The raid on the nest tower was a success, but Mordikarr and his animal buddies are nervous. The trail a group of thirteen plus four mules leaves is wide and obvious. Distance is the party's best ally. Unfortunately the terrain is challenging, and the trail, well, the trail has a mind of its own...
Start Date: September 10, dawn
Start Status: Shhhh!
Start Location: The Wilds
An uneasy night's rest leads to an uneasy morning. Everyone is stirring early, and since camp was a few bedrolls and blankets spread on the cushion of pine needles beneath the trees, there's little to pack. By the time the sun's first rays have penetrated the rustling pines, the party is on the move. The glimpses they catch of the skies are mostly blue, and the morning air is pleasantly cool. Looking back, even the least woods-wise can see the clear signs of the party's passage. "No way to cover that," mutters Durego.
Despite the worries about pursuit, the morning passes without incident, though the dense growth and dead branches makes for slow going. The roadway, barely visible, turns northward, and the trees get taller, more pines now, with hemlocks added to the mix. During a break, Rawon climbs a tree, and tries to get a look at the lay of the land, but with evergreens in all directions, it's hard to tell much. It looks clearer to the southeast, and the ground rises to the north. There are trees as far as the eye can see.
Shortly after the morning break, there's a break in the woods. A rocky hill (outcropping really) flanks the trail, a few standing stones on top hint at old construction. Leaving the mules and the rest of the train under the trees, Rawon and Mordikarr investigate. They return in short order. "Just an old foundation, mostly filled with rubble. No sign of occupation or use."
"That's, what? Three or four of these we've found? Seems like once upon a time this area was occupied and well guarded. By whom, I wonder," muses Ohwatoo.
"Think while you walk. We need to get more distance between us and those nests. Curse these woods!" Durego eyes the dark boughs along the pathway with a scowl. "Did you see anything of the surrounding land while you were up there?"
Mordikarr nods. "Many trees in all directions. Big hills ahead."
"Looks like we'll be in stuff like this for the rest of the day at least. All I saw ahead was pine forest," adds Rawon.
"Best keep moving then," grumbles Raúguey.
By noon the party has covered only double-handful of miles. After a hasty break for a midday meal they press on. As predicted, the relatively flat ground gives way to a slow rise that becomes a ridge line. The trail turns and runs along the rise, then dips and rises, higher and to the northwest. Just before the dinner break, the pathway heads into a patch of rockier ground along a ridge, and... vanishes.
"Wonderful," mutters Ingvild, casting about for any hint as to where it might have gone.
Yep, that trail seems to have finally disappeared as it crosses the rockier ground you're encountering in the hilly terrain. The woods are still fairly dense, though there are open patches here and there. The trees are predominantly pine, hemlock, and cedar, with the occasional oak or elm in the mix. Sight lines are very restricted due to thick needles and dead branches down low. You're having to break branches to clear the way for the mules in many places..
End Date: September 10, early evening
End Status: Road? What road?
End Location: The Wilds