"I wasn't expecting to see you, so I was just about to bring out a couple of arrows to show you my work." Rain replied as the fletcher reached out and grabbed the arrows from her. He examined the arrows.
"Wow, these are outstanding. These are way better than I can make." He paused. "Wait, are these your arrows?"
"No, they are not." Rain replied as she pointed to her quiver, still with the ten arrows she had brought with her. "The fletching on mine are different than what you have." The fletcher walked over to the table with the rest of the arrows she made, placed down the ones in his hands, and picked a few at random.
"I am amazed at the quality of these arrows. I count more than the seventy-five that I had," he remarked.
“I'm sorry about that; I should have asked first. You had the extra supplies that I was able to craft some extra without wasting all of your supplies.” Rain explained.
"Don't worry about it. How are you able to craft arrows at this quality?" he asked.
“Well, I learned to be a Ranger from a young age. I started developing my skills and honing them since I was ten.” Rain explained. “I want to become a member of the Ranger's Guild. I still need to hunt a worthy beast and bring proof to the Ranger's Guild headquarters. That is part of the reason why I am here in Lenet. Could I stay here in your workshop?”
"You are welcome to stay here, but I believe the Inn would be more comfortable." the fletcher replied.
"I agree with that, but I'm perfectly fine with sleeping here," she replied.
Rain grabbed her bedroll and laid it out to keep an eye on both the door and the window in the workshop. She decided to keep her clothes on but removed her leather gear. She kept her gear close by in case she needed to make a quick getaway. She laid down on her bedroll, keeping her sword within arms reach. She woke up thankful for an uneventful night.
Rain packed up her bedroll and gear. There was a knock on the door, but it opened slightly before she could answer. It was the fletcher asking if you were up and if it was ok to enter. Rain replied, saying that it was acceptable to enter. He opened the door and entered the workshop carrying a food tray that he set on an empty table.
“I thought you deserved a nice breakfast after what you did yesterday.” He offered.
“Thank you.” She replied and started eating. It has been a few months since she had a lovely meal like this.
“So, I was thinking about the arrows. I will honor the deal and let you take fifteen of the arrows you made. I'll earn some good coin for the rest of the arrows.” the fletcher explained.
"Are you sure?" Rain asked. The fletcher nodded his head. "Thank you."
Rain asked where she could get some dried meat and fruit. He replied that there was a market up the road. She thanked him again for the beautiful breakfast. She grabbed fifteen of the arrows she made and put them in her quiver. She put on her leather gear and sword and put her pack on her back. She started for the door, and as she reached the door, the fletcher stopped her. She paused and turned her head to look at him.
“Before you go, I mentioned what you did for me to some of the villagers. A few of them might be more welcoming. Feel free to stop by the next time you are in the area. I'll let you make some arrows for some coin or for you to take.” he explained.
“Thank you.” She answered. She exited the building and headed to the market to purchase some food for her trip.
Rain made her way through the market and first stopped at the meat seller. She found some excellent dried meat. The next stop was for some fruit and vegetables. Finally she stopped and got some bread that would last for a few days on a trip. She was able to get all of her food supplies from the market. The downside is that she only has eight silver and five copper pieces left.
As she walked through the village, the villagers did not seem to outright avoid her, with some even greeting her. She took advantage of this and asked around about any worthy beasts besides the gryphon from yesterday. The villagers mentioned a rumor of a Chimera in the Dunfeld Mountains. They say that the beast is a combination of three different animals: a lion, a dragon, and a goat.
"Are the Dunfeld Mountains on the way to the Capital?" Rain asked a villager.
“Take the north road out of the village. When the road splits, take the road that heads east. This road will take you up and through the Dunfeld Mountains to the capital.” The village explained. “I should mention for you to stay away from going that way. The army has not been able to kill it.”
“Thank you.” Rain responded.
On the way out, Rain stopped at the map maker shop. The map does not cover a lot of the area north. What it does cover is what she needed. The east route and the area up to the Dunfeld Mountains. She left the map maker shop and headed out of the village on the north road. Here she started her journey to the Dunfeld Mountains.
As Rain walked along the road, she looked at her map. After studying the map, she believed she could travel on a north-eastern path. She could cut through the forest, which would shorten her trip and allow her to stay out of sight. So she decided to make her way through the forest. It was midday when Rain chose to take a break to eat and rest a bit, so she looked for a secluded spot out of sight. After finding a good place behind a large rock, she removed her pack and took out some dried meat and an apple for lunch.
After resting for a bit, Rain gathered her gear and carefully exited the area. She continued to walk through the forest. It was roughly mid-afternoon when she heard a rumble in the distance that was getting closer and closer. Looking through the trees, she saw what was making that rumble. Rain stopped to prep her gear and herself for traveling in the rain.
"Great, a thunderstorm, how lovely," she muttered quietly.
First she stripped the bow of the bowstring, rolling it up and putting it in the bowstring pocket. Then she pulled out her rain cloak and the pack cover. Putting on the rain cloak and then secured the pack cover on her pack, she was ready to walk in the rain. She pulled her cloak hood up over her head and put the bag back on her shoulders. Even though the trees protected her, she knew it was better to be safe than sorry. It wasn't long before the rain started falling before; it quickly turned into a deluge.
The trees, pack cover, and rain cloak helped protect her and her belongings from getting soaked. The wind was also howling, but the trees helped block most of it. Rain continued to walk under the cover of the forest that kept the howling wind off of her. The forest was also keeping most of the rain off of her as well. She knew that the longer she stayed out in the rain, the protection from the rain cloak and pack cover would stop doing the job they were meant for. The sky had constantly been getting darker and darker.
The sun hadn't gone down, but the dark thunderclouds were blocking the sun, which caused it to appear like night. Walking turned treacherous as she couldn't see where she was walking, and the quick flashes of light from lightning was messing with her vision. Slowly she made her way through the forest. Between the bright bolts of lightning, Rain was able to see that the trees were starting to spread out, and the terrain was getting a little more hilly. She was surprised because her path through the forest appeared quicker than she thought. The downside was that there were fewer trees to protect her from the downpour of rain.
Getting close to the edge of the forest, she could see the road that headed to the Dunfeld Mountains when bolts of lightning lit up the sky. She could see that the terrain past the forest was even more hilly. As she continued, she noticed a dark void in a rather large hill, larger than the others. She hoped that this void was a cave or something, as long as it was a place to take cover. Continuing in this rain was going to be miserable, and she didn't know how long this rain was going to last. Rain decided that going to that void would be the best place for shelter until the rain stopped.
She started running towards that dark void. Once she arrived there, it was indeed a cave. Rain entered the cave and almost tripped over a pile of wood. She bent down carefully and felt for a piece of wood large enough to use as a torch. After finding a good-sized and dry one, she moved away from the pile. After both the stick and pack were placed on the ground, she felt around and found the jar of oil she kept with her. She took out the jar, opened it, and put some on the piece of wood she found.
Once the oil was applied to the wood, she fumbled around in the pack and found her flint and steel. Before she used it, she ensured that any sparks would not hit the woodpile. It took a couple of tries to start a fire but was successful. She picked up the torch and used it to look around the mouth of the cave. She noticed down further in the cave, just barely visible with the light from the torch, the cave branched off in a couple of directions. It was strange to see a cave like this, and wondered what it was used for.
Rain transferred the torch to her left hand and pulled out her sword. She started to search for an area in the cave where she could start a fire for warmth and light. She also didn't want any light to be noticed from outside the cave, alerting somebody that somebody was in the cave. She walked down the left tunnel, and after a couple of turns in the tunnel, it opened up into a large area. Rain also found some more piles of wood lying around.
Rain started gathering rocks from the ground and created a circle to keep a fire contained in it. She then looked through the piles of wood for kindling and slower burning wood. After finding what she needed, she placed the wood in the circle of rocks. Using the torch, she stuck it into the pile to ignite the kindling. After waiting for the kindling to catch the other wood on fire. She had to make sure that the fire would stay burning while she left. Once satisfied, she walked back to the entrance to gather the gear she had left there. After she put the sword back into the sheath, she put the oil jar back into her pack. Then she picked up her pack and put it on her shoulders. She then picked up the woodpile and brought it back to the fire.
Rain rummaged through the pack for her clothesline and set it up so she could dry her rain cloak and pack cover. Once that was finished, she grabbed some food and started eating. After she finished eating, Rain tossed more wood on the fire. Being this far in the cave, she could not tell if the thunderstorm was over. She got up and grabbed the torch she had made, and walked back to the entrance. Seeing that it was still raining, she decided to head back to her campsite. As she walked back, she decided to explore the cave. After a while, she returned to her fire after not finding anything. She decided to go to sleep. She grabbed her bedroll and rolled it out near the fire for warmth but not close enough for her bedroll to catch on fire. Then laid down to get some sleep.
The following day Rain woke up to the sound of animals and slowly opened her eyes and stretched. She got up, checked to make sure everything was there then grabbed some food and sat down to eat. After she finished eating, she packed up everything that needed to be and then put the pack on her shoulders. Then she kicked some dirt on the fire, rather what was left of it, to make sure it didn't re-ignite. Rain then exited the cave to continue her journey to the capital and made her way to the road. She continued walking on the road that led to the mountains and the mountain pass, only stopping for a small and quick lunch. Unfortunately, there were no trees in this area. There were hills, hills, and even more hills. With her delay, she reasoned that she would reach the rest station after dark. In order to do that, she needed to pick up her pace because she did not want to be stuck somewhere and have nothing to use as protection.
According to the map, the area she was in was called The Wolf Hills. There wasn't much to look at here except hills, so Rain got a little bored. She continued walking, and eventually it started to get dark. Suddenly, she got startled by a howl that sounded relatively close. A mile south, she figured. Then more howls were heard a few more miles to the south.
She paused to listen for more howls in the night and look for a hiding place. Unfortunately, she did not find any but then she knew that. No wonder why this area was called The Wolf Hills. She believed that she could take on one wolf easily by herself, but a pack was another story. Rain pulled out a bowstring and restrung her bow. She hoped that she could take out a few with arrows before they got close enough where she had to fight with her sword.
More calls rang out in the sky and were sounding closer each time. Rain thought that the wolves had caught her scent but wasn't sure. With nowhere to run and hide, the only option was to fight. She pulled an arrow from her quiver and knocked it, waiting until she could see them. The howls were getting closer, and the wolves were closing in. Eventually the wolves would stop calling out so they don't give away their position to their prey.
She got down on one knee to wait for the inevitable, but then she saw something above her on the edge of her vision. Rain could only get as close to the ground as she could and hope that she wasn't spotted. While Rain couldn't tell what this creature was, she could see the dark outline of it. She watched as it flew down in the direction of where the wolves were. The next thing she heard was chaos.
The calls and howls of wolves were silenced abruptly. It sounded like a massacre to Rain. For the next few minutes, she stayed completely still and waited. Suddenly, she saw the creature fly off above the hills but was still unable to tell what it was. She watched the creature head off towards the mountains. The next few minutes of silence seemed like an eternity.
Not hearing any signs of the wolves, she slowly got up to one knee. She looked around for any evidence of movement but couldn't see anything because of the hills. The sun had gone down and the moons gave some light but none were full. She slowly stood up to get a better look around but couldn't see any movement. After putting the arrow back into her quiver, she continued her trek to the rest station.
Rain continued traveling down the road and eventually came to a bridge that stretched over a river. As she reached the bridge, she found a wooden sign that had seen better days and couldn't read it. After she crossed the bridge and continued down the road, she eventually reached a path that led south. The path was wide enough for a wagon to travel on. Rain realized that the rest station should be down that path but did not see any lights from any of the buildings. Upon reaching the main building, she noticed that it was very damaged and appeared that nobody had been there for a while. Rain had decided that staying here would be better than somewhere out in the open so she carefully entered the building. The only risk was that she couldn't have a fire going as it would look suspicious for somebody to see from the road.
After an uneventful evening, Rain ate a small breakfast and then gathered her gear. She carefully exited the building while being mindful of anybody who might be able to see her. After making it back to the road, Rain noticed that the road started to snake up the mountain from here. She knows that it will take all day to get up to the pass. As she walked, she scanned her surroundings and noticed that there were blind spots on the road. About halfway up, she noticed a flat area off of the path up the mountain. She went to examine this area because she saw something out of the ordinary. In this area, she saw some tracks and maybe some blood in the dirt. Upon examination, the tracks didn't appear to be fresh but the tracks were not old either.
Some of the tracks she saw were lion tracks and some were goat tracks.
The odd thing was that the goat tracks appeared to be behind the lion tracks. Then it hit her; the tracks belonged to a Chimera! Rain has heard stories about Chimeras and was surprised that there was at least one here in the mountains. Being a rare creature, not a lot of people have seen one alive so she was lucky to even see tracks belonging to the beast. She decided to follow the tracks to see where they went. The tracks headed continued in the flat area and went behind a rock where the tracks ended. Once she reached the end of the tracks there was a body of half a wolf. While this was not definitive proof of a Chimera, this was more evidence of one.
Rain hoped that whatever creature killed was not still in the area. Although she hoped that it was still in the area so she could try and kill it to get into the Ranger's Guild. Rangers in the guild are more respected than Rangers who were not in the guild. She made her way back to the road to continue up the mountain. However, with the possibility of a Chimera in the area, she needed to be more alert.
As Rain continued up the mountain, she scanned up the mountain for signs of activity. When Rain didn't see what she wanted, she was about to give up when there was movement high up the mountain on the north side of the pass. The movement she saw came from a cave, but she could not see what the creature was. The only creature she knew it could not be was a gryphon because they don't live in caves or make roosts that high up. She watched the cave but didn't see any more movement so she started looking for a path up to the cave.
All of a sudden, Rain heard something coming from the north. As she looked towards the noise, she saw that the creature was flying straight at her.
"Shit," she cursed under her breath as she carefully removed her pack and tossed it aside out of the way. She quickly grabbed an arrow from her quiver, knocked it and drew her bow.
The creature approached her rapidly with no intention of stopping. It dove toward Rain, and she let loose her arrow. As it got near, she could see that it was indeed a Chimera. The arrow struck the Chimera in the shoulder of the right foreleg but didn't visibly react like it was hit. As the creature got closer, she could see the size of it. Chimeras were a monstrosity roughly around the size of a gryphon. Rain waited for it to get closer and rolled out of the way right before it struck.
Rain was hoping not to piss it off but she was glad that she didn't choose some other form of suicide. Her speed allowed her to get out of the way and gave her a chance. The Chimera flew back up to the south and maneuvered around for another attack. She waited for it to dive again. Rain knew that if she was going to survive, she needed to either harm it severely or kill it. She grabbed another arrow from her quiver, knocked it and then drew the arrow. Rain brought her attention back to the Chimera and just in time to see it diving towards her again. She released the second arrow and it hit the Chimera in the shoulder of the left foreleg and rolled out of the way right before it struck. She watched as it soared over her head
Rain glanced at the Chimera as it turned and headed back towards her. She grabbed a third arrow and aimed at a wing joint this time. She needed to ground this Chimera if she wanted any chance at all. She waited as it got close enough and released her arrow. The arrow hit the left wing joint just like she wanted.
The Chimera immediately began to spiral out of control as it lost its ability to fly. It landed with a crash and even slid a few feet before it stopped. The Chimera got up, turned around and started to move towards her. The injuries to the creature's shoulders were not slowing it down. Rain grabbed another arrow and knocked it but the creature was mad and charged towards her.
Thinking quick, she aimed at the goat head and released the arrow. The arrow hit the head through an eye and into the brain. The goat head drooped down and stopped moving but the Chimera did not.
"Shit." Rain cursed again. Redundant brains or that wasn't the main one.
The monster's rage had only increased with the death of the goat head. She almost had no warning before the dragon head started breathing fire at her. Barely having time to roll out of the way and dodge the fire breath. If she had been any slower, she would have been toast. Realizing that she was in a bad position, surrounded with nowhere to run. The only option Rain had was to fight back.
She carefully tossed her bow out of the way and pulled out her sword. She quickly moved in to attack but the Chimera was faster even after being injured. It swiped at her with its claws but she was able to dodge them. Again she moved in for an attack but the Chimera moved back and forth, preventing Rain from reaching it. The dragon head spewed fire at her but she was able to dodge it. The Chimera shut her down every advance she tried while continuing its own advancement.
Rain feared that she wouldn't be able to stay on the defense as the Chimera was stronger than her. She watched and learned its behavior and patterns it used and she would be able to use this to her advantage. Rain just had to time her attack just right otherwise she would die. As she continued to defend herself, she saw the tell the Chimera gave right before the fire breath. This time, she ran straight at the Chimera, taking a gamble and rolled right under the fire and incidentally right under the Chimera itself.
Given her small size, she was able to make it underneath the creature before it was able to react. She took her sword and plunged it in the side of the Chimera which pierced both its heart and one of its lungs. She drove her sword deeper into its side as it howled in pain. The blood-curdling noise almost made her loose her nerves when the sound pierced her ears. Rain yanked her sword out and ran out from underneath the Chimera and out of its reach to avoid any attacks. The creature tried to follow her but it was having a hard time balancing, eventually it fell over and tried to get back up.
The Chimera slowly stopped moving.