Thursday, December 4, 2014

Wilds - The Road Home

After a much needed rest and a good night's sleep, the group is ready to head back. Durego's regular reminders about the judgement hanging over (most of) the group's head have begun to weigh on folk, and everyone is ready to lay the issue to rest. With FOB1 unsafe, the group decides to use Needle Spire to cache their excess goods, lightening the load for the return trip, and allowing them to bring out more supplies when they return. They settle on the walled-up icy-cold spire destination as the best place to store their supplies.

It takes a short time to pack up and head out, and a couple hours to reach the Spire. Once there, the group off-loads the mules and hobbles them so they can graze on the tall grass while the party members divide out the supplies to be left. Once the division is made, it's a simple matter to move the chosen supplies inside, teleport to the icy vault, and unload them there. The scouts check the small chamber for tracks, but the ground is frozen solid and holds no signs of passage. The chamber completely encloses the Spire, and there is a ten-foot wide gap between the wall and the Spire itself. Plenty of room to store goods. The party piles their supplies opposite the door, out of casual sight, and throws a canvas tarp over the lot. By the time they're done, everyone is shivering from the cold; when they return to Needle Spire, the air feels summery by comparison.

Wasting no time, the party reloads the much lightened pack saddles and heads ESE toward the old roadway. It's a pleasant and warm day, a welcome change from the recent chilly and wet weather. They manage another fifteen miles or so before night catches up with them. They camp in the scrubby plains southwest of the Vostat Shrine.

[October 19] The next day is cooler but still clear. The group moves at a good pace, pausing briefly at Vostat's Shrine to refill their water barrels before turning east. The pace slows a bit as the group hits the woods. The party is alert and on watch; according to Mordikarr, the gnolls from the village to the north might hunt this far out. Shortly after noon the group finds tracks, fat, shapeless tracks, crossing their path. They're old, and none of the scouts can make heads or tails of what might have made them. Night finds the group a few miles short of Urúvion's grave, but at least there's grazing for the mules south of the old roadway.

[October 20] Onward under clear skies. The group pays their respects at Urúvion's grave site, refills water barrels at the nearby quarry pool, and continues to the lightning-scarred elm where the elf was slain. While the elves pay their respects to whatever it is that lives in the tree, Ohwatoo and Ingvild use the Mirror of Eyes to scan the tree and the area around it. As with the other tree, nothing new is revealed. With a shrug, Raúguey gestures east, and the party moves on, camping that night well west of the battle site near the ruined church. No need to revisit that place at night.

[October 21] Another day on the road. Boring really. The party passes the old church ruin, and makes it to the village ruin [Hex 39.50] by nightfall. This time there are fresher signs that the place has been used recently, and not by humans. There are large footprints here and there, and a fresh fire with scorched deer bones tossed among the ashes. Something's been here, and recently. The watches are more alert than usual, but nothing approaches the ruin.

[October 22] The party heads for the bridge ruin, hoping the dry weather from the last week or so has been enough to reduce the river's flow to a fordable level. It has, and they cross without incident, noting more large footprints, similar to those found in the village ruin, on both sides of the river. They seem to lead away north. The party is going east, so they ignore this trail. They camp west of the Wood Road that night.

[October 23-26] The party reaches the Wood Road and turns north, toward Brekkevale. Four tedious days of marching along the road see them well-past Brekkevale, where they are watched with nervous attention, and across the bridges over the Hembard River. As they travel southeast on the Ironway the weather turns sour, and they are once again stuck walking in the rain.

The Wood Road is empty, but on the Ironway they see a few travelers, mostly farmer's bringing late crops to Auslaug, or ore wagons hauling crude iron or raw ore to the dockside warehouses. Others avoid the group as best they can, and are wary in conversation. The group picks up the news that the war down south is ongoing, and that more refugees have shown up. There's a rumor that Thambar is going to expand his holdings to the west, and settle these wanderers somewhere.

By nightfall of the fourth day, the group is across the second branch of the Hembard River, about ten miles northwest of Auslaug. They camp that night on the verge of the road in a wet and empty field. Tomorrow they face the music.

Since I haven't posted one in a while, here's the current exploration map the party is using.

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