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The Horror of Peyton Farm


The Horror of Peyton Farm

Post by Sorin on

"I need a favour."

Something about his cousin's tone made Sorin nervous. He wasn't quite sure why, but he had a bad feeling.

"I hate to ask you, but we're family, right? We have to look out for each other."

---------------

Sorin played the memory of the conversation back in his mind, as he and his three companions rode briskly towards Shim. To his left, there was Marsin Gormac, with his sword at his side. He was rarely seen without it. On Sorin's other side rode Pan Attermont, a half-elf, though you could hardly tell by looking at him. Further back rode Drifel Valyra, an elderly dwarf and a crossbowman like Attermont.

Unlike Pan and Marsin, Drifel was no guard, yet most guards had met the man, often crossing paths in the few pubs of Marn. A hunter, the dwarf was known to be a crack shot. Sorin hadn't seen those skills with his own eyes yet, but the man seemed to do well for himself, all things considered.

When Shim was in sight, the four riders slowed their mounts. Marsin leaned over towards Sorin. His dark hair fell like a curtain from his shoulder. "What kind of beast did your cousin say we were hunting again?"

Sorin shrugged. "He said he didn't know. I'm not even sure if he's seen it himself."

Attermont rode up closer to the two of them and added, "Can't be anything too bad if it's so close to town. They said it was just hanging around the farm, right?"

"The farm, and stalking them whenever they went out into the woods," Sorin confirmed, and straightened up in his seat. "But you're right, I thought the same thing. It's not running rampant, slaughtering the town, so it's probably no rabid werewolf."

"You don't think we can handle a little wolf-man?" Attermont laughed, leaning back in the saddle.

Marsin turned towards the old dwarf and spoke loudly, his voice gruff, "Hey, Valyra, what kind of animal do you think we're dealing with here? You ought to know the woods better than us." Attermont rolled his eyes.

Re: The Horror of Peyton Farm

Post by Valyr on

The old dwarf shrugged. He wore his green hunting cloak, pinned against his back by a leather strap that was wrapped around the stock of his crossbow. At his waist, a quiver full of bolts rattled in time with the steps of the horse he sat atop.

The saddle he was sitting in wasn’t made for a dwarf, and his horsemanship had about a century’s worth of rust. Drifel suspected he’d be feeling an ache between his legs for the next couple days. After refraining from speaking so his discomfort wouldn’t slip into his voice, he responded “I’d need a bit more information than its stalking habits. If it’s not nabbing sheep, or whatever yer cousin does,” Drifel leaned off to the side to look at Sorin, who rode a bit ahead of him, “Then I’d say he’s a lucky fellow.”

Attermont chuckled under his breath, meriting a retaliatory glare from the dwarf. Pride demanded Drifel respond. “If we’re not as lucky, and I was forced to pick something,” Drifel said, a twinkle in his eye, “it might be a troll. You’d be amazed how sneaky they can get when one breaks from a tribe.”

“The big lugs are hiding in every shadow.” Attermont responded, with an admirable attempt to hide his sarcasm. Marsin gave him an ambiguous glance, to which Attermont had the decency to look remorseful.

“I keep those bear traps in my backyard for a reason, you whelp,” Drifel snapped back, his face flushing red with embarrassment, “there’s more of them in these woods than ye’d think. And I had enough encounters in my mercenary days that I’d rather not take any chances.” At that, Drifel patted his side, where a large metal jaw sat tied to his belt.

Marsin frowned, “You’re not going to put that near the farm, are you? He’s got kids.”

Drifel snorted, but his expression quickly softened. “Sorry. I’ll take every precaution and warn them if we need to use it. My own boy nearly lost his fingers to one of these. Besides, we’ll be looking to stick it near wherever the beast’s lair is.”
Let us show them our hearts, and then show them THEIRS.

Re: The Horror of Peyton Farm

Post by Sorin on

Sorin held back a chuckle at Attermont's quip, his lips twisting into a smirk instead. "I wouldn't worry too much about trolls. My uncle -- you might know him, Valyra -- Sal Peyton. He lives on the farm and he's always been pretty keen on hunting, has a lot of experience. He had to stop when he fucked his legs up a few years back but he'd probably have a good idea if it was a troll."

"Let's hope it's no troll. Those are some tough bastards to take down," Marsin replied, a growl in his voice.

"I guess we'll just have to see it for ourselves," Attermont chimed in. "Those traps'll take care of a lot more than just bears and trolls."

Re: The Horror of Peyton Farm

Post by Valyr on

“I think I’ve met him once or twice.” Drifel responded, his uncertainty plain upon his wrinkled face. He had met most of the townsfolk at one point or another, but as an outsider he had always gotten the cold shoulder. Thinking back to his time in Eyropa, the dwarf bit his lip. The more things changed, the more they stayed the same. The dwarf knew full well that hunting the mysterious creature wasn’t likely to win him any favor. The guard and familiar faces would get most of the credit, and the dwarf would be written out of the story told to grandchildren.

“He farms pigs or something, right? I think I sold his eldest some pelts a while back.”

Drifel took out a strip of jerky from his satchel and gnawed on it, careful not to bite his tongue due to the jostling movements of the horse. Between bites he resolved himself to the innate nobility of the hunt. His fame didn’t matter in the end, so long as the beast was dead.

Then again, it occurred to Drifel that he didn’t know the family or the situation very well. Seeking clarification, he shifted in his saddle to face Sorin. “If it hasn’t grabbed any of his animals or spoiled his crops, why do ye think Sal’s called us all in? Did he share anything concerning with ye?”
Let us show them our hearts, and then show them THEIRS.

Re: The Horror of Peyton Farm

Post by Sorin on

Sorin shook his head. "It wasn't ol' Sal that came to me and, honestly, I don't think he'd know much what it was either. He doesn't get outside much."

"But he knows it's not a troll?" Marsin queried.

"Trust me. My cousin would not have asked my help just for a troll or a bear or any other plain beast. And Uncle Sal, well, he may not be able to go out there and hunt the thing himself, but he's a smart man."

"Aha," Attermont said. "You're thinking it's some rogue wizard, hiding out in the woods?"

Sorin furrowed his brow, confused by the prospect. "A mage? No, why would a mage be stalking farmers?" He glanced at Drifel then back at Pan. "And I wouldn't bring a pair of crossbows in to fight a wizard. I'd have to call in those damned-"

"We could take down a wizard," Attermont interrupted. "With two crossbows and a militia? Piece of cake."

"Hey, guardsmen!" As if on cue, Sorin saw two militia men approaching. Both bore hatchets, but one of the men also wore a sword on his belt.

"Greetings to you gentlemen," Sorin nodded. He swept his hand towards his company on horseback. "This here is Marcin, Pan, and perhaps you already know the huntsman, Mister Valyra."

The taller of the men reached up his hand to Sorin, who shook it warmly. To his companions, Sorin added, "Meet my cousin, Gregor. Not the one who came to visit me; that would be his little brother, Sam."

Gregor waved in greeting. "Me and the boys'll be joining you for ..." He paused to stroke his dark moustache. "Uh, some kind of hunt, apparently? Ah... And this here is Hart. He'll be one of the boys joining us. Fancies himself a swordsman." His lips twitched in a smirk. "But we'll be meeting you at Sam's after we get everyone together."

"I wanted to ask-" Sorin began, but Gregor cut him off, raising his hand in a gesture of silence.

"Save the questions, cousin. We can talk later. Let's go, Hart." The two of them headed in the direction of the inn, leaving the four men on horseback to continue their journey through town.

In ten minutes, they arrived at the farm.

Re: The Horror of Peyton Farm

Post by Valyr on

The farm wasn’t anything too remarkable, but it did confirm Drifel’s suspicions that he’d sold some pelts to the Peyton family. There was a distinctive smashed wagon abandoned just off to the side of the front road. He had offered a them a couple bishani to take the busted old thing off their hands, intending to use the planks to patch his home up, only to be informed that the kids liked to play on it. It was clear that had stopped being the case at some point: Drifel could see the weeds growing over it.

Drifel took a moment to admire the woodwork of the house. His own shack was cobbled together from his grotesquely limited self-taught understanding of architecture, and was nothing to look at. Teonidus knew it leaked to the point where a Marnish geographer could declare the place a waterfall. This house, and the farmhouse beside it, were far older than his hovel. However, it could not be disputed that they were built to last. It even had a solid stone foundation. Drifel may have kept dwarven tradition at arm’s length for most of his life, but he still caught himself appreciating good craftsmanship now and again.

Without taking his eyes off the house, Drifel asked, “How long’s your family been living in Thar Shaddin, Sorin?”

Drifel’s horse gave a rebellious flick of the head. Drifel gave a disgusted grunt. He didn’t think these beasts responded very well to the short legs of dwarves.

“And where should we tie the horses?”
Let us show them our hearts, and then show them THEIRS.




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