Monday, November 30, 2009

There is a bear in the woods

Eolar was slowly walking down the small path into the forest. It was two days since he had raised Elogyn and it had been two days filled with discussions. She had changed. Eolar didn't know what had happened on the other plane, but Elogyn had come back restless. When he asked her about it, they had had the same debates they had so often. First he was angry because Elogyn dared to attack his principles and beliefs but later he realised it was because he already knew he'd lose her. She had been a loyal companion for so long, it was hard to imagine her gone.

She, like most paladins, wanted to fight evil wherever it showed its face. They didn't seem to see that the lack of organisation and law are what leads to it in the first place. Give people a place in a society, a purpose in life and they will thrive. As long as this order is enforced by a srong hierarchy and a strict legal system, evil has no place to grow and will die out opr be suppressed. In Eolars opinion, paladins only fight the effects of chaos. Elogyn didn't see it that way.

She had said she will be leaving next morning to head north. Walking through woods always calmed Eolar down and he realised that he had to let her go. He wasn't as good as a teacher as she would need to get her on the right path. He inhaled the fresh forest air. He had put money in for the longsword they got and decided to give it to her as a leaving present. He wasn't bitter. It would be an important step for her and he could only hope she would find a better teacher.

The path narrowed while it lead down a ridge. Eolar tried to get his bearings again. He had been walking for more than an hour and estimated that one of the smaller roads leading from Febril to the villages should be not far ahead. He was about half way down the ridge when he heard shouting ahead. He stopped to listen and started to run when he could hear fighting noises and women screaming. He had his bow ready by the time he reached the opening. A horse carriage had been driven into the ditch and he could see four armed men closing in on two woman and a badly injured man who stood with their backs against a bigger rock alongside the road. He aimed at the robber closest to the women and was just about to shoot when he could see a dark shape breaking out of the woods to his right. The bear took down the first robber on the run as if he wasn't an obstacle at all and was already onto the second before Eolar could shoot his arrow. He stopped and released the second arrow which brought down his target. The last robber had turned around and was facing the bear which was slowly closing in on him.

"Drop your weapon and surrender!" Eolar was running towards him trying to aim at both the bear and the robber. The sword fell to the ground and the robber dropped to his knees. To Eolars amazement, the bear turned away from the - now unarmed - robber and towards him. He raised his holy symbol pointing it at the bear and was ready to bring down holy fire on the bear as soon as it started attacking. For a few seconds bear and cleric were looking at each other before the bear turned away and trotted away into the undergrowth. Eolar stood there puzzled. He could swear the bear had nodded to him before it had left.

The robber sat there bound to the cartwheel while Eolar treated the wounds of the merchant. "Thank you so very much for saving me, my wife and my daughter! These robbers would surely have killed us. How can we thank you? Take this money as sign of our gratitude!" He was holding a bag of coins towards Eolar who gently pushed it back to the man "You don't have to give me money. If you want, donate it to the church of St.Cuthbert next time you pass a temple and pray to thank St.Cuthbert for sending me here in time." He helped them push the carriage out of the mud and calm the horses. When the daughter climbed on the carriage she looked at the trees where the bear had vanished. "I'm sure the bear would have eaten us alive if you wouldn't have scared it off!" The carriage slowly rolled down the road with three people waving good bye and Eolar looked at the treeline as well. "I'm not so sure about that!". He was intrigued.

It started to get dark, but the full moon cast enough light for Eolar to keep on following the bear's tracks. He was curious to find the animal. He had seen bears up close before, but never had an animal reacted so controlled when facing armed humans. It was as if the bear knew exactly what was happening. He had even accepted the robber's surrender. The tracks led into an area filled with big boulders which formed small paths and caverns. Between two boulders he stopped and listened. He could feel the bear was close. He looked up and saw the bear sitting on top of the boulder next to him. Eolar didn't hold a weapon and the bear, although being cautious, didn't look as if it wanted to attack. Eolar stretched out an arm "Be calm, I'm not here to hurt you!" Then he noticed the eyes. The bear looked at him with an unnatural intelligence which Eolar had never seen in an animal. The bear slowly got up and jumped off the boulder in the opposite direction. Eolar started to run round the boulder and after fighting his way quickly through some thorn bushes was standing in front of a massive man just dressed in a loincloth. His upper body was mostly covered in thick brown hair, he had massive hands and his face was mostly covered by a beard. Eolar stopped in surprise and automatically reached for his mace when the man started laughing "Calm down, I'm not here to hurt you!"


Hedzor said...

How exciting!
I'd definitely want him on my team.

RoboGeek said...

Cool, definitely the right choice of cohort.

Ragnar, Thesis and Durin: awesome front-line.