The party had traveled on lower paw for over seven days, the relatively short journey to the nearby Raestall made longer by off-road travels and lack of necessity. The group was in no hurry; Raestall herself, however, would wait for them no longer.
Happiness was found in the lonely wilderness over the next few days. Off the beaten track, the traveling Savages (Portia and Fayre, sister felinekin, and Velius, a harekin and former monk) progressed slowly, hampered by rough terrain and undergrowth. Their moods, however, were light and exuberant, not angered but gladdened by the obstacles of the wilds. On their own for the first time, the two felinekin had never before been inside a forest, and neither had the silent monk traveled so far from home.
Velius worked in a frenzy, dumping out all his possessions from his pack as the nearby crowd, drunk with blood lust, screamed for slaughter. The lunatic chanting of 'Death to the Savages' pounded rhythmically through his head like the beating of a dull, rusty nail. Forcing himself to concentrate as best he could, he prepped his mind with instructions for the task ahead, taking inventory of all he had brought. Never did he think he would have to be using these ingredients so soon, or in this manner.
For Hazel, the unfortunate foxkin caught in bondage at the city's center, the dawn brought despair. Her head and fore paws were locked in a stockade, captured between two heavy wooden planks and a thick iron padlock. She was being held in the cobblestone marketplace at the heart of town, where the townsfolk had only just begun to trickle in with the rising sun. They conducted their business, heedless of her suffering, gathering their needed wares, affording the Savage as wide a berth as possible. They either looked down at her with cold disdain, or purposefully avoided her gaze.
I've never grasped religion as an art quite as well as my station would have commanded. Take, for instance, those followers of Rygecroft, sentinels of the White Hand; self-proclaimed purists, ridding the known world of imperfection and deviance. Their goal is nothing less noble than preserving the world for the best and brightest, the strongest, the noblest, and the most righteous. Their humble intent was to do nothing more than encourage natural selection, weeding out the lesser so that the strong may thrive.
The walking tin cans escorting him created a cacophony of clanking metal with every footfall, but even over top of their merciless clatter, the enormous bullkin heard coming trouble. Everley swung his massive head from side to side, ears twitching busily, muzzle snorting, sampling the air. He stopped in his tracks, the heavy iron shackles tightening above his large paws and hooves. The thick collar constrained his neck, pulling fur and biting flesh.
King Haefen of Stonetide kept with him a council of wise men, learned sages whom he could rely on for advice in critical manners. In exchange for their services in court and castle, the king gave them ample abodes ripe with rich foods, wines, and indentured servitude. Among them was Councilman Narghast, who had served the king well throughout the many years of his life. He had enjoyed the fine fruits of royalty, and had sampled fares and females from across the globe.
I have heard some speak of retribution, of the gods and their fiery wrath cast down upon the fates of overbearing men. These lot are forsaken and spineless to be sure, hiding behind empty threats of their tiny imaginative deities and idols, casting down empty curses upon his brother for their sins. Their words are to be discarded like the cold iron shackles that once bound me to this land.