I left Covington in high spirits. The open road called to me and I hadn’t realized how much I missed traveling with my companions. Our travels were unimpeded for the first leg of the journey – I even managed to compose a few more songs; one for each of my party members. We came upon another campfire almost two weeks into our journey and this is where our trouble began. Alanna bravely ventured forth to ascertain whether the campfire close to us was friend or enemy. She seemed very disturbed when she returned and we decided to push forward. We didn’t want to bring any trouble that could be avoided so we kept on walking, arriving at the next town, Jiles around three in the morning or so. I cast a spell to disguise my appearance, hoping to be able to quickly get a room for the inn and rest for the night. When we got there, however, we realized that we had run into worse trouble than we had avoided. We heard a small explosion and fire; townsfolk were fleeing the other direction. Worried and hoping to be able to help the townspeople, we went towards the sounds to try and see what monster had been plaguing them. We turned a corner and came face with a gigantic, thirteen-foot werewolf holding the remains of a woman and child, his mouth dripping with the blood of the innocents he had slaughtered. Pulling out my bow, I let two shots fly, one missing and one seeming to hit but not doing any damage. I had a gut feeling that this fight was not going to go our way. Jig moved in to try and wrestle the creature and Ashleigh moved in as well, a small dagger in his hand. His arm suffered a massive blow and started bleeding. Cursing, I lowered my bow and drew my shortsword and kukri and moved forward to battle the thing. Somewhere in the thick of things, Alanna ran, which I was beginning to think looked like a better and better idea. A few seconds later, I saw her rush back in, eyes blazing, and whack the beast with her quarterstaff. I tried a couple of swings, all ineffectual, and managed to get myself bitten in the process. I yelled out that we needed to run as I defended myself against further attack. A few moments later, when no one seemed to be moving, I cast a spell to make mirror images of myself appear to confuse the beast and moved to run. Fear made me want to run as far and fast as I could but my concern for my friends ultimately got the better of me and I skidded to a stop about thirty feet away, near where Ashleigh had run. I turned towards the continuing battle and then cried out when a knife suddenly appeared in his hand and he began to cut into the shoulder that I had been bitten. Realizing what he was doing, I gritted my teeth and let him get on with it, yelling to Alanna and Jig to run out of the fight. When they didn’t move, I glanced towards my shoulder and saw that Ashleigh had pretty much finished up. Not having time to wait any longer and wanting to get out of the situation before one or more of us got killed, I rushed back into the fray, moving to attack the thing to give Alanna or Jig a chance to run. Finally, Ashleigh threw a dagger that made the thing stumble backwards and we ran away from the fight, Alanna getting a last spell in as Jig picked her up and we fled. My spell not having very long before it wore off, I moved to run towards the edge of town. When Ashleigh and I got to the edge of town, however, we noticed that Alanna and Jig were missing. Ashleigh went back to find them and I waited nervously at the edge of town. They returned a little while later and we camped out in a nearby house, keeping double watch.
The next morning, I awoke to Alanna turning me invisible and telling me to hide. I did so and a very interesting elf soon made his way into the house we had borrowed. A wood elf, he wanted to see the bite that the werewolf had made. I debated with myself, but finally dispelled the invisibility and let him have a look. He probed it, quite roughly, with some silver object and then declared that I should be fine. I breathed a sigh of relief and Alanna bandaged it up with a paste that is supposed to help one ward off the lycanthropy, should I have been infected. I was fairly confident after Ashleigh had cut out the poison and the wood elf deemed me pretty much off the hook that I hadn’t been infected, though I wouldn’t be fully at ease until the next moon-cycle came and went without incident. The wood elf turned out to be a werewolf hunter, hunting this particular werewolf for sixty years!! I figured him to be a capable protector, as he had so much experience with the things, and we left the city with him talking to the mayor. We saw a few more shapes during the night as we traveled, but none came too close and we finally made it to the outside of the capital.
Ashleigh told me that he might be able to undo the curse once we arrived at the capital and he talked to some people. A relief – it would be much easier than trying to gather the myriad reagents we would need to undo the curse. It almost seemed too easy. As we stood looking towards the city, my emotions underwent a battle of sorts. Relief that all would soon be over battled with an unexpected sadness at the breaking up of our group. The capital held so many possibilities. Ashleigh would most likely be able to undo the curse; whereupon my journey would be complete. Though I have grown to love my traveling companions, my love for Jericho was stronger. Alanna had been traveling to protect me and, after the capital, I would no longer need that protection. Alanna could continue her studies in druidism and sorcery; Jig just seemed along for the ride – I wasn’t exactly sure of what he would do beyond the capital. Ashleigh could continue wandering, searching for his godhood. I could do little to aid in that. Though it was a terrible thought, some part of me almost wished that the lycanthropy would take hold, to give me a reason for continuing to travel with my current companions. If I was uncontrollable during certain times, it would make it near-impossible to travel alone and find the new Sabwa without incident. Shaking my head ruefully at the disturbing notion, I shook off the thought and turned my thoughts again to Jericho and the new Sabwa. I should be able to pick up a scroll or two of a message spell to find out where the new city was and head back in that direction, though it would be extremely odd not to have to disguise myself- it had been many years since I had known what it was to be a normal elven bard, with nothing to hide or explain. I smiled in anticipation of the moment that I finally got to walk back home; it already seemed too long since I had last seen Jericho’s face.