The old roadway, little more than scattered stones here and there amid thick trees and undergrowth, proves little aid to progress. The group only makes a few scant miles before nightfall catches up with them. The woods here are filled with giant sycamores, live oaks and other lowland trees. The undergrowth has died back a bit with the autumn weather, but there are plenty of thorn bushes and stands of nettles to go around. Camp is a miserable little clearing on a low rise.
[November 17] The following day is warm and breezy, pleasant weather for exploring. While Rawon, Maro, and Mordikarr head out early to follow the southwest line of the road, the rest of the group explores in pairs and trios around the camp. The scouts plan on returning within 8 hours, and they do, with little to report. The road stones continue for eight or ten miles, then turn northwest. The scouts only hiked a short ways along the northwest branch, then cut back east across the bight. "All trees, wet and soggy, like here," grumbles Rawon as he cleans the mud off his boots.
"Ava see nothing but trees and swamps," adds Mordikarr.
The area around the camp proves equally fruitful, so the group packs up and heads back northeast to the intersection. Once their they turn northwest and start along the unexplored roadway. They only make it a short ways up this branch before night catches up with them. This roadway dips into very low swampy ground, and the party is forced to the east to avoid miring the mules in mud. There's a little more high ground in that direction, and they find themselves skirting the hills they saw on their original trip south.
[November 18] Yesterday's warm weather gives way to cold. There's heavy frost on the ground, and thin ice on the edges of puddles and pools. Much like yesterday, the scouts head out, those in camp explore nearby, though the marsh to the southwest limits exploration. The scouts are back early. "We found something!" exclaims Rawon.
|The party is currently near 11,47|
The group gathers round as the elves explain what they've seen: the roadway winds between low forested hills ahead, and one of the hills has a deep cut in once face. The cut has been finished with cut stone and there are big statues out front, and an entry tunnel. The scouts didn't get too close, but it seems like something worth checking out. Even Maro seems excited by the prospect of something other than swampy woods to explore.