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Where the Wild Things Are

Story Emits

Disappearances and attacks along the roads are, of course, sadly commonplace events, particularly when traveling the wilder, far less civilized parts of the Compact. This is, after all, the primary purpose of the Knights of Solace, though even they can't be everywhere, protecting everyone. Even the greater protections afforded the Great Road simply can't be enough to keep things safe along the vast stretches of wilderness, and so rumors of violence, missing people, and even animal attacks are simply an accepted, if not happily received, risk of travel.

But there certainly have been some strange ones recently.

An entire patrol of Knights of Solace along the Great Road's more northerly reaches failed to report in for several days, and those sent to discover what might have happened to them found evidence of a bloody battle right on the road itself...but no sign of any bodies whatsoever, be it Knight or attacker. The only spent arrows and discarded weapons were easily matched to those of the patrol itself. One sword was notably unbloodied, and yet snapped right in half.

The Lodge of Petrichor established near Farhaven (or the Leolan Lodge, as it is more commonly, and affectionately, known) has sent back word that several of their rangers and scouts have disappeared without a single trace. An outlying farm had every single one of their animals--pigs, cattle, chickens, even horses--slaughtered overnight. They blame wolves, but the ranger sent to investigate the incident reported that tracks, tooth marks, and the sheer destruction wrought to fences and pens suggests something, or somethings, significantly larger.

And then there's what happened a few days later at the Lodge itself; residents woke to find a pile of bones left in front of the Lodge's door. The bones were fresh, picked clean, and easily identified as human. Several tracks were left by at least two different people, but a short way into the forest, all traces of them seemed to disappear altogether.

Vague rumors filter into the city of a few outlying farms in the Cloudspine (particularly those near the Great Road) that have suffered significant losses of livestock; chiefly sheep, cattle, and horses, though one or two farms apparently had their entire chicken coops devoured. Each farm has a similar story: they woke in the morning to find their pastures littered with dead and half devoured animals, their farm doors completely broken or hanging from the hinges, and the remainder of their animals scattered into the woods, completely terrorized even long after whatever caused the damage was gone. One farmer reports being woken in the night by loud banging, only to find his door splintered and caved in, but no sign of the culprit.

More notable, and perhaps more sensational, is a report from the keepers of the newly bred Direhorns of Cloudspine, who claim that the herd was attacked during the night. Three of the Direhorns have been killed, and quite a number of others are suffering from injuries that appear to have been inflicted by large claws or teeth, but they seem to have put up quite a savage fight instead of fleeing, likely saving the entire herd and possibly the keepers themselves with their ferocity. The keepers suggest that it may have been a particularly angry bear, but admit that they have never seen a bear attack like this.