Welcome back, Hunter. Let’s go bait some wolves.
Hunter Option Aa: Bait Them
Now that the village center stands empty, the giant man grins and holds his hands out with a questioning raise of his brow like you might release him.
“Ha,” you laugh. “The wolves didn’t take your boys by accident.” This is a statement, not a question, and the man doesn’t deign to respond other than to lower his hands again.
It’s your turn to grin and you push him to the center of the village square. Straight ahead the road runs out of the village and into the forest that hems it on the far side. That’s the way the wolves went. You have the man face that direction and tell him to sit.
When he’s lowered his considerable bulk, you hobble him there by placing bags over his hands and then tying his hands and feet all together.
“You move, I’ll shoot you,” you warn before turning to survey your options.
The general store sits, broad and low, to your right. Since it’s a single story building, the roof presents itself as a good vantage point in which to see the road. Across from it faces off the tavern, double story but with a balcony on the second floor. Also a good vantage point but more exposed.
“You’ll never catch them,” the man says.
“Who says I’m going to catch them?” you ask.
He straightens and, in the dark, his eyes glint as he leans toward you, perhaps trying to see your face better.
“You rightly called me a hunter,” you remind him.
He grunts but there’s a strangled quality to it. He truly cares about these wolves.
If you were just trying to rid the village of the beasts, you wouldn’t hesitate, but with the boys the wolves took, there’s an unspoken assumption that you’ll get the boys back.
Perhaps capturing the wolves will give you leverage to find the boys.
You spin on a heel and go to the door of the general store.
“Master Finn,” you call. He’s the general store owner and the man who contacted you in the first place.
After a brief pause, the door cracks open to show Master Finn’s broad nose and dark eyes.
“Got anything that might work as a cage?” you ask.
After a bit of explaining, you recruit three of the villagers to help you and they assist in turning the lawman’s box wagon into a sturdier cage to house three large wolves.
Then you send two of them to gather baskets of sage and the third you inquire about the availability of raw meat.
Once all is set, you perch yourself atop the general store roof with your bow. In the village square the big man still sits hobbled but you added a gag to the ensemble as well to prevent him giving the wolves orders.
Behind him on the side of the street, the box wagon rests with its back door wide open. You can’t see it from where you sit, but several large chunks of raw beef stain the floorboards of the wagon.
In the side streets your recruited villagers wait, out of sight and down wind.
Now all you have to do is wait. If your theory about the big man is correct, it shouldn’t take long for the wolves to come looking for him.
Your theory’s correct.
They’re silent shadows framing the street. Slinking from one building to the next with a fascinating, smooth grace you truly appreciate as a hunter. They’re wary, with good reason, but finally one creeps into the center of the square to sniff at the big man. With him sitting, the wolf’s head could rest on top of his own.
He struggles against his bonds and the wolf growls low, surprised.
But one of the others gives a soft huffing sound as it comes close to the wagon and sniffs inside.
It disappears into the dark box wagon.
The third wolf takes a step to follow but the lead one, the one by the big man, growls and backs away.
Time to push them.
In a single, smooth move, you rise and draw the bow. The string twangs softly in your ear with the release of the arrow.
Barely a moment later, the arrow thuds into the hind quarters of the wolf. You blunted the tip but the wolf jumps with a yelp and runs. It aims to go around the wagon but one of the villagers runs at it with a flaming torch of sage. The smoke coming off the torch billows into the wolf’s nose and it backs away, chuffing with distress.
You have to give the villager credit. Running at a wolf that size isn’t typically a person’s first instinct.
But the beast backs away, and finds another villager pushing it from the side.
It takes another several arrows and the villagers not backing down, but within five minutes, all three wolves have been pushed into the box wagon and the door bangs shut under the hand of Master Finn.
The broad nosed man grins and giggles. You suspect it’s because if he doesn’t, he might cry in sheer relief.
Everything quiets except for one harsh noise. The big man has canted onto his left side and is wiggling and half screaming in an attempt to get to the caged wolves.
The beasts respond with their own keening.
Now that you have them contained, you have to decide, do you offer the man a trade. The wolves and his life, and them to never return to the village, in exchange for the boys. Or do you threaten the wolves to get the man to give up the boy’s location?
Well done so far! Now how would you like to proceed?
We’ll finish the adventure on Thursday.
Until then, blessings,