The party's watch has spotted a group of... something headed out of the woods and kind of in their direction. Uncertain as to what they might be facing, the watch rouses the camp and they all watch as...
Start Date: July 9, year of the Badger, before dawn
Start Status: The Race...
Start Location: On the road west of the church ruin
"Wake everyone," hisses Nissa, as she crouches and runs to where Grit is sleeping. Raúguey and Ingvild begin waking the others, while Dagmarten heads toward the mules to keep them calm as the camp stirs. In a few moments, everyone is awake (mostly). With a few hurried words, Nissa tells Grit what's going on, then moves to the northwest corner of the dell to keep watch.
The dwarf starts pulling on mail, and the wood elves, all awake and moving to the edges of the camp, wince at every clank and clunk. Maro looks longingly at his banded armor, carefully packed away in the mule luggage, then pulls on his studded leather. Durego, also working on mail, tells Gorvil to light a lantern but to keep it covered. Locky scampers east to keep an eye on the road, "Just in case," he mutters.
Meanwhile the pack (swarm? herd? group?) of whatever-they-are continues to move. It's clear to the elves that they're traveling at a fast pace; if they were humans they'd be running. "It's a chase," whispers Rawon to those that cannot see, and clearly it is. One figure is well-separated from the rest, who are spread in a rough line a hundred yards or more back. Luckily the wind is blowing from the west-northwest, carrying your scent and noise away from the scene. If they hold course, the group will pass north of your camp by a half-mile or so. In the quietest whispers the elves tell the others what they see as minute by minute they get closer.
"Nine behind, three with torches. Still too far to make them out."
There's a sudden snarl from Maro's position on the northeast flank. Both kits are crouched in the grass, fangs bared, staring in the direction of the pursuit.
"Keep those blasted things quiet!" growls Grit.
"They're headed for that big tree," says Urúvion. "It's going to be close." [the tree is about a half-mile northwest of your camp].
"Can you tell what they are yet?" asks Raúguey.
"The one in front might be human or elf. The chasers are bigger. Darker. I don't like this," says Nissa, edging forward, bow ready.
As the chase gets closer, even the humans can make out the moving figures. The group watches as the mass closes with the tree. The pursuers move in long, loping strides, sometimes appearing to crouch down and then leap forward in a single motion. Three carry torches, the others appear to carry spears or something similar. The pursued runs with a light, even stride, almost gliding over the ground, but it's clear that whoever or whatever they are, they're tiring. The pursuers are closing the gap, and, as Urúvion says, it's going to be a close thing.
"Psst." Rawon points back to the edge of the woods. Even the humans can see the light of more torches moving in the trees [Still pretty far into the woods. At a guess, two or three more torches. Even the elves can't see how many carrying them.]
Three hundred yards from the tree, it's clear the pursued is headed toward it now. One of the pursuers pauses amid a sudden flurry of snarling, rough speech. It raises something and a sudden horn-call shatters the predawn quiet. A faint reply sounds from the woods. "Agnia help us," mutters Ingvild, glancing at his brother, who's still trying to keep the mules under control.
Two hundred yards. The lone figure accelerates, sprinting at an inhuman pace. More snarling from the pack. "That's Goblin," whispers Ohwatoo, "though it sounds garbled. I can't make out much, aside from a few curses."
One hundred yards. The pack speeds up, trying to close the gap, but their prey is too fast. There's another hissing growl from the kits, and Rocky snorts uneasily. At a gesture from Ohwatoo, Jonquil moves up to assist Dagmarten.
Almost there. The fleeing figure slows as it reaches the dim moon-shadow beneath the lightning-blasted limbs of the old elm. You see a pale flash greenish light as... whatever it is looks back at its pursuers, then it is gone, lost in the gloom at the base of the tree. There's a howl from the pursuers, and one of them hurls a spear that lands in the shadows. The pack slows and gathers in a snarling, growling huddle 20 yards or so from the tree. They are big and dark figures, thick-bodied and hunched. Some squat while others lean on spears. They spend several minutes growling at one another, then several spread out and approach the tree while the rest remain behind.
"I think they're going to try and burn down the tree," whispers Ohwatoo. "I heard *fire* and *wood* mentioned. I think."
Away west, the lights continue to move beneath the trees.
End Date: July 9, year of the Badger, before dawn
End Status: is won.
End Location: On the road west of the church ruin