As dawn broke, an armored stagecoach careened down the mountain road, beginning its final approach to the village of Fairbairn. Engraved upon its sides was the emblem of the Order of the Hawk: a hawk locked in a mortal embrace with a serpent clasped in its talons, a symbol of the mutually destructive bond between the Order and their monstrous foes.
Passing beneath the crudely constructed wooden entry arch, the hunters onboard were met with an ominous sight: three corpses in various states of decomposition hung by the neck and strung up on either side of the sign bearing the town’s name. Whether they had been lycanthropes (regressing to their human form in death) or innocents swept up in the blind rage of a lynch mob was impossible to tell. Though hardened to human suffering by years in the field, a few among their number joined the sage in a brief prayer consigning their souls to their Maker.
As the carriage entered the village proper, the hunters were struck by the eerie stillness of the scene before them. Every window had been shuttered or stood vacant, yet the group had the distinct impression unseen figures surveyed their every move with keen interest. The vehicle came to a stop beside the Wolf’s Head Inn, disgorging its occupants onto the muddy country road. Upon receiving payment, the coachman gave the horses the lash, spurring them on to the stables further down the road.
Their leader, a grizzled veteran, addressed the group: “Mr. Snow, the owner of this establishment, is a key witness to the murders in the area. We should speak with him first before beginning our hunt.”
The other hunters nodded assent and followed as the veteran made for the door. As the group filed through the door of the inn, they were met with a grisly scene causing the less experienced hunters to pale. The tavern that occupied the first floor looked like it had been hit by a tornado, with splintered pieces of furniture, glasses, and plates littering the ground in a wide swath. This paled in comparison to the grotesque centerpiece that awaited them on the wall behind the bar: a bloody human corpse nearly mangled beyond recognition.
Nothing remained of the victim besides a disembodied torso trailing a profusion of glistening entrails. Almost every inch of the poor man had been rent by claws or torn off by fangs, exposing underlying bone and muscle. His arms had been ripped from their sockets with tremendous force, though neither his arms nor his legs were anywhere to be seen. The pièce de resistance of this grotesque tableau was the sword, driven through the man’s heart with preternatural force, pinning him to the back wall of the tavern, a deliberate detail which was not lost on the group. Though he bore no identification, the group surmised these must be the remains of the unfortunate Mr. Snow.
Placing his palm on the hapless victim’s forehead, the Sage was surprised to find the victim still warm. He concluded that the victim had been deceased for less than two hours. The hunters cursed their ill timing, resenting the cruel trick the werewolves had played on them. The werewolves’ brazen taunt challenged them to do their worst while confronting them with their inevitable fate—a brutal bloody demise, either by the sword of their own brethren or by the fang and claw of their hated foe.
It took several of the hunters just to pry the deeply embedded blade from the wall. When it was discovered that Mr. Snow had no surviving relatives in town, the body was removed, consecrated by the sage and laid to rest in the village cemetery. A cursory examination of the body before the burial confirmed the sage’s suspicions, the savage creature that was responsible for this heinous act was none other than a werewolf: a fearsome creature that the Order had faced countless times in their war against the minions of Hell.
The Veteran Hunter, determined that Mr. Snow’s death would be the last, dispatched his men to various parts of the village: a few on patrol, others to interview the town’s reclusive citizenry, ordering them to reconvene at the inn by nightfall. One thing was for certain, the werewolves would pay for their sins in blood.
I accept your nomination and vow to run on a strict pro-cyberbullying platform.
Also, to be serious for a moment; Anybody think there might be a connection between "The Order of the Hawk" and the fact that Hawk is one of our players? Is it a clue, a red herring, or just coincidence?