Two disparate youths and an older Zamoran who is old enough to know better are among the only survivors of a surprise Pictish raid on the caravan they are travelling with in Northern Zingaria. Enslaved and chained they are led north east towards Pictish lands but their wits and strength allows them to escape and kill their captors in a explosive test of arms.
The town guard from nearby Imboca ride out after reports of Pictish raids, led by the capable Beloso. Seeing the worth of the survivors he brings them back to Imboca and suggests they talk with Don Atilio, the mayor of the small trading town.
Don Atilio sent riders south to the provincial capital of Rodenzo to report the Pictish raids and ask for assistance. However the Don also has a pressing personal matter in that his cousin Moxica was supposed to marry his daughter Idoya yesterday but has not turned up. Moxica run a mining camp two days north into the mountains. Fearing the Picts may have cut him off, raiding the tin mines or worse he offers to pay the adventurers 50 silver each to bring him word of the mines and his cousin Moxica.
The party agrees and heads north the following morning through the picturesque hills of northern Zingaria with a cool autumn breeze at their backs. By evening they see something is very wrong, a hill station has been sacked and the inhabitants murdered…or perhaps sacrificed to dark gods by a band of Picts seemingly led by a shaman who they spied uttering guttural prayers and incantations to some primordial entities.
Laying low they came back after dark when they were certain the Pictish band had moved on and expertly took care of a small group of Pictish scouts before spying a large creature walking confidently and deliberate down the road towards them. A feline monstrosity of thick sinew and muscle, it’s long canines betraying it’s impossible existence and sparking genetic memory from when mankind was hunted by such long extinct beasts – the Sabre-tooth Tiger spotted them and readied itself for the attack!