A Hunter in the Woods

EVENTS NEWS #33
Date: 6/21/2013 at 19:15
From: Anonymous
To : Everyone
Subj: A Hunter in the Woods

Jasen grunted under his breath as he lifted the fawn off of his shoulders and unceremoniously deposited it in the back of his wagon. He briefly inspected his haul and decided it was high time to return to camp. His new brothers would be expecting him, and even if they weren't, the boar he had killed the previous morning would need to be properly roasted before long.

Anticipating his return with a soft smile, Jasen began to move to the front of the wagon. As he turned, Jasen suddenly became aware of five figures silently standing mere yards from his position. A fair hunter, Jasen was dumbfounded that they had approached unheard. The figures did not seem inclined to speak (or indeed, make any motion whatsoever), and so Jasen forced himself to relax and inspect them.

Dressed in forest-toned clothing and supple armor leather, the intruders were clearly foresters. Tall, lithe, and armed with knives, longbows, and swords, the party appeared ready to face any threat. Noticing their odd ears, Jasen suddenly realized that he was gazing upon a group of the elves: the graceful, long-lived folk who made their home deep in the forest.

Sudden panic welled up in Jasen's stomach. He had a sizeable collection of animal carcasses in his wagon, along with other goods that were desperately needed in his camp. He was far enough from the Grey Towers that he was unlikely to be found by any of his allies, should these elves take him into custody.

To Jasen, the ensuing silence was deafening, and while only a few moments passed, it felt like an eternity before the party of elves was joined by others - a more diverse group of their kind, who conveyed a sense of power and authority. The newcomers spoke quietly with those who had been keeping a silent vigil over Jasen. Much of what was said was unintelligible, but Jasen winced when he made out the word "poacher."

-----

Jasen blinked incredulously at the coins in his hand. One of the elves had taken the heavy satchels, stuffed with raw steel and other important material for his camp, and stuffed coin in his hand. As if coin could buy material in such short supply! The story behind its acquisition was long and painful, and Jasen knew a repeat performance was simply not possible.

Jasen pleaded with the stoic elves, explaining that the camp of human outcasts to which he belonged, far away in the Grey Towers, needed the material to forge weapons in order to defend themselves from the goblins who had recently begun raiding their camp. He answered the questions of the elf called Marluna, who conferred with another, serious-looking elf, who the others called Naftali.

A short time later, materials in hand, Jasen led the band of elves through the forest. They had promised him his goods on the condition that he show them the camp. Jasen reasoned that the bargain was as good as he was going to get. They could, after all, have simply killed him, or handed him over to the local noble on the charge of poaching.

-----

The sentry raised an eyebrow as Jasen came trudging into view. A friendly quip died on his lips as he realized Jasen was not alone, but was rather accompanied by a small band of elves. Jasen smiled apologetically at the sentry, and quickly slipped past him into the camp, several large sacks slung across his back.

The sentry turned back to greet the elves, trying hard to look fierce.

-----

As the elves trudged off to investigate the nearby goblin camp, the sentry trotted away from his own camp. Someone - one of the elves, in his estimation - had slipped past him, and the sounds of death that were emanating from the camp suggested the culprit's purpose had been nefarious. Sighing to himself, the sentry reflected that wherever his band went, they would likely be surrounded by enemies. Here was as good as any place to try and make their way - assuming any survived the day.

-----

Amara stared at the corpse of the goblin sentry, then lifted her gaze to Naftali, whose mace was dripping with blood and brains. In response to her subtle, dismayed expression, Naftali shook his head slightly and turned to stare through the charred remains of the gates, into the goblin camp. The gates had once given a measure of security to the inhabitants of this encampment, high in the Grey Towers, but had been destroyed shortly before the goblin tribe had been all but wiped out. Now, it seemed, the goblins had recovered sufficient numbers to return to their previous home.

With a determined expression, Naftali strode through the gates. Now that the goblins once again provided a clear presence, he intended to do his part in curtailing their numbers.


Penned by my hand on the 33rd of Wochem, in the year 47.