The summoner was being especially talkative tonight. “While there is a limited number of spirits a summoner can call forth, the world is filled with spirits who are alive, but not strong enough to answer the call. But this is not the hour for lengthy talks about spirits. I understand that your group will stay in Camoa for a little while following my departure. If you wish, we can discuss it further inside the city walls.” Having said that, Noira went to her own tent, leaving Saska to his watch.
The following morning the group decided that they would make for the city walls before nightfall. If they could clear the Koringwood without further trouble, Camoa should not prove a difficult destination. With Saska in front, A’Delia was responsible for keeping the rest of the troop on his tail. Monid was at the rear, where his noise would disturb Saska the least, and his larger frame should deter the vast majority of the forests inhabitants from pursuit. The pathfinder knew A’Delia would be keeping a closer eye on their rearguard than usual. After all, he would be carrying her pack. Setting a speedy pace, the group expected to clear the Koringwood a couple hours before sunset. And indeed, while the sun was still setting, Saska spotted the edge of the wood a short distance. But something was off.
Saska had been to Camoa several times in the past. Normally, professional hunters would patrol the edge of the woods, both to deter unwanted beasts from coming to close to the farmlands surrounding the city, as well as bag any game venturing too close to the edge. While business had been falling off these last few years, the patrols were still kept. But this area of the showed clear signs that no hunting patrol had passed in a while, and there was a distinct musky scent in the air. A’Delia must have smelt it too, as she had pulled back the hood she normally wore over her distinctive ears. Another reason Saska always tried to have the vieran woman as second in line, was that, while she didn’t have his stealth in the woods, her senses still trumped his, by simple due of her heritage as a Viera. Saska knelt down to the woodland floor, waiting for A’Delia to come to her own conclusion.
“Some large beast, suffused with Mist too, if I am any judge.” the vieran whispered. “It must either be confident in its strength or foreign to these woods, for it does not seem to be extending a lot of effort towards concealing its presence.”
Peering through the bush towards the open area just ahead of them, Saska spoke back as loudly as he dared. “I wager we’ll find it right in the border patrol path up ahead. I can smell it from here, and we’re not even downwind from it. The question is, do we engage, wait for it to leave or pass by?”
At this point, Noira had joined them. The summoner must’ve sensed their mood, for she was as stealthy as he had ever seen the woman. “Whatever you two have found, it has riled up all the spirits in a fair radius. The Koringwood is most certainly not used to this creature, whatever it is. So I vote that we attempt to avoid it. You will be free to hunt it once we’ve been to the compound.”
Looking over to A’Delia, Saska could see that she was nodding in agreement with the other woman, and he himself would also prefer avoiding a fight until they had more clan-members and knew some more about their quarry.