Monday, July 24, 2017

The Colony - Turn 30 - Lost

The main party is definitely, positively, completely unsure of where they are.

Start Date: August ?
Start Status: Which Way?
Start Location: Lost

Adventuring: Rennard, Jinx, Mendel, Aaron, Maarek, Xon
At the Tulip: Adrienne, Brigg, Hagan, Kessel, Smoke, Zenobe

The Turn

After quickly checking their gear and making sure everyone is up and about, the group starts checking out the area. Aaron uses one of his ink vials to take a sample of the bubbling black water and reclaims his map without touching the head. Jinx and Maarek keep watch while Xon, Rennard, and Mendel start exploring the cavern. The place proves to be a circular cave about 100 feet across. There are about a dozen of the tree-like pillars supporting the roof. A single passage leads out of the chamber. Careful searching reveals no secret doors or traps, nor does the party find any footprints or drag marks.

Once Aaron is done collecting samples, he joins the others, and everyone heads out the only exit. The tunnel rises steeply and is full of twists and turns. After 150 feet or so, those in front feel a cool breeze on their face. In another 30 or 40 feet, an archway appears ahead. The party pauses at the opening. Beyond they can see the dim outlines of trees and leaf-covered ground. "I think it's night," says Rennard. "No sign of movement and I don't hear any rain."

"OK, let's wait here for daylight. I don't know about anyone else, but I'm hungry," says Xon. "This place is fairly safe, and I don't relish wandering through dark woods." The others agree, and everyone withdraws 10 feet or so and makes a cold meal of trail rations. They take turns keeping watch and resting, and six or seven hours pass before light shows beyond the archway.

The group eats a second meal in the cave opening before heading out into the growing light. The tunnel comes out of a steep embankment into a dense forest. While the sun is up, but the group finds themselves in twilight and shadow. The huge trees, a mix of oaks, evergreens, and a broad-leafed tree that's unfamiliar, and dense canopy block most of the light and make it difficult to get a fix on the sun. The ground is covered with a thick layer of leaves, fallen branches, and downed trees. Here and there, rocky outcroppings and boulders rise above the leaves.

The party heads south through the trees, hoping they are not too far from where they were ambushed. The uneven ground makes for slow going, and despite most of a night's rest, everyone feels fatigued and a bit unsteady on their feet. They walk for an hour or so, crossing two small streams that both flow northwest. Ahead, the ground starts to rise again, and Aaron suspects the group is heading for hills or mountains. "You know, none of this looks familiar. These woods are not like those where we were ambushed. I think we must have been moved quite a distance," He says.

"I can barely stay on my feet," admits Mendel, lowering his pack to a nearby boulder. "The poison from those darts must have a lingering effect."

"If we don't know where we are, then is going south the right thing to do?" asks Maarek.

Meanwhile, at the Tulip (August 8)

Kessel, Brigg, and Smoke set off early to explore the south part of the colony. They plan to go to Maple Vale, Southreach, and finally Southwatch. The day is warm and pleasant, although the road is quite muddy from yesterday's downpour.

Maple Vale is a charming village surrounded by rich farmland. The hills to the north are home to many flocks of sheep and the river, crossed by a sturdy stone bridge, provides a convenient water source and source of fish. There's an actual tavern in the village square, the Red Rooster, which proves a comfortable establishment with good ale. The bucolic farmers have little to say about events beyond the borders, although they do mention some troubles around Southreach involving thefts from outlying farms.

The group presses on to Southreach after a pint and reaches the second village before noon. There is no tavern here, just a covered patio next to the well-stocked general store (which has a surprising selection of survival equipment and fishing gear). The shopkeeper tells the group that there are fishermen who live along the coast north and east of the village. They come here regularly to sell fish and buy supplies.

When Brigg asks about the thefts they heard about in Maple Vale, he receives an earful. Apparently, it's a growing problem, and no one's figured out who is responsible yet. The shopkeeper's theory is some of the fishermen have turned bandit and are stealing the supplies they need instead of buying them. Smoke asks about the Sour Marsh, and the shopkeep has little information. The only thing he can say for sure is it smells terrible. Apparently, thousands of birds nest there, and their guano stinks.

The group is ready to set off for Southwatch when Candle and One-eye arrive. "I'd almost forgotten you two moved down here," says Kessel. The brothers seem happy but have little news to share beyond what they've already heard. The pair thinks the shopkeeper is probably right about the thefts. They also believe it may be a bigger problem than anyone suspects. They also share a bit of gossip about the local lord, Reval Karst. He is a cousin of Gaden Karst, the colony's military commander, but neither man likes the other very much.

While One-eye has duties to attend, Candle decides to tag along on the trip to Southwatch. He hasn't been down that way yet.

The tower visit goes much like the trip to West Peak Tower, initial caution followed by friendly acceptance. The sergeant agrees to let the group see the view from upstairs (which is less impressive than that from the other tower. He also mentions that he's requested additional forces to deal with the thefts in Southreach. He's not so sure it's bandits, and suspects natives of some sort are involved. The party takes their leave and heads back, saying their goodbyes in Southreach and reaching New Kavlin in the late afternoon.

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