8th day, 2nd ride, April, 1372 DR
We all discussed what had happened in the woods the previous evening at the dog fights. Aparently, quite a few people had gathered from all around and several rounds of dog fights were held. There was a lot of gambling and it seemed that Marron was the man in charge of it all. Half-way through the event two people came up from the woods and stood at the edge of the clearing. A young woman and a man, both dressed in simple, albeit dirty clothing. Marron spoke with them briefly and they left. Ebon had sneaked up to them but couldn’t overhear what had been said. My initial suspicion was that Marron was paying a tribute to the two, but according to both Abel and Ebon nothing was exchanged except a few words. Also, Ebon had a hard time figuring out which direction they headed after leaving.
During this conversation it was brought to my attention that Ebon was able to read lips at quite some distance. That knowledge would prove valuable later on that day.
We decided to go back to Marron’s cottage and interrogate him. On our way up there Roland and Abel were discussing how to go about things. I realised that I was balancing on a razor’s edge in this situation. The lycans were certainly no friend of mine, but their patron, Malar, was a potential ally to Abaddon. As his agent, I had to extend all possible help in order to cultivate that potential alliance. (It’s a curious thing to consider that what we do here might potentially have an effect on Fury’s Heart, His realm.) My companions would likely not understand, nor did I want to weaken my friendship or insult the relationship we’ve built up with the Brightblade clan. I had to be the one to talk to Marron, away from prying eyes. If he was a lycan and a follower of Malar, I wanted to be the one to explain things to him.
Roland and Abel had decided they would take turns in using their magic upon Marron’s mind to make him more compliant. I had to be quick to offer Abaddon’s protection from these magicks so that he may prove more difficult to ensorcel and that I would be able to get my turn and talk to him. Luck would have it that when we arrived things went almost exactly according to plan. He opened the door, I asked for Abaddon’s protection and it seemed both Roland and Abel had difficulty penatrating that defense with their magic. Annoyed through wounded pride, Abel walked back to the road as I went to talk to Marron, who was definitely on edge. Unfortunately, Roland wouldn’t leave the cottage and I knew Ebon was circling the cottage as well, so I had to be careful.
Luck was on my side once again when before we could really talk, someone had stepped out onto the road close to Ebon and Abel. Roland went to check it out and Marron and I could talk. And when we spoke, he seemed eager to spill his guts. It turned out Marron wasn’t a lycan, nor a follower of Malar, but just a man in the woods who organised dog fights. However, the couple that had come to the dog fights earlier, the one that Abel and Ebon had seen, they were part of the lycan pack for the Border Forest. Her name was Var, and she was the pack leader. His name was Kyran and was an agent of Malar. It was also Kyran who had stepped out onto the road and was making my companions and Marron, very uneasy. I took a gamble and stepped out to greet this Kyran and hope to diffuse the situation.
“May you smell and taste the terror of your pray, son of the Stalker,” which made this Kyran smile. I introduced myself as a child of Abaddon and off the conversation went.
Kyran is an agent for Malar, but not a priest. He travels around from forest to forest and visits the lycan packs. He challenges the leaders and picks new leaders for packs. He’s not from this area and calls The Lurkwoods far to the west his hunting grounds. He’s here because an ancient evil has awoken in the area that’s threatening the lycans of the Border Forest. An evil he calls “Gwath.” It’s forcing his lycans to hunt closer to Dagger Falls, while the Brightblade clan’s lumbering operations are moving them closer to this… “Gwath.” They’re caught in between and finding their hunting grounds narrower and narrower. This is why they have been striking out against the Brightblade clan.
If we could look into Gwath and see what we could do, we could diffuse the situation between the lycans and the dwarves. It would be better for all of us. Lycans happy, Brightblade happy, Malar happy, Abaddon happy.