== STORY INFO ==
As the war against the dirge swamp is the focus of most of the continent, trouble has been brewing in the primarily human colony of Starkhaven. The Chapter of the Fist, the more zealous and militant chapter of the Order of Arnath, has shocked many by executing a military coup. Moving their forces from their occupation of Serai, the Chapter of the Fist’s military forces have seized control of the Keep of the Order and detained the Hand of Arnath. The Hand was scheduled to make a profound decision about the Order and the direction it would go in the future. With the leadership of the Order under lockdown, tensions and worry grip the populace of Starkhaven. The Chapter of the Fist has a long and proud history of decisive action and martial ability. The new Chapter of the Light has been seen making a large impact on the world and softening the hard edges of the Order of Arnath. Will the negotiations between the Hand of Arnath and the Chapters that make up the Church go well and diffuse the situation? Or will hard lines and stoic pride force a martial confrontation between the forces in the colony. The future of Starkhaven rests on the decisions of those involved internally and those who travel and arrive to support one side or the other.
In this scenario, players will be involved in tense diplomacy featuring several different elements of the Church of Arnath and Starkhaven. The negotiations early on in the day and the decisions made will set the pace and decide which areas are focused on during the second part of the scenario.
All across Mardrun, the clans and colonies have supported the Shield of Mardrun and the efforts are paying off. Defensive positions and outposts, although basic, have been built and give warriors a chance to formulate an actual defense against the swamp. Clan Shattered Spear’s resounding success in this effort has proven that when people work together and put aside their differences then the Shield of Mardrun can succeed.
However, the situation is not going as well to the east. Clan Whiteoak, the other Clan whose borders make up a significant portion of the Shield of Mardrun, has not had the same focus, supplies, and amount of cooperation as Clan Shattered Spear. Some groups have been helping with their outposts and the war effort but it is not nearly as cohesive or organized as the western front in Clan Shattered Spear. Warpacks run themselves ragged trying to maintain some sort of buffer. Construction crews attempt to build outposts but lack the logistical support and supply lines to do it quickly or well. Clan Whiteoak’s former treachery as a clan seems to continue to influence decisions made to assist them by others. This situation, combined with Clan Axhound continuing to “fan the flames” between the two clans to the south have taxed Clan Whiteoak almost completely. However, rumors have been floating around that Pack Redwind, composed of former Whiteoak and Axhound people that have put aside their differences and live together, have become vocal about the Clans trying to work together. A delegation from the Pack is said to be in the area as well, visiting outposts and trying to be a voice of reason among the two clans.
Although Clan Whiteoak holds through determination, the situation will not be able to survive much longer. A call for aid has been sent out across the outposts of the Shield of Mardrun; a larger mordok counter attack has pushed into the conquered territory of the Clan. The mordok have driven back or killed the warriors and construction crew of the outpost in the area and push south back into Whiteoak lands. This area of the Shield of Mardrun needs help and quickly.
In this scenario, players will respond to a call for aid and attempt to salvage the situation in the area. Clan Whiteoak warriors will be trying to reorganize and push back against the mordok counter attack, and Pack Redwind delegates will be trying to establish some sort of diplomatic negotiations.
== EVENT SUMMARY ==
With the summer heat weighing heavily on those gathered, both Chapters of the Order of Arnath agreed to meet and discuss the situation at hand. What began as peaceful, quiet conversations between the leadership of the chapters soon devolved into shouting between the members in attendance. Claims of heresy and faithlessness were thrown around, but luckily the arguments ended and each group returned to their respective camps before weapons were drawn. Now knowing that there would be little to gain from continued diplomacy with the Fist, the Chapter of Light decided upon a plan of action to finally break the siege and called upon their allies to assist them in doing so.
The first task at hand was to ensure that the Chapter of the Fist could not call in martial reinforcements. A nearby unit of unaffiliated Lay Order militiamen was contacted and a meeting was set up. As their allies watched for possible retaliation or espionage, the Chapter of the Light convinced the local Lay Order that the Hand of Arnath was compromised and until he was free, any orders from him must be considered suspect. After several minutes of discussion, the Lay Order commander agreed that their unit would remain neutral in the fighting, at least until directly ordered otherwise by the Hand.
With the Lay Order out of the fight, the allies soon moved to their next objective: securing the area around the keep by disrupting the supply lines in and out of Starkhaven. Swords and shields clashed as the groups were locked in skirmish-style warfare. Manned mostly by the Lay Order and led by a handful of Lions, the defending group was able to keep their grasp on the supply lines for a long while, but eventually broke against the shields and steel of the Chapter of Light.
Time was now against the Fist within the keep: they had lost their martial support, their supplies, and a great deal of political support from the populace. The Chapter of Light moved in towards the Keep, prepared to strike directly against a unit of Lions in the area. With their knowledge of the settlement, heavy armor, and extensive training, the Fist Lions were able to dig in and reinforce their location prior to the arrival of the Light and their allies, but their momentum could not be stopped. The two sides met in a pitched battle. As the dust settled, too many bodies littered the ground. Devoted Lay Order members of both sides, and even a handful of Lions had fallen in the fighting. The Chapter of the Light could claim that they achieved their objective, as they managed to drive off the unit of Fist members, though one would hardly see fit to call it a “victory”.
The relief of seeing reinforcements overcame the few remaining Whiteoak warriors initially in the area too quickly as they were cut down by the attacking Mordok before they could be saved. The Mordok, fueled by the slaughter, pressed into the adventurers who had come to assist Clan Whiteoak and were met with shields and arrows. With the Mordok forced into a retreat or cut down where they stood, the adventurers were hesitant to advance too far and risk a counterattack so soon after arriving.
The relative safety of this camp allowed the attending Redwind delegate, Jodil Redwind, to set about her duty of brokering a peace between Whiteoak and Axhound. Between the diplomatic distraction and constant Mordok pressure, there was little time for anyone to rest throughout the day. Some relief was found as a shocking sight took place near the front lines of the camp: an Axhound huntress and Whiteoak warrior engaged in discussion, rather than battle. Their words were heated and charged with emotion, but they were words nonetheless. Around this same time, the Mordok seemed to pull back, their attacks coming further and further apart. The day was finally brightening in favor of the adventurers.
Of course, such luck could not last. Soon, the now terrified huntress reported back to the camp that Jodil had been found dead; murdered along one of the trails. A knife and bottle were found near the scene, both thought to have been used in the murder. Most suspicion fell upon the huntress and her cousin, both Axhound fighters in Whiteoak lands. Before a thorough investigation could be performed, though, misfortune came crashing down even harder: a furious push by the Mordok battered the adventurers, pushing them all the way back to their camp by capitalizing on the confusion and chaos of the murder. After this push, the adventurers were able to rally and retake the ground they had lost and then some. By the day’s end, despite heavy losses, the Whiteoak outpost was saved and the day was won.
== PHOTOS ==