[WFRP 3e] Torendir in Eye for an Eye Part 1
From the Journal of Tor'endirathelevellon to His Lady Ariel, Queen of the Elves of the Wood
My Lady, I wish to write to you of the beginning of my adventures amongst the humans. It may be difficult to understand, but I know you will pass no judgment in the fact that my first companion in these strange lands is of the dwarven race. He was a boatman who brought me into the city of Ubersreik and a talkative one at that. He talked of the river and the city we were going to and of how we should team up and leave the drudgery of piloting boats behind to find fortune and adventure. He showed no hostility and made no references to the War of Vengeance that I could discern with my rudimentary knowledge of the human language. It will come to pass that his friendship offering of his was mutually beneficial to our very survival.
This dwarf, who is called Stedd Grimwald, brought me the very next day to a listing of work opportunities posted in the center of town. I have not fully mastered the rudiments of this human language as of yet, so the dwarf had to read the postings and relate them to me. We settled on a request for porters at a recently acquired lodge in a forest a short distance away. We wasted no time hastening to the meeting place where a human, named Vern Hendrick, was conducting interviews to select the best candidates for the job. We were almost immediately selected.
As it is my mission in this place to gather information on the human creatures, I will relate the specifics of this work offer. The human lord Ashaffenberg has recently married into the previously mentioned hunting lodge. The lodge is staffed by human workers who he trusts not one bit. There have been strange and dangerous goings-on at the lodge, and the lord is hiring investigators in the guise of porters to search out the root of the troubles. This is the work we were to do. Hendrick also mentioned a payment in the local trade coin for our employ. I had to defer to Stedd for the appropriateness of the payment level. He has assured me it is an adequate sum. These coins should help me remain in the human realms for a longer period of time to do my research.
As Stedd was eager for excitement, and as I carry all the possessions I have in this human realm, we were able to leave immediately for the lodge. Vern Hendrick had mentioned beastman sightings around the lodge and became visibly agitated as we rode through the forest in his carriage. I noticed we were being followed by many red-eyed creatures, so I pointed them out to the human, as a known danger is more manageable than an unknown one. This information did not seem to soothe the human. Instead it caused him even more anxiety and discomfort. I heard the sound of a hunting horn and knew that a hunt was on. Usually, when Lord Orion leads us through the forest and when I am patrolling the outer reaches of our realm I am the hunter. I knew this time, however, that I was the hunted. I readied my bow and could not help but excitedly relate to the ignorant human that the hunt was afoot. I believe the man nearly fainted with fear.
We entered a clearing surrounding the lodge, and Vern Hendrick was speaking to the guards upon the lodge walls, when a small pack of beastmen attacked. There were two of the larger beasts and four of the smaller ones. Normally I would silently shoot them from the safety of the trees with my bow. This time, however, I was exposed on a human cart with the pack of creatures charging. The human fortification was safely nearby, but they would not allow us entrance with the beastmen nearby. Nor did the human crossbowmen on the walls offer any assistance with their ranged weapons while the creatures attacked. This was my first indication of suspicious behavior, either amongst humans in general or these lodge workers specifically.
It was in this battle that the dwarf performed his first heroic action that likely saved my life.
As I was using my bow to attempt to kill the largest beastman, the Stedd was grabbing the reigns of the horses to charge the beasts separating us from the lodge walls. I shot the large beastman, but it did not kill the beast. I can only reconcile the missed opportunity with the fact that the cart I was on was moving semi-out of control. Aiming from a sturdy oak is much preferable.
Stedd crashed our cart into a group of the creatures, but they were not injured. Instead the beasts began climbing the cart and attacking us in hand-to-hand combat. I had to stow the bow and attack swiftly with my dagger.
My strategy was not working. A beastman is a dangerous foe to attack with only a dagger. The creature rent my clothes and skin with its claws. Stedd’s cart driving was not much better. The large beastman rammed the cart and severed the reins, allowing the horses to run off into the forest. We were in a slow roll the rest of the way to the gates.
Stedd readied his dwarven axe, gritted his teeth, and performed a feat of strength for which the race is known. With one swipe, he separated the large beastman’s body in half. The sickening fluids of the beast rained over the dwarf, who did not even deign to notice. The eyes of the remaining beastmen grew fearful and uncertain. I knew it was my time to attack.
I readied my bow again and took a leap off the rumbling cart, thinking that a controlled fall would provide me with better opportunity of aim than an unstable horse cart. I let loose 4 arrows in rapid succession before landing ungracefully on my back. It was a better option at the time than loosing fewer arrows and landing on my feet. My arrows skewered the throats of the three lesser beastmen remaining, and the last stuck into the chest of the other larger beastman. The last remaining beast broke rank and retreated. He sounded a retreat on a horn as he left. This fact is rather frightening, indicating that there were more beastmen around, while we were in no shape at that time to engage them in combat.
A few laborers exited the lodge gates and pushed the cart the remainder of the distance into the property. The obvious danger was over, but the job was just beginning.