“The Hunt Begins”, by Vamuria

Avid readers of The Grapevine (available now for purchase) will know that I rarely get out into the field, and I see all manner of reports and editorials. It is rare for something to pique my curiosity to such an extent that I will suffer the danger of the roads, but even I was left in awe over recent events. So I set off to unravel an enigma.

It began with a candy – a Soporific Sweet according to most reports – sold at the highly popular Grim Fayre. Found within a gift bag sold by Chamonille, Madame of the Gift (Chamonille could not be reached for comment), it appeared to be like any other sweet sold around Mayaween. However, it quickly became obvious this was not the case.

Once ingested, the unfortunate sweet seeker was instead gifted with a nefarious ailment: narcolepsy. According to my investigation, the first reported cases were that of Maajida, Meriet, and Tofi followed shortly by Lyndee, Atalkez, Traelor, and Ellenroh. From there it spread like wildfire, either by curious minds or certain shady characters forcing people to consume them.

Reports of what transpired vary, though the single thread connecting each is the effect of this dream-inducing drop: at dusk, everyone who suffers from narcolepsy is drawn into a particularly deep sleep. And so, all around Sapience, languorous adventurers began to fall like flies.

Within the deep embrace of sleep, they were gifted – or cursed – with particularly vivid dreams which almost all agree relate to the Wild God of the Beasts, the Elder God Lupus. As one such dreamer put it, “I do not know [Lord Lupus] well, but the connections seem too clear to be circumstantial.”

However, these were not the simple dreams we all experience on a nightly basis. No, these were different. Visions of pain, of rage, of hate, and hurt. “[I felt] heavy-hearted with the knowledge that I was stuck in an endless loop of pain and agony, ” says Ellenroh, one of many who experienced these dreams. She also reports that she felt as if “The rage and fury [was] contained but clawing to get out.”

Shortly after, the fury did get out as wolves began forming around certain narcoleptics. It began in Targossas, where two packs surrounded Lyndee Faelithar, Dawnlord of Targossas, and Atalkez Al’Jafri. The experience was quite unnerving, as Lyndee recounts it: “It was alarming, really. It was hard to understand what was happening. The sleep was sudden and uncontrolled, the visions I had were unfamiliar. When I came to, I felt as if I had lost control of my body, and I couldn’t glean much about what was going on.”

The Dawnspear was quick to react and proved more than capable of subduing the enraged wolfpack. But this was not the end of it. With baying howls, they erupted from the forests around more comatose compatriots and proceeded to terrorise the continent. With jaw and claw did they revive the hunt, tearing and ripping at anything and everything around them. Children and men alike ran in terror as they carved a path through the very heart of Sapience, however, some brave adventurers did return the favour. As time went on, the wolves became more and more difficult to quell, their bloodlust seeming to grow with every slash and bite. The crimson rivers flowed for months on end, as every day at dusk it soaked into the soil from adventurers and wolves alike. Unbeknownst to many, however, something was stirring further north.

For over two centuries the Lord of the Hunt had remained in the same shape Lady Selene had left Him, the only sign of His continued existence the perpetual rise and fall of His ravaged chest. Yet as the blood flowed and the hunt began once more, something changed. Sothantos witnessed the changes surrounding Lord Lupus first. As he put it, “The Beast God’s fangs were bloodied, and the flowers that were part of Selene’s enchantment were observed to be drooping.” These changes expanded as the months went on, drawing the attention of Vinceres Ebonheart. One of the few remaining followers of the Elder God, he knelt in prayer and waited.

Days passed as adventurers from all walks of life tried varying methods to awaken the slumbering Deity. Eleusis led hunts, others performed rituals, and certain foolhardy rogues even poked Him with a spear. The attempts continued in vain, with nothing seeming to work nor encourage the Lord of the Hunt, until something shifted.

With a cry of pain and glazed eyes did the Lupine Vinceres tumble to the ground, a vision of anger, pain, and the desire to escape paramount in his mind. As he came to, his gaze shifted towards his Master as a miracle unfolded before his eyes.

A single digit, innocuous to most, twitched for the first time in over two centuries as the Lord’s chest rumbled in unease.

The Hunt could soon be alive in the world once more, though this humble reporter cannot help but ask the question on everyone’s mind, “Who shall become the prey?”

Summary: After consuming Soporific Sweets from the Grim Fayre, adventurers became afflicted by narcolepsy. At dusk, they would fall into a deep sleep and experience very strange visions. Wolves began to form around those affected, which grew stronger with each passing month. As Mayaween came to a close, the prone form of Lupus twitched a single finger, the first movement witnessed since He had fallen against Bal’met.