The morning was cold and crisp in the Gilsonite Mountains, which was not unusual at that altitude even in the Summerlands, but Olwen Salhe’s teeth still chattered as she watched her own breath. The lighthouse was only just starting to shine at full strength, its brilliance full of promise for the bright new day, but it hadn’t pushed back the cold of night just yet. And, in the shade of the dark forest it was still exceptionally chilly. “Why didn’t the commander send me someplace warm, like Henthorn Lake?” Salhe grumbled to herself.
She continued to trudge quietly through the wilderness, watching her surroundings with a practiced eye. There was plenty of evidence of activity, broken branches where something rushed through the brush, fresh prints from a night of foraging, and the disturbed earth of a recent kill. But, none of those things concerned Salhe, no she was after a different prey. Word had gotten to the Kayrin Guard of goblin sightings on the road. The upper command hadn’t thought much of it sense the reports were from the north of the Animas Range, except there were too many to ignore. So, expecting to find little more than a hunting camp, if even that, so they asked for ‘volunteers’ to investigate. Salhe had to be drunk when the call came, celebrating her graduation from training, and had to open her mouth. It was all a blur to her, but she might have suggested the commander do it himself since he’s such a ‘cold ass’. And, the next thing she knew, she was heading on a solo mission.
Skulking along an old game trail, Olwen sees the frothing rapids of the Gillribbon River slowly come into view. The Kayrin Guard had been getting reports of strange activities along it’s banks; goblin sightings and the like, very unusual for an area so far inland from the Twilight Boarder. Because of this Olwen wasn’t expecting much to come of her scouting mission. These kinds of abnormal sightings were usually only the result of wary farmers seeing a strange log or the like. Instead, what Olwen saw crouching by the river startled her more than any goblin would.
The man crouching by the river would have looked entirely ordinary had not been for his blue skin. Olwen stealthily draws her bow and cautiously approaches the strange man. The strange man spots her almost immediately, realizing she’s been spotted, Olwen takes a defensive stance, ready to shoot the man if he makes a move, and asks “What are you?”
“I’m a Samsaran.” He answered as if the answer were plain.
“I have no idea what that is. Where do you come from?”
“I come from the monastery in the tundra.”
So the man was not only strange looking, but was an illegal alien as well. Olwen couldn’t think of a single instance where any humanoid caught on the wrong side of the twilight boarder wasn’t eliminated on sight, but those others had all been barbaric goblins and orcs, this intruder seemed sensible. She decided she should bring him back to her commanding officer. “Ok sir I’m going to have to ask you to-”
“Heeeeeeck!!!” She was cut off by a cry coming from the river. Olwen no longer had time to take a prisoner, as there was a wild haired woman being swept away by the rapids, which led straight to a waterfall a few miles east.
Without hesitation, Olwen ran full tilt towards the bank grumbling to herself as she did. “Come and help!” She commanded the blue man. The so-called Samsaran obviously had no clue how to help, but he didn’t dare refuse the call of the fiery ranger and ran to her side.
“What do I-?”
“Hold this!” She cut him off, shoving the end of a hempen rope in his hand, the other end of which she had tied securely to the arrow notched in her longbow.
Without further explanation, Olwen made a shot, lodging the arrow firmly in a tree-stump on the opposite bank. Smiling at her success, she dropped her weapons and planted herself firmly, grabbing the rope with both hands.
“Now you try and catch this rope and you can shimmy to safety!” She yelled to the woman.
She didn’t respond, but she obviously understood, because she instantly became less frantic and more focused, seemingly readying herself to grab the rope as she passed under it.
The woman couldn’t slow her progress in the rapids any significant amount, but she managed to time it perfectly despite the speed and planted a firm grip on the rope. Success! Or so they thought for half a second before the force of the current reached Olwen and the monk’s end of the rope, which jerked Olwen forward and ripped the rope from the blue man’s grasp.
When Olwen suddenly found herself falling off the bank, she flung one hand wide, the other she kept occupied with a death grip on the rope, and somehow managed to grip the side of the bank. She was then suspended slightly above the lower bank between the ledge and the river because the strength of the rapids pulled the rope tight.
“Are you going to climb? Because otherwise I’m letting go!” She yelled to the woman in the river.
“Uh, I think you’d better let go; it looks like you’re about to fall in too. I’ll try to swim to the bank on my own.” She responded.
“Alright, whenever you’re ready!”
The druid let go of the rope and began the struggle to shore, meanwhile Olwen had let go of the rope and was struggling to climb the bank, but her hands kept slipping. The monk came to her aid, but lifted with his back, and not his knees, and so they both went tumbling down the banks and into the river. The monk regained his bearings quickly and began to work with the druid in order to get back to shore safely. Olwen, however, was regretting the fact that she hadn’t paid much mind to her swimming instructors, and being swept downriver barely able to keep her head above water.