-Em relating the events in Wolf’s Ear to someone else (probably Ameiko or Tara, but maybe Sandru or Koya; I’m keeping it pretty general). This would take place upon returning to the caravan after the the events in question.
Well, that was not our finest moment. Not at all.
Perhaps it will be best for me to first explain what we now know of Wolf’s Ear. Maybe that will help you make more sense of this than I’ve been able to. Wolf’s Ear was founded as a place to send lycanthropes to keep them away from the rest of society; however, several years back, a group of Magnimaran merchants decided they wanted to use it as a trading post. Thus, they came into town, killed off all the werewolves, and set up their own people there. So I guess we expected to find a small trading post with a not too pretty of a history (kind of like Sandpoint almost had) but no current troubles.
That was not to be. Only a couple weeks before our arrival, a werewolf named Twin-Blood Monsoon and his followers had attacked the town as revenge for the previous slaughter of their kindred (which included Monsoon’s father). Evidently the village didn’t put up much resistance, and through their bites lycanthropy was spread to most of the villagers. Monsoon imprisoned the remainder, deeming them weak and unworthy of a place in his society. The village had been relying on merchants for food, doing little of their own farming. Thus Monsoon and his pack turned to caravan raiding to supply themselves, as he had decided it was the natural order for them to prey on those weaker than themselves.
To complicate this, there was a werewolf druid named Lenalia with a rather different opinion of things. I don’t know where she came from. If she was from Wolf’s Ear before the purge, had taken up residence in the area in the mean time, had been converted during Monsoon’s attack, or had some other origin. Regardless, she had since established herself in opposition to Monsoon, believing that lycanthropy was a blessing that must be shared with all of the villagers no matter how many attempts it took to infect them. She also desired to fully isolate Wolf’s Ear from the outsider world.
I don’t know how often direct fighting broke out between Monsoon’s and Lenalia’s packsThe packs, but they were certainly in conflict. Monsoon worked to keep Lenalia’s pack from getting at those who had resisted the initial infection by imprisoning them. Lenalia meanwhile worked to drive off any visiting caravans so that Monsoon’s pack could not steal their supplies while at the same time reinforcing the village’s isolation.
So when we approached Wolf’s Ear this was the situation we unknowingly walked into. That werewolves were present quickly became obvious as Monsoon’s pack attacked the caravan a few hours out. Entering the town itself, it would have seemed oppressively desolate even without the dense fog. As we met Monsoon and his followers, it didn’t take long to realize they were the ones who attacked us, and I held a magically whispered conversation with one of the prisoners who begged us to free them. We negotiated with Monsoon in the mean time, and let him buy some food from us, but as soon as had moved the wagons across the village, we set out to see Lenalia, who Monsoon had only mentioned as a vague enemy of his in the woods.
It didn’t take us long to find Lenalia, who told agreed with our desire to free the villagers and stop the caravan attacks (but she never mentioned her beliefs regarding spreading lycanthropy). Thus, we planned a joint raid for that night where we would handle Monsoon while her pack handled the rest of his pack and then we would free the prisoners.
The assault started perfectly. Lenalia ignited the barn where Monsoon’s pack slept and her pack kept them under control, while we were able to defeat Monsoon himself with surprisingly little difficulty between my fire, Gurzen’s color spray, and Karth’s silversheen-coated blade. When Lenalia unchained the upstairs window where the prisoners were, we believed she was continuing to plan to free them, until the screams changed from the expected “Oh gods, a wolf” to the less expected “Oh gods, my arm.”
With Monsoon unconscious and nearly dead, I rushed to the upstairs room and confronted Lenalia. She answered my question with her blade, making it clear that she had no further interest in working with us. As I retreated, it appeared that some of Monsoon’s lieutenants had defeated Lenalia’s pack at the barn, and they rushed upstairs to fight Lenalia herself. They ultimately killed Lenalia, but in the mean time Gurzen succeeded in getting the prisoners, bitten and unbitten, out. This lead to a tense discussion in which we returned the bound, near-dead Monsoon to his second-in-command, and they let us leave with the prisoners, who he claimed they had been looking for a way to get rid of anyway.
So there you go. I guess on the good end, Lenalia was the only own who died. That feels like pretty shitty consolation, though. We failed to save all of the prisoners before they were bitten, but that’s not what’s really eating me. It’s not even that we were tricked by Lenalia. What really scares me is that while it’s clear we messed up, I don’t see how we could have done better.
Even if we been a little realized the full extent of Lenalia’s intentions, we would have needed her pack’s aid to free the prisoners. Monsoon’s lieutenant said they had planned on releasing the prisoners eventually, and were only keeping them “for their own good,” but given how much he seemed to despise them and the prisoner’s terror, I’m not completely sure I believe that. Even if they had released them, I doubt they would have cared enough to make sure it went well.
Perhaps the end result we got, with Monsoon victorious and the prisoners freed is the best we could have hoped for, but I can’t accept that. Lenalia had problems, but so does Monsoon, and more importantly both cared about their people. Despite clearly doing some bad things, I think they both had some justice to their cause. I can’t even completely see the prisoners as innocent bystanders, given the bloodshed that took place so they could control the town.
I keep telling myself we should be glad, we’re leaving in the morning no worse for the wear, but I can’t stop worrying about what we’re leaving behind. In the best case scenario, future caravan’s avoid Wolf’s Ear and the werewolves starve before they can get crops planted. More likely, I doubt Magnimar will ignore Monsoon’s raiding, and they will once again massacre the inhabitants of Wolf’s Ear as they did before. Even though a few may have been forced into lycanthropy, I can almost imagine things being better with Lenalia in charge. With her isolationism, there may have been a chance of avoiding retaliation from Magnimar, and Wolf’s Ear being able to establish its own, well, probably not peaceful, but not so violent society. But, I doubt that would have worked out either. Maybe we could have found a way to get Monsoon and Lenalia to talk and realize that they had more in common than their differences, and maybe then the town would stand a chance of survival. That still probably wouldn’t lead to peaceful interaction with the rest of the world, much less fair treatment of those who had moved into Wolf’s Ear without any involvement in the original slaughter…
I guess it’s too late anyway, what’s done is done, but… no. I can’t accept that. This isn’t the end of our journey. If I could just figure out what went wrong, we wouldn’t have to see this happen again… but no matter how hard I think, I can’t find a solution… what if there really isn’t one…
Anyway, it’s late, so I guess I should get some sleep. Thanks for listening. We may be leaving Wolf’s Ear in the morning, but I doubt I’ll forget this place that quickly.