The Hunter's Moon

Rydelia put down her pen. A yawn overcame her, and this time she made no efforts to bury it. It must have been getting past midnight, now, and yet here she was. It was funny—all those years ago, when she first enlisted with the Scouts, she had never in her wildest dreams imagined she would end up behind a desk.

This year, at least, she was finally starting to get a little more sleep. The early moons of her commandership, when the endless nights bled into the bitter days, were well behind her. The inevitable arrival of familiarity and routine had helped her to learn how to manage all the chaos of the day to day. And, though she’d never admit it, there was one other thing that had been just as helpful: the chidings of Mother Mei, and her constant insistence on getting to bed earlier. Rydelia only wished that the cleric would go about her scolding a little less publicly—it just wasn’t proper, though the blasted woman couldn’t seem to care less. Eventually, Rydelia had resorted to taking the cleric’s advice, if only to get her to stop. She smiled wryly - no doubt that had been Mother Mei's intentions all along.

Rydelia peeled herself from the chair and headed straight for bed. Tomorrow, she would take one last look over the handbill. It needed to be perfect – after all, the Great Hunt was the very thing that had set her on her path to the top of the chain of command, two years prior. The first revival of the Great Hunt, called by the late McTyr... Rydelia breathed a heavy sigh. She wouldn't dare pass up the opportunity to carry on that new tradition, to reemphasize to the world the resurgence in Maralian power. Tomorrow, she would make the announcement, with as fresh a face and as good a night’s sleep as she could muster. The good men and women of Marali deserved at least that much.

* * * * *

The next day...


The Great Horn of Marali sounds again!

Calling only the most brave and daring adventurers from across the lands. The City of Marali, while remaining well positioned against her perennial threats, beckons the Great Hunt forth once again, in the name of security and in the spirit of the nascent Hunter’s Moon. The Marali Scouts’ reports suggest a concerning increase in draconian aggression in recent moons. Henceforth, and for the duration of the moon, the city places a generous bounty on any dragons found outside of their normal breeding grounds, in Marali or beyond. Hunters should take all necessary precautions, and should not underestimate these dragons, whose cunning and strength can even rival that of our human foes.

Rydelia shuddered as a flurry of bloody images of the Vandrovic Occupation flashed before her mind. That tragedy did not need to go on the handbill.

Furthermore, note well: while our enemies in The Creed have been quiet since our victories against them in recent years, they still remain a threat. As such, the preexisting bounty on all known agents of the Creed remains active. And in particular, for numerous atrocities and crimes against the City of Marali and against all humanity, including hundreds of counts of assassination, destruction of property, illegal transportation of contraband materials, and the grotesque disfiguration of the human form into heinous abominations such as liches and wraiths, we assess the highest bounties on the following three individuals:

Moira Anasima, Witch - Wanted alive*
Average height, flaming red hair. Last seen in traditional black wizard garb.
(* Blood samples will suffice if subject cannot be captured)

Isouran Redthorn, Mercenary Captain - Wanted dead or alive
Tall, brown hair, heavily scarred. Last seen in full black plate mail, horned helmet, and a vicious glaive. Often accompanied by mercenary guards.

Doursa Lachon, Ringleader - Only wanted dead
Not seen in almost thirty years.

Additional Notes:
- Immediately contact nearest Marali Guard or Scout with any information.
- Hunters, especially those working alone, are encouraged to wear Jade Amulets to ward off unseen Creed assassins.
- Successful bounties will be paid out handsomely from the Marali Treasury. Bounties on dragons will not be paid out unless hunter provides sextant coordinates, for reconnaissance purposes. Ice Dragons will be valued the highest, followed by Red, Sand, and Forest.
- The highest performing hunters shall be given an additional recognition and reward for their courageous efforts.

Finally satisfied, Rydelia snatched up the papers and marched out of the office. The hunt had begun.
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