Monday, October 25, 2010

A Beating, and a Biting

The great wolf snarled and snapped. It paced the campfire, eyes always on Dimzad. Then it leapt and knocked the dwarf to the ground. The wolf tore into Dimzad before the others could react.
With the horses in turmoil, the camp was chaos. It was Grufftdd who noticed the scar on the wolf's left eye. "Don't kill it him, subdue it!"
The order didn't keep Gildrid from drawing a silver tipped arrow."I said subdue!", Gruffydd shouted at the elf.
Gruffydd smacked the wolf in the side of the head with is hammer. It yelped and let go of Dimzad. Laramine slammed the flat of his great sword squarely on the wolf's skull. It dropped instantly.
"Quickly," Gruffydd shouted again," tie it up".
Bound and unconscious, the creature was kept by the fire and under watch all night. Dimzad had to be restrained too, in order to keep him from kicking the captive.
With the sun's rising, the wolf began to change. As Gruffydd expected, it shrunk in mass and hair, till only a filthy, naked Logun remained. He awoke with a start, "ohhhh, my head. Hey!" he looked around, frightened. He just noticed he was bound. "What's goin' on here, fellas? Some kind a joke again?"
"At what point", Nemon asked,"were you going to tell us about your little affliction?"
"Whatcher talkin' about?" Logun sputtered.
"Werewolf!", Gruffydd shouted. "You're a werewolf!"
The old trapper's eyes went from horror, to a look of resignation.
"I always kinda suspected. But I been out here alone fer so long, I also thought I might just be going crazy. You hafta believe me, when I say I didn't means ta hurt nobody."
"Kill 'em," said Dimzad. Gildrid reached for his silver tipped arrow again.
"No", Gruffudd said with a sigh, "let him go." The others began to untie Logun. "But, you're not with us anymore. You helped us find a way across the river. That's the only reason I'm letting you go."
The old man got up, rubbing his wrists. "well, I guess I thank you fer that."
"Next time we see you,'re dead!" Gruffydd yelled, as the old man headed into the woods. Logun turned and gave the party one last look. Gruffydd could have sworn there was a smirk on the old man's face.
By noon, they reached the ruins of a large village. The size and scope of the ruins were impressive. One could tell this had once been a wealthy town. It sat astride the Old Trade Road itself, which ran directly north. The remains of a large mill were the closest, on the west side of the road. The place was strangely quiet except for the occasional creaking from ruined shutters, or the mill's water wheel, now hanging unused above a dry creek.
"I'm headed for the temple", Nemon said, gesturing at a stone building on the east side of an over grown square.
"I'm going for the mill", Gildrid said stringing his bow. Laramine followed the elf.
Then, the wind blew. Gildrid and Laramine froze, looking at each other. Just above the sound of the wind, came the hint of whispering. "did you...?" Laramine started to ask, when his words were lost under the noise of Nemon battering the temple doors down. He bashed into the sturdy wood of the doors over and over with his armored shoulder. The noise was deafening, compared to the silence of the ruins.
Gildrid approached the ruined doors of the mill. He looked through hole that had been smashed into the wood. Inside, he could see sunlight filtering from the damaged roof. There were sacks of grain and flour, long moldered and plundered by vermin, and the great grinding wheel sat askew on it's base. The most interesting thing though, was the fact boards had been nailed to the outside of the door. Rather than try to keep something out, they were trying to keep something in.
Prying at the rotted wood. Gildrid entered. Laramine followed, along with the sounds of Nemon's ongoing struggle with the temple door. The elf put away his bow and pulled out his sword, the better to poke and prod at the different sacks and boxes laying about.
On the third sack, a shape sprung from the shadows. A huge spider, the size of shield, leapt on him. Gildrid couldn't shake it, or get sword on it. The furry arachnid lunged and bit into his neck.

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