The frozen air blows through Mardurn and along with it a heavy snowfall that covers the land in a blanket of white. Some celebrate the new year, others wish and dream of warmer days.
Rumor spread from Clan Ironmound that are grim and frightful to hear around the hearth’s of taverns and longhouses across the land. Tales speak again of the abandoned and destroyed mining village of Ambervein. Tales that were once shared of the spiritual unrest in the mines seem to grow as new information flows in from a recent group of scouts who went to see if the land was still usable by the clan. When they entered the ruined village, it is said that the seasoned scouts felt as if they could feel as if something was clawing at the bottoms of their boots. Many thought it to be the loose rubble and ignored it, though a few took a long and scenic route around the outskirts of the village. When they stayed the night, they could hear screams and cries for help from the mine entrance. One of the bravest of them, a scout from Pack Stonefist, entered the mines to prove them craven. They waited till the dawn and finally the scout came back, his flesh clammy and covered in what looked like dozens of scrapes or claw marks. He couldn’t speak, he could barely move, but when he sat next to the fire and saw the shadows, he fled screaming back from where they came. To date no one has been able to get him to speak on what he saw.
Less disturbing by far is the tales of Clan Axehound and what some villages noticed as the days of the Great Wolf’s Hunt came near. The village of Timberpaw took note of a large number of travelers coming through their small and quiet settlement. They would always appear in the morning stay for a few nights, then disappear before the next sunrise. One day the Innkeep decided to follow one of these guests, and to her surprise watched as they lit a single lanturn and headed towards the pitch black trees of the Great Forest. When they got to the edge of the forest though, more lanterns appeared and seemt to gather and go deeper into the wood. One thing is for sure, there is a group in the Great Wolf’s Forest, and they are trying to keep what they are doing a secret.
Strange posters began appearing all across the populous areas of the City State of Newhope. Covered in illustrations of incredible and before unseen creatures these posters act as an advertisement for a new travelling show. “Alexei the Traveller’s World of the Unseen” claims that it will begin it’s travels after the thaw of spring and promises to show creatures and oddities that the people of Mardrun had never before seen. “Save your silver now! You won’t want to miss this once in a lifetime experience!”
From the lands of Aylin’s Reach, there is a tale of a fantastical masquerade ball that Prince Aylin threw to ring in the new year. It seems only the most elite and politically astute were invited to join this soiree for the amount of people that showed was rumored to be no more than forty according to one of the servants of the Prince’s estate. Fine music, Fire Isle wine, fine cheese, and other delicacies were present, and it was said to be one of the Prince’s finest parties in recent years. As the party ended and the lights dimmed in the estate, many outside the estate wondered what it would be like to dress in silk and fine cottons, eat foods fit for royalty, and taste wines of long forgotten lands.
While the snow and cold is mild so far this winter, many are preparing for what the winds may yet bring in the coming months.
The month for Clan Nightriver and Clan Goldenfield is one of celebration as the joint project between them finally comes to an end, and not a moment too soon. A massive network of well made roads, trails, and a few major highways that interconnect between the two clans has reached completion. While some of the packs of both clans thought this task was perhaps overly ambitious, the results have already begun to speak for themselves. Small villages and hamlets now have easier access to trade routes, merchants can now move faster and more efficiently between desired areas, and are already growing in prosperity because of these roadways. Some other clans have looked at this move and can see the benefits of such infrastructure projects, some more traditionalist groups scoff at the idea of using colonist based improvements.
In Davin’s Reach a six month long project to give the older areas of the settlement a much needed structural improvement has come to an end. While some families and even businesses had to leave their homes for a while, they came back to well built and structurally sound buildings that no longer leaked and allowed wind through the walls. Many grumbled at first, but after seeing the newly improved buildings with the now improved cobblestone streets they quickly stilled their tongues in awe at both the skill and generosity of the Council of Three of Davin’s Reach.
To the north along the Shield of Mardrun, Clan Shattered Spear finally finishes its work of improving the trails along the Shield. With these new, level, and cleared trails between the outposts, warriors are now able to more quickly respond to any Mordok in the area. Furthermore, the trails to the south and west have been cleared to allow supply caravans to come and go with much greater ease. With this, the western side of The Shield of Mardrun is now even more able and more secure in its defensive positioning.
Not much further north and west, at the very edge of Clan Shattered Spear territory and barely behind the Shield of Mardrun is a new heavily fortified hillfort and small port built by Duchess Madeline d’Argent. While some Ulven question the decision to move this fortification so close to the swamp, they do see the benefit of having a port being able to bring both supplies and warriors from the south quickly and efficiently. It has been made clear that the port will be jointly run by both Clan Shattered Spear and the City State of Newhope, but the fort will be run by forces directly under the command of Duchess d’Argent, whom will aid the Shield of Mardrun against the Mordok and act as a base of operations for any future ventures into the Dirge.
About The Blades:
Praise the sun! A prospective light come to seek admittance to the blades! Worry not friend, you are in good company here. We blades are a welcoming bunch; don’t let the steel blind you to that. The fact you are here tells me that you have the spark of life. By the light of Solar, and Elzerith’s grace we welcome you! Come. We have much to discuss.
As I am sure you are aware, The Blades of Sol is a militant and religious organization. Our sole purpose on this earth is to protect life, and to eradicate those forces that would seek to destroy it. These ‘undead’ abominations that prowl the darkest corners of this world are our greatest enemies, and we gladly meet their corrupted forms with gleaming steel and unwavering faith. To that end, we are bolstering our ranks and preparing for the day we cross the sea, and retake our home from the wretches that drove us out. Our faith will be the walls. Our masses will be the hammer. The light’s way forward is through.
The following is a journal entry written by Elzerith of the events that brought about The Blades of Sol
The path was now present, all that need now is to follow.
After a quite enjoyable Solarustice, this one finds themself once again within the confines of another tavern. Another gathering of those wishing for hope to grasp onto. The turn of the tides, the incandescence of Solar shall pour warmth down upon us with ever increasing fervour. But that seems to not be enough for the people.
We stand amongst each other, longing for a return; A return to what once was, whether it be a home lost, loved ones returned, or a land unmarred by war – the longing does not stop. But what damage is done cannot be undone, and the longing and anguish shall not cease until the gaping wound is medicated and healed, sealed over and filled with the lifeblood that repairs all. From pain there shall be recovery; from recovery, there shall be progress. Progress of healing, and progress to rebuild a better future.
This one finds themself standing amidst a motley crew. Some have been following for protection of this one, a protection that has not been needed – but was nevertheless appreciated. Some have gathered looking for hope, a light from once there was none. Some follow looking for profits; deeds that can be done for coin which fuels the empty lives which one could hope wealth fills the void of. This one sees themself as no leader, but this one knows that a path is not always chosen by one’s self.
As the tavern atmosphere died down from the ending celebrations of Solarustice, a gruffled complaint was shouted out,
“What are we celebrating? The longest night has come and gone once again, but we’re still nowhere near somewhere good. We’re still a hopeless lot, sitting on land taken from bloodshed, being besieged by mordok, twiddling our thumbs until the undead find their way across the seas and kick us off our continent again.”
The tavern went silent as the thoughtless reverie that consumed the day turned into a sense of wastefulness, a celebration that might as well have been sticking one’s head in the dirt for a day to give the feeling that all was right in the world.
“You’re wrong!” A syndar man said, standing up so quickly that his chair toppled to the floor, much to the bemusement of the tavernkeep. “We have more light with us than we’ve ever had! The Sun and Moon’s chosen had been together for a Solarustice celebration, and we already have a group banded together. We only need to take the steps. Isn’t that right, Elzerith?”
This one had found themself caught off in that moment. Going from mild regret of days passing to suddenly being called out in such a direct manner. This one did not know how to respond, one could only stare while at a loss for words.
“We stand here willing to walk with Solar’s chosen,” Voltaire, one of the armored protectors of Elzerith, stepped forward while addressing the room “Ghent and I have already sworn our loyalty. We see no better leader, nor any brighter light in the land.”
Ghent, another cleric who followed Elzerith, rose from his chair to join “Alone we are but embers of a great flame, but together we shall be the light that brings about the banishment of all darkness.”
Becca, a human woman who had been tavern hopping with Elzerith for some time, raised the question that this one shall never forget;
“So, Chosen of Sol, are you going to do it? Are you going to unite everyone under a banner to vanquish the darkness?”
This one hesitated, unsure if this would be a surmountable challenge. It seemed like a mountain of a task, a nigh impossible challenge of which one might quickly buckle under the pressure. A familiar feeling was the only thing that halted the worry – a warming sensation with the memory of a single word: “Rise.”
“This one shall be the beacon, but a light alone shall not vanquish the darkness. There is much corruption, and many enemies.” Elzerith spoke with renewed confidence. “This one will need many blades under the banner of Solar”
“Then The Blades of Sol shall be with you, Elzerith, Guiding Light of Solar.” Ghent said, drawing his blade.
“And for Solar, I give my life and light!” Voltaire added, drawing his sword to match.
One by one the room filled with standing followers, now pledging themselves to the holy cause. Banding behind Elzerith, The Guiding Light, they began preparations. The dawn after Solarustice bringing the greatest beacon of light and hope the small tavern in Maerdrun had seen.
A path was now present, all that need now is to follow.
Elzerith leads the faction under the guidance of three counselors. One of politics (Diplomatic Liaison Becca), one of war (High Martial Voltaire), and one of economics (Siniscalcus Bero Smith).
Elzerith’s decisions generally are final. He can be overruled when all three counselors object to a decision.
Ghent is the leader of the Solarian Guard. The Solarian Guard are responsible for Elzerith’s safe keeping and operate as Elzeriths primary personal protection.
- Life is to be lived to the fullest, so sayeth Sol
- Fulfilment through sacrifice is Sol’s wish for the Blades
- The life of the faithful saves 1000 lives
- All of those touched by the light of Sol are equal in His eyes
- Those who stand opposed to life shall be cleansed by the light
- Murder or banditry is punishable by death
- Thou shalt not corrupt that which Sol has given
- Treat others as Sol would treat you
While the history of the Blades of Sol is short, the path is still being walked.
The Blades of Sol were founded by Elzerith, The Golden Syndar in early 269.
New Vandregon sent The 3rd Vandregon to provide us protection while we established our affiliation. In thanks for their support and friendship we gave them a ceremonial sword.
As the whole of Mardrun focuses on the trial being conducted at Starkhaven, there is another area offocus that has been generating more support recently. Marquess Madeline d’Argent has gathered thefunding and enough supporters to do apreliminary expedition into the Dirge Swamp. While she seemsto have the backing of Baron Montesque de la Aleine, rumors say that further Council support falls shortafter that. Some of the ulven Clans seem poised to assist if there is proof of this beingworthwhile buthave yet to fully commit. Some have claimed that Madeline’s push for this expedition in the summerheat is foolish and suicidal while others believe it is a way to refocus the people of Mardrun towards acommon enemy.Before public favor fora large scale swamp expedition begins to wane, the Marquess has put a call outto adventurers, mercenaries, and warriors to go into the swamp in an attempt to establish an area thatcould be used as a camp in the future. At this same time, allies to the north will begin a small scalemilitary campaign against the mordok and attempt to create a diversion. This should, in theory, allow asmaller expedition the chance to slip through as the mordok focus on the battles taking place. Theexpedition contract promises a good reward for being a part of the expedition and a hefty bonus shouldit be successful and there is a reward for supporting the military diversion to the north as well.The goal of the expedition will be to go north and find the old failed settlement of Pack Blackwing. ThisPack of ulven took on the challenge of trying to tame the swamp, went north to establish a settlement,and then either died or disappeared. Several years ago, an expedition in search of the syndar journalsfound one of their own villages and was driven off as the area was filled with corruption. This expeditionwill be tasked with finding it, clearing it of corruption, verifying if it can be used as a forward base campin the future, and searching for clues as to what happened to Pack Blackwing. The Marquess feels thatknowing their struggles will help them avoid or overcome them should a larger expedition take place.Whether it be coin to line personal coffers, honor with striking back at the mordok and the swamp, orquenching athirst of knowledge and discovery… the reward for this expedition is good enough to enticepeople of many origins, despite the level of danger involved.
==AFTER EVENT SUMMARY==
As the Newhope troops and their adventurer companions pressed deep into theSwamp, the land itselfseemed to protest their presence. Rain and mud slowed the caravan to a crawl as the ever-presentshadow of the Mordok could be felt all around. Emboldened by their purpose, however, the groupcontinued until they found the remains ofan Ulven settlement, confirmed to have once been theBlackwing Outpost of history some decades ago. The air itself was laced with remnants of corruption,sickening those who entered the outpost. It was through a combined effort of the clerics and mages inthe group that they were able to cleanse the stain upon the land as warriors fended off groups ofMordok hoping to disrupt their rituals. After a well-earned rest inside the newly cleansed outpost, thegroup departed once more to return to the south, hoping to return to Newhope with their findings. TheMordok in the area pursued the group, fighting tooth and nail to purge the intruders. While there werea number of casualties in the retreat, the majority of the group managed to escape to safety withknowledge of a possible foothold for future expeditions.
The land begins to feel the cold fingers winter caress it, and the people hurry to finish stocking their grain stores.
In the lands of some of the Ulven Clans there are whispers and rumors spreading among the people. The rumor goes that an Ulven is walking around and preaching a new rhetoric surrounding the Ulven afterlife. He spreads stories of death and seeing into the Maw of The Greatwolf. He tells of his initial fear and shock, but then an acceptance. Details seem to get fuzzy from there, but the end of his message seems to be that fear of being swallowed has been used as a way to control the Ulven people for many many generations. He seems to preach personal freedoms and acceptance of the gift of the Great Wolf when we die, regardless of which path it may be. Though many people call him crazy and a heretic, there are a small number who seem to be speaking well of this strange new speaker.
In the City State of Newhope the mass murderer strikes again, this time leaving a small family outside of Silver’s Crossing dead and disfigured. Authorities are working hard day and night to try and locate any clues to who this malicious individual is. Alas, the only clue found were the words painted on the inside of the door, “Such easy prey, their screams were so filled with life.” Many rural citizens of the Citystate are beginning to question just how much effort is being put into catching this monster. However, the local nobility of the areas of where the attacks have occurred have oddly remained silent, only strengthening those concerns that are now on the lips of commoners.
Members of Clan Shattered Spear whisper tales around hunting camps of a massive stag that roams the woodlands. It is said to stand as high as a fully grown man at the shoulder, its antlers heavy and bowed with as many as thirty points upon the both of them. One hunter tells a tale that the creature shook the very land beneath his feet as it ran, leaving small craters in the ground where it landed. Oddly enough though, nobody was able to slay this massive stag in order to prove the tale.
Clan Stormjarl is taking up an ancient tradition of hunting whales off the coast in these cold months. Many fisherfolk gathered up harpoons, rope, and warm clothes as they traveled into the deeper parts of the sea. While they were away scoring the grey watery wastes, those back on the shores waited anxiously for them to return. When they did return a week later, they were towing three massive behemoths between the ships. Even the newly joined packs from the Stormborn settlement joined in with this tradition, and with the help of the local packs, were able to haul in three medium sized whales and multiple large deep sea fish as well for the upcoming winter. Needless to say, many fisherfolk earned their salt and showed their skill to the clan those days, and even some of the newer packs felt a bit more welcomed than before.
A group comprised of members of Clan Stormjarl who have come together to help serve their clan. Formed originally following Jarl Fritha the Honored in her initiative to raid Clan Grimward to begin a campaign to both revenge the honor of Clan Stormjarl and take back the people claimed as Honorbound servants the group has since assisted in many of the more notable affairs of their clan, such as brokering a tense peace with Clan Grimward and seeing their people returned to them. Also coming to the aid of their former foe Clan Squallborn and fighting to keep them unified as the clan made the decision to join with Stormjarl.
Setting up a fledgling settlement on the Stormborn Coast hoping to continue their journey as agents of Stormjarl, the group hosts members from various backgrounds, from natural born Stormjarl, Ulven from other clans and packs who have come to call Stormjarl their home, A former Lorespeaker apprentice, and even a human. The members of the group follow their own agendas and plans but come together when the need arises.
The following contents were unlocked by the efforts of our players over the course of three Virtual Events from August – October of 2020. The contents were spread publicly through further player effort and resources. Branthur Nightriver, Clanleader of Clan Nightriver has taken on the task of making sure these documents were copied and spread through the continent so that all may be aware of what they say:
The first document was written on a large piece of paper that was wrapped around the rest of the contents:
“Those brutes of the stone teeth are at it again. This is the fifth moon in a row that they have spilled over our lands, stealing our crops and slaughtering our animals for meat and not just the livestock, the dogs, the cats, whatever they can catch they’ll eat. I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised to learn that they eat the ulven they capture, but I’ve never heard the tale of one able to escape their grasp once captured so I don’t know for sure. Either way I can’t help but feel like it’s important in some way to record and collect whatever knowledge I can on these monsters who dare to call themselves ulven alongside us. The visitors from the west have brought with them methods that they call scribing that I employ here in recording the events and recountings of the stone tooth raids. This scribing shows great potential for keeping untarnished recordings over vast spans of time. The first step is to know your enemy and there are plenty in the lands that call these stone teeth marauders their enemies.
– Haldjor, Learner and Skald”
“I have spoken with a learner from a pack to the east. It seems that the stone tooth’s raids have penetrated into their lands as well. Evidence points to these raids being not only for food and potentially thralls, but also as a show of strength and maybe even simple sport. It is a long journey to travel down from their homelands in the north and they seem to show great delight in penetrating deep into hostile lands before making themselves known and raiding unsuspecting villages. This learner told me that a scout from their village followed the stone teeth raiding party after their raid in an attempt to see what became of the thralls that had been taken. Several days later the head of the scout was found in the center of their village, hanging by it’s hair from the branches of their central tree.
-Haldjor, Learner and Skald”
“I saw one up close today. I’ve never been one for a fight and hadn’t seen these monsters closer than at least two bow lengths before. I’ve heard they carry bows much heavier than our own and may Cyklusens damn me if I was going to get close enough for them to get a hold of me. But with my new drive to record what I can about them I felt the need to get a closer look. I’d been tracking a warband through our neighbor’s lands, being sure to keep plenty of distance so they wouldn’t catch my scent. I assume they can do that. They are far closer to beasts than Ulven either way. Eventually they came upon a village in the river lands and I quickly scrambled up a beech tree to hide myself behind its thick leaves. I ended up with a perfect vantage point to watch the raid unfold before me. It was brutality that’s all I can truly say, it was complete brutality. In the end at least a dozen of the village’s warriors were cut down and a handful of other villagers tied up and led out of the village. Three of the stone teeth fell in the battle and the rest made a great ritual out of spitting on their bodies as they left the village. I stayed in the tree and counted my fingers two hundred times after the raid to be sure they had left and when I felt safe I slipped out of the tree and went to observe the bodies. When I got close I saw that they were indeed ulven, at least in physical form, but their bodies showed signs of hard battles and even harder living. The skin of the body was covered head to toe in callouses and scars, many of which were in locations unlikely to take damage in battle. All three bodies had this incredible number of scars leading me to believe they were carved into their bodies in some sort of a ritual. Two of the bodies were also covered in angular tattoos and thick war paint. Their eyes were a blood-red the likes of which I can’t say I’d seen before. Their fangs were stout and the tattooed two of them had filed them down to a spearpoint, no doubt cut on stone, no doubt that this is where they get their name. They all carried spears and axes that had been honed to the sharpness of a fillet knife and I can say that they are well versed in how to use them. After a good deal of time spent with the bodies I had had my fill.
I helped the village burn their dead. I helped them dig deep pits for the stone tooth bodies.
– Haldjor, Learner and Skald”
There are several more pages that detail first and second-hand accounts of Stonetooth raids throughout the areas that would now be Ironmound, Shattered Spear, Whiteoak, Axhound, and Northern Nightriver and Grimward. All speak of incredible brutality set alongside incredible battle acumen. A final note reads:
“I have made copies of these scribings and given them to the pack leaders in my area and this original copy I store away here should it ever be needed in the future. My hopes are that the chieftains understand the danger that the stone teeth present to all of us and begin to train more warriors to repel future raids. I myself have picked up the spear and as I have repeatedly dipped quill into ink, I will see that my spear gives the same treatment to the stone tooth marauders that attack my pack’s lands.
Haldjor, Skald, Learner, Warrior”
After a second month of considerable focus and support for the villagers and people of Clan Ironmound, the recovery efforts continue at an impressive rate. Work crews finish their tasks ahead of schedule, with less injuries and fatigue and better management and use of supplies and food. For all intents and purposes, the recovery effort is a resounding success. Clan Ironmound leadership has actually put out a call for an organized break this month, both to celebrate the success of the recovery efforts but also to plan on what to do next. The most pressing and dire issues were tackled head on, with vigor, and by both locals and traveling outsiders. Several feasts and social events are being planned to celebrate and allow travelers a chance to socialize or take some needed downtime.
The bandits in the area were dealt a crippling blow to their operational abilities. An aggressive armed patrol last month was able to track down the main bandit camp and a short but vicious fight took place. With a number of bandits dead and the rest of them driven off, it would be difficult for the bandits to coordinate anything substantial in the new few months. While the main bandit camp was attacked, another group apparently decided it was a opportune moment to hit Clan Ironmound villages on the border and to raid The Pass. Luckily, defenders were left back to continue patrols and a second intense fight took place. These bandits were also driven back or defeated.
Clan Ironmound leadership, at first apprehensive on the subject, have made the decision to allow teams to be gathered and to be taken to help them study the uncovered Lorespeaker cache. The few voices that approached them on this subject over the last few months, and their decision’s to heed their feedback, were wise in doing so. There is now a great opportunity for those seeking knowledge. Based on previous encounters surrounding uncovered Lorespeaker caches, the statement that Clan Ironmound is ready to accept help in opening the cache has very likely made it to the ears of those that would like to see the contents remain buried. The extent of what could be uncovered is unknown but now the door is open for those willing to help.
In the end the researchers and scholars are able to open the cache and uncover a series of writings by an ancient ulven, written in an early version of an Ulven script. All in attendance take possession of copies of the writings and some set out to work out a way of spreading the information far and wide.
Meanwhile a small force of Lorespeaker agents attacked the defenders in the areas surrounding the village, making it very clear that the information contained in the cache was something they’d much rather see returned to the dirt instead of spread amongst the populace. Luckily they did not arrive in adequate numbers to overwhelm the defenders and after a series of hit-and-run attacks they vanished into the forests.
UPDATE: Further efforts by players and resources have seen to the public spread of the documents found in the cache. Branthur Nightriver, Clanleader of Clan Nightriver has seen to the distribution of copies of the lore found in the cache. http://lasthope.kitsufox.com/wiki/lore-cache-contents-november-269/
Last month, a considerable effort was put forth by traveling adventurers and organizations alike as people from all corners of Mardrun showed up and immediately went to work helping the people of Clan Ironmound. They either started their own efforts or joined in on some of the smaller groups that had arrived several months ago and already began assisting the Clan. Labor pools were coordinated, teams deployed to different areas to work, armed patrols kept bandits in check, healers tended to sick or injured, and mess halls and social spaces created to tend to food, water, and rest. Although no coin was promised and it was clear that contracts were not available to travelers coming in, a considerable amount of people showed up to help and a handful of them even donated their own coin to the cause. Clan Ironmound Chieftains and leaders were impressed; their bristled nature softening as progress continued through the month.
There is still a lot of work to be done; rubble takes time to clear, dead Ulven bodies recovered need funeral rites and pyres, and the bandits are notorious for being stubborn and hard to truly dispatch. Talk around the work camps has been high in morale all month but a common question continues to spring up; will this effort continue in earnest or will it fade out? Rumors begin to spread as well. Some craftsmen and travelers seem to be negotiating payment for their services or being sought after by Chieftains with wealth and a goal to see their areas focused on or cleaned up first. Warriors talk about scouts finding possible bandit camps that could be attacked and their forces defeated decisively. Diplomats loosen their tongues about Clan Ironmound’s stance regarding the Lorespeake Cache and whether they are willing to allow access to it or not. While morale and good intentions still remain key to all of this progress, some personal agendas or the allure of coin begin to darken the edges of the humanitarian efforts of the collective group.
One thing is for certain; Clan Ironmound is keenly watching what the travelers and helpers are doing and focusing on. Now more than ever, the bigger picture of the relief efforts is being weighed by those in leadership positions to see if the efforts are left wanting.
The villages on the eastern portions of Clan Ironmound continue to show incredible signs of altruistic aid and camaraderie. All across the region people of all walks of life, whether Ulven or Colonist keep at the task at hand of seeing the proud people of Ironmound returned to their homes and work.
Wagons bearing the heraldry of The United Collective and the Order of Arnath’s Light continue to make ventures into the area bringing supplies and workers and last month a couple large work crews from Clan Nightriver journeyed into the area and immediately set about on the reconstruction efforts. By and large the turn out is immense and though there were some whispers of people discussing ways that they could walk out of this scenario with some fresh coin in pocket, there has been no evidence that this has happened anywhere. Through-and-through those that are here seem to be here due to the goodness of their own hearts or out of a pragmatic understanding of Ulven politics.
Through the month the nights are again filled with drink, song, and stories. Rumors float through the villages of the combat going on in the pass and the areas further to the east. Not a lot makes it back that can be considered proper news, but rumors tell of great bloodshed though on which side no one really knows.
By the end of the month reports come back that bandits had attacked the support and defending forces with a substantial force, though the fighting was brutal the defenders were able to hold the bandits at bay. Those who had gone on the offensive return with news that they did not meet with the expected level of bandit forces on their outing and they were able to clear the areas effectively. Neither group reported any sightings of any type of leadership among the bandits.