1210 RE-- Lord Soril's Hunt
Date: October 1st-7th, 1210
Outcome: Victory for Team Osprey, Honors for Team Goshawk, disgrace for Team Peregrine
Parties: Seven Teams of hunters, Lord Yasen Soril
Casualties: see below.
In the Autumn of 1210, Lord Yasen Soril (YAH sen SOHR eel) of County Torca organized a competition in Trofeu, Tarsikka. His men having cornered a Werewolf in a certain area of the woods, he called for seven teams of hunters would go and bring back its head as a trophy. They would have a week's time in which to complete the hunt; the winning team would be given a prize of silver. Soril declared the rules of the Hunt:
- Each team would be permitted no fewer than three and no more than five members. Pages and squires would count towards the member roster, it being important that the competition be not confined to the nobility, and that it be fair.
- Each team must either have a Silver Swordsman as a member, bearing a weapon of at least tempered silver, two hunters in possession of a Silvered weapon, or must bring the entry fee of enough silver to have two weapons coated. Arrows would be acceptable for this purpose, each of 20 arrows counting as a single weapon.
- Use of hounds or other hunting animals would not be permitted, to keep the field fair. Homunculi would be permitted, but they must take up a spot on the roster, and there must not be more than one per team of three, or two per team of four or five.
- Use of concealed traps and other ruses would not be permitted, in part out of sportsmanship, but also so that other hunters would not be accidentally wounded by such.
The hunt began at nightfall on 1 October. Lord Soril sounded his bronze hunting horn as the hunters departed from his estate. Within a day, the sole remaining member4 of team Redtail returned, carrying the broken hilt of his silver sword in the makeshift sling that held also his shattered left arm. He said that his team had been beset by shades, and also something else that wasn't a werewolf, but he hadn't gotten a good look at what. The other teams seemed to fare better, at least at first, no more news being carried back until the third day, when a member of team Kestrel5 returned to the lodge in a mad hurry, saying that her team had been set upon by bandits who had killed one of her teammates. Her remaining teammates had remained to pursue the criminals, but she had returned to inform the Lord, and also voice her suspicion that this was being done by some member of another team. Presently, a Homunculus6 who had registered with team Goshawk returned with a similar story, so Soril felt compelled to take some number of his men and investigate. The Homunculus and the hunter from Team Kestrel accompanied them.
An hour into the forest, Soril's party heard the howling of a wolf, followed by the shouts of hunters. Spurring towards the fray, Soril took the lead, only to plunge into a ground-trap covered with leaves, about nine feet deep, two of his companions falling with him. The Homunculus and the hunter from Kestrel attempted to rescue them with rope from their packs. Suddenly the Homunculus caught movement out of the corner of its eye, and just barely missed being run through by an attacker in a mask and hood. Eight such figures appeared from the wood, bound the hunters with magics, and carried them off.
In the meantime, the hunters from team Gyrfalcon made good progress, but came upon neither wolf or bandits in the first few days. On the third day, they too heard the wolf's howl, and plunged into the forest after it. Instead of a werewolf, however, the Dusker uncovered across a crude camp in the woods, half-concealed in the brush. The Oresunder's Tarsikkan page7 suggested that it might be Tharici, but none of the colors or trappings of a Tharici caravan were present, so perhaps it belonged to one of the other teams. Investigating further, they discovered several steel jaw-traps, and other, more sinister traps with gasses and poisons. These sorts of things being expressly forbidden by Lord Soril, they grew suspicious, and began to search the area for any set traps.
Elsewhere in the wood, Team Merlin and Team Osprey tracked down the werewolf's hiding place within an hour of each other. Team Merlin came upon the hiding place first, setting up with an archer8, his quiver full of silver arrows, covering the warriors as they explored the narrow gap in an outcropping of rock. He did not have long to wait before the werewolf exploded, howling, from his hiding place, the limp body of their team's Homunculus9 in its jaws. One arm severed, the Silver Swordsman of the team, Davilos Mehio (DAV ee LOSH Meh HEE oh), switched his sword to his off-hand, determined to bring down the beast as the archer loosed arrow after arrow into it. Weakened, but not defeated, the Werewolf eluded a number of the arrows, tossed the body of the Homunculus away, then pounced on the swordsman, ripping out his throat, before turning to the terrified archer. At this point, the hunters of Team Osprey came upon the battle. One of the members of the team10, realizing there was nothing he could do for the Swordsman, was able to save the Homunculus through Chiurgery. The rest of the team distracted the werewolf long enough for the Archer to scramble away, then, through their combined efforts, brought the creature down. A Silver Swordsman, Azamon Fyori of Team Osprey, severed the Werewolf's head for a trophy while the healer patched up everyone's wounds, for not a single one of the warriors escaped unscathed. Two others(12, 13) carried the Homunculus, the Archer, and the corpse of Mehio back to-wards Lord Soril's lodge.
While this battle finished, team Gyrfalcon were alerted to the sounds of people coming through the brush. In their amazement, they observed the members of Team Peregrine, along with some other shady characters, leading the bound Lord Soril coming some ways from the camp. Thinking quickly, the Oresunder and the Dusker slipped back to the camp, and set as many of Peregrine's own traps as they could before they could arrive, while Hakon Vidarrson and the page went around behind to sneak up on them. The traps caught team Peregrine completely off guard, and while they were distracted, Team Gyrfalcon descended on them and fought them to their knees, freeing Lord Soril and the rest of the prisoners. Lord Soril turned right around and took the Peregrines and their friends captive, marching them back to his lodge.
Soril, Team Gyrfalcon, and the prisoners returned to the Lodge about a half-day before Team Osprey and the remnants of Merlin. During this time, Soril interrogated the prisoners, discovering that they were members of the Bronze Fang, out to capture him for ransom, and to kill as many of the lords of the Silver Sword as possible. They had been planning to blame the deaths on the werewolf, or on accidents with traps. After this, Soril had them executed by hanging, and the bodies burned.
After the execution, Soril threw a feast for all of the surviving warriors, granting the promised prize of silver to Team Osprey. The hunters from Team Osprey insisted on sharing with the very grateful Archer from Merlin, as well as paying for the burial of Davilos Mehio, and finding some employment for his now masterless homunculus. In addition, he gave another prize of silver to team Gyrfalcon, for saving his life, and honorary status of knights within his lands and holdings, as well as his eternal hospitality. The surviving groups traded their stories over the feast, and Lord Soril's house Scribe14 wrote a song about the whole affair, which travelled up and down the length of Tarsikka.