The supply column for the fort Imperium Minor on the Antonine Wall is nearly three days late. Caught in delicate negotiations with local tribes, prefect Marcus Maximus Ptolemy decides to send a small contingent of local auxiliaries to backtrack down the road to Hadrian’s Wall to find out what happened to it and exactly who is responsible before wild accusations derail the diplomatic proceedings.
Traveling through the forests to get to the via imperitor that leads south, the group’s second way-station is attacked by a bear of such ferocity it brakes through the barricaded doors to attack the auxiliaries inside even after being wounded deeply in the shoulder by Geretrud. With the young, inexperienced auxiliaries scrabbling to set up a shield wall in the small way-station, Morgause grabs a burning brand from the fire, jamming it into the bear’s face, blinding it and sending into a berserk rage. Ducking below the blows, Daegesege hamstrung the bear stopping it from moving further into the way-station and allowing Morgause to put it out of its misery.
The rest of the night is restless as Geretrud had noticed a parliament of five owls which watched the bear attack closely before flying away after the beast was killed. Even more mysteriously, the six man watchtower guard had not been seen since the attack – though no-one could remember if they had seen them running for their lives.
Skinning the bear to cut up the meat for supplies, Adgar, one of the auxiliaries calls over his commander to show her a strange tattoo on the skin of the bear, visible only while he was cutting off the fur. Deciding this was not an omen they wanted to mess with the group dumps the carcass into the forest instead of harvesting the meat like they had intended. Then they head off down the overgrown road towards the via imperitor with one eye on the dark forest.