they gotta be. Their fur looks like oil and... and my gods.. their saliva is green! The two smaller ones... leave them alive... Luca is flanking. Hurry..."

Lou gives a succinct nod of her head, and sits up straighter in her saddle. She looks to Silas. "So, do we walk in or ride in?"

Silas seems relieved when Aiden returns to the clearing unharmed. "Assuming the rest of us can't sneak..." He looks to the others. "Those of us who can ride well will charge in and distract them just as Luca is about to attack. If you don't think you can control your steed well -- go on foot after us. Sound good?"

"Actually, if you can fire arrows, do that first. Try to get them injured -before- they're aware of us," Silas adds.

"On foot it is for me then." Lou responds easily enough, looking to Estaban. "I'll work ranged weapons with you until I run out of arrows." She starts walking to find a vantage to get closer where she can fire arrows and see the green saliva demons.

Aiden puts his hands on his knees, panting a breath, his shoulders looking as if they're trembling. "The small ones, normal wolves... don't kill!" He repeats to the group, not yet looking as if he's going to follow them back, until Silas suggests archery at the ten animals. "How many bows between us?" He's got one, Estaban's got one, Aiden looks toward Lou and Esoka.

Demons? Esoka draws her sword. That's all the word she needs. She eyes her mare, dismounting. "I'd trust Shanidin in battle, but I think this was more than this lovely is made for. I shall do for myself." She'll hang back until the archers have fired, but she's ready to charge in.

Aiden wields Eagle Strike, a Grayson Bow.

Lou wields forest shadows regal crossbow with etched Grayson sigil.

Silas wields Dirge, an alaricite longsword with a faint crimson sheen.

Aiden checked dexterity + stealth at difficulty 15, rolling 9 higher.

Estaban wields Wither.

Luca wields

Viper's Soul, an elegant extended-hilt Lycene sabre of Alaericite.

Esoka wields Riversblood.

Estaban nods his head to Lou and Silas slipping off the horse and moving on foot after them as soon as his feet hit the ground.

Aiden checked luck at difficulty 15, rolling 8 lower.

Silas looks down at his steed, contemplating what he should do. When Esoka declares her intent to charge forward on foot, he makes the decision to do the same. He vaults off his stallion and unsheathes his alaricite blade. "Damascus won't take kindly to demonic wolves biting him," he states with a pat to the animal's flank. He nods to the archers of the party: Aiden, Estaban, and Lou. "Good. Be careful -- and make sure to aim."

Luca checked dexterity + stealth at difficulty 15, rolling 16 higher.

Luca checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 30, rolling 7 higher.

Silas checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 30, rolling 22 higher.

Esoka checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 30, rolling 12 higher.

Lou checked dexterity + archery at difficulty 30, rolling 5 lower.

Estaban checked dexterity + archery at difficulty 30, rolling 14 higher.

Lou waits until the people on foot with swords charge first before taking off a shot, and that's perhaps a bit of a mistake as her aim is off when she shoots. Instead, her arrow misses it's target - going off into the wild dark yound.

younder.

With full intentions, a firm affectionate look to Silas, warning as much as it is loving, Aiden joins the other two, lining up somewhere in the dense forest... But bad luck strikes once and a while! Aiden's bow string snaps when he goes to pull on it ... Aiden sinks to his knees, with a shake of his head, his bow settling onto his lap... fingers trying to hurry and find a replacement in his gear. He looks up toward the group of wolves with some mixed confliction, fear and compassion - likely a lot more of the former, truthfully.

Esoka flashes Silas a toothy grin that looks a bit wolfish itself. Deep breath and she waits, waits, waits until the archers have gotten their arrows off. And then, forward! Sword flashing, a high-pitched cry escaping her throat as she lauches herself at the pack. She has no interest in the smaller wolves. She's all about the monster. She may not land a killing blow right off, but she keeps at it.

After the whistling of arrows and the thud of them hitting their targets or the ground, Silas is unusually loud as he charges through the grasses and bushes and towards the monstrous wolves, perhaps as an attempt to draw their attention... or perhaps he just likes war cries! Even so, Esoka still manages to outshout him, in all her fierceness. He fixates his attention on a larger wolf -- not the one Esoka chooses to attack -- and his crumson blade flashes through the air before it embeds itself into the canine's flesh.

Estaban takes a stance pulling his bow back and letting the arrow lose aiming up slightly so it does not hit any of the others, it whistles through the air and smacks into the large wolf with a thud, he grins but then looks over, "Aide! leave it for now here!" he pulls his other bow from under his cloak and tosses it to the prince, "Remember not so hard be one with it." he looks to Lou nodding his head and them moving to knock anotehr bow up.

Luca's fully in his happy place at this point, having slipped into a predator mode the instant he saw the glow of eyes, and as he circles the beasts, seeking out sight of the men that might be guiding them, he's moving with the patience of a stalking jungle cat. By the time the others have gotten into position, he's picked out his prey. Probably the biggest of the pack, or at least the most vicious. The one whose head he fully intends to add to his collection of Bringer skulls (which Reese STILL won't let him have in their bedrooms!). He waits though, waits for signal or sign of the others. And only when the time is right by a glitter of metal across the glade does he move. And move like a demon himself, a silent blur rushing forward towards the pack with his dark cloak flowing behind him like wings as he takes flight, leaping through the air the last ten feet or so with Viper's Soul whipping free from its scabbard almost of its own life in his hand. A gleaming star of shimmering mirror alaericite catching every bit of moon and starlight and casting it back blazing over the blackened creatures, shining in the glowing eyes of the lead one he's falling towards, reversing the sabre blade to strike at the beast's neck, intending to cleave its head from its body. Oh, the wound is truly fierce, and flares brightly with the enchanted metal cutting like through air practically, igniting within the wound in bright flare of bluish fire, cutting free in a steaming black blood that sizzles off of the blade as it finishes the stroke. But the monster was too fast, even with the surprise and the powerful blade. It ducked to the side at last moment, probably loosing an ungodly roar of pain, but not dying as intended. And now Luca's right there in the middle of the pack, grinning fierce battle grin before calling out a roar as he moves to strike out again. "DIE ABYSSAL SCUM!!!!"

The wolves are taken by surprise thanks to the party's stealthy skills and decisions. They are able to get an attack on the large monstrous wolves before the beasts know what is happening. Five of the beasts are injured, but they are all still standing and still fighting. The normal sized wolves just look frightened of this all and seem more defensive than anything. The other ten though are ready to attack in return. The fangs glisten with green.

Esoka checked dexterity + dodge at difficulty 15, rolling 23 higher.

Esoka checked dexterity + dodge at difficulty 15, rolling 19 higher.

Esoka checked dexterity + dodge at difficulty 15, rolling 22 higher.

Luca checked dexterity + dodge at difficulty 15, rolling 31 higher.

Luca has rolled a critical success!
Luca checked dexterity + dodge at difficulty 15, rolling 190 higher.

Luca checked dexterity + dodge at difficulty 15, rolling 47 higher.

Luca checked dexterity + dodge at difficulty 15, rolling 24 higher.

Aiden checked command + animal ken at difficulty 15, rolling 39 higher.

Silas checked dexterity + dodge at difficulty 15, rolling 61 higher.

Silas checked dexterity + dodge at difficulty 15, rolling 31 higher.

Silas checked dexterity + dodge at difficulty 15, rolling 25 higher.

Aiden checked command + animal ken at difficulty 15, rolling 52 higher.

Four of the wolves circle Luca. Three circle Silas and three circle Esoka. Esoka, Silas and Luca are good fighters, not just good fighters but maybe even legendary fighters. They are able to dodge all the beasts attempts at attacking them. So far nobody has been cut with those glistening green fangs.

Luca checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 30, rolling 22 higher.

Esoka checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 30, rolling 31 higher.

Lou checked dexterity + archery at difficulty 30, rolling 7 lower.

Aiden's hands were shaking as he fumbled with a new string on his bow... a good archer always brings a back up, but it didn't matter when one's fingers couldn't hold bloody stil to restring it in the first place! He looks over toward Estaban's shout, seeing the other bow launched toward him, the Saik's spare. He crawls forward to grab it where it landed in the grass, nodding to Estaban as his eyes turned toward the ... beastly scene. Wolves as large as bears! "Gods help us..." he gulps as he licks his lips and tries this thing, called archery... It'd been since the siege and Aiden wasn't a fan of killing, let Luca enjoy it all! Instead of immediately flinging an arrow in their direction, he does something... that will chalk him up to being crazy. He stands up a bit and whistles toward the wolves, (two in particular but a wolf or a corrupted wolf are bound to hear it), "Get out of here! We're not here for you! Run please! Leave! I'm Aiden Grayson, I've helped the forest once before, the birds know me! I know Count Alexander Wigglebottom - we've an understanding. So please go! These creatures are not your kin any longer! You must abandon them!"

Silas quickly backs away from the initial beastie he attacked in anticipation of the others nearby noticing him and attacking. He was arguably good at facing off against multiple enemies, if his performances in Melees are any indication, as he quickly falls into a defensive position to make dodging and responding easier, while also keeping out of striking range and letting the beasties come at him instead.

Estaban checked dexterity + archery at difficulty 30, rolling 0 higher.

Lou has rolled 1 2-sided dice: 2

Silas checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 30, rolling 30 higher.

Lou has rolled 1 3-sided dice: 3

Esoka grins up from her hacking at the beast when she hears Silas and Luca yelling. She throws back her head to let out another of this big, high-pitched shouts. Yelling is battle motivation. The attacks of the smaller wolves are dodged or deflected. Whatever her fierceness, she has not //real// quarrel with them. She //does// have a quarrel with glowing-eyed monsters, though. She presses her attack on the creature. She does look up once again, not to yell but to //stare// at Aiden. Like she's not sure if he's magic or crazy.

Arrow to the ass from his sister-in-law!!!!11!!

Luca takes minor damage.

Lou fires another arrow and of course it misses again. This time it swooshes past the wolf and hits Luca. "Sorry! So Sorry!" she calls out. That doesn't stop her from nocking another arrow though; archer is her best skill. One she might do better honing later though.

The two normal wolves dart over to Aiden, seemingly moved by his call. They probably wouldn't listen to most normal humans, but Aiden has a special way with animals and they seem to take him seriously. Not to mention that getting away from the frothy abyss wolves doesn't seem like a bad idea. They run over in his direction, spooking his horse a little. Luckily Aiden is like an animal master and his horse doesn't flee.

Luca's purposefully made a target of himself amidst the demonic beasts and they certainly aren't letting him down. He's moving like something out of a dream, laughing the entire time a joyeous, taunting sound of a man in his element, spinning past one of the beasts that tears at nothing but a bit of his cloak, actually _leaping_ off the head of the second as he ducks back from it's lunging jaws, using it to ramp into the air in a twisting backflip that spins him past a third's jaws by millimeters. A flip that ends with him coming back down upon the largest, that first he attacked. Not only down upon it, but _into_ it, it's jaws opening wide for Luca, intent on snapping him out of the air, only to have Viper's Soul lead the downward charge, right into the monster's gullet. The gleaming alaericite of the blade ignites within the demonic creature before it's jaws can close on Luca's arm and something deep within it actually explodes, blowing out a huge chunk of its chest and throat where the blade's buried itself. As the Champion tears free the blade from its mouth in a blur, the head is left to fall nearly entirely away, attached only by a little bit of fur and hide. And as as he turns to the others of the creatures, he's roaring out. "COME ON! GIVE ME A CHALLENGE!!!" Maybe he's trying to draw the beasts off others and to him, or maybe he's trying to scare them off after having gorily beheaded what he thought was the alpha. Or maybe Luca's just that crazy and desperate for something worhty to fight. That can't be healthy if so.

Esoka, Silas and Luca attack the large wolves while in close range combat. They all are quite the fighters and are able to take down a wolf. Estaban's arrows fly true, slamming into the wolf he already hit. That canine is sent sprawling. Now there are only six giant wolves left.

As monstrous and fightening as the wolves were, it appears they fall easily against the might of Silas, Luca, and Esoka! His war cries stop once he concentrates on disposing of his enemy as quickly as he could, and with a few well-placed slashes to vital areas, the wolves encircling Silas collapse and begin to bleed out. His eyes do briefly travel towards Aiden when he notices the smaller wolves running towards him -- initially alarmed and thinking they may be intending to attack -- but he finally comprehends what Aiden actually said to them. He blinks at Luca and lowers his sword. "Weren't there shavs with them?"

The bow is clutched in Aiden's hand but an arrow never gets nocked. When he sees the wolves running at him, some might think that he should be firing off a few rounds to protect himself. Maybe some might worry that he's made himself a target by the whistle to garner attention from the wolves, but he was calm and poised as he watched the normal sized wolves come loping over toward him. He remains tall and his arms are out, deflecting them behind him, protectively from any of his comrades. Even if the giant abyssal wolves were still there and attacking, Aiden stepped back toward the two normal wolves, ushering them to the side, "You must be so confused--" he's talking to the animals. Really, this is why he doesn't have friends, well, not a LOT of friends. Off his rocker right? He uses his body gestures more than his words now, to corral the wolves into a safe zone behind him, turning his god damn back on wild wolves, "You're under my protection now, my lords." His eyes fix toward the corrupted wolves, "If they were once yours, I am sorry for your loss, but they are no more." He winces at some of the attacks and has yet to nock an arrow. So far, this group has it covered. Defensively, Aiden will strike, but right now he doesn't.

Estaban again stands there aiming slightly up and letting a arrow lose again it whistles through the air and thunk into another wolf, "Hey Prince Luca, your ass has become a pin cushion!" he looks back over to Aiden, "If you are not going to shoot get back behind me with you new friends Prince Aiden." his eyes go back to the battle in front of him and he knocks anotehr bow when it comes to things like this Estaban becomes very serious.

Esoka fights with more brawling strength than grace. But she gets the job done. After the creature's been weakened from several cuts, she brings her blade across its throat. And that's the end of that. When it's done she just stands there over the thing for a moment, breathing hard, bloody and charged with adreneline. And watching Aiden, impressed rather than just gawking now. But, there's more to be done. She hefts her sword and readies herself. More demon wolves? She gets back to work.

Luca checked dexterity + dodge at difficulty 15, rolling 39 higher.

Luca checked dexterity + dodge at difficulty 15, rolling 26 higher.

Silas checked dexterity + dodge at difficulty 15, rolling 19 higher.

Silas checked dexterity + dodge at difficulty 15, rolling 32 higher.

Esoka checked dexterity + dodge at difficulty 15, rolling 27 higher.

Esoka checked dexterity + dodge at difficulty 15, rolling 26 higher.

"Not when we found them here, but we can hope!" Luca calls out answer to Silas as he's almost casually side-stepping a leaping monstrocity with all of an inch to spare. It's about this time that Estaban's helpful information reaches his battle-focused brain, and the Champion Prince is left glancing down and then freezing a moment amidst the fight, exclaiming pithily shocked. "GAH!" Followed up with angry accusation while he's ducking yet another monster, the arrow not seeming to slow him in the slightest, nor improved his temper. "WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK, BAN?! YOU SHOT ME?!" For a moemnt it seems as though he's going to ignore the demonic beasts he's fighting to go straight for his fellow Lycene man to lay down a beating, but a particularly incessant beast turns him to strike out with blade again ferociously. "WE'RE GONNA HAVE WORDS!" Lou so lucked out on this misunderstanding!

Silas would point and laugh at Luca, in any other circumstance. Right now, the encoaching monster wolves grab his attention again and he raises his blade once more. His attacks grow more aggressive now that there were less enemies to keep an eye on, and he focuses on the vital spots again. Making the enemy languish and suffer really wasn't his style!

There are six wolves still standing. The other four are bleeding on the ground and either dead or mostly dead. Their blood looks kind of icky and even has this black glistening cast to the red. The six still standing wolves, don't try to flee despite their fallen pack, but they are tainted animals. The try to attack the melee fighters, but this mission has some of the best fighters in compact and that is saying a lot. The wolves are unable to touch them. The two normal gray wolves are cowering around Aiden, like they think he is their new alpha and will fix things or something.

Esoka checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 15, rolling 40 higher.

Silas checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 15, rolling 38 higher.

Silas checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 30, rolling 18 higher.

Luca checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 45, rolling 16 higher.

Estaban has rolled a critical success!
Estaban checked dexterity + archery at difficulty 30, rolling 60 higher.

Esoka checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 45, rolling 4 higher.

Esoka is occupied attempting to sword-wrestle with a demon wolf. So she doesn't, immediately, notice that Luca's been shot in the ass. When that yelling sinks in - and it's clear he's alive, with all that volume - a //suspiciously// laugh-like snort escapes her. Or maybe she's just grunting in the heat of battle. Hard to tell.

Slash slash he goes. Silas is not -quite- confident enough in his wrestling skills to go hands-on, but who even needs to do that when you have an alaricite blade!? He wrinkles his nose in distaste at something, and spins out of the way of a lunging beastie. He steps over a fallen corpse to attack again...

"WHY DID YOU TELL ME AOBUT THIS? NOW IT HURTS LIKE THE ABYSS!" The angry roar of the arrow-struck Champion is voiced even as he's slipping past another biting beast's jaws, putting the full fury of his pained ass behind his next blow, striking alaricite down like a headsmans axe on the back of the giant wolf's neck, the blaze of light and sizzling black blood sending fumes into the air as another head is cleaved fully from its body. Luca's still moving then, facing down on the last of the beasts that was after him, circling it with only a tiny bit of limp to step showing, gleaming blade trailing black smoke now behind it. He seems to be waiting for this one's attack so he can finish it the same way as this second. All the better to keep those pretty skulls intact for wall-mounting.

Aiden merely looks over toward Estaban when he's encouraged back behind the Saik, though the Prince remains standing where he is, his posture one of silent confidence, his silver eyes watching the fighters do what they are good at. Slowly his form descends, his one arm extended toward the closest of the cowering wolves, "If there is a cure, I am not sure what it is but they must be put out of their misery if their souls are captured inside. This is not how they were meant to be. My friends will see they meet an end swiftly." He is still talking to the wolves. The incident with Luca does make him snort less than seriously, as his hand sort of daringly finds the fur of one of the wolves, who has gone low to the ground in display that Aiden is the alpha. "Man shouldn't rule over you. That is not your way. I am a friend, and I wish you to run free, as leaders yourselves. You are what is left of your pack," he is taking a risk but his movements are done with pure confidence and calmness like he hasn't the ability to keep around other people. He's attempting to calm the pair of wolves, his hands simulating licks to their muzzles.

Estaban just smirks hearing Luca go on about the arrow stuck in his ass, good thing its not one of his he really be bitching! He nods as Aiden moves behind him with the wolves and raises his arrow up again once he does he lets his arrow lose the sound like sweet music to his ears as it rips through the air and hits its target dead on, not one does it hit dead on with a thunk but the massive beast instantly falls over dead. "Well thats going to be a bitch to get back."

Esoka finishes her steel-on-wolf wrestling match. She comes out the better in it, after she's gutted the thing. She's pretty bloody by now, but little of it's hers. She straightens, breathing hard and looking up to take an account of the field. And see if anyone else has gotten shot.

Esoka checked dexterity + dodge at difficulty 15, rolling 56 higher.

Silas checked dexterity + dodge at difficulty 15, rolling 27 higher.

Luca checked dexterity + dodge at difficulty 15, rolling 50 higher.

Luca checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 45, rolling 6 higher.

There are only three of the monster wolves still standing. They all attack and they all miss. It looks like the party is very likely to win this fight. Also Aiden is an alpha. The two normal wolves stick close to him.

Silas checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 45, rolling 45 higher.

Esoka checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 45, rolling 12 higher.

Estaban checked dexterity + archery at difficulty 30, rolling 26 higher.

Estaban aims for the wolf Luca is attack and lets a arrow lose and it hits its mark true with a thunk, breathing deeply he watches Luca with a wide grin on his face then he looks back to Aiden to make sure him and the wolves behind him are ok.

Aiden sits poised one one knee, the other leg bent out before him. The two wolves that remain near him are treated with mutual respect, though Aiden isn't gushing over them like he would his puppy. There's an noticable different between how he treats a wolf compared to a dog. Movements here are slower and precise, his back is straight, his shoulders too, his head up. When it's clear that all the corrupted wolves have been dealt with, Aiden whistles to Estaban and tosses his bow back, "Didn't need it..." For the best anyway, if anyone knew him well enough, it would be that!

And then the tall Saik goes around to collect his arrows!

Esoka throws herself at one of the last remaining Abysmal wolves, putting the beast down but quick with a blow of her blade directly to its head. She breathes out long when it's done. That was tiring work. "Is anyone seriously hurt?" she asks, looking about at her fellows. Luca, in particular. His butt //was// a target.

The last wolf attacking him is soundly dispatched with a smooth stab through the flank. He pushes the canine off his blade with the bottom of his boot -- it's hard to tell it's slick with blood now, due to the weapon's natural coloring. Silas grunts and returns the alaricite sword back to it's wooden scabbard and peers at the carnage now strewn around him. "It is getting dark... we will return for the cultists another time. Good work, everyone." Silas's attention then goes to Aiden and his new friends. "Do they intend to follow you?"

Silas also nods at Esoka. "Prince Luca needs his butt tended to, probably..."

Luca's diving out of the way as the final beast on him makes an unexpectedly swift lunge, but it's a move that seems almost off-handed from the man nicknamed Prince Nimble by his wife. A move that turns smoothly into an upthrusting blade as the wolf's head snaps just above him where he's fallen. And so it is he has a particularly good view to see his alaericite blade thrust burning upward through the demonic skull at the same moment an arrow flies true to thunk right in the creature's eye. A glance around to determine the enemies are dead and Luca's pushing back up to his feet, letting his smoking, sizzling blade slip out of the creature while he eyes the arrow sticking out of it, follows it back to the grinning Estaban, and then peers at the arrow sticking out of his ass. There's a suspicious comparison of the two fletchings, and recognition of the difference, followed up with a widening of eyes as he turns the cinnamon glare on Lou as he just _POINTS_ to his ass! Oh, there will be words! So many words! Too furious now to even speak, he limps over to Esoka with a grimace set on his handsome face, and just grits his teeth for a tencount before managing to grind out. "Is this safe to yank free and tend later or am I getting the pants cut free and riding home pantsless?"

Estaban moves to grab the last arrow from the wolf, "I told you Prince Luca, if I had hit you in the ass with one of these bad boys you really know about it." he looks around, "Perhaps I can grab some furt with blood on it and have it looked at see if we can maybe find out whats wrong with them." he collects some on a cloth from his arrow head and folds it up putting it into his belt. "We should get his ass tended to and get back who knows what else is around here when it gets dark."

Aiden's silver eyes look up as he crouches near the cowering wolves, who might just growl at Silas' approach for fear of the blood and stench coating the man. "They are suffering from trauma from their experience Si,... I think I'll take them to the menagerie and allow them time to recover before asking anything further of them. They'll be terrified and I should be with them until they return to what they were," what does that mean? "I will stay with them."

"Oh trust me. There will be bloody fur. I'll be chopping off the remaining heads and taking them with us." Luca growls out to Estaban's talk of that. "Some for me, some for study."

Aiden looks toward Luca, "You will /not/ take their heads."

LLuca gives Aiden a flat, hard sort of look that's nothing of the lazy facade he puts on usually. An unyielding sort of look. "Yes, Aiden, I will. You can ride on without me if you'd like to argue it, but they're coming back to Arx with me one way or the other. They need to be looked at."

"That's like taking the heads of fallen men and women that were corrupted by Brand..." He notes as he pushes up from the grass, "The bodies should be burned."

"Agreed," Silas answers once he gets on his horse again. "There should be autopsies done... but it's not prudent to try to haul the entire body back to the city. We need to know what's wrong with them." He looks to Aiden and looks a hint sympathetic. "But the wolves can stay with you for however long they need to."



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