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January 266 – News and Rumors

Following the uproar caused outside the “Plague District” late last year, many of the refugees acted upon their displeasure with Newhope. Frigid and hungry, they made a show of leaving the settlement, seeking refuge within the walls of Starkhaven. As was expected, many of the corrupted who left Newhope did not survive the journey, succumbing to their illnesses, wounds, or the elements before reaching safety. The Keep, though faring better than in years past, has struggled to maintain peace and order with the massive influx of over a hundred new mouths to feed, paired with the ire drawn from those who see it as a slight against Newhope or an avoidable tragedy. Discontented whispers have begun referring to this pilgrimage as the “Path of Agony”, mockingly shortened to “the Path” as a play upon the tenets of Arnath, commonly referred to by the same name.

Diplomats wearing the blue and black of Clan Nightriver have been seen heading northward, approaching the Great Forest, entering Clan Riverhead territory on their way. Those they have interacted with have confirmed that the group is making their way to Clan Axhound, though their purpose there is rumored to be any number of things.

Clan Whiteoak has issued a public declaration, thanking those who have come to their aid. With this assistance, they have managed to reallocate their warriors and prevent the Mordok from taking any more ground. Though they are still struggling to stay alive and their ranks thin every day, a glimmer of hope for the future has emerged. The declaration continues to remind the people of Mardrun that the offer for payment still holds, should any form of aid be sent to help protect the clan, though food and supplies are most desperately needed at this point. There is rumor of a meeting taking place between Clan Ironmound and some allies and the leadership of Clan Whiteoak, but little is known.

Clan Riverhead has mobilized several warpacks to defend their roads, a move which took many other clans who were unaware of their situation by surprise. The few reports which have managed to reach the outside world seem to indicate that Clan Riverhead is seeing a substantial increase in Mordok raids over the last few weeks, with many reports of travelers along once-safe roads emerging beaten, bloody, and corrupted. Worse yet, an entire warpack seems to have disappeared into the Great Forest, and recent attacks have kept the clan from searching them out. The public release of this knowledge proves that the mordok presence in the Great Forest has grown considerably and is much more dangerous than it has been in the past.

Organized banditry reports have increased across Mardrun but mainly in the Clan Nightriver and colonial territories. The “vague territories” of several groups are perfect hiding places and breeding grounds for outlaws and vagabonds. Some of the attacks have become more daring or concentrated and some worry that a crime boss may have begun to orchestrate these attacks. Initially fingers were pointed to Daven’s Reach, but reports say that the settlement has been dealing with rooting out several murders in their settlement along with a calm but persistent struggle for power within. It is hard to speculate at this time who could be involved.

As reports come in regarding the daring expeditions to head into the Dirge Swamp during the winter, one thing is for certain; mordok activity in the swamp remains active despite the cold and smaller expeditions may not be enough to make the final venture to get through to the other side. Nobody knows for sure what this means for the momentum of the Marquess and her campaign to fund or further expeditions but one of the caravans sent into the swamp returned with startling news that is spreading quickly. The swamp, already home to foul corruption magic, has inside its borders some sort of area that is heavily influencing the mana stream. Mages have reported that mana in the area was much harder to recover. The scholars under the employ of Celestial Arragones have had a conference on these findings. Syndar mages have reported that this phenomenon seems consistent with their ongoing study of the Siphoning and its effects on the decline of the mana stream. Brushed off as conspiracy theories of obsessed mages, there may be more to this and rumor has it that anyone with knowledge or notes regarding the Siphoning or similar effects may stand to make a profit for contributing to their research.

Despite the recent debacle involving the exodus of refugees to Starkhaven, all that most people seem to be able to talk about is the upcoming dinner discussing the future of Newhope and their legacy on Mardrun. Rumors abound discussing the possible topics. More than that, however, is the attendance of the meeting: if some loose-lipped aides and thirsty connections are to be believed, at least one of the nobles from the Council of Ten has taken a very personal approach to this matter, potentially to the point of representing themselves, rather than having a lesser noble do the legwork for them. With the exception of Baroness Catherine in recent years, such an act would be nigh unheard of in such an open forum, and would assuredly lend more weight to their cause, but could also put them at very serious risk should negotiations turn sour. Only time will tell how accurate these tales truly are, however.

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