To Rivenroar: Day 1
And so early the next morning, although late to set off, after running around looking for the missing Magnus, the adventurers hit the road – a full complement of six, with Sgt. Velani, ex of the Fallcrest Guard.
It’s a beautiful day, a little chilly but… the sun is trying to break through the clouds, the going is slightly soft underfoot, there’s been a lot of rain of late, but for now there are tracks and trails to follow. The adventurers pass, initially, through worked land; crops grow tall while animals graze – all is well with the world.
As the group progresses however all signs of habitation swiftly fade. The land undulates, there always seems to be another hill that needs to be climbed, copses of trees grow denser, and the foliage within – mostly bracken and gorse, makes tough going. It also doesn’t help that shallow streams need to be forded here and there, feet get wet – boots and trews become sodden, and by mid-afternoon a fine rain settles in…
Encounter #5 – 300 XP – Level 1 Encounter
Skill Challenge (Level 1 Complexity 3).
Ah-shahran, Male Deva, Hybrid Shaman-Warlord, Level 1
Freggo, Male Human, Swordmage, Level 1
Kalimaru, Male Razorclaw Shifter, Ranger (Scout), Level 1
Kyalia, Female Elf, Ranger, Level 1
Sgt. Velani, Female Human, Paladin (Cavalier), Level 1
Viator, Male Eladrin, Psion, Level 1
Kyalia is used to travelling in the wilds, the rain does not bother her at all. Although it makes it harder for her to find signs of the Goblins’ passing.
The long walk, and the constant strain of having to keep her mind focused, takes its toll on Kyalia, after a while the Elf grows tired, it seems she has become soft – too long in the city perhaps.
Viator tries desperately to pull his weight, aware that many of his companions are significantly more experienced and capable at this kind of thing. Now and then he reaches out with his power, trying to slide obvious obstacles out of their path; moving aside branches, parting some of the deeper puddles, as the adventurers wend their way.
The Psion, like Kyalia, pushes himself too hard; after a while his head spins and before midday he has a blinding headache. The Eladrin growls to himself as he tries with all his strength to keep on going.
Kali, on the other hand, relaxes somewhat – he’s in his element, surrounded by the natural world – his true home. More than that, he can feel his blood racing beneath his skin – every one of his senses heightened – the hunt is on. Now and then the Shifter stops to sniff the breeze – he can smell them still, filthy Goblins.
Once or twice Ah-shahran looks over at Kali, spots the big man smiling. Kali swiftly turns his smile into his usual frown – but the truth cannot be hidden, at least not from Ah-shahran, the Shifter is enjoying himself.
Ah-shahran otherwise helps Kyalia with the tracking, he keeps one eye on the map always, following it closely, he ensures the adventurers do not deviate. At odd times he summons Gorm to “help” them along, the sight of the hound seems to raise even the lowest spirit.
The Deva also pays particular attention to the wildlife, plant life, and terrain – he seems fascinated by almost everything he sees, at time his enthusiasm is catching. Occasionally, he tries to lift the mood with an encouraging word to his fellow travellers, more than once he addresses Velani as ‘Honourary Sergeant’, which makes her smile.
As the day progresses, and the rain increases its pace, the going gets tougher, and Ah-shahran – like the others, grows quiet. He finds himself forced to call upon his past memories – his previous experiences, particularly those from lives spent soldiering, they help him to push on through.
Freggo, at first, dashes eagerly ahead, acting as though the adventurers were on a picnic in the country. Occasionally he unsheathes his sword, uses it to gesture grandly in the direction, he assumes, the group will be going next… which is more often than not incorrect.
Nonetheless, the young Swordmage throws himself at every obstacle, moving logs and branches out of the way for his fellows. He tries out various routes up hillsides to find the easiest path – he burns energy at a tremendous rate, and yet always seems to have more to give.
Late in the day, when the adventurers gait has been reduced to a trudge, Velani decides to break the silence.
It has been some time since I set out this far from Fallcrest. Never had much need to leave town. My friends and family are there…
Velani suddenly realises how far away from home she truly is.
I’m sure Pashon, my husband, will get along fine without me for a spell.
Velani suddenly regrets opening her mouth – she grows silent for a while more, thinking long and hard about those she has left behind.
Eventually she tries again.
Do you know the legend of these woods? Let me tell you…
Velani begins to spin her yarn. A little fiction mixed in with a spoonful of fact, enough to hopefully buoy the adventurers’ spirits.
Alas many of her companions are not listening – their ears filled with the thud-thud of their own footsteps. The journey seems endless, and miserable, in the rain.
All in all it’s a funny old day…
Or at least nothing seems to go exactly right – not that things go badly wrong, supper time sees the group doing their best to hide their various bruises, cuts and scratches from each other. None of the various ailments are anything to worry about, nor collectively are they anywhere enough to think of turning back, it’s just… a dark cloud seems to have followed them on the trail today.
There’s nothing that can disguise how pale Viator looks however, the poor lad has been suffering with his migraine for the majority of the day. When they finally rest the Eladrin is forced to lie on his back with his eyes closed for over an hour – rubbing his temples vigorously.
Kyalia suffers a slight fall earlier on in the journey – again nothing much, a minor thing, Kali had lifted a log in place to aid the crossing of a shallow but fast flowing stream, and at just the wrong moment the log slipped. Again, nothing much, a turned ankle that’s all, and for Kali a little shame for not doing his job as well as he should.
Freggo is at times a myriad of mishap- letting go of branches which swing back to lash a friend –
- wandering once into stinging nettles, and twice or more getting caught on briars… Again none of these things account for much, they just chip away at the spirit of the venture, it’s as if the group are struggling a little to find their stride.
At the end of the day Velani is suffering also, she secretly removes her boot to discover the biggest blister. There’s no denying things, a year out of the guard has left her a little out of shape, and later on in the trek, out of breath – she’ll sleep well tonight.
Around the fire, after supper, Ah-shahran – for all to see, traces their progress on the map – they are clearly well-behind schedule, the original idea was that the journey would take two days. Unless things improve drastically tomorrow the group will arrive at the Rivenroar ruins on the third day of travel, at best.
The adventurers post watches, hidden in a dense copse of trees – away from prying eyes, and lie down to rest for the evening – nothing disturbs their slumber.