Monday, September 1, 2014

The Wilds - Ill-met by Starlight

After finding the corpses, and Maro's weird experience attempting to speak with one of the dead, the party is... freaked out. "We gotta get out of this place," mutters Durego.

"If it's the last thing we ever do. I agree. Which way?" says Ohwatoo.

"Forward leads in the same direction as these tracks. We should backtrack, circle the lake the other way," suggests Rawon.

"Let's move. We're almost out of daylight." Maro, Mordikarr and Rawon take the lead, reversing course and trying to follow the previously trampled path through the undergrowth and between the patches of boggy ground. After the already long day of hiking the pace is slow, and only grows slower as daylight fades completely. The group is forced to use their few light stones to find their way through the undergrowth and trees, only the faint river noises to their left provide any real guidance in the darkness.

"Hey, what's that?" Tesso's call from the rear halts the party.

"What?" asks Dagmarten.

"That!" Tesso points back in the direction of the hill, now invisible. There is light there, two or three sources flickering beyond the leaves.

"Crud. Someone's there!" Ingvild darts forward, warning the others as he goes. "Someone's behind us, there are lights back there. We need to pick up the pace and try to hide our lights!"

"I don't know how much faster we can go," mutters Maro, once again stooping to untangle Mageta's lead from the undergrowth.

"Mordikarr say that was bad idea," says the beastmaster, shaking his head. The two cats have been a handful. Mageta getting tangled up with every branch and briar, and Jedit, half-wild, darting in and out of the party's line of travel. Not even Mordikarr is having much luck with them.

The party pushes on, one foot in front of the other. At the rear Durego keeps an uneasy watch on the lights that circle a few times, then dip and disappear. "I'm not sure that's a good thing," he mutters. Rawon and Maro decide backtracking isn't working out too well. There's too much muck and mire. They bend the group's course a bit to the north, hoping to get out of the boggy area. An hour of slow hiking sees them on drier ground, among somewhat larger trees. Raúguey notices Ohwatoo and Dagmarten are both flagging, and calls a brief halt for water and a cold bite to eat.

"Look behind us," whispers Ohwatoo. "Do you see them?"

"Aye," mutters Raúguey. "They're gaining." Pale lights flicker in the distance the sources indistinct. They're behind the group, and seem to be more or less on the party's trail. "How far do you think they are?"

"A mile, no more," answers Rawon.

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