After leaving Husgrad, Vasily and Osha, (with Kal in tow), made their way north with the circus caravan. They were not told to where they travelled, only that they would arrive in Tzarograd for winter.
They seemed to be taking a detour from the main road – Kal noting that they were not headed to Tzarograd, but further East. They asked Anton what was happening, he shrugged and said "Baba knows the way".
While camped on the road one night, and Mishka became nervous, whimpering and pawing the ground. Anton, looking discomfited, spoke to Baba; who provided everyone with an amulet that stunk of weird herbs. She said that there was a creature in the trees that could be driven off with the oil in the amulet.
Osha, Vasily and Kal took a torch and struck out into the tree line. Walking some distance, the air grew close and even colder. A shape emerged from the darkness – shaggy and lupine, bipedal and hunched, with wicked fangs and glowing eyes.
At this moment, the torch guttered and died.
Osha's nerves failed her and she fled blindly into the trees. Kal stood slack-jawed. But Vasily stood firm, drawing his cudgel and charging the beast. It proved even stronger than he, biting and clawing the big man and leaving him torn and bloodied before it ran off into the wood.
Osha regained a hold on herself, but found herself lost. She risked calling out in the darkness, and was overjoyed to find her flight had not carried her far. Vasily managed to get the torch burning again, and they returned to the caravan.
Returning to camp, Baba admonished the wounded Vasily for not using the charm like she told him to; but explained that this creature was a Leshy – which are not known to be vicious. Baba conjectured that something must have angered it. They resolved to explore further in the morning.