Sep 29, 2022 5:08 AM
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None. 

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I look for a big, sturdy branch that could be used to keep the gallowgale at bay if it comes for me. Two, if I can find them, one for each hand.

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Prota can find a couple of suitably-sized branches. Interpreting the action as favorably to the Player as possible, they are looking for branches small enough to be actually wielded in one hand. 

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You locate a couple of branches small enough for one hand each, and grasp them in case the gallowgale heads your way. 

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Step 40

Carrying two branches is possible, though not particularly effective in combat compared to a controlled two-handed grip on a larger weapon. Glint may point this out later. (It would be a good lead-in to combat training.) 

(Prota's actions are appropriately cautious for one untrained in combat, but the gallowgale will not actually attack them at this point in the fight. It is best to end this scene quickly and progress to something the Player can more directly influence.) 

Glint will bring down the gallowgale, acquiring a cut on his shoulder that will be smaller once he shifts back to human form. The other traveler escapes with minor cuts and bruises. The first traveler is still badly injured. These injuries were inflicted by a creature suffering from Li Voita Nimue's magic. How dangerous is this for the wounded? [Revision to previous thoughts on Li Voita Nimue's magic. They have access to at least two different magics. One preserves things well past the point of normal death, though it does not reduce physical damage. This power was obtained from animating and controlling the body of a former ally, and was vital in acquiring Nimue's magic without dying of the sacrifice. The second power is Nimue's own, and it lets them animate and control afflicted tissue, living or "dead." The second magic can be passed on through wounds, in keeping with the general zombie theme, or proximity, to create an escalating threat that includes afflicted plant life. However, to avoid overpowering the threat, neither method of infection is certain or quick. Nimue must also be aware of an afflicted target to control it. Otherwise, afflicted animals merely act randomly and aggressively towards non-afflicted creatures.] 

[Left untreated, the first wounded traveler will become afflicted if they survive the blood loss. The second traveler is at risk but may recover from the magical infection if not otherwise stressed.] Glint's wounds will be less threatening because of his shapeshifting and healing. Good medical attention will improve the chances of all three wounded. [(Later in the story, a gift of magical senses may allow Prota to better understand how Nimue's magic works.)] 

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Carrying two branches is a bit more unwieldy than you'd expected, but you prepare to defend yourself if needed. A tense minute passes, with Glint and the traveler looking for an opening; the gallowgale seems focused on them rather than you. Eventually, though, the combined efforts manage to wear it down. It turns its back on Glint, trying to fend off the traveler, and Glint pounces. The gallowgale manages to bite his shoulder before he finishes it off. The club-wielding traveler appears to have escaped with shallow cuts and bruises, if anything. But the first is still wounded and on the ground. 

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None. 

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Once the gallowgale is down, I drop the branches and rush forward to see if there is anything I can do to help.

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Prota moves quickly to the site of the attack.

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You drop the branches and make your way down towards Glint and the travelers. 

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Step 41

Prota left the cart unguarded, but there is no one around to take advantage. [Prota knows the direction Beldry ran.] Prota is looking for ways to help. The most obvious present problems are injuries. One traveler is sitting on the ground, badly wounded. Glint and the other traveler have minor injuries. The frightened oxen pulled the wagon past the scene of the fight, but are calm now.

This was a traveling family. so there are two young children in the wagon. They did not participate in the fight; their parents told them to stay hidden after spotting the gallowgale. Neither are injured, but the youngest is badly frightened and crying. 

Glint's first priority was stopping the gallowgale. He has limited ability to help others heal. He would normally try to help anyway, but something about the gallowgale has caught his attention. Tigers cannot smell as well as a wolf, but they still have more acute senses than a human and Glint caught a whiff of the magical affliction. He will shift forms to investigate so he knows what he's dealing with. 

One of the travelers might have magic. (It could showcase another manifestation of magic that Prota may encounter. However, magic in this setting is not intended to be that common.) Any combat-useful magic would have surfaced during the fight. Most small families who live bluse do not have the resources to travel safely to the Blue itself and gain magic. Therefore, this is a nonmagical family. [The names of the traveling family are Kyintri, the woman; Stala, the man; Venir, the elder sister; and Zafton, the crying boy.] 

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On your way down, you pass the covered wagon and oxen, now without a driver. The frightened oxen carried the wagon a bit up and away from the trail during the fight, but they've stopped now and only regard you curiously. You hear the sounds of a child crying from inside the wagon. 

A few dozen paces away, you see a woman sitting on the ground, looking pale. The other traveler, a man, has put the club aside and is trying to help her bandage the arm. Glint, in a fresh wolf body, is sniffing at the corpse of the gallowgale. 

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I try to locate the crying child to see if they're injured or just frightened.

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The Player doesn't know exactly what the wagon looks like. Prota's vague "try to locate the crying child" can become a more specific action, such as pulling aside the fabric that covers the back of the wagon. No further action is required to locate the children; they are in the wagon, but not hiding under anything in particular. 

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You head around the back of the wagon and pull back the fabric that hangs from the upper frame. 

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Step 42

The wagon is large enough to carry a poor family's traveling supplies, for a group that intends to subsist more on supplies than forage. It is old and often-repaired. The children are sitting on crates and sacks. The contents have been jostled a bit from the brief flight, but are secured well enough to prevent major damage. 

(While not magical, the family may have other features relevant to the plot.) They might be from one of the bluseward towns along the Utannic. They could be from Clan Pratchett, but that group tends to move together and is unlikely to send one family ahead. Perhaps they are fleeing the unrest in Adwell. Prota has not traveled far from their own clan's migration path before, and would not know the travelers' origin on sight, unless visually distinct demographics are in play. In this small of a region, that is unlikely. 

[The traveling family is from Adwell.] At a minimum they will have some dried fish in the wagon. 

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Inside the wagon, you see a young girl clutching a crying boy. They sit on crates and sacks filled with supplies and dry foodstuffs, which smell faintly of fish. Neither child appears injured. 

The wagon itself looks old, with several different wood grains marking past repairs. The fabric covering the front, top, and back is tattered in several places. There's a bit of blood on the front, where the gallowgale first attacked the woman before the adults and Glint took the fight off the wagon.

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None. 

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"The kids don't look hurt," I say to the parents. "How badly off are you two?"

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Prota is still a bit of a distance from the parents. They will need to raise their voice. 

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You call out to the parents, "The kids don't look hurt. How badly off are you two?"

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Step 43

Kyintri and Stala are glad their children are safe, but preoccupied with Kyintri's wound. Stala is only marginally injured, but Kyintri took the brunt of the first attack. Both are proficient in basic first aid, but Kyintri is entering shock and Stala could use help. 

Glint completes his investigation and approaches, resuming his natural form to speak. He tells Prota that the gallowgale smelled wrong - diseased. He will ask if the parents have medicine, but his shapeshifting scares the children. As someone with medical knowledge, Prota knows that infected wounds can be deadly. Prota has several options if they want to help, such as getting bandages and balm from the wagon or going straight to Stala and Kyintri.

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"I'll be fine," calls back the man, "but Kyintri's in bad shape!" 

Glint turns and lopes over to you, shifting from wolf into his natural form. He's got a few small cuts and a moderate gash on his shoulder, but they don't look life-threatening. "That 'gale smelled wrong," he says. "Diseased, mayhap. Going to need more than bandages." Your medical skill tells you that is concerning. Infections kill more people than injuries themselves. But take too long to clean a wound, and blood loss can be just as fatal. 

"In the wagon," says the woman, Kyintri, her voice shaky, tightening a strip of torn cloth to staunch the bleeding. "Please!" 

"Where's your medicine - ," Glint asks the girl in the wagon, but she shrinks back, staring at him in terror. He sighs. 

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None. 

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"Hey kiddo," I say to the girl, "I need to find your medicine and stuff, can you be a good girl and show me quick?"

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