The silver-tongued Priest of the Faithful was backed by more than just words, but his words were like hammers changing the tide of public sentiment, twisting ideas and actions into falsehood. His guards, the three Mongrel scavengers, looters of the dead and hunters of the weak and lost, stepped up immediately to defend him and their ego-bolstered honor at Maral’s slights and threats.
Wielding two-handed scythes, and seemingly little concerned about the milling crowd, they waded forward in a wedge toward Maral, little realizing that hidden in the crowd were Grantur and Trevor. Attacking from behind, the two hard-bitten fighters were soon able to even the odds for Maral, then end the brief battle. In a true fight for their lives, the survivors of the dungeons of the Faithful saw what measure of fighting man fate had conspired to mix them with, and the speed and finality of their dance with the Mongrels revealed much about their skill and bravery in the face of steel and soulless willingness to kill.
The town elders decided to deliberate on what they had seen, packing the surviving Mongrels and the Priest into seperate rooms to be held until further notice. The Mongrels were left to stew in their own bile, but repeated attempts were made to discern something of the truth from the Priest. These conversations left them feeling guilty, in the wrong, and in the need of an investigative mission to the Community. Their experience of the small group of survivors suggested that they were not the thieves and rapists the Priest painted them as, yet… they did keep violence about them as an ever-present tool…
The youngest and fittest of the Elders was elected to travel North with Grantur, Maral, and Trevor, and the family of lumberjacks with whom they had first made contact. The Gardener was to be held for ransom to ensure they returned.
While they travelled through the woods and planned their approach, it was decided to let the Forest-Dwellers enter and examine the Community for themselves, while the three survivors remained out on the plains with one of the lumberjacks to watch them. None of these plans came to fruition as not longer after making camp for the first night on hte plains, they were attacked by a pack of 4 broken wolves… massive and driven to attack without fear. The Elder lost his arm, and the Lumberjack’s eldest son was gutted horribly before the wolves were slain, and then methodically reduced to meat, sinew, and hides for the next market day.
Having seen for himself the bravery and altruism of Maral and Grantur, and the team work and loyalty of Trevor, the Elder elected to return to the forest to deal with the priest’s lies.
With their honor and reputation restored, (I can hear Trevor chuckling, can’t you?) the tale of escape and survival came to an end, and a new tale’s dawn was hinted at upon the horizon.