With the frigid winter giving way to the thaw of spring last month, some of the areas of attention throughout the winter begin to shift. The Shield to the north saw consistent activity with Mordok, the supplies stretched thin despite the fresh reserve and rotation of volunteers to the outposts. Many fledgling adventurers got their first taste of life at the outpost defenses to the north and spent time overhearing the tales of the Ulven veterans stationed there. Campfires continue to be filled with stories about the slaying of the Mordok alpha and tracking down exactly what happened seems to be a feat all on its own.
The lands to the south were rather quiet near the end of the winter. Considerable progress and expansion was coordinated by the Newhope officials of the City-State and the considerable social functions of almost two months ago were the talk of many towns. Other than news of banditry and concerns of minor border disputes, there hasn’t been much else that has circulated the tongues of those traveling the roads.
Coastal Expedition: Part 1 of 3
Bursting onto the scene at the beginning of the month is a call for volunteer adventurers and sailors for an expedition. Rumors have circulated that an Ulven longship of the previous Watchwolves Clan, situated in Clan Grimward territory, sailed north to chart some new fishing waters. After a storm blew them off course, they found themselves witness to a large sailing vessel of colonial make drifting out at sea. The ship seemed to be sailing further north towards the coastal territory of the outlands. The Ulven sailors had to orient themselves to return home before they had a chance to make contact with the seafaring vessel, but that did not mean they did not bring the news home. After some time, a City-State ambassador obtained permission from Clan Grimward to travel to Watchwolf territory to talk to these sailors. After many interviews the ambassadors were able to confirm that this was indeed a colonial ship. One sailor even said they saw a tattered flag waving, bleached in the sun, and being “half a heraldry of blue” in color.
Rumors immediately begin to swirl through the lands in the south of Mardrun, especially in the towns and villages of the colonists. Every tavern and merchant stall is filled with the excited chatter of this new development. Like wildfire news spreads of a new ship from Faedrun and before long the rumors grow far out of control. Many believe that this is evidence that Faedrun still stands and that they have sent a ship to let everyone know. Some claim that this must mean that the undead plague has been settled and that everyone will be able to return home soon. Others take this to be a dire message and that Faedrun is sending word to muster more reinforcements to continue the fight. Regardless, there is a palpable sense of hope blanketed across the colonists of Mardrun.
An expedition was quickly put together to travel along the coast and catch up with this ship before it unknowingly tries to set it’s anchor somewhere in the dangerous north. Duchess Madeline D’Argent, as the main driving force behind the expedition, began the tasks for securing supplies supplies and crew needed for this voyage. Long had there been talk of a naval voyage to map the northwestern coasts and it seems that the needed push has finally come.
In a move that surprised many on the continent, Prince Aylin of Aldoria has come forth pledging support of this cause as well. As the Duchess finalizes the logistics behind the voyage and sends out the call for volunteers of all sorts, several impressive ships arrive in the Newhope port sailing the Aldorian colors, flying flags with heraldry colored half blue and half green. It seems like if anything could get potential rivals to put aside their differences for a short, it is a good old fashioned adventure.
As the first ships are stocked and volunteers taken on board, this three month voyage’s success will depend heavily on those that support it and what areas they focus on. There are many duties to tend to; security of the ships and the morale of the sailors, the logistics behind getting supplies and food needed, the trade skills and extensive lore of many being applied to different objectives, and the skill (or luck) of some of the first to arrive to scout and learn about the coastal lands.
UPDATE: The showing at the docks of Newhope is truly a sight to behold and there is a galvanized energy in the air as crowds gather to see off the expeditions. People wave from the docks as their family members board the ships. Flags are raised by citizens of the once great kingdoms of Faedrun as they cheer on the expedition that they are sure will bring back good news from their home continent. After a long, dark winter this is exactly the type of event the City-state needed to raise the spirits of the people. Before long the anchors are raised and the ships push out to see, egged onward by the cheering crowd of onlookers.
The journey goes smoothly given that a good amount of volunteers signed on to the expedition, mostly as logistical and martial support. The fleets cut a tight route around the Stormjarl Coast and though the air between the Aldorian and Newhope ships is outwardly one of camaraderie in a shared purpose, a keen observer would note that both sides seem set on outdoing the other in someway. The ships slowly jockey for the lead position over the course of the trek. Along the way the fleet makes a few stops along the Watchwolf coast and the research team, accompanied by a small retinue of support, heads ashore to gather intel from the locals to help ascertain the route of the mystery ship. Unfortunately there was not a large group of volunteers in the research wing and so their ability to collect and process reports is drastically slowed. The ships end up spending multiple days at each stop along the coast as the researchers do everything they can to track down leads, but thanks to the logistical support aboard the ships, the supplies are well rationed and the extended nature of these stops doesn’t have a large impact on the overall health of the expedition.
Eventually the research team does come to a conclusion on where they should begin the search. Several stories corroborate with each other and tell of a current that sweeps northward about a mile further out to sea. All of the interviewees speak about avoiding this current in their fishing boats as many have stories of friend or family getting caught in the current and carried north, never to be seen again. It seems that the ship in question was riding this current and thus the fleet will follow suit. One ship from each fleet is sent back to Newhope with reduced crew and a message to request more researchers as they believe there could be more to explore at the terminus of this northern current.
The rest of the fleet sets it’s course and sails onward. Those without their sea legs under them are nearly taken off their feet as the ships make contact with the current. The bows of the ships are pushed strongly to the north as the sails struggle to keep their heading. The crews quickly set to work to adjust course to put the current at the tail of the ships and after a rocky start the fleet finds itself ushered northward on a swift current. As the month comes to a close the sight of a sun-bleached Aldorian flag rises over the horizon atop the mast of a tallship. As it comes into focus it becomes clear that the ship has been beached on on a reef near a sandbar extending off the coast. As the fleet draws closer they see that the Aldorian ship is also surrounded by the wreckage of Ulven fishing boats and a few longships. From a distance there doesn’t seem to be any movement aboard the ship and it seems that a few of their dinghies are missing. The assumption is that after beaching on the reef, the crew of the ship lowered their boats and rowed to the nearby mainland.
The fleet turns hard to avoid the reef and sets anchors off the coast of the mainland. The decision is made to establish a camp on the beach and send a party to the beached Aldorian vessel to check for anyone left behind as soon as camp is ready to receive the passengers. Thanks to the logistic support the camp almost seems to raise itself and within short time the leadership is ready to put together a crew to row out to the beached ship.