In case you've missed past episodes, see these links...
Lone Wolf: Reborn - Episodes 1, 2, 3
You find the tree an easy climb. With a few quick motions, you swiftly ascend to the upper reaches, among the woody branches of the great tree. The simple act brings back memories of your childhood with surprising vividness. You used to swarm up trees in the countryside near Toran, where you grew up, to pick fruit and look out at the view that seemed to reach across the world. You can still see that beautiful vista of Sommerlund in your mind's eye.
Glancing out between the branches, you can see Sommerlund now... but the countryside is patched with black, and smoke rises on the horizon. Gritting your teeth, you turn your attention to the matter at hand.
You pull yourself up onto a broad, wooden platform. With a few swift steps, you throw open the door of the treehouse. You hear a strangled cry, and as your eyes adjust, you see the form of an old man cowering in his corner, half hidden under a blanket. Only his trembling and the bright eyes gazing out at you from the depths of his hiding place give his position away.
When he sees your green Kai cloak, the fear seems to drain from him. He drops the blankets, and stands to clasp you hand in friendship. Quickly exchanging news, you discover that he has seen no less than forty Kraan crossing the skies above his tree-hut, going east. The land has been crawling with the forces of the Darklords.
As the sun is now getting low in the sky, you gratefully accept the man's hospitality, sharing his table and the shelter of his hut for the night. You arise before the sun, eager to set out, but despite your soft steps, the old hermit awakens with you.
"Please, take this, for your journey," He presses a pack of food into your hands, enough for a single meal. Knowing how little he has, you attempt to refuse, but he insists. He even offers you his weapon, a long, sturdy warhammer, but you turn that down. You would not deprive the poor man of his only defense, and you already have a perfectly serviceable axe.
You slip the food into your pack and bid a silent farewell to the old man. As you descend the tree, you hope that he will weather the coming storm safely. But something in your heart tells you that he will not.
As your foot touches earth, the sky is just greying with false dawn. You set out on your way over open land.
The sunrise is beautiful, despite the dark tidings, and you reflect upon how the world keeps going, regardless of the efforts of men and monsters.
After several hours of hiking through the wilderness, you are scraped by nettles, exhausted from your efforts this morning and the day before, and beginning to suspect that you might be lost. You are sure you should have reached the road by now. You pause for a breather, leaning heavily on your knees and cursing the thorns that tore at your arms and legs earlier.
As you come to your senses, looking at the world around you, you notice a queer opening between some hanging vines not far away.
Surrounded by thorny briars and closely packed roots, you see the entrance of a tunnel disappearing into the hillside beyond. It is approximately seven feet in height and just over ten feet wide. As you get closer, you can feel a slight breeze coming from the inky blackness. If the other end of this tunnel emerges on the far side of the hill, it could save you many hours of difficult climbing. But it could also harbour unknown danger.
If you wish to enter the tunnel, turn to 170.
If you would prefer to climb the hillside, turn to 280.
[Save point: 331. We have gained a Meal, meaning we are less likely to face imminent starvation, but we may be lost in the woods, and our only hope of finding our way seems to be a mysterious tunnel through darkness. Does this seem queer to anyone else?]