Players Involved: Andrew (Popon), James (Manon Sèverin), Mark D (Rufio Bateu) and Dan (Jace Korsus)
With practiced movements, Jace moved through the undergrowth. It had been only a few days since dispatching the bandits and the Broken Thorn had decided to begin investigating the Greenbelt proper. Whilst most of the party wanted to start small, exploring the more open fields and plains, he had slunk off alone to begin scouting the edges of the wilderness. He always felt more at ease alone anyway, as to avoid the looks others gave him when they thought he wasn’t looking. They didn’t understand his attitude to life, or if they did they certainly didn’t want to confront him on it. Some time ago another hunter had decided to get in Jaces face over his very tharamite attitudes to the world. It didn’t end well for the loud mouth, and since then he had been given an even wider bearth. Many of them were probably very relieved when he left the Hunting Lodge and joined the Broken Thorns. More assumptions of course, that he’d left to avoid the fallout from that encounter, or that he had commited some crime they didn’t yet know and fled the country. It was nothing so sinister; the Broken Thorn simply paid him more.
“Ere grodz, dere’s sum massiv’ wuns ova dis way!”
Jace stopped moving, the hairs on the back of his neck standing on end. He dropped even lower to the ground, and crept further forward to look into the clearing. There were only four of them. Boggers … No, Gobbers. They were bloated from eating their way through the Moon Radishes that filled the glade. Jace had encountered a smaller patch about a hundred yards back and suspected there may be more, but this was immense. Easily enough to live off if someone had the mind to. Or sell, of course. Jace readied a bolt in his crossbow, and took aim.
“I carn Nugz, I carn move. Lets just rest ’ere before we goz home. Da cheef will wanna know where we binz.”
Jace stopped. A chief indicated at least twenty or so gobbers, maybe more. Certainly wild gobbers weren’t renowned for their mathematical skills. The last thing the expedition needed was an army of angry gobbers assaulting them now. He briefly considered tracking them back to their home, but immediately the concept of being caught crossed his mind. No, it would be best to let them go and alert the rest of the party of the find.
They weren’t paying him to die, after all.
Jace was in no mood to join the usual evening festivities that night. The rest of them had arrived back, with their “guide” Popon carrying the head of a gigantic trapdoor spider with him. Apparently, he’d just stepped on the damn things home and it had attacked him, fatally wounding his horse but receiving a vicious slash through the legs for its trouble. When it retreated to its home, that idiot threw fire in the hole to smoke it out, then impalled its face on his polearm. Who knows how much damage he could of caused with that? The eyes and venom glands of the creature were worth a small fortune, but Popon wanted to keep its head as a souvenir. He was just like the fools back at the lodge, obsessed with their trophies and the “memories of the battle”. Scars were memory enough for him. Instinctively his hand reached over to the long scar that ran the length of his right arm. That tatzylwurm had nearly killed him, and its what made him want to hunt in the first place. He didn’t do it for the honour of the hunt, or the thrill of the chase. He did it to prove nothing out was going to kill him. He was the most dangerous thing in the wilderness, not nature. Evolution, pure and simple.
“Hey Jace, you not going to join us? I promise there’s no gobbers here to be worried about!”
Rufio strode over laughing at his own comment, and Jace forced a smile. He’d told them about the glade, and of course their first comment was not congratulations at his discovery, but scorn for not slaying the gobbers and securing the glade in the first place. They were all too quick to act, and it was going to get them all killed he was sure of it. But not him. The Broken Thorn was currently in a state of absent leadership, with Rufio, himself and Cedric currently forming a council of sorts that made decisions. It pained him working with them at times, but if he was to be honest he didn’t dislike any of them. They just didn’t understand the way the world worked the way he did. But then what did he expect from them. Rufio, for all his background and previous life was a devout Morrowan, and he was fairly sure Cedrics faith was in Cyriss as much as it was for anyone. They didn’t understand that true growth and potential came from developing oneself at all cost. They were fine people, but sometimes it was obvious how different they were.
“Not tonight Rufio, I’m going to finish this and then hit the hay. Another long day tomorrow.”
“Sure is. We’ll come with you next time, make sure you’re safe” Rufio chuckled as he left.
Jace nodded and drank deep of his ale, his head filled with thoughts of his future and how he would make it happen.