[March 24] As the others set up camp, Rawon keeps watch and Mordikarr sends Ava aloft into the darkening skies. She circles camp a few times, then heads northwest, toward the noise. The guards hobble the mules in an area of new grass and then draw straws to see who digs the night's latrine pit. Frakki loses.
|Photo by Nathanael Coyne (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)|
[March 25] It's hard to tell when the sun rises. Thick clouds, driven by gusty winds, roll past overhead, bringing with them heavy rain and the occasional rumble of thunder. The winds makes Saurabh's scouting attempt with the belt of levitation mostly useless; clouds and rain obscure vision beyond a few hundred yards. There's not much to be done about the weather, so, wet and chilled, the party packs up and heads out.
It's miserable marching, but at least the ground is open. The party heads further north, crossing grassy, rolling terrain, cut here and there by snaking, steep-sided ravines filled with brown, rushing water. These force detours here and there, but the party maintains their northward course. Early in the day they stumble across a few marker stones from some ancient roadway, a great looping curve that heads off northwest and southwest. Aside from that, there is little variation in the terrain: grass, flooded ravines filled with scrubby trees and undergrowth, and boggy pools, now overflowing their low banks. The flat ground turns to mud, and the pace slows further.
As morning turns to afternoon, the group turns southeast, hoping for more favorable terrain as they continue their circling exploration around Blackpool Maze. No such luck. The grass turns to reeds and rushes; trees appear, and the pools spread and interconnect. The scouts seek the best path they can through what's clearly a swamp, but it's tough going. As the skies darken, and the thunder grows more frequent, the party halts on a low rise. The way east is blocked by a murky stream of coffee-colored water and everyone is miserable and cold. The group makes camp as best they can, and settles in for a night of camping in the rain. The only good news: Dagmarten thinks the weather will clear off before dawn.
Photo source: https://flic.kr/p/96p7PZ