Campaign of the Month: December 2014
*Editor’s Note – Elias Osteric’s beginnings were humble, being the son of a blacksmith and a farmer’s daughter. Little is known of his upbringing, except that he grew up learning his father’s trade, and adopted the bastard sword as his favored weapon, and as a trademark, at a young age. His began his Shearing at age eighteen, slightly above that which is average, but well positioned to succeed in his endeavors. What brought him to Hommlet is lost to history, but the event was the beginning of his heroic life.
As has been told in other tales, my master came to Hommlet through his wanderings, as part of his shearing ritual. And, as many in the town still say, his arrival could not have come at a better time. It was early fall, but the chill of winter struck early. The town relied heavily on sheep for commerce and milk, and the local flock was falling prey to a pack of wild wolves. Despite the best efforts of the villagers to protect the sheep, the flocks were thinned more and more, and the villagers became even more anguished. In their desperation to protect the flocks, a few young (and old) men were posted to keep constant watch. The wolves were large and terrible, thought to have come from the north in search of food in the cold winter. In one attack, the wolves killed a town elder, who had volunteered to help post watch over the sheep. The death shook the town. The townspeople were lost and unsure what to do, when my master arrived.
He wandered into town, seeking shelter from the cold weather, and found his way to the Inn. The townsfolk, seeing a large young man so armored and armed quickly besought his aid. He took pity on them, and agreed to assist them with their problem. Seeing that no man in town was properly trained in the methods of combat, his only stipulation was that they allow him to fight the creatures alone. He knew that bringing them into combat with him would only endanger them. The townsfolk explained that the attacks came at night, and usually every few days. Elias, knowing he would need his rest, sought a room and slept until the evening arrived. He took up a post near the sheep’s pen and stall. The first night passed, cold but uneventful. The second night passed the same way. On the third night, Elias again stood watch, when he heard the howling of the wolves. He did not have long to wait, before they began to emerge from the dark woods, large and snarling. Elias drew his sword, and readied his shield. Two large adult wolves led the way, with five slightly smaller ones close behind. They began to fan out, in order to surround and attack. Elias backed up to the stall wall, so that the beasts could not get behind him. As they drew close, Elias feinted one of the large wolves. As he did so, another of the smaller beats leapt at him, providing an easy target. Elias smote it down with one stroke of his mighty blade, and it fell to the cold ground, dead. Another juvenile followed his comrade, and was struck down with equal force. One of the adults pounced upon his shield, with its’ paws hanging over the top, and snapped at him. Elias kicked at its’ legs, which sent it temporarily sprawling from the fray, and took the chance to skewer another juvenile. The pack, with three members down and an adult hurt, seemed less sure than before. Elias pressed the fight, dealing a deathblow to a fourth juvenile which was in his path. The adults attacked simultaneously, bringing their full combined weight to bear. A lesser man may have buckled under this weight, but Elias did not. The larger of the two managed to bite my master on his sword arm, and tried to pull him to the ground. Elias, however, pulled back. He shook off the other wolf and used his shield to strike a severe bludgeoning blow to the beast’s head. It released its’ grip, and Elias finished it with a stroke of his blade. The last adult and juvenile now fled. Elias, knowing that they would return, perhaps even more desperate, followed them. He tracked them to their lair, and finished what he had set out to do. Searching the lair, he found several very young wolf cubs, which he took back to the town. He gave them to the townspeople, and suggested that they could raise the wolves themselves as guard dogs. Having told the tale of the battle to the people, and having had his wounds attended to, Elias retired for a well-earned rest.
When my master awoke, he found the townsfolk gathered to celebrate the victory. There was roast mutton, hearty potatoes, breads and ale. They ate and asked him to tell the story again. At the conclusion of the feast, they offered him a bag of valuables for a reward. My master thanked them graciously, but realized this bag must represent a great deal of what little they had. He returned the bag, and insisted that the possessions be returned to their owners. Naturally, the people very even more grateful, and begged that he stay for a few more days. Elias relented, and tarried with them for some time. During this time, he learned that Luln, a large town two days south of Hommlet, was in need of a man such as Elias. He resolved to go, and announced his decision to the people. While they were disappointed, they understood that he still had much work to do. As he made preparations to leave, an old woman approached him with a bundle, which she presented to him. He opened it, and saw a magnificent cloak, made from the pelts of the slain wolves. He thanked her, grateful for this gift, and donned the sturdy cloak. With a smile and a wave, Elias set out for Luln to the cheers of the people of Hommlet.