It’s a tough decision, but you’re swayed by the tempting thought of catching the vulpes in an enormous net. You pick up the magazine and hastily paw through it.
To your dismay, this is a magazine for trapping bugs and crawlers. There’s an article on mealworm cages, an editorial on bee harnesses, and instructions for how to build a twig-and-string silverfish snare. There’s nothing about trapping anything larger than a beetle. Come to think of it, this makes perfect sense — a magazine about ensnaring titans would have a fast-dying reader-base.
Still, you wonder if this silverfish snare design could be scaled up to larger creatures. If you substituted the parts, using, say, a robust coil of wire and a wooden stake, then you might be able to…
“Let’s go, Lemon. We’re losing daylight.”
Give the other Book to the townsfolk and have them educate themselves while we focus on traps/the bestiary!Local Rodent
It would be a shame to leave the bestiary behind. You grab it on the way out.
210 minutes until dusk.
The three of you agree that the earth cellar should be the next stop. You follow Val’s directions, taking a twisted tunnel that slopes in a downward spiral. The further you descend, the colder, darker, and quieter it gets. By the time you arrive in the cellar, your whiskers are frosty to the touch, and you hear nothing but the sound of your own soft footsteps.
Scanning the room, you see a barrel of brown-grey rice, a few boxes housing scraps of dried fruit, and a couple of godly tins, licked clean. Nothing else.
“Well. This is depressing,” says Val. “If you put all this food together, would it even make a single vulpes portion?”
You don’t think so.
We should examine the cellar, see if it’d be a safe place to hide. So children and elders can be safe n sound.Matty
You point out that, as the deepest room in the village, this could be a good place for the villagers to gather and wait out the coming danger. A makeshift bunker.
“Not a bad idea,” says Rosaline. “Vulpes are adept at digging, so nowhere in the village is really safe, but this room offers more protection than most. Then again, could we fit forty shrews in here? Maybe if we…”
She trails off, having noticed the arrival of an elderly shrew dressed in hooded brown robes and a golden, corded belt. That’s one light-footed rodent. You didn’t even hear him approach.
“Don’t mind me,” he says. “Just doing a stock check.”
You watch the shrew as he waddles over to the barrel of rice and starts to count each grain with painstaking sluggishness. He loses count at “three” and starts over again.
Val calls you over with a wave. “See his getup? That guy’s a Loremaster. That means he’s a genius! Super educated and stuff. I bet he knows a thing or two about titans or contracts or that scummy Quintus bloke.”
This is an opportunity. What do you say to the Loremaster?
Explain our contract to him, and ask about the one that Quintus broke. If anyone knows enough to be tricky with the contracts, it’d be an expert like this.
Ask about the contract Solhil made with the Vulpes!
Perhaps the Loremaster is aware of the contract previously made with the vulpes? Maybe if we ask them about it, we can find some kind of loophole?
Say the following;
“Hello, esteemed Loremaster! It is to my knowledge that the former leader of this shrew village had a legal contract with one (1) vulpes that he appears to have reneged upon. Would your Wisdomness happen to be informed as to the nature of this contract? I am very interested in the specific wording of this contract, to be precise.”
Definitely ask about vulpes in general and the vulpes that’s been around here in particular. The vulpes explained the terms of the contract to us so there’s probably not a way to legalese our way out of it without coming up with at least as much food as the equivalent weight of an adult shrew.
But if we’re lacking in knowledge about our foe, the Loremaster could be our best hope. See if we can find out any particular weakness of vulpes, or something other than shrew dinners that the vulpes (who might be called Ironfang if a certain blue-caped youngster’s words are accurate?) would want that we might procure.
Ask the Loremaster about the agreement the Shrews are under, the agreement you’re under, and how much wiggle room there is in keeping up your end of the bargain.