The Amber Rage
The next morning, you are once again summoned into the chambers of the Reverend Mother to deliver your report.
“In the night, a messenger arrived from the village of Sothemere. It is a small village to the south, near the Korcari Wilds. Apparently, the local Templars have spotted..” Here, she consults a letter through her reading glasses, “Half a dozen armed men, armored in black.”
“While it may not be those that we search for, it is the best lead we have so far. Therefore, I’m sending you south to investigate. Any questions?”
The Reverend Mother has sent you south, to the village of Sothmere to investigate rumors of your quarry in the area.
Welcome to Sothmere
In spite of the grey sky having poured forth a constant, cold drizzle since morning, the Sothmere
valley is in the midst of a great celebration, which appears to be centered just outside
the village. The fields are covered with booths and amusements as entertainers make their
way through the crowds to awe them with their performances.
In a small clearing, a pair of elves is entertaining a crowd of festival-goers. A young, clownish-looking elf plays on a lute while his female counterpart sings and dances along to the music.
“For my next trick, I shall require the assistance of someone from the audience! Any takers?”
“Now. Ser. Have we prepared in advance for this trick, or have you ever met myself or my lovely sister?”
“Really? Interesting. Then care to explain why my sister’s handkerchief is in your left breast-pocket?”
“I would be inclined to believe you, Ser, if it were not for the fact that you have some of my sister’s underthings hidden in the right side pocket of your robe.”
“Also, incidentally, why is their a cat in the hood of your robes?”
You recognize by his armor a Templar standing in the crowd. He looks enraptured by the performance.
An axe tears through the forest wall behind you and a barbaric human with unnaturally
yellow skin and bulging veins steps through to menace the gathered crowd. Wanda grabs the
man’s arm and the barbarian snarls at her before slashing her forearm with the dagger clenched
in his other hand. Frightened villagers push past you, knocking into each other and scattering
food and drink everywhere. Out of the corners of your eyes you see two more jaundiced men dressed like Chasind enter the clearing from either side and attack the revelers as they try to flee.
You see the pair of Dalish entertainers—Olek and Dielza—retreating from two ragers. Dielza crawls toward the Dalish landship with a nasty gash across her leg. Between her and the two ragers stands Olek, no longer a clown but a fierce defender, staving them off with a large knife in each hand. Still, even with his impressive display it is obvious that he is wounded and tired.
“Get away from me, you filthy barbarians! I’ve bested cave spiders larger than you!” You see the dwarven merchant standing atop his wagon with his mace, swinging wildly at a jaundiced Chasind that is climbing the side of the wagon in order to get to him. The dwarf loses his balance on a particularly wide swing and falls off the other side.
their parents. You spot them crouched beneath a wagon that has sunk into one of the muddier parts of the field. Two Chasind kneel in the mud and grasp at them, trying to pull them out from under the wagon. One of the children, a young girl, makes a break for it and scampers out the back. One of the stalkers darts after her. The young boy remains underneath, bawling as the other Chasind’s hand gets closer. If you act quickly, you might just have time to save one of them.
But which one?
You see a young woman run up to a man who looks to be a trapper. “Oskar, you made it! Thank the Maker!” Then the hunter turns to face her and she screams. He raises his axe to smite her and you
notice that his arm is yellow.
Just to be Sure?
Sheriff Milo takes control of the situation once the strange raiders have been killed, organizing
a bonfire for the bodies and instructing everyone, both wounded and healthy, to congregate in the town hall. Most visitors instead head for their tents with the intent of moving on. It doesn’t matter to them that the rain is getting heavier now or that there may be more threats outside of the valley; Sothmere is no longer safe.
Part 2 – Into the Wilds
The Journey Begins
sun is just a dim haze over the valley, barely illuminating the chaos left from last night’s events. Stalls are destroyed, tables are overturned, and the ground is littered with trash. village dogs and birds pick through the refuse for discarded food.
Old Stoyanka sits by a small fire in the center of the field facing the rising sun and chants in an unfamiliar tongue. She tosses a handful of something into the fire and it explodes into a blue fireball. With a slight smile, Old Stoyanka grips her walking stick and pulls herself to her feet. Moments later, a raven caws and alights on her shoulder.
The ancient wise woman looks at you with one
eye wide open and the other barely a squint. She
offers you two small bags and a large sack. One
of the small bags seems to be moving, while
the other emanates a vile stench. The large sack
seems to be empty.
“Follow the raven to find the grotto,” she
says. “This bag—” she holds up the moving one
“—contains its food. Make your camp where
the raven takes you. But keep your bearings; it
will lead you where you need to be, but it will
not lead you back.”
She then holds up the foul-smelling bag. “Once
you arrive at the campsite, dump this mixture
into boiling water. This will attract the firesprites.
They will lead you to the shadowmoss.
Finally, she indicates the large sack. “Fill this
completely with shadowmoss.”
The Shortest Distance Between Two Points
You journey south, along a dirt road, into the forest. The horses kindly provided to you by the village of Sothmere make the journey relatively easy. However, you cannot shake the unbearable feeling that the forest is… wrong, somehow. Too quiet. Jaundiced. as if something dark and sinister runs through the forest air. With a shudder you can’t help but recall your journey to face the creature known as Mythallen, not to mention the dark events in Nacht Stille. The question is no longer if you will face horrors here, but what manner of evil you shall face…
Sheets of rain now pound you as you crest a final hill in the dim haze of the shrouded noon sun. You can see the Sudrand River below and the Korcari Wilds beyond. Unfortunately, the hillside amounts to a steep bluff, and is littered with loose rocks half-buried in the muck.
The Witchford Ruins
Ahead lies Wichford. You’d expect the hamlet to be bustling with activity as hunters and trappers from the outer edges of the Korcari Wilds use the small ferry in Wichford to travel from one bank of the Sudrand to the other. Today, though, there doesn’t seem to be any activity beyond the rain feeding the puddles and a few ravens flying through the city to pick at a litter of human corpses.
Damned if you Do
Except for the pelting of rain against thatched roofs, the hamlet of Wichford is eerily quiet. A
few scattered bodies litter the mud around the buildings, slashed by blades and picked over by
the bloodcrows. Some buildings are tightly shut while others have broken shutters and doors.
An older man leans against the wall next to the cracked-open window. Most of the color has drained from his face and one lens of his spectacles is cracked. His left pants leg has been
cut off and he has bandages wrapped around a splint holding what remains of his knee. The
lower part of his right shirt sleeve is drenched in blood and his skin has a jaundiced appearance. A short sword lies next to him.
“You… You could not have come from Sothmere?” He asks.
Crossing the Bridge.
The ford is perhaps 50 yards across, with a few reeds jutting out of the water to indicate its
shallows. The ferry once followed a rope line attached to either bank, but it’s been cut, and
each end trails listlessly in the current rather than forming a single length over it. Walking a
horse across could prove treacherous, especially without a guide knowledgeable about the high
and low points in the murky water. How do you plan to cross the river?
A Trapper’s Story
You’ve been riding for three hours since crossing the ford and you can see the hilly range ahead
that separates you from the forest. You also see a wagon and a cooking fire where a large man
dressed in furs stokes the embers beneath roasting meat. As you approach, two large dogs with grey-and-white coats bark at you.
“Bog! Ipa! Be quiet!” the man says as he sees you. “Welcome to my fire! I am happy to see
friendly faces once more!”
As the sun begins to sink, the rockiness of the terrain gives way to a gentle slope that leads to
the outskirts of the mist-shrouded forest. A few drops of rain fall onto your traveling clothes,
indicating that another storm is coming. Something seems not quite right.