On Wednesday, Rowan encountered an old acquaintance and agreed to help him with a particular problem. When Rowan told the rest of the party about the possibility to hunt down a Snow Cat from the north, they all decided to join in the fun (some for different reasons).
While Rowan was gathering supplies, he was spotted by Erik, a man in his mid-twenties who had known Rowan when they were in Antar. A mutual friend named Jessica had been their common link. Back in Antar, the three of them had engaged in less than legal activities before Rowan had been “recruited” into the Antar City Watch. Therefore, Rowan was not surprised to know that Erik and Jessica had continued that line of work. Unfortunately, Erik had got himself into a spot of trouble and dragged Jessica down with him.
Erik had owned Hector, a local crime lord over 300 gold coins due to prior debts and a failed exchange of goods where Erik had lost the valuables. Jessica had heard of an exotic Snow Cat that was held by a Lord Gillian, who lived about a day south of Vantar. Lord Gillian was planning to sell the animal because he was leaving for safer locations to the east.
It was common knowledge that a local Lord Dailon collected exotic animals and Erik already had a relationship with the man. With Jessica’s help, Erik negotiated a price of 1,200 gold from Lord Dailon and a purchase prices of a mere 500 gold from Lord Gillian. All they needed to do was get 500 gold and transport the cat from Lord Gillian’s mannor house.
Erik asked Hector to borrow the 500 gold to purchase the cat and Hector agreed with the understanding that Erik would pay 1,000 gold for the prior debt and the interest on the new loan.
Erik, Jessica, and three other men traveled south to get the cat from Lord Gillian and were on their way back to Vantar with a cart, horse, and the huge cat in a cage when they were attacked on the road. Erik had been struck from behind and he had been knocked out without seeing who attacked him. When he woke, the three men who had been with them were dead, Jessica was nearly dead, and the cat, horse, and cart gone.
When word came back to Hector, the crime lord took Jessica hostage and Erik was given ten days to pay back the 1,000 gold. If Erik failed to do so, both he and Jessica would be executed very painfully. That was two days ago and Erik was down to eight days left.
Rowan asked several questions of the events and Erik is certain the cat is somewhere outside the Vantar’s walls.
He had already talked with Lord Dailon since the cat was taken and no one had yet approached the Lord with an offer for the cat and no one had seen the cat come into the city. He also has a couple of ideas about where they might have Jessica held, but trying to free her might be rather difficult. He thinks Hector must have betrayed him because only Hector, Jessica, the three men they took to get the cat, and Lord Dailon knew. However, Lord Dailon did not know the specifics of where the cat was coming from.
The party, flush with coin, considered just paying the fee, but they decided to find the cat first. Some thought to sell the cat and use the proceeds to pay the debt (which is what Erik wanted to do) others thought to keep the cat for themselves and pay the fee out of their own pocket while some thought they would need to free the cat and then free Jessica since Hector could not be trusted.
Erik did warn them that this cat, whose fur was white as snow in winter and a dusty brown in summer, would look you in the eye and you would know it was considering ways to kill you, despite being caned around the neck and locked in a cage.
With all that in mind, the party left Vantar and headed to the ambush site, which had been just a spot on the road through the forest. Wilby and Unferth looked around for tracks and Unferth managed to find the trail of the cart and horse. They managed to track the cart to a side ride leading to the east. After following the narrow side path, they came upon a small farmstead.
Howl used his glass eye and his witchcraft to spy upon the buildings and found several men in the farmhouse as well as a handful of men in the barn. In the southeast corner of the barn was the cat in a steel cage. The cat seemed to follow Howl’s remote sight, looking the former priest of Felis in the eye, despite Howl’s sight being impossible to see.
The rest of the party, standing near the edge of the farmstead and just inside the woods, continued to discuss how they should approach the house. Half the party decided to go after the barn, kill the men in there, and then try to sneak out with the cat without attacking the men in the house.
In the end, Howl (hiding as a tree) decided to stay back at the edge of the forest while Rowan, Unferth, Quai, and Tyr (another friend of Quai), went to the east of the barn. Cynder, Wilby, Erik, and Gemma (invisible) went to the west side of the barn and planned to watch the front door of the house.
Unfortunately for the party, they had spent too much time discussing their plan and someone in the woods saw them and started shooting at Wilby, Cinder and Erik.
Cynder, Wilby, and Gemma quickly start engaging their attacker with magic and bow, but the noise draws brigands out of the house and their task becomes more complex.
Howl also starts to move toward the archer and works to use magic against the opponent while keeping his person hidden with illusion.
The others move around the back of the barn and rush inside. Rowan, Unferth, and Quai get into the barn and kill the men guarding the cat. After a bit of an exchange, with injuries on both sides, the party is victorious and the thieves are dead.
Tyr, a holy warrior of Felis, continues around the barn and starts heading toward the men who have come out of the farm-house.
The near dozen men give the party a challenge and Gemma and Cynder take a fair amount of damage before they overcome the thieves. Tyr takes one man prisoner and demands his loyalty in exchange for his surrender.
Unrefth decides to use his natural talents and has a brief conversation with the cat and decides releasing it is the correct thing to do. Rowan was not certain this was safe, but Unferth was convinced it would be.
After they released the massive cat, nearly everyone in the party became momentarily distracted, and by the time they turned their attention back to the cat, it was gone.
Erik recognises the men as being part of a group belonging to Marcus, who is a lieutenant of Hector, and less than friendly with Erik. The new servant of Tyr says that Derry had betrayed Erik and had expected to join Marcus’ group, but Marcus doesn’t like traitors so he had Derry killed in the ambush. They had planned to sell the cat once Marcus had a chance to arrange the exchange.