Well, we have a group of Standard Slayers now, and it was officially decreed that they should begin with a mission that is undoubtedly a Standard Slayer duty.
We were joined by additional new Standard Slayers, Rin, a cat-woman, Gonson, another half-elf priest, and Tzeech (I will assume I am spelling that right) a Half-Ogre who is the brother of “Corn!”. Tzeech was not as bad as “Corn!”, but his behavior in the mission was still questionable.
Before the start of the mission, Julius approached me again about removing all nonhumans from the group. He has been doing so quite frequently lately. His sentiment is not shared among any of the other members, particularly since the actual group is half non-human, and Kain…well..after his “transformation” I’m really not sure whether to consider him a human either.
The monster that needed to be slain this time was a Wendigo. In a village of Slabí to the east of The Citadel. It was ruled that having a group of eight would make the mission successful. However, these Slayers have just been promoted, and I was worried that there would be casualties.
Thankfully, that was not the case. Through proper planning, they were able to do it.
The first conflict of this mission was ethical. The hierarchy had ruled that the quickest way to dispel the Wendigo, insuring the minimal amount of Slayer casualties, was to slaughter the village and starve it. I was horrified by this decision, but it is the way of The Citadel. Julius, for one, seemed absolutely fine with this, as did several other members of the group. However, Kain did not approve, and this conflict was evident even before the group had left.
They began their journey east. We were, unfortunately, in what is referred to as the “pinnacle” season, the time when the weather of Winter is at its worst, in the last two or so months of the season. This greatly impeded their progress.
At some point in the journey, the group was attacked by Feral Yowlers, altered creatures who have spread across Zverák after the fall of Maják. The fight was tedious, but the Yowlers were defeated. The group then moved on to the village.
Unfortunately, as they reached it, a blizzard struck. They could hardly move against the winds, and were collapsed against the ground. Thankfully, some of the villagers came and pried them away from the snow, bringing them to one of the village’s “tall-huts” as they are called. The group was introduced to this different breed of Slabi, a people who believed themselves descended from an ancient group of humans native to Zverak.
The man who spoke to them was the Shaman of the village, a man gifted in spiritual magic. He told them of the Wendigo, and how it had once been one of the members of their community. He then told them about Wendigos in general. The group confessed what their original intention had been, to kill all the members of the village, and the shaman lied to them in telling them that it would not work. At the time, however, they accepted it. The shaman then asked them to take his hand, and link together, so that he may show them something. The first to hold his hand was stunned, and was taken aback. Gonson was shocked by this, and severed the connection by beating the linked hands apart. However, the Shaman appealed to his spiritual nature as a Cleric, and had him his his hand as well.
Those who did so saw a vision, a story of how the Wendigos supposedly had originally began. It was strange, and seemed improbable at best. Supposedly, in this vision, an ancient man and woman formed a family. They were loved by the Spirits. But then, a harsh winter came, and the man buried some of his family hoping that they would regrow as plants, and he could eat them. The Spirits saw this and cursed the man, so that he would only be able to eat his fellow man.
I am not the person to approach with for verification of this vision. However, I believe that note of it should be taken, and it should be analyzed as to exactly how it was either created or preserved.
With the help of the shaman and the village Chief, a plan was made to apprehend the Wendigo. First, they would wait out the blizzard. Gonson announced that he had the power to remove curses. And it was decided that they would use this to restore the cursed man to normal. Kain, apparently, outright threatened the group if they attacked and killed the villagers. For this reason, it was decided that the group would use a volunteer from the village to call the Wendigo over to a trap, set by Julius, and that Gonson would go to it and remove the curse on it.
With that plan established, a volunteer was decided on from amongst the villagers. It ended up being the brother of the man who had become the Wendigo. He volunteered knowing he would probably not survive. However, he was motivated to save the life of his brother. Kain, hoping that he would be able to help the man survive, volunteered to help him draw the Wendigo in. Meanwhile, all the other villagers were kept in the Shaman’s hut.
After the blizzard ended, they spent a day preparing, and from there decided to sleep one last night.
Over the night, a number of members of the group had a dream in which a woman was telling them that the removal of the curse would not work, and that the only way for them to destroy the Wendigo would be to starve it by killing the villagers. In the morning, they talked to the shaman about this dream, and he strongly cautioned them not to trust it, saying that it was evil.
Unsure of what this dream had meant, or whether to trust the shaman, they decided to simply proceed with their plan.
Kain (flying on magical wings) and the villager wandered away while the other members of the party lied in wait. Two dart traps and a bear trap were set in an alley between two huts, and Gonson was waiting behind the bear trap.
The Wendigo emerged. And as it did, it devoured its former brother in seconds. Kain fought the creature briefly, but was knocked out of the air by a massive volley of snow thrown from its arm. Thankfully, he took only minor injuries, and leapt back up into the air, flying away. The wendigo, in a fury, chased him down. It was eventually hit by one of the darts from the trap, and then caught in a bear trap. Gonson, invisible, came up to the creature and cast Remove Curse on it. It worked, and what had once been a monster was now a naked, bloodstained man with an injured foot.
They brought the man back to the shaman, who set to work to physically and psychologically rejuvenate him. He spoke strange, soothing words that members of the group that spoke Slabi faintly understand. When asked on the source of these words, he told them that many of the Slabi believed that there was a civilization, a hidden city, far away, where they would be safe. It was a rumor, nothing more than a story. However, it gave the villagers hope, and hope was currently what the man needed.
The group came back to me, and told me of all of this, and it is quite strange. There are many foggy details still about this mission, and many things that need to be discussed. Above all I am glad that there were no Slayer casualties, and I am glad that the group found a perfectly viable solution without killing the villagers.
It seems that, despite all appearances, the current group is behaving competently. I am quite proud, and I feel that we may be able to trust them with more in the future.
-High Priest, Novy Poradie