Author Topic: Memoirs of the Naturalist Thurston Chadwick, by Thurston Chadwick  (Read 184 times)

Avarice

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Preface

Greetings fellow zoologist!  It fills me with great pride and gratitude that you have chosen to read the chronicle of my grand safari!  It is in this current year that I have left Mordentshire on a hunting expedition to find, catalogue, study and hunt animals both exotic and rare from all corners of the Core!  As a young man in Mordentshire, I was positively enthralled by the tales and trials of the naturalist James Corbett who has traveled abroad to the muggy, humid, and obscenely dangerous wilds of Sri Raji, whereupon he gained notoriety for his prowess stalking the man-eating striped and spotted beasts that lurk in the dense jungle.  This absolute legend's account of the great cats, bears, and venomous creatures has inspired me to depart from Mordent to lands unknown to scholars and cartographers to learn what great adventures can be had in the woodlands, wetlands and mountains of the counties, dutchies and kingdoms beyond our borders.  It is with great satisfaction I thank you for joining me on this grand adventure!  Let us proceed post haste.

My Introduction to Barovia

Rumors of vicious man eating beasts have led me to start my safari in Barovia!  Legend and rumor say that the land is filled with all manner of terror that lurks in the Old Night from man sized bats to wolves the size of bears and as of yet unknown creatures that eat stone and metal, there are scant few places that have piqued my curiousity such as Barovia.  I had chartered a coach to take me as far as Vallaki and from there I set off on foot to leave rumor behind and see for myself what sort of animals teem in the thick forests of this land.

My initial impression was promising!  On the first day, the native wildlife makes its home quite close to the settlement of the Gray City with both predator and prey being drawn to the Lake as a sustainable watering hole.  I did not need to go too far from Lake Zarovich to begin my hunt.  I had decided to cut my teeth with some of the less dangerous quarry after finding the tracks of a buck, a badger and some variety of weasel near some warm scat close to the water's edge.

It did not take me long to find the lakeside burrow of a sizeable otter that was tearing at a chitinous crustacean near the shoreline in the early hours just after dawn.  The fog rolling off the lake marred my vision, but spying the shadow in the mist I could make out the shape of the rodent.  Knocking back a bolt on my crossbow, I fired a shot and missed.  The animal darted below the lake's surface but I trained my next shot and watched for the ripples of where the beast would again emerge when it needed to come up for air.  Patience as ever paid off and when the aquatic weasel surfaced I managed a clean shot through the upper right shoulder. 

I waded in amongst the reeds to claim my prize and upon retrieving it a most curious thing came to occur.  I heard a rustling sound near the treeline and what emerged was a shaggy flash of red and white.  The beast charged me and tore the carcass of the otter from my hands and nearly took two of my fingers with it!  By jove, I have never seen a fox so aggressive or so large!  Normally these creatures are quite skittish around men and keep to their own, yet this one was ready to challenge a creature twice its size for her breakfast!  Robbed of my trophy, I returned to the outskirts of town to seek medical assistance, which thankfully was granted to me.  Positively exhilerating!  Already I see that I am in for a grand adventure of aggressive wildlife that are far more brazen than any I have read about thus far!

The local city watch has advised me not to take on the hunt after sunset and to avoid the preserves set aside for the Burgomaster.  Moving forward, I should proceed with caution should I choose to hunt so closely to the Lake.  Tomorrow, I should like to set off on the banks of the Luna river and see if the rumors of countless wolves have any merit.  I did not meet with any my first day, yet the temperment of the fox has led me to believe that the population of predators are accustomed to having to fight one another for their prey.  I will make it my next order of business to question local trappers and see what sort of traps and snares are most effective in the environment.