Thursday, April 4, 2013
Wilds - Building Bridges
The next day...
The party is off into the wilderness again, hoping to find something that looks like the map they recovered from the creatures in the Cold Caves. Let's see how they fare...
Start Date: July 5, Year of the Badger, late morning
Start Status: Bridge over the old ravine
Start Location: Near Stonefinger
"Well, that ought to hold." Nissa was standing on the newly added logs on the bridge, having expended considerable effort jumping up and down to see if she could knock something loose. It had taken the bridge crew several hours to cut two fresh logs, trim them down, and stake them in place, but the effort was worth it. The two new logs formed a sort of rail on either side, stabilizing the old logs, which were a bit rotted but still pretty solid now that they'd been staked and stabilized.
"Let's get moving. I want to see if the others have found anything." Durego was anxious. With the mules in tow the group, Nissa, Durego, Ingvild, Gorvil, Jonquil, and Saurabh, crossed the bridge and headed for Stonefinger at a good clip. Both groups had agreed to meet at the camp site they'd previously used. When they arrived, the others were already there, looking tired and not very happy.
"That was a waste," said Urúvion as the others arrived.
"No luck finding anything?" asked Ingvild.
"Nothing. We've been out here all morning, covered most of the area pretty well. The only thing we found was another of those marked trees, down south. The mark's similar, but not the same. The kits wouldn't go near it."
Grit mutters, "Stupid cats are supposed to like climbing."
After a quick meal, and short rest, everyone agrees to head out. There doesn't seem to be much more to see at Stonefinger, and if you push hard, you can put a good dent in the hike to the Cat Cave. The light breeze and partial clouds make for pleasant walking weather, and you make relatively good progress, though the mules are a constant drag as you move through the underbrush and denser stands of trees. You reach the stream that marks the near edge of the thorn thicket by early afternoon, and skirt it to the south, following your trail of blaze marks. The thinner woods beyond are a mixed blessing. Fewer trees means it's easier to keep a straight course, but there's more underbrush, so the mules are slower. It is near dark when you reach the Cat Cave, and call a halt for the day.
Grit, Raúguey, Durego, and Nissa check out the cave to ensure nothing else has taken up residence, while the others spread out to find water, set up a temporary camp, and gather more firewood. The cave is empty (good thing you dragged the bones and offal out and buried it at Dagmarten's urging), and between its shelter and the tarps you have packed on the mules you make a decent camp. Everyone is tired after the long day, so you settle in to sleep and watch, hoping for a quiet night.
July 6 - Your hopes are realized and the next morning you quickly pack up and head out, with two goals in mind. First to find the ruined wall to the south and explore its full length, and second to find a good longer-term base camp near the springs from last trip. As you move south the rougher ground proves tough going, and the pace is pretty slow, but by late morning you find the ruins again. Leaving the mules under guard you head southeast along the wall. It extends about a quarter-mile in that direction before going to pieces and vanishing. Ohwatoo (being one of the smarted people in the world) points out the relatively clear area south of the wall. He theorizes the stones were the fenced border of some homesteader's field. With that in mind you spread out and sweep around the more open ground to the south, to no avail. If there was a house out here, it's long gone.
Finding nothing else of interest in your search, you head back to the mules and start the trek northwest to the springs. It takes several hours to find a suitable site near the springs to set up camp, the ground is rough and rocky, but eventually you settle on a small clearing bordered by several large hemlocks. Since you're planning on staying a while, you spend the rest of the evening clearing brush, digging a latrine, setting a picket line for the mules, gathering wood, and setting a few snares in the surrounding woods. By dark you're all beat, and after a big meal you settle in for the night.
July 7 - The next morning, Ohwatoo, Locky, Urúvion, and Jonquil are still dead tired (CON fail). They agree to stay in camp, tend the mules, and work on improving the shelter while the rest of the party heads out to explore. Durego suggests someone else stay as well, and eventually Nissa agrees to remain near camp and try her hand at hunting without the entire group stamping around. The explorers are headed south, first to check out the more open ground, then further as time allows. They're packing enough food for a night in the field, but not much beyond that. The groups agree to meet back at camp no later than noon tomorrow.
The camp crew spends a quiet day and night in light labor. Nissa's hunting trip nets a small deer, which serves as a welcome change from dried rations. The snares produce nothing however. By nightfall everyone is feeling much better rested, and Ohwatoo is the first to remark on how quiet the woods seem. Once he points it out, everyone notices. Even the birds seem muted. "Thanks Ohwatoo," mutters Urúvion, "now no one will get any sleep tonight." You stay up late, hoping the others will return, but sleep calls, so you bank the fire and settle in for another quiet night.
July 8 - The others return mid-morning the next day. "You found something!" cries Locky, before they can speak.
It's clear from their faces that the scouting trip had some success. Maro begins the tale. "We went south, and cut across that meadows area we saw before. It's pretty big, giving way to dry hills southeast and more grass southwest. Rather than zig and zag all over the place we headed straight south into the woods beyond, hoping the trees were hiding something..."
"They were," interrupts Raúguey. "There was a big fight there, next to an old ruined church or shrine." The big man shivers a moment. "There was a graveyard too. I don't like graveyards."
"Whoever is in those graves won't bother you Raúguey. They're long dead," says Grit. "There were scattered bones and a few rusty weapons and bits of armor in and around the structure. It's all old, very old, and long-abandoned though."
"But that's not the important thing!" Maro grins. "We found a road!"
Indeed they had. The road was an old thing, little more than an open space leading through gaps in the trees, but there were patches of cobble and rotted logs here and there that showed its course. The explorers followed it a few miles east, then doubled back and went even further west. By dark they'd gone about nine miles west of the old ruin. They camped for the night and after a brief scout around their dry camp (the open meadows are lacking water sources so far as they've found) they headed back to meet up with the others.
"Well I guess all this work was for nothing then," mutters Locky, looking sadly at the neatly-piled wood and sturdy shelter.
Durego pats him on the shoulder. "Aww, don't worry little guy, I'm sure we'll use it on the way back. It's a good spot."
OOC: Not sure if you guys want to explore more here, or make for the road.
End Date: July 8, year of the Badger, late morning
End Status: Follow the ugly dirt road
End Location: Dead Cat Spring camp
Marching Order (servants march with their leader)
Front: Grit, Rawon, Dagmarten, Raúguey
Middle: Locky, Urúvion, Ohwatoo (Jonquil), Ingvild
Rear: Durego (Gorvil), Maro, Nissa
Front: Grit, Ingvild, Rawon, Raúguey
Middle: Maro, Urúvion, Ohwatoo (Jonquil), Dagmarten
Rear: Durego (Gorvil), Locky, Nissa
1 - Nissa, Ingvild, Dagmarten, Raúguey, Saurabah
2 - Rawon, Maro, Locky, Durego, Gorvil
3 - Grit, Urúvion, Ohwatoo, Jonquil