While the large wolf caught by the magi struggled in a stony grasp, Gaston of Bjornaer could see that this was not the wolf he had scried previously. As the sun rose, the wolf turned into a very large man. Questioning of the man revealed him to be Allard, a local farmer. Upon their return to the castrum, Aureus ex Miscellanea imprisoned Allard in the stone beneath Commarque.
Waiting for the magi in Commarque Castle was Emma, Lady d’Aubec, who had heard about the soldiers from the north hunting for Cathars. Emma, whose swollen belly indicated an advanced stage of pregnancy, apologized for the absence of her husband, Sir Gaidon d’Aubec, who was away in England securing his position with the new Regent of the King. Melita of Bonisagus noticed that Emma had started to go into labor, and spent the next several hours assisting in the delivery of Gaidon’s first-born (a daughter) with the help of Corpus magic.
Meanwhile, the others crafted another letter, this time from Crecin de Abassart, commanding the crusaders to meet him in Toulouse. Sir Balleray was easily fooled by the forgery and led the other knights and men-at-arms away. The lycanthrope Allard was released after an agreement was forged to research and remove his curse.
Over the next two weeks, news of a huge black wolf terrorizing the countryside made its way to the residents of the castrum. The savaged corpses of sheep were left at doorsteps, and children woke in the middle of the night to see a monstrous wolf with glinting yellow eyes gazing at them from outside. Other than an old man who suffered a stroke after being chased for miles, the wolf seemed content to terrify rather than harm.
The hands of the magi were forced, however, after Giovanni Dimatti discovered the dead body of the redcap of Lapis Crudus in a field east of the castrum. The redcap bore a letter from William of Jerbiton saying that he and Fortis would be staying at Lapis Crudus for the duration of the season. His corpse had a look of horror on its face. Melita used Corpus magic to speak to the corpse, which told of being attacked by a horrific black wolf that chased the redcap for hours until his heart burst.
Giovanni’s guards returned to the castrum later with the redcap’s horse, which bore a wound from a creature’s claw on its flank. Melita and Gaston used the horse’s wound to locate the wolf in the vineyards south of the castrum. A force was quickly assembled and sent out to confront the wolf.
Sir Jehans des Escars, Loefwen Brand, and Brandon Macheth, all on horseback, were the first to encounter the wolf. Loefwen managed to put an arrow into its shoulder , but when the wolf bared its teeth and growled at its attackers, fear gripped the hearts of Jehans and Brandon, and they could not press the attack. Loefwen was not affected by the wolf’s glamor, and she dismounted to face it. The monster charged and bore her to the ground, and she used her Boots of Homecoming to avoid being savaged by the beast. At that point, Gaston in the form of a bear – his Heartbeast – arrived and immediately attacked the wolf. After a furious exchange, Gaston struck the wolf a blow that sent it flying. The wounded wolf turned and fled, but Brandon, having recovered both his courage and control of his mount, caught up to the wolf and cleaved its spine with one stroke of his sword.
The wolf spoke before dying and its dying words and Melilta’s postmortem examination gave clues as to its nature and motivation. This wolf was a creature of the Faerie Realm that subsisted on fear, and thus had followed the marauding soldiers from the north as they struck fear in the populace wherever they traveled. Melita recovered 3 pawns of Intellego vis from the eyes and nose of the creature.
Cast: Melita of Bonisagus and Loefwen Brand (Val), Giovanni Dimatti, Gaston of Bjornaer, Griou, and Jehans des Escars (Guillaume), Aureus ex Miscellanea, Montagne, and Brandon Macheth (Nick).
Gamma Storyguide: Bob
Experience: Source Quality 5 (Brandon, Jehans and Montagne), 8 (Melita, Aureus, Gaston), or 6 (Loefwen)
[5 was also assigned to Griou, but she subtracts her Magic Might of 7 from all Source Qualities]