Thursday, March 12, 2015

The Wilds - Bug Tracker

"Northeast? That's toward our camp. We should get moving quickly. If they're going to attack the guards and the mules, we'll be left without supplies."

"Slow down Maro, just because they're heading in that general direction doesn't mean the camp is in danger. The hunters we've seen are usually gone for four or five hours and camp is almost six miles away. They'd have to move pretty quickly to get there and back in that amount of time, and they'd have to know where camp is." Durego is already on his feet, ready to go.

The group falls into their usual marching order and moves out, circling the vertical cliff face. When they reach the top, Rawon and Dagmarten start looking for tracks while Mordikarr sends Ava northeast, along the creature's probable path of travel. As the scouts look for the trail, Durego and Ohwatoo poke around the top of the hill. "Hey," whispers Ohwatoo. "Look at this." Several group members gather around the wizard, who is stooped over a low mound.

"What is it?" asks Durego.

"Some kind of monument or something. There's something engraved on the face, writing maybe? Spread your cloaks and I'll expose a light."

The others huddle close and Ohwatoo pulls out his light stone. The monument is a weathered stone obelisk, a few feet across. The top is engraved with faded writing [image on web site]. "Can you make it out?" asks Durego, who is more concerned with keeping an eye on the surroundings than the writing.

"It's very faint. A pity we don't have more time to study it."

"No time at all. They have the trail. Hide the light."

The scouts quickly find signs of passage, the same odd prints they found outside Hill Hole's entrance. The group follows the trail, which leads away northeast, though not directly toward the group's campsite, which is south of the travel line. Or at least that's how the party remembers it. "Probably just a hunting party then," mutters Raúguey.

The group follows the trail for an hour, then Rawon holds up a warning hand. He scouts ahead a short distance, then returns to the group. "The trail crosses a small clearing here, and there's a big fallen tree along the near edge. Looks like a good ambush site. We're far enough from Hill Hole that noise won't carry. I say we set up here."

There are murmurs of agreement from the others, and the group takes positions flanking the creatures' trail. Grendor, Strom and Maro take position behind the huge fallen tree. Raúguey finds a shallow crevice behind a rock to the left of the tree and covers himself with leaves. Rawon and Dagmarten take position in the woods behind the fighter, hunkered down behind a small outcropping of stones. Durego and Ohwatoo back the tree group, while Ingvild and Mordikarr split off to the right, ready to use missile weapons.

Time passes and a thin fog rises from the soaking-wet ground. Raúguey shivers as cold mud slowly creeps into his armor. A noise? Yes, a noise, a faint clickity-clack. Then movement. The three creatures enter the clearing from the northeast, moving at a quick pace [from what you can see, they probably travel faster than humans]. From this distance you can see two of the creatures are carrying something, a deer perhaps, suspended from a pole. You can also see they are armed with bladed weapons.

As the creatures reach the center of the clearing, Ohwatoo speaks the command word for the Fang of Bats, summoning a vampire bat. With a word, he indicates the targets. The bat flies up, and then swoops down at the front spider thing, which hisses in surprise!
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