Back in the saddle with the Wilds, at least for one turn this week. Holidays always wreak havoc with the turn schedule, and no one likes holiday travel!
Start Date: November 10, year of the Badger, midday
Start Status: Poking around
Start Location: Old bones, northwest of FOB1
The party spends a couple hours poking around the old bones near the creek. Rawon takes Jonquil and heads for the water, looking for signs of footprints or other tracks. Mordikarr and Maro try to puzzle out how many and what kind of creatures died here, while Grendor examines the marks on the bones. The others stand watch.
Rawon and Jonquil report in first. "Nothing to see down there. All the rain washed away any sign along the creek."
"Whatever killed these folk was strong," says Grendor. "Something cracked this horse's tibia with a single blow, likely from a heavy axe. There are gnaw-marks on the bones too, but I can't tell what from."
"Teeth marks not from wolf or cat. Maybe bear, or worse," says Mordikarr.
"I count five human skulls, plus parts of two horses and a mule," says Maro. "Not a very big group."
"And we still don't know what killed them," mutters Durego, eyes on the woods.
"Well, whatever did it was smart enough to take anything of value. There's nothing left here but a broken sword and some scattered parts of a pack saddle." Rawon points at the heavy undergrowth along the creek's edge. "There are old. broken branches down there, so I'd guess an ambush. This group came along, got jumped, and then..." he points to the crude fire pit, "cooked and eaten."
Ohwatoo speaks up, eyes on the sky, "A disturbing tale. Can we get moving now? The sun's getting low already, and I don't want to be here after dark."
The others nod and prepare to move out, some sparing a last look at the scattered remains. "Doesn't seem right to just leave them there," mutters Dagmarten, the last to leave the grisly site.
The party continues northwest through thick trees, which slowly change from oak and elm to pine and cedar. Three hours later Rawon says, "Something ahead. Is that a path?"
The group leaves the hirelings with the animals, and move forward to check it out. It is no natural path, it's an old roadbed, barely visible beneath the pines. "It's leading in the right direction, let's see where it goes," says Raúguey. The group reforms and follows the road for another half-hour and finds an old stone foundation surrounded by scattered stones and boulders. It was a pretty good-sized building, but nothing remains other than low mounds of rock, and the deep well, which Strom discovers when he falls in! [8 damage from the nasty fall].
"At least we have fresh water!" calls out the dwarf as the others prepare a rope to haul him out.
"I'm not sure I want to drink dwarf tainted water," answers Grendor.
The ruin makes a reasonable camp site, and it's near dark, so the group settles in for the night. Durego and Dagmarten tend the dwarf's wounds, and that, along with a dose from the kettle, fix him right up. It passes quietly.
[November 11] The day dawns warm and windy, and Dagmarten says there will be rain soon. No one wants to march in the rain again, so the group heads out early, hoping to make time while the weather holds. The roadway runs northwest for a few miles, then turns north, but it is marginally better walking than straight through the woods, so the party follows along. They make about 12 miles before their energy, and the roadway, peter out.
[November 12] It's another warm and blustery day. The susurrus of the wind in the pines drowning out the usual forest noises. With no trail to follow the party moves northwest at a very slow pace. Durego is about to call for a break when the scouts all freeze, except Rawon who throws up a warning hand. "What is it?" calls Strom.
"There's a huge grizzly bear, right in front of Mordikarr," says the elf in a quiet voice.
End Date: November 12, year of the Badger, noonish
End Status: Warning, bear crossing.
End Location: In the woods near Tragor's Hold