The relatively fresh trail puts the party on alert. Most of the group want to follow the trail south, away from the bog, but Maro and Saurabh want to check out the northern path too. Dagmarten agrees to go with the pair and they head north. Their plan is to follow it for an hour at most and see what they can see. The others poke around the woods along the edge of the bog and curse the rain while they wait for the trio to come back.
An hour and a half later the scouts return. "The trail
ends near a good sized pond," says Maro. "Looks like someone fishes
there, we saw more tracks, the same as those on the trail, along the
edge of the water. We also found a small fire pit and some fish bones.
As best I can tell, there were two of them. There was another trail
leading away west from the pond, but it hadn't been used recently."
think your first thought might be right Raúguey, this looks a lot like
what we found near the Jago clan. I'd guess we're going to find people
here, somewhere," says Durego.
"We still need to be careful. Just because they're people doesn't mean their friendly," warns Ohwatoo.
But let's not start firing bows at the first thing we see. We'll try to
talk first." The cleric hefts his pack. "South?" The others nod, and
the group heads south, following, but not on the trail, hoping to avoid
any traps or pitfalls that might have been left by the trail-makers. The
trail continues generally south for a mile or more, then branches, with
one fork going east, the other continuing south. Uninterested in going
east, the party follows the south trail.
Another half-mile on
Rawon starts pointing things out. Torn up pine needles and broken down
brush. Split-hoofed prints in the soft soil, fallen trees cut and
stacked, drag marks from a sledge. "We're getting close to something.
I'm guessing a settlement. I can't be sure but I think those are hog
"Maro, you should move to the front," says Ohwatoo.
"You're better than any of us at talking with people. Everyone needs to
be very careful with their weapons here. We don't want to provoke
whoever this is unless absolutely necessary. We don't know how many
With murmurs of agreement all around, Maro takes
point, backed by Rawon and Mordikarr, and the group presses on. A short
while later the trees begin to thin out, but it's not a natural
clearing, someone has clear cut the area. Ahead scattered stumps poke
out of the bare earth and low-growing brush. In the center of this
extensive open area, a small palisade stands on what could barely be
called a hill. A few rough-haired hogs poke and snort their way through
the brush nearer the structure, and you can see several people working
on something near the entrance to the place. It looks like there might
be a garden of sorts there. You can't see within the palisade, but you
do notice a single tiny watch platform rising above the wall. It's
occupied, and it looks like the watchman has a spear near at hand. The
people are too far away to make out any details of appearance or garb.
trees provide you some minor cover, but if you stay where you are, the
watchman is very likely to spot you, if he hasn't already.