20 Eleint, 1479, Year of the Ageless One
The forest erupted in chaos.
Lo-kag, the mighty barbarian goliath, let out a roar of pain as U’Cla’s massive claw tore through armor and flesh.
Seconds before the surprised attack, the three skilled adventurers from Bear’s Head were carefully making their way through a dense part of the Reaching Wood. Deb, the halfling ranger, had earlier scouted the area and found a cave which they suspected was large enough for a dire bear to use as a den. Caldreas, the eladrin wizard, kept to the sky just above the canopy upon his winged mount.
But as Lo-kag walked past a dense overgrowth of bushes, U’Cla suddenly emerged catching the goliath by surprise.
Deb quickly launched an arrow at U’Cla. The deadly shaft buried itself deep into the dire bear’s flank but it didn’t even seem to phase the beast.
Lo-kag quickly recovered and lunged at the bear delivering a savage blow with his weapon that would have ended the life of any other creature right then.
From atop his flying mount, Caldreas too launched his own deadly spells upon U’Cla careful not to use any fire-based spells lest he accidentally start a forest fire.
U’cla took a swipe at Lo-kag and struck again. Ignoring the pain, the barbarian attacked back in kind tearing through thick fur and sinews which hardly seemed to slow the dire bear down, while at a safe distance Deb kept hitting it with his arrows. Caldreas kept up his spell-attacks, doing what he could to help end a battle the eladrin already suspected was going to take some time.
And so the battle with U’Cla did rage on for quite some time.
While the ranger and the wizard kept their distance, the goliath relentlessly pressed the attack against U’Cla. The greatest of dire bears delivered her own deadly onslaught against the goliath who like her refused to surrender to the welcoming embrace of Kelemvor, the god of death.
Soon enough, the battle was taking its toll on both sides. But just as it seemed U’Cla was about to be slain, the greatest of dire bears broke free from the battle and tore through the forest to escape.
Caldreas quickly gave chase, urging his mount to keep up with the bear. However, the thick canopy at times hid the forest floor below. At one point the eladrin spotted U’Cla run through a small clearing only to disappear back into a thick copse of trees and equally thick brambles at the clearing’s edge.
Knowing the others may have lost sight of U’Cla, Caldreas flew back to tell the others where the U’Cla went.
The group carefully made their way across the clearing with Caldreas keeping to the air.
But as they searched the area where Caldreas last saw the dire bear, they could not find U’Cla. It seemed as though she had simply melted into the forest. Signs of her passing were evident to the skilled ranger, but they still couldn’t find her.
“How can something that big just disappear?” Lo-kag asked Deb who was also searching nearby.
“This is her home,” the halfling said. “She knows these woods well.”
“Do you see her Caldreas?” Lo-kag yelled up to the eladrin. He didn’t care about being heard by U’Cla. He wanted her to come out from hiding and end the fight.
“No,” the eladrin yelled back. “But she couldn’t have gone far or we would have seen her.”
The three kept scouring the area but after a while it was obvious that they had indeed lost U’Cla. Despite her size, Deb was right in that the Reaching Wood was her home and she knew well enough how to hide her great bulk amidst the thick growths and trees that grew in abundance in the forest.
Disappointed in that they could not slay U’Cla, the group made their way back to the dire bear’s den and searched it. There, they took whatever they found and traveled back to Bear’s Head to heal wounds and rest.
Perhaps someday they thought, someone would eventually find and slay U’Cla.
But for now they recalled the poacher’s warning that no one alive could ever slay the mightiest of dire bears.