"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.