31st of Desnus, 4710
We set out soon after the mending is done, and begin exploring the forest anew. We go back to the Mad Hermit’s tree and find a distinctive trail of destruction. The Hermit’s viscera is scattered midst the tree roots. Smaller trees have been uprooted and lie shattered beneath and around the uplifted roots of other trees. There are split-hooves left tracks racing through the remains Kaylee Stoddard is able to identify the tracks as being those of a dire boar.
At least one wolf fled the scene, another was gored and left its blood splattered over the trees. Its body lies in shadow not far away.
We follow the dire wolf tracks through the woods and up to the river. There, Aether starts to growl. In the brush we find a trail of blood. Following it to its source, we disturb a murder of crows that flee to the upper branches. There, amidst the shadows is a giant wolf. Its abdomen is open and its intestines are out. It is slowly dying. Kaylee gave it a quick death. She’s sure she heard it say “thank you.” with its last breath.
Xene insisted on saying a quick prayer over the fallen before returning to Sir Thierry and Tamarie Iluvatar.
Back on the beast’s trail, Kaylee continues to track it. We find a ruin of a bridge built with white taldane stone. The stone columns can be seen in the middle of the river. We can find no safe crossing until late in the day.
We make camp after losing the trail. Sir Thierry takes the first watch.
The camp awakes to chaos. There is only dim light as the campfire’s been scattered and the embers can find little or nothing to catch. The horses are rearing against their tethers and Aether is barking loudly.
The dire boar has returned. And he is Tuskcutter.
The battle is chaos itself. The night causes the young master difficulties in finding his target and the beast’s hide is so thick his sword as often slides off as finds home. Kaylee’s arrow, named for Tuskcutter, seems to pierce his hide, but not deeply enough to do more than anger the beast further. It comes in like a runaway cart and leaves as quickly, only to spin about in the darkness and return for another run.
Tamarie tries to burn it, as does Xene; but while their efforts confuse it, they do it little to no damage. In a last-ditch effort, Tamarie grants Kaylee the ability to grow larger, and boosts both her speed and strength. With this assistance, Kaylee is able to slay the mighty beast, but not before it guts Aether and sends Xene flying up and over its back.
Aether dies from his wounds, and the young master is severely wounded. Xene is hurt badly from her fall. As Sir Thierry and Xene heal the injured, Kaylee takes Tuskgutter’s head and eviscerates the body.
We spend the rest of the night in the remnants of our camp.
1st of Sarenith
It’s a late morning when we awake anew. We head out of the forest and go to the statue of Erastil. There we make camp to rest-up further. It is a moment of serenity.
2nd of Sarenith
We ford at the Thorn river and skirt the edge of the forest. We do some hunting along the way to Oleg’s. We arrive by dark.
Sister Xene prays to clean Tuskgutter’s head. It becomes a mass of writhing maggots but the bone is laid bare. Sir Thierry shovels the maggots into Oleg’s midden pit.
We spend the night discussing deeds and catching up with the locals.