Some days, there just aren’t any easy answers.
When we came into Wolf’s Ear, things seemed pretty straightforward. Monsoon and his pack had attacked and tried to rob us when we came into town, and we’d heard it straight from the prisoners’ mouths that the townsfolk had been either turned, dragged off or locked in the inn to rot ever since they’d moved in. To hear him tell it, he had a vendetta, and I get that, but he was still raiding, robbing and abducting, and you know how close to home that hits. So getting help from the other pack to free the prisoners and maybe set things right was just icing on the cake, just confirming what already looked pretty simple and getting a little aid along the way.
But, as it turns out, Monsoon and the others were the only ones keeping the survivors safe from the other pack. Funny thing, she said it was wrong to keep the villagers locked up, and she said she’d help us break them out, but we never thought to ask what her angle was, what she wanted to do with the prisoners once Monsoon was out of the way. Like I said, it seemed pretty simple at the time.
But the thing is, Monsoon is no saint either. I mean, he was keeping the survivors safe, sure, but they wouldn’t have been “survivors” in the first place if it weren’t for him. So what we had wasn’t so much a matter of good versus evil as it was self-serving vs. self-serving. Monsoon and what’s-her-name both came in to conquer the village for their own ends, the only difference is that Monsoon wanted to boot the survivors out and set up a bandit camp and the other one wanted to keep biting the survivors until it stuck and then… I don’t even know. We never really looked that deep, and she’s dead now anyway, so I guess we’ll never find out.
Honestly, I wouldn’t even be all that mad at Monsoon if he wasn’t so dense. His people were driven out of their home, and he wanted to come back and re-take it, maybe take a few people under his wing and boot the others out. I don’t like the way he went about it, taking people by force instead of giving them a choice, but I can understand it even if I don’t really condone it. But then, what’s his plan? Hit all the caravans that come through and steal everything they have, and then sit around and complain when the caravans don’t show up anymore? Gripe about nobody showing up to trade when he’s not producing anything to trade with anyway?
I know how stupid it probably sounds to complain about economics when we’re dealing with a pack of wolves, but I grew up on a caravan and you pick up on this stuff. It’s pretty basic, and it’s important to understand if you want to be a leader instead of a thug. I mean, if Monsoon’s father was part of the village back in the day, I’m sure that this is the kind of thing he would understand, and if Monsoon wants to honor him then he should try and live up to his name instead of just spilling blood for it.
But hey, who am I to judge? Maybe he’s doing what he’s doing because he doesn’t like the way his father did things. I can relate. And considering the way things turned out for his father, maybe he’s right. But still, even if you’re not going to give up the sword—and find, maybe you shouldn’t—at least pick up a shovel and try and build something. Find a balance, be the man and the wolf.
There but for the grace of Desna go I, and if you ask me it’s way too early in this little quest of ours for foils to start popping up. Of course, if you ask Em, she’d probably say it just adds to the excitement, and I should be happy that I’m the first one to get an evil twin, but Em’s excitable and strange like that.
Either way, I think I’d just as soon keep away from all the storytelling for a few days and try to put all this gray behind us. Hopefully Monsoon will understand and won’t take things too personally; we’ve got enough scattered civilizations mad at us already, and we’ve been at it less than a month.
I think there should be some kind of grand flourish to end on here, but like I said, some days there just aren’t any easy answers. So, I think I’m just going to grab some hot tea and wrangle with Tara’s ponies until our next stop.
That problem, at least, is a simple one.