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Centuries ago, Dwarves inhabited the isolated Garvius Mountains looking for precious stones and metal. Goliaths already inhabited the Garvius Mountains, but enjoyed the Dwarves for their craftsmanship. The Dwarves found riches, and plenty of it, enough that they built three great cities: Montor, Dro and Slag. While Montor was primarily above ground, Dro and Slag were both deep underground. Afterward they erected a fortress atop a nearby peak, in fact the highest peak of the Garvius Mountains, the Pale Summit, and called it Pale Lookout. Should the Dwarves ever need to defend themselves and find their underground homes inadequate, they would flee to the Pale Lookout.
They quickly became wealthy, but their distant location made trade inconvenient, and so they set about building a massive highway, the Lesh Highway, to connect themselves to Keydom, the region's hub of commerce. In a few years they completed the highway and for a time trade was good. As such, several settlements sprung up along the road, namely Toof, Kauch, Vmuc, Har and Birch, also becoming quite wealthy. Several years later, roughly thirty years ago, the Dwarves' production slowed as they drained the mountain of its resources, until eventually they moved on in search of other lucrative locations.
Tales of the rich Dwarves' departure spread and not long after Bugbears, Goblins, Hobgoblins, Kobolds, Orcs, Kobolds, and all sorts unpleasant creatures moved into the Dwarves' abandoned settlements, initially the source of much concern among the other inhabitants of Ennedrae. Fortunately, the unwanted races warred amongst themselves trying to claim supremacy over the Garvius Mountains, only rarely attacking other cities, and even then only the occasional assault on Birch.
You hear a town near the end of the Lesh Highway, a village named Birch, is in need of help, and is willing to offer reward. Birch is the nearest settlement to where the Dwarves used to live, and consequently nearest to the warring humanoids who moved in. From various walks of life, the six of you, some strangers, some siblings, decide to go to Birch, meeting along the way.
Still morning, the first thing you notice as you approach Birch from the north is the change in terrain. While the past several miles have been mostly barren hills flanking the Lesh Highway, a rich strip of greenery decorates the northern side of the Delnac River. The southern bank, however, looks more inhospitable than the steep hills you recently passed through.
Birch, built almost exclusively north of the Delnac, stretches several hundred yards east and west of where the Lesh Highway crosses the Delnac, most of the peripheral consisting of crops and livestock. The heart of the city seems to be built up right around the bridge. Despite being rather spread out, it's far too small to be considered a city, doubtfully much larger than one thousand residents.
The party is still north of Birch. Determine marching order, specifying if you walk abreast or tandem, et cetera.
Also, I was vague with the "meeting along the way" business, so feel free to fluff it up.
Klar'ith looks around at the fields north of Birch. Are there farmers, sheep herders and such tending their crops, repairing fences, gossiping with neighbours, taking goods to market and such? What is their demeanour if I can see them? Are any close enough to call out to and talk with? Are they mostly dwarves?
Unless there is a pressing need I shall walk next to my new friend, Jeor, and talk about his travels. If there is anything to alert us to danger then I shift to the centre of the group and suggest that we walk in two columns of three with myself and Shanar in the middle.
More than a thousand people must live here. At the last clan gathering I went to there were scarcely half that many. Has anyone been here before?
Jeor was in high spirits as he traveled with the group of other Voldurs, he had originally thought it a stroke of luck to see another in the priest mage of Kla'rith, but when the others had joined him, he had felt more at home than ever before.
He was used to other's of his own kind, but not quite so many at once.
And then his brother had joined with them, he was eager to fight along side Harfil, for he had taken the path of their father becoming a Crusader and learning the sublime path. Jeor himself had learned his craft from his foster father Grey Joyce who had left on some other mission a week earlier.
Leading out in front at a leisurely pace he moved through the land like a serpent on sand, effortless and with out disturbance. In his hand was a Glaive of the most beautiful craftsmanship, he had seen it and fell in love with the steel shod end and intricate carving in the wood meeting the shaft, it had become his the next day and now was a worn thing, but still of excellent quality.
Climbing the nearest rise Jeor scanned the area and stood for a moment leaning on his long weapon with both hands, awaiting the rest of the group to catch up. Some had wanted to walk and talk, but he had insisted a modicum of tactical movement as they progressed, the talking could be accomplished during the breakdown for the night.
As he waited he scanned the nearby city of Birch sitting across the river either side of the bridge that spanned it. He wondered what such things he would see and what strange events might happen here. He had grown up on the tales of Grey Joyce and his parents adventures, no such small things to live up to.
Answering his new found friend "Never have I traveled this far into the mountains, I can only pray they have a sufficient amount of ale and mutton to quench my appetite!" he says as he claps him on the back.
He see his brother and nods to him "Have you reached this far brother?"
Finding a nearby hill, Jeor quickly scans his milieu, to the north, the direction the party came from, finding the Lesh Highway, about fifty feet wide, flatly stretching as far as the eye can see. On either side are rocky hills with little grass, looking unfit to grow any sort of crop.
Birch, a rectangular town, far wider west to east than north to south, rests to the south. It's northern border appears to have no defenses, consisting of single-story houses spaced fairly close to one another, a lone tree beside the road immediately before the town begins. The few visible residents in the distance look to all be human. Only on the southern border of Birch, away from the party, are there farms with crops and livestock.
On the far side of Birch, beyond the gorge which must hold the Delnac, mountains rise sharply, making the southern side of the river uninhabitable. The mountains extend for miles, comprising the southern horizon.
Marching steadily up the path, Harfil has been more relaxed then he has since he left home after meeting his brother. He is surprised at meeting so many other Voldur. He'll have to ask some of them for their stories.
"Never been here before. Was about twenty miles to the north-west hunting some bandits before I came down here."
I stare down at the town.
"Hope this is a tough one. Those bandits didn't know how to use their weapons."
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Character collection. Roland
Borkan was driving the cart that he used to carry all kinds of goods, with Shanar next to him, as they traveled along with the group of Voldurs that the two of them had run across. As he continued to drive, the Voldur named Klar'ith had spoken up, asking if either of them had been to this town before. In response, Borkan answered, "I have not been here before."
He would return look to them as he had been scouting ahead but got to them in time to hear the conversation and thought about it before looking to them through his crystal mask and spoke up I have been there a few times with my mentor but that was many years ago the town might have changed since then he would state to them and go back to instinctively looking out for people his hand on his bow gripping it as he never traveled before to this place with so many his own kind and was sure a group of voldurs would make the towns gossip quota.
He sure town has not seen it too often and paused and would look to jeor before looking to the rest do you have a plan once we get to the town as we are going to stir up things just by the numbers of us. He would ask jeor as he trusted jeor since other than his mentor jeor was only other person to see his face unmasked and seen his orcish features and scars of training and from battles with his mentor.
Shanar and Volskan notice something small near the trunk of the tree which seems to mark the northern end of Birch, two hundred feet from the party, beside the western side of the Lesh Highway. It appears to be a foot, the glimmer of armor barely visible above its ankle. The rest of the body must be behind the tree; judging by the ankle and foot's angle, whomever it is must be seated with their foot extended.
Two natural 1's, not bad!
On a serious note, how are you rolling, hoverFrog?
Shanar calls out to the party, "Hold on. There's... something, or someone, up ahead. Move slowly, but keep moving." She hops down from the cart, takes her shortbow from her back onto her hands, and runs to the side for a bit before running back forward, so that'd she'd be closer to the tree, but behind it in relation to the road. If she can see who's there, then she might not fire an arrow into the bush. If not, she aims at the bush when she gets 70 feet away and fires.
As Shanar cautiously draws nearer the northern edge of Birch, weapon at the ready, her vantage point changes, offering the view of a young, bald human male sitting on a chair partially concealed behind the thick tree. He's wearing plated armor, a halberd resting against his side. The man's inclined back with his left leg kicked comfortably forward, head tilted back, looking upward at either the tree's leafs or the sky.
Shanar draws closer, to thirty feet away, and still has the bow drawn. At this range, it would be easier to fire an arrow at a more tender area, allowing her to hurt him more if he attacked. "You in the chair, the bald man. What are you doing hiding there?"
The man's head turns abruptly toward Shanar as he shoots into a standing position. He hails you with his right hand, halberd in his left, though held up in a calming manner, Easy now, no need to be hostile. This is a bit of an embarrassment, really; I'm s'posed to be guarding the northern entrance, though truth be told nobody comes this way, so ya caught me noddin' off. Say Miss, would ya mind puttin' that bow down? Nothin' bad ever comes from the north, and today's not the day to start, eh? The man laughs nervously.
Shanar lowers the bow, the arrow still on it but no longer taut. She removes one of her hands and waves her group forward, so that they know to come. "Why are you guarding the north entrance? What does the city fear that they need to put up guards?"
The guard watches with interest as the rest of the party approaches. Surprisingly, he displays no signs of discomfort at there being so many Voldur nearby, apparently not disheveled by Shanar's blank eyes, "Proper question, that. You must not know the Goblins and what have you down in the Garvius Mountains have been more rambunctious of late. Birch's never been attacked from the north, not once, but it makes the people feel at ease to have someone on guard, at least Captain Mansour thinks."
He pauses to scratch his bald head, "Wait, then why are you here? I figured you came about Birch needin' help and all."
"Never hurts to be cautious. And that's pretty much an update on what we knew. We've been traveling, so for all we knew, Birch might have fallen to some attacks by now, or someone else could've helped you out already." Shanar put away her bow and arrow as she walked back to the road. Assuming that the guard will come out of the bush, she continues to speak, "So who should we talk to to get a full update on the current affairs of the town and the like?"
Borkan remained silent as his sister Shanar was asking these questions. Sure, he could ask something, but he was more of the silent type. He was ready to go in case they needed to fight, even though they might not need to. Still, he was ready in case it was needed.
"Captain", it never hurt to flatter a man, "you don't seem surprised at our appearance though you are human. Are more of our kind in your grand city? Before this last week I'd met no-one of my race and thought myself unique."
"I understand, Miss, no harm done," the guard says with a bow, stepping onto the Lesh Highway from behind the thick tree. "Birch isn't about to fall to Goblins, they're just getting a bit more daring. 'Fraid nobody's come to help us yet. It's just we can't spare any members of the guard."
As for an update, oh, trouble alright, and not dire rats in the sewers! The man slaps his plated leg with his free hand. You've probably heard of the attacks; we've been putting up with them for a long time now, but recently they've gotten worse. And with Pale Lookout lightning up at night, that's probably not a good sign, I'd bet you a golder. And then with Sasha... well, I'll let Lady Thyri tell you about that.
The bald man scratches his head as if forgetting something, then gestures to the south, Right, Lady Thyri. Take the last right before the bridge, second house on the left. Real big, can't miss it.
After addressing Shanar, he turns to Klar'ith with another laugh, "Captain Bert, eh? That'll be the day, but thank you kindly, Sir. We have a Half-Orc or two in Birch; in fact, Womar runs the Salty Dragon. As for Voldur, I remember two visiting here when I was a boy, but that's been many years. I can't say there's been a Voldur here since then."
Shanar nods to the man and follows his directions. When she gets to the house, she knocks on the door. When the door opens, she says, "I am Shanar and this me and my friends are here to help with your problem. The guard to the north mentioned Sasha, but told us to speak to you about it."
Harfil walks up and studies the man.
"Must be surprising to have a whole band show up then. Sounds like this will be a fun little fight. It's a pleasure meeting you."
He shakes his hand then follows the rest into the town. He looks around a little nervously. He has never felt welcome in most towns.
When the door opens Harfil nods his head.
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Character collection. Roland