After a harrowing month of travel, the City-State Research Expedition has finally returned back to friendly territory. Dead were burned along the way and the wounded began to build up but the well-stocked supplies of the expedition and the supporting scouts and security forces kept the caravan relatively safe on its journey home. Although exhausted, the research expedition was able to return without too much trouble other than the harassing Mordok group from time to time. The in-depth scrying rituals and research performed, as well as physically scouting such a strange and unique place at the center of the Dirge Swamp, has left the scholars with more questions than answers. However, at least they are alive today in order to decipher such things tomorrow.
The journey of the expedition has seemed to stir the Mordok in the area. While any kind of larger scale response was, thankfully, absent it does seem that in the wake of the expedition a group of Mordok has followed them until they have reached the defensive line of The Shield. Several outposts have reported heightened Mordok attacks on the defenses and a considerable uptick in Mordok activity, forcing combat patrols to pull extra duty to try to head off any sizeable Mordok group heading south. Several considerable fights have broken out but at least for now, the defenses of The Shield are holding.
Larger outposts or those with larger clans committing warriors and supplies have weathered this storm fairly well, but one outpost in particular is struggling. The outpost that Clan Axhound and Clan Whiteoak frequently garrison has sent a call for aid. It appears that a sizeable group containing a Mordok Shaman, a powerful spell-casting leader figure, followed the expedition until it reached the defensive line of The Shield and began to create corruption idols in the surrounding area. While these idols have yet to spread far enough to physically endanger the garrison, the corrupting magic of the idols is concerning to the outpost leaders. Scouts and warpack patrols have tried to avoid that area in case the magics could afflict them and cause illness or a drain of resources. The Shaman has apparently moved on from the area but a moderate Mordok presence remains.
Some of the outpost leadership have sent word south looking for aid, knowing that adventurers and smaller groups could potentially respond faster than the other Ulven Clans who have their own garrisons to manage. While it is expected that the outpost leaders will want these corruption idols destroyed, there is rumor that some scholars of Celestial Arragones’ research team may be trying to gather support to research and study the idols instead. Either way, these idols are a concern for the defenders on The Shield and must be handled and the Mordok driven from the area.
A great deal of support spilled into the joint outpost to help beat back the increased Mordok presence and help to deal with the corruption idols that appeared in the area, though the aid to the warpacks and patrols in the area was not nearly as strong. All things considered though, not only did a great deal of adventurers heed the call for aid, but multiple support and martial units from organizations throughout Mardrun arrived to the outpost under their various banners. It was a long day and at times grueling, but the allied forces garrisoned in the Whiteoak-Axhound outpost prevailed in their task.
The Mordok were held back from the outpost and not only were all three corruption idols in the area destroyed, but one of them was researched at great lengths. Arragones’ researcher as well as a team of volunteers threw themselves into the maw of corruption to gather as much information as they possibly could regarding the form and function of the mysterious corruption idols. Though they collected a great deal of interesting data, it will have to be taken back to Arragones’ labs to be parsed through before any true insights can be revealed.
Unfortunately the day was not all peaches-and-cream. The traitor, James Arbor, made an appearance. James Arbor was convicted of attacking an unarmed Truthseeker many months ago and on the eve of his conviction gave himself willingly to The Mother and vanished from his cell. His appearance at the outpost was a surprise. He was seen through the day working alongside the Mordok and at one point participated in an outright attack against the allied forces as they attempted to destroy a corruption idol, one that had been empowered through some unknown magical methods. In the end James Arbor was nearly struck down, but as the killing blow fell towards his body he again vanished into the stream of mana leaving only pools of his own blood behind. Where he is now, if he even arrived there in one piece is anyone’s guess.
The day also saw a proclamation from Celestial Arragones regarding the recent expedition into the heart of The Dirge as well as a response being circulated via flyers that claimed her proclamation as being full of lies and half-truths. They are included below.
This One would also like to upon the rumors that have been in circulation regarding the visions and scrying ritual findings from the heart of The Dirge last month. These rumors carry some truth, but they avoid important nuance.
What we have learned is that the location we reached last month is without a doubt both the physical and metaphysical center of The Dirge Swamp. It was the location where The Dirge first appeared. What we know now is that at that location once upon a time the Ancient Syndar captured the dark and malevolent entity that has since come to be known as The Mother. They held her in stasis there so as to protect the people of not just Mardrun, but the world as a whole. This valiant action ingratiated the Syndar with the Ulven people and soon they became one, giving birth to children that housed the greatest characteristics of the both of them; physically strong, unmatchable intellect and magical aptitude, the ability to cast Witch Magic.
Unfortunately good things do not last long. Some years later the latent magic of The Mother in the area made things far too dangerous to keep her housed where she was. The Ancient Syndar made a decision to move her in stasis to their Northern Research Station. At this time however the containment failed and she was able to burst free. The Mother unleashed wholesale corruption on the area and poisoned the new children of The Syndar and The Ulven and we now believe these to be The Mordok. Beyond this The Mother took her anger out on the Syndar as well and did something to them that was described in the logs as “worse than a hollowing.” We do not know what this was, but we did find evidence that the areas where the Ancient Syndar stood when The Mother broke free were the only areas that showed absolutely no magical readings.
This information has only furthered This One’s desire to find a way to combat The Corruption and turn back the clock. Our ancestors were heroes and likely died trying to make the world a safer place. We all owe it to them and their descendants to fix what has broken
- In her hand, Celestial Arragones
RESPONSE FLYER TO ARRAGONES’ PROCLAIMATION:
By now all have heard the proclamation of Her Disgrace, Arragones. Suffice it to say that her proclamation is nothing but honeyed words to smooth over the crimes of our ancestors. My identity will have to remain hidden for now, but know that I was a member of the expedition into the heart of The Dirge Swamp. I had the visions while meditating and I heard firsthand accounts of the scrying rituals. What I offer is not a pretty truth, but it is the whole truth based on the information that we uncovered, not the sugar-coated ramblings of an out-of-touch noble.Our ancestors, the Ancient Syndar did not save the world from The Mother. They brought her to this world. They did not capture her out of the goodness of their hearts. They sought to harness her power for their own selfish ends.I do not know how they did what they did, but the facts of the matter are these. The Mother was once a deity not unlike any other. She resided beyond our plane of existence. The Ancient Syndar on Mardrun found a way to tear her from her plane and force her onto ours and when they did they encased her in a crystalline prison. They used her for years as a power source to empower their various experiments. Chief among these experiments was a desire to give rise to a perfect race of children, for all the great power the Syndar commanded, they were unable to learn witch magic. They had failed at least once to create their intended offspring, but found that with the divine power of The Mother they were able to give birth to their perfect children who encompassed only the greatest traits of the Ulven and the Syndar.
A time came where The Ancient Syndar chose to move The Mother to their Northern Research Station, no doubt with the intention on continuing to siphon her power. Their containment however proved to be fragile and upon movement the structure began to break down. The greatest of the Syndar Ritualists, led by their Celestine Galwachar, encircled the containment and tried to repair the cracks, but they failed. The Mother erupted from her prison, twisted and corrupted by her rage. The initial wave of corruption spread from this point, eventually creating The Dirge Swamp. She called the Syndar on their hubris for thinking they could contain a goddess and she told them that they would undergo a punishment worse than hollowing and that neither they nor their “favored children” would ever forget that day. We do not know what she did to the Ancient Syndar, only that the places where they stood around her were the only areas of the swamp that were completely void of all types of mana.
The Mother then did as she promised and went to the favored children. Myself and others had visions from their point of view as their vision went dark and they were wracked with unbearable pain, but then a point of light pieced the darkness and with it came a voice that soothed all the pain away. I will never forget this voice as it spoke, “Don’t worry child, mother is here. She will take all the pain away.”I have no doubt in my mind that these favored children did become The Mordok and as they were created with her magic, she is in fact their mother.
What we know is that The Mother, The Mordok, The Dirge Swamp, Corruption? It was all created by the meddling of the Ancient Syndar and Arragones does not want you to know this. Do what you want with this information. I will spend my days spreading the word and trying to atone for the crimes of my forefathers.