Bless my beard, but we’ve had a rough time of it in the Eastern Borders of late. I daresay it will take the full strength of the gods, both old and new, to turn back the looming threat in the wilderness. Our outlook is even more dire after this most recent foray into the wilderness.
In the waning days of winter, I set out with Jorann, Dargellon, Oliphus, Treen and Mazlor to seek out Tangorin’s Shrine, from whence Jorann hoped to receive mystical visions. Heading east on the road — a mere trail of broken rocks through the dense forest, in truth — we avoided the troll bridge and came upon the abandoned wayfarers’ inn by the end of the day. It had been utterly destroyed, and footprints around the site pointed to the involvement of the dragon that has been menacing the skies of late. We wisely decided not to tarry, but continued our quest northeast toward Tangorin’s shrine.
Our next waypoint was a ruined manor house situated in the grasslands just east of the Darkwoods. We found a few trinkets of value here, which suggests that further exploration may be in order. We stayed but one night behind its collapsed walls before continuing northeast toward the shrine.
On our third day in the wilderness, a deep, frigid cold swept through the region, chilling us to the bone and hampering our progress through the grasslands. After a half-day’s journey northeast, we came upon a small thorpe — and beheld a crew of vicious orcs milling around in the central courtyard!
Suicidal bravado gripped our party, and we charged blindly into battle astride our noble steeds. I, along with Dargellon and Oliphus, met the enemy head on, but our charge was stymied by the cruel machinations of the orcs — they carried death-sticks that spat smoke and fire, chewing through armor and flesh alike. Unhorsed, I flung my enchanted warhammer through the air in a vain attempt to smite the fusiliers, but it was to no avail — a third volley of fire battered into me, and I fell insensate to the ground.
When I came to, the battle was over and my party was preparing to depart with all haste. I gathered that an orc had escaped — on mine own horse, no less! — and was doubtless on his way to rally reinforcements. In my weakened state, I could do little more than cling to the saddle was we headed west, toward the safety of Enonia.
One last detour remained before we returned. In the Darkwoods, we sought out the mysterious trollkin, who appeared and told us, in their childish ways, that the elves stationed at the abandoned mines had been slaughtered by the orcs. This troubled us deeply, as the mines were a mere half-day’s march from Enonia! Armed with this grim news, we hastened back to Enonia to inform the Marshall via Yinivax, his castellan.
We had intended to bring back both an orcish prisoner and two of the accursed death-sticks to show the marshal, but my faith got the better of me — Vanir, the Voice on the Northern Wind, appeared to me in a vision, cursing us for retrieving the death-sticks and ordering me to destroy them and to kill the prisoner at once. He revealed that the orcs — marked as they were with the sign of a great eyeball — served a dark god, just as I served Vanir. Thus they were certainly religious zealots who believed they were doing the dark work of their lord. We killed the prisoner and cast bless on the firearms, causing them to explode.
(((FOR PCs ONLY)))Back in Enonia, we got a shock whilst delivering our customary report to Yinivax. The castellan informed us that the marshal had suffered a breakdown and was no longer in command of either his own faculties nor of Enonia’s garrison. Yinivax himself held the frontier town together, and he intimated that he relied more and more on our reports from the dark wilderness.(((FOR PCs ONLY)))
We vowed to redouble our efforts in this, and set out after a week’s rest to investigate reports that the elves occupying the mines were indeed dead.
(((FOR PCs ONLY)))Alas, it was all too true. A well-built palisade in the clearing outside the mine entrance showed signs of a pitched battle, with slain horses and elves piled everywhere. No dead orcs were to be found anywhere. Perhaps they carried off their dead to perform unspeakable burial rites? Perhaps dead orcs turned to dust after sundown? We had no way of knowing. Indeed, after poking around the mines a bit more, we left with more questions than answers.(((FOR PCs ONLY)))
It appears that a storm is gathering over Enonia, and its strength and fury may prove to be the doom of us all.