December 18th – Blood & Ice
Several groups of adventurers have made their way to the Wayward Inn, a previously abandoned roadside tavern. Some of the nobility of Newhope have dedicated resources into fixing up the establishment and getting it running again. It was previously abandoned due to it being too close to Mordok territory but with the help of the Ulven presence and the expansion of the human settlements it can be reopened.
About the same time the adventurers arrived, there were increased reports of bandits in the woods and also a group of Aldorian Guards were spotted in the area. An Aldorian Scout came to the Wayward Inn and offered a reward for the death of the bandits and the return of a Noble’s daughter that was kidnapped. Several adventurers went out to confront the bandits but were persuaded not to kill them after they explained that they were political refugees. The Noble’s daughter explained that she had not been kidnapped at all, but had run off to elope with one of the rebels. The adventurers then came back to the Wayward Inn to discuss a plan. The scout offered even more money for their help and although it was assumed the Aldorian was not telling them the whole truth, she was not pressed for more info.
Soon after that, the rest of the Aldorian Guard in the area showed up and said that the rebel camp was abandoned. If they were not able to bring the rebels to justice they were ordered to bring in or kill the families of those helping the rebels and left to carry out that mission. The adventurers were not willing to sit idly by with soldiers going to the homes of innocent people and went to intervene. After a confrontation and some harsh words from both sides, a fight broke out and several adventurers and guards were severely wounded. The Aldorian Captain promised revenge on them and anyone who associated themselves with that group. The followers of Crow’s Landing were specifically pointed out as being involved in attacking the guards.
Soon after that, a Daughter of Gaia from Pack Fieldcrow showed up under Pack Longfang guard and gathered a small group to investigate a series of taints and diseases in the forest. Upon arriving at a tree tainted by Mordok magic, the Daughter of Gaia began a cleansing ritual and sprang a magical trap that clamped onto her arm. Once the trap went off there were a number of Mordok, lying in ambush and led by an Alpha, that attacked the group. Her guards could not release her and held their ground but were in danger of being overrun and destroyed. The fight stalled for a moment when one of the adventurers challenged the Mordok Alpha and the other Mordok gave them room to fight. The duel between the Ulven warrior and the Mordok Alpha continued until a second group of adventurer’s arrived and gave assistance. Since the Mordok trap was magical and they could not remove it quickly, the adventurer’s severed the arm of the Daughter of Gaia to get her away and back to the Inn. Once that was done and the other adventurer’s pressed back on the Mordok, the Alpha retreated into the woods, prematurely ending the duel.
Two adventuring parties were formed to scout out and find some Mordok camps in the area. The groups would have to split up completely in order to check both camps. The first group ended up running into the nearby camp to the south that the Alpha retreated to and fell back and called for help from the second group. The second group returned and helped the first and organized their efforts on the Mordok camp and eventually took the Alpha down. During their retreat out of the camp, a human rogue slipped in and recovered some sort of skin or leather piece that had cryptic runes and symbols on it. Because of the focused effort on the first camp, the second Mordok camp was not scouted out or discovered.
Once the adventurers were back to the Wayward Inn, several groups went out to hunt down roaming Mordok in the woods. A few fights broke out and some adventurers were beaten up pretty badly, but the Mordok were driven off. All the adventurers returned to the Wayward Inn and either parted ways or stayed for the night as darkness set in.
Photos from the event!
Firsthand account by Raskolf Vakr, Ulven Warder and Diplomat:
Dear Priestess Ravensmark,
Today I learned a lot about human nature. Humans are a lot more complicated than Ulven. They are better at lying. I have found that in order to get the truth from a human, one must expect to ask the same question at least three times. They are very manipulative. I have tried to keep an open mind, and have done my best to integrate myself into their society, but it is an uncomfortable space.
One thing that confuses me is their lack of unity. Whilst the Ulven Nation has never been well organized, we have always had a certain kinship among the clans. Even the clanless packs, such as our friends the Longfangs, have always proven reliable in time of need. The humans, on the other hand, have a very complex system of kingdoms and fiefdoms. There is no unified human nation. Rather than work together, the different groups seem to consider themselves to be rivals, and even enemies. The humans classify each other based on wealth, breeding, and political standing. It is no wonder that they were unable to defend their homes from the undead. Doubtless the different kingdoms stood by and watched their neighbors get eaten by the hungry ghosts when they should have banded together under one banner.
The most treacherous and manipulative humans I have met thus far seem to be the Aldorians. They wear the colors of blue and green. These arrogant and cowardly people call themselves Soldiers and boast of their martial prowess, yet hire mercenaries to fight for them. They are quick to turn on unarmed civilians, though, or to feign friendship in order to lure others into an ambush. Their War-Leader was a bully and a thug. He refused to talk to me, stating that my fangs made me of a lesser station than he. This certainly didn’t stop him from trying to hire me as a mercenary though, and trying to trick me into doing violence on his behalf against a pitiful group of starving, freezing refugees whom he mislabeled as bandits. Whilst traveling in their company, the Aldorians attacked us on the trail. The attack was sudden and without provocation. Elise, fierce little warrior that she is, slew one of our attackers and gravely injured another before I sent her running for help. We managed to fight off the Aldorians, whose martial prowess is nowhere near what they boast, but suffered many wounded among our own. The Aldorians fled into the woods, to lick their wounds, and their War-Leader made many empty threats as they ran away. It is here that I wish to apologize, my Priestess, for though I tried to stay out of this, I was directly involved in the fighting, violating the cause of my diplomatic mission. I place myself at your mercy, Priestess, but I was defending myself, fellow Ulven, and certain humans who have proven themselves worthy allies throughout the course of my travels. I am confident that the reports from the Eyes and the Ears will confirm my account.
There are some humans who seem to have risen above this, however. Independent and stout-hearted adventurers have severed ties from their kingdoms. These hardy individuals have joined the local Ulven in the war against the Mordok. Some of them seem to be brave and trustworthy allies, but there are also roving bands of brigands and thieves, who prey upon travelers, even other humans, just as soon as they would draw steel upon the Mordok. I think that the biggest failing of the humans is their lack of unity. Though they appear to be very organized, it is a ruse. These humans are actually a fractured people. The Ulven have stood together as brothers and sisters against a common foe for as long as we can remember. Our greatest strength lies not in our individual warriors, but in the pack. Our people live and die for their packs, and in the service of Gaia and the Great Wolf. These humans tend to be selfish by comparison, and are further splintered because they have too many gods. When they were faced with a common foe, their fragile political alliances and bureaucracy betrayed them.
I managed to make contact with the human pack known as “The Bastards” again. These adventurers were friendly and welcoming, and broke bread with us. They were much more accepting of us than the treacherous and racist cowards of Aldoria. Unlike other humans, who consider strictly monogamous relationships between their ancestors to be paramount to honor and good breeding, these Bastards stay out of their parent’s sex lives. I decided to seek out and observe these particular humans because they seem to thrive under conditions where other humans flounder. It seems that the secret to their success is that they have adopted an organization similar to our own. They are, essentially, a pack, but one made up primarily of humans. They have in their company, an Ulven warrior, and though he does not appear to be the leader, I’m sure that he has been instrumental to their survival. These humans are hardy and adaptable. Unfortunately, they still seem to fall victim to certain human failings. Their leader is friendly and eccentric, but though he showed us generosity at theInn, he is greedy when it comes to the pursuit of knowledge and arcane artifacts. He was only motivated to pursue the Mordok after Harlok Longfang relayed that the Mordok had in their possession a magic weapon. The Bastards proved to be good fighters, but as soon as we downed the Mordok Alpha, the Bastards grabbed the cursed blade and withdrew as a small number of us fought a desperate retreat.
More importantly, I learned that the Bastards have stolen a dangerous idol from the Mordok at Daven’s Reach. It was described as a small female figurine with tentacles. The Bastard who possesses it has been reportedly acting strangely, and complaining of nightmares. The Mordok have been relentless in their pursuit of this item. A couple of Bastards seem to share my belief that this item needs to be destroyed, but they are unsure of how to safely dispose of the item. An elderly Wiseman, who stopped at theInn, stated that such an item may not be Mordok in origin. He said that there was a possibility that this idol may have come from the old world with the settlers. Naturally, my chief concern is that the improper disposal of such an artifact could release a plague upon our world, similar to that which destroyed the world of the humans. In this matter, I humbly request your guidance, as I fear that this idol could possibly be one of the dark portents you sensed upon the West Wind.
Your Faithful Warder,
The Voice of the Watchwolves,