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Zosia's Next Big Adventure

From Arrowtown to Two Oaks

Part IV: From Arrowtown to Two Oaks

Zosia settled in to recuperate in luxury at a very pleasant hotel, the Phoenix, on the southern bank of the Arrow River. Meanwhile, unknown to her, a mysterious and unsettling creature1 had suddenly been woken by its divine master and sent in search of her, and was at that very moment moving purposefully through the dense undergrowth towards Arrowtown....

Anyway, to cut a long story mercifully short2, Teles found Zosia and managed to convince her that in spite of his intense creepiness he wasn't dangerous to her and might actually be useful, and together they set off northwards. Teles had said that he could take her to her druid daughter, Arvhran, though he didn't actually know precisely where she was — he's relying on his master's transmitted drip-feed of knowledge for this, not his own. Also to the benefit, Teles has official standing in the druidical hierarchy (being, strictly speaking, part of their favourite god) which means that he can escort Zosia into their sacred enclaves without getting her burnt in a wicker man for sacrilege.

Zosia had bought a pony, named Cornflower, to carry her baggage and to ride from time to time when walking got to be a drag. Teles and Cornflower carried on some extended conversations during their journey, none of which Zosia could understand. Cornflower revealed to Teles the ghastly truth of her servitude — that Zosia was "all right" as a mistress, but that she worked her far too hard and didn't feed her nice things nearly enough. Observing the beast's rotundity, Teles took her complaints with a grain of salt. Cornflower is not an intelligent creature, even for a pony.

The weather turned as they moved further north, and the rivers started rising — the last they managed to cross in flood, just before the thunderstorm broke about them. Teles took on his bear-form to make a breakwater upstream of the group, which scared the crap out of Cornflower and made her bolt, but fortunately Zosia managed to keep hold of her halter and she didn't get far. Teles turned back into his humanoid form again and tried to explain the situation to the terrified pony, to no avail; eventually they just blindfolded her and led her across the swollen river before it became impassable.

The thunderstorm broke with a veangence, but they spent the night relatively dry and warm, huddled in the shelter of an overhanging bank under some trees while the wind howled and the rain poured down. The next morning dawned relatively clear, and Teles took off in eagle form to scout out the lay of the land; he found that they were on a long, but relatively narrow island between two arms of the river they had crossed the previous evening. The rivers were in spate, and unlikely to drop soon — he could see storm clouds still active over the eastern mountains feeding the flow — but he also found a small village not far from their camp-site. He flew back to share his intelligence with Zosia (and with Cornflower, for all the use she was at planning), and they decided to seek shelter at the village for a few days until the rivers subsided enough to be on their way.

The Village of Two Oaks

Making their way through the thick undergrowth, they soon came on to a fairly well-used track which led them into the tiny village of Two Oaks, a settlement of eight thatched houses surrounded by a fence of stiles, and some cropland set in a clearing in the woods.

A welcome sight to cold, wet travellers was an inn — small and rustic, but dry at least, and with the promise of hot food and cold beer. They made their way there directly, guided by a pair of scruffy and rather ruffianly men; clearly not farmers, they were both wearing dirty studded leather tunics and carrying short swords.

Inevitably, there was trouble. Unfortunately I don't remember precisely how the trouble arose, but it involved blood, and some screaming, and the deaths of both of the smirking men-at-arms and a couple of villagers as well. We shall just have to use our imaginations as to this bit, and move on to...

Teles, in huge grizzly bear form, was laying waste in the back rooms of the tavern and had just brutally slaughtered a woman who was waving a cleaver in his face, when out through the cellar trap-door came a humanoid figure whose dress and demeanour just shrieked Evil Nasty Bad Person. Teles turned to deal with this puny mortal and promptly found himself hypnotized into grabbing Zosia with his huge strong bear-hugging bear arms, which he did most efficiently. Fortunately for them both, a momentary lapse of attention on the part of the GM allowed him to escape the mind control, and they went on to the attack. The Evil Nasty Bad Person promptly dissipated into a cloud of vapour and drifted out into the night, leaving Teles and Zosia saying "Aha! Clearly a vampire"3 and chasing after him.

They chased the wispy form across to a farmhouse and burst in through the door, where they found the (alleged) vampire holding a nasty-looking knife to the throat of a bound and terrified child, and more children behind him. "Nuh-uh-ah..." he said (evilly, of course), "Back off or the kid gets it!"

Two Oaks - detail

Zosia, well-meaning (but in this case completely mistaken), took a step into the room, intending to attempt to negotiate with the scum-sucking evil dirt-bag. He shrugged, slashed the unfortunate kid's throat to the bone, and tossed the squirting carcass at the outraged Zosia before turning once again to vapour and oozing out through the back windows into the night. Zosia was fairly spluttering with fury, but Teles just said "Well, he is evil you know...", which, it has to be said, did little to assuage her Righteous Anger. Or her guilt, for that matter.

They chased after the wisp, but could find nothing and returned to the farmhouse, now resounding with the shrieks of terrified kids.

  1. This is Teles, an avatar of the forest god (known as Silvanus, Obad-Hai, Jubumwa, the Green Man, and a host of other names) (Back)
  2. Mainly because my slackness knows no bounds, and it's been weeks since this happened and I've forgotten most of the details (Back)
  3. Bzzzt! Wrong, but thanks for playing. (Back)