We begin our adventure on the banks of the River of the Holy Spirit. Hernando de Soto’s expedition into Arkansas has been turned back by the Choctaw and Tula Native Americans, and our explorers find themselves whittled down to little more than half of their original numbers.
de Soto is readying the expedition to turn south, following the River of the Holy Spirit into what the navigators hope is the Gulf of Mexico. Our explorers have been charged the task of making initial contact with any natives they find to the south. Osvaldo, a recently acquired “guide,” is vaguely familiar with an unnamed tribe to the south.
The forward party takes boats down the river; camping one night on a bank. An uneventful night transpires for an apparently tired party, save for the occasional uncharacteristic splash. Don’t worry, Osvaldo advises from his tree perch; it’s probably just alligators.
The following day, the party arrives at a bend in the river, marked by a sign that people are about. The party disembarks, and proceeds down a path into the woods. Several hours later, nightfall is near and the party decides to turn back. While debating the next course of action, their conversation is interrupted by an eerily close-by howl. Some distance behind them, a person is crouched on the path.