You enter the underground village of Solhill.
As your eyes struggle to adjust to the darkness, you are hit with a familiar stench, a mixture of unwashed fur and rotting meat. You recognise it as the foul musk of vulpes vulpes.
A circular forum fades into view. Shrew settlements are famous for their straight roads, their grand columns, and their precise, geometric architecture, but you don’t see anything of the sort here. You see tents that have been crudely fashioned from godly rubbish, encircled by a series of muddy, uneven doorways. A few elderly shrews with ragged clothes and mournful faces sit amongst their homes and belongings. They don’t even acknowledge your presence.
A child in a grubby, blue cape clambers out one of the tents and runs up to you.
“Hey, you’re with the Thimble Guard, yeah? Like the others?”
Uh, yeah, that’s right, kiddo.
“That’s BADASS”, yells the child. “Are you going to kill Ironfang?”
Before you can respond, Alex struts out from a nearby doorway. He swats the child away like a bothersome gnat.
“Oh good,” says the Blademaster dryly. “You didn’t get eaten by a titan.”
Ha! A titan. As it happens-
“Valentina! Rosaline! Get out here and fall in,” shouts Alex. He yanks his hat out of your paws and adjusts it onto his head.
Rosaline immediately marches out of a doorway, and Val staggers out from another. You form a line.
“Great. We’re all here. Intel report time. Rosaline, you go first.”
“Yes sir. From my interviews I’ve discovered that the residing Lord, a nobleman called Quintus, packed his bags and left a month ago. Thirteen shrews have disappeared since then. Eyewitnesses claim to have seen a large titan prowling the village at night, but their accounts are vague. The best description I have is ‘a beast with eyes o’ gold and fur o’ flame’.”
“Ghosts and muswolves,” mutters Alex. “These people are backwater morons. And their whole village reeks.”
“I searched the local pub,” says Val, their words slurring together. “Nothing out of place there. I might go check again, just to be sure.”
Alex sighs. He looks at you. “Lemon, I don’t suppose you uncovered any clues on your casual stroll?”
You tell them everything. Your meeting with the vulpes. The village deal. The missing food parcels and the villagers in their place. The terms of your contract. You even explain how you were gifted the hat.
An icy look washes over Alex’s face. “So it is a vulpes.”
“It adds up,” says Rosaline. “Lord Quintus must have struck the initial deal with the vulpes, but then up and left the moment the village food horde ran dry, leaving the residents to take the fall. It’s a scummy move, even by nobility standards.”
“Hey, can we talk more about the other contract?” says Val. “You know making a contract with a titan is a big deal, right, Lemon?
Why are you so hung up about this contract? This titan is eating people. You don’t need to honor deals with an admitted murderer.Violet the Screeching Creature
You ask Val why the contract of a murderous titan would be worth a second thought.
“Dude. Murderer or not, titan or not, if you make a formal deal, you gotta stick with it. If you renege, it’s super bad for your… for your vibes. Haven’t you heard the story of Lord Oisín? Y’know, that mole who made a deal with stoats, and then-“
Alex claps his paws. “Enough. The contract is irrelevant. We came here to survey the situation, and thanks to Lemon’s intel, our job is done. The mission’s complete. Gather your things, we’re headed back to Murida.”
Oh! So, we’ll come back later, right? Or are we sending reinforcements?
Alex looks at you, then at the shacks and tents, the elderly and the sick, and the boy with the grubby cape.
“We won’t be returning. And there will be no reinforcements.”
What do you do?