Sarah sat on the bed lost in thought, and more than a little frightened. The shutters to the window on the upper level had slammed suddenly, and she had thought she saw… well, something. She hadn’t gotten a good look, so it could have been a squirrel or something. But it put her on edge nevertheless. What was it? Was it dangerous? Perhaps the rumors were true about the forest. What if- The sound of the door opening jolted Sarah out of her thoughts as a hooded and cloaked man entered the room. He closed the door behind him and went over to the fireplace and started stirring something in the pot hanging above it.
> ANDREW: Ask her how she’s feeling and what she remembers.
“Oh good, you’re awake. How are you feeling?”
“I… I feel okay, I guess.” Sarah said hesitantly. “My back still hurts, but it’s not too bad.”
The man looked over and nodded before going back to tending whatever he had cooking over the fire.
“Do you remember what happened? You were unconscious for quite a while.”
“I was going to deliver something to the next town over.” she explained, scratching her head and trying to clear some of the fog out of her memories. “I decided to take a shortcut through the forest to save some time. And then this big wildcat attacked me. Then someone jumped out of nowhere and… the rest is kind of a blur.”
The cloaked man went over to one of the shelves and set a rough wooden bowl on the table before spooning some stew into it from the pot.
“It was a cougar, actually.”
“Cougar, puma, mountain lion, catamount, whatever you call it. Yes, it did attack you, and you’re lucky to be alive. But you shouldn’t have run. I believe you triggered its hunting instinct when you should have stayed your ground instead.”
Sarah watched intently, trying to read him. But it proved difficult, as she couldn’t see much of his face due to the hood casting shadows over his face. And what she could see seemed… off. She couldn’t quite put her finger on it though. Something about the way his mouth moved?
“Oh, I see. So, did you save me?” Sarah asked, moving a hand to feel her bandages. “I guess you took care of my wounds too?”
The man blew on the stew, brought it and a wooden spoon over to her, nodding.
“Er… yes. Yes I did. And I scared away the cougar, yes. Unfortunately I couldn’t save you in time before it clawed your back… and I kinda knocked you out in the process accidentally.”
Sarah hazily remember some of that. It still didn’t answer many of the questions that she had. She smiled and offered her hand out to him.
“Well, you saved my life, so thank you Mr…?”
Strangely, the man shied away from her hand, but then waved her off with a smile.
“Andrew. And there’s no need for formalities. Anyhow, you need to get your strength up, so eat up.”
“You’re a good man, Andrew.” she said as she took a sip the stew. It had some sort of spice in it, which burned in her mouth, but it tasted pretty good. Andrew chuckled at her in response.
“You could say that. But, why did you decide to go through the forest? Surely you’ve heard how dangerous it is?”
“Well, yes, I have. But those are all just silly stories and superstitions. They’re not actually real, right?”
>Tell her not to attempt to get out. Heavily imply that her death may result if she does.
Andrew hesitated for a moment, unsure what to say. He sighed, pulled a chair over and sat down, looking at her dead in the eye.
“They’re more real than you think.” He murmured. “In fact, don’t go outside until we’re ready to leave … Or too close to the windows either. If you do… well, I can’t guarantee your safety. As long as you stay inside and out of sight, you’ll be alright.”
Sarah took another bite, shuddering nervously. “What’s out there that’s this dangerous?”
It took a while for Andrew to answer before averting his gaze.
“… Let’s just say that the less you know about it, the better. Either way, you’re from Caledon, right? Hopefully you’ll be fit to travel by this evening, and I can get you home.”
“Well, if it’s that dangerous, then why do you live here?” Sarah questioned as she looked around the room curiously. There didn’t seem to be any weapons in here aside from the staff that he brought in with him. And the door wasn’t even barred or anything!
“Let’s just say that I don’t have much of a choice.” Andrew sighed. Sarah let the matter drop as she continued to eat. But what did that mean? The fragments of that argument she heard echoed through her mind. Something didn’t add up, but she couldn’t put her finger on it. They sat in awkward silence, her eating and him just sitting there. Well, she wasn’t going to get any answers this way.
“So… why do you wear that cloak and hood indoors?”