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February 266 – News and Rumors

Town Hall meetings are scheduled and filled across Newhope, each drawing representatives from every member of the Council of Ten and other invested parties. It is no secret that they hope to determine the direction of Newhope’s new project, dubbed the city’s “Great Work” to celebrate their purchase of territory from Clan Nightriver. While surely a joyous moment for Newhope, other settlements whose land was purchased as a part of this deal, including New Aldoria, Starkhaven, and Daven’s Reach, are less than thrilled with the arrangement. After a great deal of discussion, debate, and argument, it seems the Lord Baron Richards has been swayed to direct the efforts of the officially dubbed city-state of Newhope towards the expansion and improvement of the infrastructure of the territory. Plans for new farmsteads and mills are drafted and laborers are contracted to work on a great highway stretching from Starkhaven to Crow’s Landing, linking each settlement in between. Small hamlets begin to pop up along this planned road, both to act as rest points for travelers and to capitalize on the economic boon such a route will doubtlessly provide.

As if on cue, merchants travelling through the territory of the new city-state have reported a noticeable increase in banditry. It seems the scoundrels are also eager to hear of the project and have already begun harassing the main roadways. For the time being, guards recommend using extreme caution while travelling between settlements.

Following the announcement, there is a surprising lack of response from Prince Aylin and New Aldoria. Representatives for the Prince attended each of the meetings, and reports from others have been compiled and presented. Though sources close to him revealed that the Prince was livid with these actions, he has made no public declaration of his intentions moving forward. This silence has created a vacuum in which rumors abound: some say the Prince has accepted the ruling and is now a subject of Newhope, some believe he established a deal with Lord Baron Richards to benefit himself, while others claim to have seen him mustering an army. One man has even been drunkenly theorizing that the Prince himself was behind the purchase, working behind the scenes to orchestrate these events. For now, though, there has been nothing to confirm nor refute any of these claims.

Elsewhere in colonist lands, word of Starkhaven’s struggle has spread. Shouldering the burden of nearly two hundred refugees, it has become clear that the fortress is not staffed nor stocked to handle so many sick residents. Worse, whispers of the corruption beginning to spread as the afflicted fall to their curse are heard, though are often discredited by the faithful. Blue and green flags carried beside carts flying red, gold, and black banners were sighted approaching the keep several weeks ago, and merchants from New Aldoria have confirmed that the wagons were carrying food and blankets to comfort the sick and ease the burden of Starkhaven. Unfortunately, reports from inside Starkhaven suggest that these greatly appreciated supplies will still not be enough to sustain the refugees for long. The Order of Arnath continues to put out requests for groups to send more aid, hoping to make progress against the corruption rather than simply holding it at bay.

Clan Whiteoak has announced that they have begun to stabilize their current situation, with a handful of reinforcements from the colonists allowing them to divert more forces northward and to hold the line against the Mordok. Though they have not been winning any decisive battles, hope has begun to work its way back into the hearts of Clan Whiteoak. Another call for aid goes out, hoping to begin to make a push against the Mordok who seem to never tire or dwindle in number even as the Whiteoak stores continue to run low. Clan Ironmound has called a moot among their leadership to determine whether to send aid to Whiteoak or not, and it seems that other groups will soon be following suit.

After watching the events around them unfold and putting out several fires (both literal and metaphorical) in their own territory, Clan Ironmound calls out for Mardrun to send aid north to fight against the Mordok. Though their resources are limited now, Clanleader Gustav has offered to give what help they can in the form of arms, armor, and warriors, but their contributions alone will far from enough to press the Mordok back.

On the other side of the Great Forest, however, the news is far less joyous. Clan Riverhead reports a drastic increase in the number of Mordok raids across their settlements, with Daughters of Gaia disappearing and warriors being captured and returned reeking of corruption. Warleader Brynjar Riverhead reluctantly admits that should Clan Riverhead face the same assault weathered by Clan Whiteoak, they will likely be exterminated quickly. Though the attacks thus far have not been a concentrated effort, the trends of Mordok movement in recent weeks makes the clan nervous about such a possibility, and they hope that they might see the same aid as Clan Whiteoak. Scouts and hunters have reported sightings of large groups of Mordok amassing in the Great Forest, seemingly preparing for a large scale attack on Clan Riverhead. Though some settlements are confident in the strength of their warriors and their walls, others have begun the evacuation process, hoping to get civilians to safety before things take a turn for the worse.

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