Transylvania Chronicles

Sheep among Wolves

Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; therefore be shrewd as serpents, and innocent as doves.
Matthew 9:36

After sundown the three Vampyr did their round to assess the work that had been done during the day, and to plan the coming night when they heard the sound of an approaching caravan.

Hrothar, Lucita of Aragon and Anatole oversaw the approach from the ruined tower, as Andronicus headed for the old palisade the meet the travelers there. The caravan – consisting of six wagons escorted by sixteen armed horsemen dressed in tribal war cloth – came to a halt as soon as Andronicus called out to it.

Two horsemen however continued to approach the Andronicus. Increasing the speed of their horse, the two warriors raised their axes as they galloped towards the Byzantine.
Andronicus called out to them, frightening their horses, causing one of the horses to come to a halt as the other one ran of the steep cliff in fright, taking its rider down with it.

Hrothar descended the mountain to head down the cliff where the rider lay motionless as Lucia disappeared into the shadows. Zedenek now stood beside Andronicus as a huge tribesman rode forward from the caravan.

In an odd dialect of the Slavic tongue which even Andronicus could not understand, this apparent commander of the caravan introduces himself as Ramkov the Rus.

Using hands and feet and with the help the occasionally common words, the Vampyr told this Rusman that they have claimed this pass and wish to trade with the Rus. While Hrothar first concerned for the fallen warrior and his horse to soon join in on the tradestalk, Andronicus and Zedenek persuaded the Rus to trade furs, a wagon full of hoary weapons and ten Rus warriors for bands of silk (or slik as Ramkov consistently called it).

The Rusman promised to return soon with more trade goods. He would bring workers, food and amber in return for more silk (although to Ramkov the desire for amber seemed irrational).

The caravan departed and ten of the Rus warriors stayed behind. Borislav could not suppress a look of concern as these newly founds joined the group.

The night was half but over as the sound of a howling wolf emerged from the surrounding forest. The guards were ordered to stand ready as the Vampyr stood watchful looking for any sings of approaching wolves.

A single dark furred wolf moved through the guard parameter untouched and then ran up the slope leading to the tower site. The three Vampyr soon followed.

Atop the plateau they found a human, averagely build with local features, wearing nothing but fur cloth around his waist. The man announced himself as a messenger from the great father:

“My name is Siderius. I was sent here by my father who you have met some nights ago. He praises your efforts in this area and wishes to contribute to the safety of your expedition. He offers to protect all man and creatures from the horrors of the wild and demands nothing but a small favor in return: one adult mortal every moon.”

Apparently impressed with the presence of the three Vampyr and pressed for more information, the man explains that he failed his father and was sent here in a chance to renew his standing and regain his honor.

The Vampyr express that this land is now theirs and that the Garou have no claim here. They state they do not wish to war with the wolves, but no human sacrifices or dues shall be paid.

The man expresses that the great father will not accept this. The now agitated Vampyr restate their message and the young man leaves, apparently relieved to end the conversation.

Lucita of Aragon and Anatole express their desire to leave for Bistria. The three immortals instruct Lucita and Anatole there is no need inform Radu of the found tablets and ask the two to inform Zelios of the makeshift bridge that may need to be reinforced. After goodbyes and good lucks, the two wanderers depart.

With the lager part of the night past, the three Vampyr start to plan the dayshift and conger up a way the divide the group of Rus in two parts to minimize the chance of a uprising during their most vulnerable hours.

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