Episode 3 Part II - Old Hunting Grounds (Lotru Mountains)
The episode picks up the evening of March 4th 1927, Mrs. De Winter, Martin, Ms. Douglas and Teddy are reaching the base of Vechiul Hot, the second tallest peak in the Lotru Mountains. It was a warm spring day and their guide Antonio Seville led them up the hills. Assisted by Teddy distant Cousin Konstantin Sajo, they had managed to acquire some maps that led to the foot mountain. They were old because according to locals no had set foot on this mountain and returned in the last twenty years. The area was considered cursed.

It had taken a little more than two weeks for the expedition to reach this point. Trying to keep a low profile and gather the best information had been time consuming and expensive. Martin not trusting locals to see the climb through had recruited a quartet of old soldiers from the Great War that had taken to wandering the wilds of Europe. The Irregulars as Martin has nicknamed them, agreed to join for a few rounds of beer and the promise of a ten bucks a day.

As they approached the foot of the Mountain, the based a tall white cliff, on it five foot letters of reddish mud, were the words, “MAN IS NOT WELCOME HERE”, in Hugarian. The desiccated remains of two deer were near the foot of the cliff near the writing. The lets were drawn in mud that had been mixed with blood. Large wolf tracks could be found along the ground. Antonio examined them and told the expedition that they were over a week old.

The team pressed on, Martin issued ammunition to the Irregulars. The climb would take three days, as they finished the first leg they found nothing two strange. The trails were old and slightly over grown. There no recent sign of any traffic on the trails within the last year.

The second day the expedition passed a flock of sheep grazing on a grassing slope. Mrs. De Winter spotted along the far edge of the slope a pair of wolves observing the sheep. The wolves quickly took cover when they spotted the party. She had the strange impression that the wolves were there to shepherd the flock of sheep.
Pressing that day the team continued to follow trail passed over the grassing slopes into a small thicket of stunted Alpine Fir trees. As they made there was to the trail, Antonio stopped the group and signaled Martin and Joe to the front. There was something wrong with the Trail. Martin looked down and shuddered a little, a landmine. Joe carefully looked around for others and confirmed this was the only one.

Antonito looked at the group, and got a very unsettled look about him. As Joe diffused the mine with Harris, he spoke to Martin. “The only tracks around here are wolf tracks, and they are recent. And this ground was recently overturned.”

Ms. Douglas, “I have noticed there appears to be one or two wolves trailing us. They are hanging was back but I am sure I have caught sight of the since we left camp this morning.”

“Antonio, could you keep this to yourself? I am not sure I want to panic everyone yet…” Martin asked. Antonio nodded and got everyone ready to resume as Joe gave the all clear signal. Joe took point with Martin and Antonio. They continued up for a few hours and set camp, they would reach the peak by mid-day tomorrow. Aside from the periodic howls of wolves, the night passed uneventfully.

***

At noon the next day the expedition approached a ridge that formed a kind of natural wall, between them and the primary peak. As they walked south parallel to the wall they spotted a gap. Taking a turn east toward the gap they caught site of the first signs of human presence on the Mountain. Across an expanse of field, they saw what looked like the remains of a village spread out before a large Mountain cave that opened like a great maw. According to their maps that cave would lead to the other side of the peak.

As the entered the gap on the walls on each side was the message, “MAN IS NOT WELCOME HERE”. Written once again in blood and clay. This time it was written in French, English and Hungarian. This time there were very recent less than a day old.

The companions were forced to level with the Expedition, they were potentially dealing with intelligent wolves of some kind. These wolves had planted a landmine to kill them, they had left the messages and had been following them all the way up the mountain.

Rather move forward the companions decided that they should camp and try to communicate with the beasts. Mrs. De Winter put a message in the snow on just the other side of the ridge. “She had come here to look for her mate. Who had been lost somewhere on this mountain.” And left a handkerchief that had belonged to her husband.
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