Summer 1246 - The Fox Hunt

Where The Woad goes hunting for a magical fox.

Scene 1: Assembling the hunting party

The Woad is seen rummaging about the covenant, gathering what looks like camping supplies, and speaking to a series of outdoorsy grogs ( in his barely functional Catalan).

When asked, he readily explains:
“Salvate Sodalibus! The Woad has the notion, that a very special fox is to be found around these parts. He has overheard several people relay their observations, and has come to the conclusion that this is a very special beast, likely magical. He intends to track it and study it. The Woad says ‘track’ and not ‘hunt’ because he dies not intend to slaughter it.
This is an activity perfect for company, so anyone wishing to accompany him is welcome.”

This sounds like something that would be right up Epona's alley.

Do you want any magi along, or just grogs/companions?

Anyone is welcome.
The Woad needs some local grogs along, guides etc.
But anyone interested is welcome. Competent people preferred, but then again you never know who or what skill sets can come in handy in an ArM story.

Epona and Vibria, I think. Give Vibria a chance to flex her dragon form.

“You are all welcome. The Woad does not know what we are in for, or even if there is any success in the endeavour to be found at all. Maybe the journey is the real achievement?

Anyway, there is a sneaky, magical fox to be stalked - and the Woad is ready!”

Vibria is ready to leave at the appointed time. Wearing her wizarding robes, she struggles to lead a mule with a couple of saddle bags. Huffing in frustration, she ties the lead to a handy tree and turns to her family, kneeling in front of her children.

"Artur, Maria, you mind your father and the nanny until Mama returns. Especially you, Artur." She gives both of her children a big hug before she stands up again.

"And you, my love," she continues with a playful smile. "Do try to stay out of trouble, and make sure Artur keeps up his lessons while I'm gone. I'll return as soon as I can" She gives him a fond kiss before she picks up the mule's lead again.

"Come on, you little shit," she mutters in Catalan.

Not long after, Epona reaches the gate. The tall blonde has a large backpack, which has an unstrung short bow and heater shield strapped to it. She has a full quiver and a dagger strapped to her belt. Lucia, who once was Vibria's and Fleur's chambermaid (but not at the same time) walks with her until the reach the gate. They embrace and whisper to each other before they kiss quickly and Epona joins The Woad, Vibria, and anyone else who's going along.

When Vibria and Epona stand near each other, one can see that they have very similar builds.

The appointed time will be early morning, in order to get a head start before the mid day heat saps the vitality and dulls the mind.
The Woad is used to colder climates, so he is lightly equipped, and mostly carries his own gear. His spear is the most important item. He is dressed in practical boots, simple breeches, and an open shirt. A pack holds survival gear - although just the minimal in this mild climate- and a day’s worth of food and water - as he is used to from Hibernia. He nods at the two local guides, who carry the remaining provisions.
As the Woad leaves the covenant, he glances at the nearest high mountain peak: Even though it is summer, and milder here than in Hibernia, he knows the weather may also turn to extremes.

So the party consists of :

  • Magi: The Woad, Vibria
  • Grogs: Epona
  • Other mundanes: 2 local guides
  • Animals: Vibria's mule

Are the guides fighting grogs or simply mundane hands who know the area?

The Woad does it expect fighting, so guide and hunting skills are more important. But he expects them to carry bows, and perhaps spears

Epona is a fighting grog, and the covenant's Hunt Mistress, a Warrant Officer. She doesn't really know the area.

On a clear morning, the group of hunters set out from the covenant towards the village of Arinsal, where sightings of an unusual fox have been reported by merchant travelling the road between La Massana and the valley of Vicdessos on the northern side of the mountains. (See the maps on the wiki)

The reports are a bit confusing, with wildly different accounts of the fox:

  • Some speak of tracks around their wagons, from which choice food was stolen, though other objects also are said to have disappeared on occasion.
  • Some report seeing a large fox, almost as big as a wolf, running alongside the path though the mountains. Coloring of the fox varies, with silver and gold being the most common ones.
  • Finally, others have reported that poultry have become rare in Arinsal due to the fox, which snatches them under the cover of darkness.

How much truth is there to those stories? Hard to say.

In that case, the Woad wishes to bring some of those choice foods plus cages of live chickens in order to bait the fox.

Once in a relevant area, the bait must be set, with the party camping way off and down wind. A single faraway lookout is set, and once a chicken is taken -which is likely not noticed by the sentry - and the fox is tracked afterwards. The Woad is patient and is ready to observe and test for a long time.

The bait is put into place and the lookout in place. The first night and day, nothing happens. The second night, the chicken gets eaten. Tracks are found.

"Well," says Epona, scratching her head after examining the tracks, "that looks like fox tracks, but they are normal-sized. From what we heard, I would have expected them to be bigger than that."

The Woad has trackers try and follow the tracks, he'll give it a shot himself - but as young magus his skills are thinly stretched because it also requires time to study magic.

The Woad says: "Well, one should never judge the quarry merely from the tracks. There may be more than meets the eye, especially if the fox is magical. Then again, the Woad may just be feeding a mundane fox, but he'll have to try.
Anyway, there were also reports of large foxes running along the tracks in these mountains. He thinks we should scout out those places as well, see if we can't find some tracks to decide things from, or follow."

Vibria examines the tracks, rubbing her chin thoughtfully. (Hunt roll of 4)

"My dragon form gives me decent night vision. Perhaps I can keep an eye on the trap tonight to see what takes the bait and what becomes of them afterward."

Epona nods, "That might be easier that trying to follow the fox tracks. I can make them out here, where the errain is soft, but when a fox moves into the woods or in rockier terrain, their tracks can be awfully hard to follow."

"In that case, I'm going to take a nice long nap until closer to time for me to take watch. A tired dragon is a cranky dragon, after all." She smiles, stretches, then climbs into her tent.

"The Woad concurs that it is in fact not easy. Vibria, using your dragon form for observation at seems like a good idea. We need to use delicacy and patience, and not scare away the animal. If this fox really is magical, the Woad hopes it is sufficiently curious for us to make contact at some point."