The World of DaNar

A Settlement in Danger

Sorscha

Although the time deciding seemed interminable, the decision was actually made quickly. The only real option was to aid this new village.

Having only just beaten back the Bowmen from Three Cedars, we couldn’t commit everyone and leave them open to a possible counterattack. Myself, Xar’eth, Hershel, and Nathaniel would accompany the runner, Horatio, back to his home. The others would remain to help establish defenses and train the Cedarmen against future aggression.

The village was another half-day away and was called Hemlock Field (a foreboding name, I would later learn). Apparently, they had brought Bowmen attention upon themselves by wearing Watchmen insignia openly and patrolling their borders. Though it seems innocuous enough, our activities have must have set the larger Bowmen group on edge a bit and their scouts spotted this defiance and reported to their superiors. They were warned to stop owing Watchmen allegiance and that they would soon be visited by their commander.

Though small by surface standards, Hemlock Field turned out to be the largest settlement we’ve encountered since leaving Qataban. Somewhat more than a hundred people lived in several buildings in roughly circular roads. Farmlands, by the look of them. Nothing made it look like they would be willing, or able, to stand up to the Bowmen. Not after what we’d begun to see from them.

They were governed by a group of five elders, whom we were introduced to. The town had built on the ruins of an older one and the original was something of a Watchmen stronghold, when they still existed. So after hearing rumor of their resurgence, it inspired two of the villagers to “reconnect” to their heritage and don old Watchmen attire that had been passed down through families. Foolish, if you ask me, though the Nathaniel and his entourage seemed impressed. Human sentiment is strange.

After debating with ‘new’ Watchmen, Hershel somehow managed to convince them to evacuate their families to Three Cedars so that they would not present an easy target the Bowmen’s wrath. A note for for future: do no let Hershel do negotiations that you care about.

We all took hidden positions around the town center and split the the targets of pursuit among us, along with some others that martial experience. Ideally, the Bowmen would come and leave when they found their targets and families gone. But we couldn’t relay on that. And then they arrived.

Bowmen. A Death.
Upon arriving, they split into multiple groups, covering the lanes of exit. A robed figure stayed back with a group, blocking where they had entered. In to the town center walked one who was clearly in command. He was clad fully in black and red armor, the Bowman insignia blazed on the chest. He head was covered in tattoos. Though they held no specific meaning for me, they reminded me of a technique in Knif n’Karandras where a warrior was mystically bound to a mage. I’ll have to keep that in mind.

The village primarch, Elder Greene, awaited them in the square, with others further back. The tattooed figure, identified as Trask, demanded to know where the men were, and the Elder informed them they were gone. Trask looked down and mumbled something about ‘disappointing Bloodfire’. He insisted that an example still needed to be made and, in an instant, Elder Greene was dead. I saw Trask’s hand go to his sword, but barely saw the stroke. His weapon or person is magically enhanced to speed his movement. This man is a threat to us all.

I had to restrain my companion from attacking. Rushing for vengeance at this moment would get us all killed and make the Elder’s sacrifice mean nothing. Trask and the Bowmen backed out slowly, possibly looking for a counterattack, then left the way that they had come. Clearly in pain, the villagers were becoming hostile toward our presence now. Giving them time to sit with their sorrow, I grabbed Hershel and we tracked after the Bowmen to ensure that they were not leaving men behind and to see if we could locate their home base.

We tracked them as far as a marsh, when they paused, there was a flash of light, and they were gone. Clearly they have impressive resources. As we were preparing to return, there was a deep, rumbling growl from withing the marshlands. We saw nothing, but I must admit that it sounded large and reptilian.

With little to show for our efforts, we returned to the town. However, as we were about to enter, I saw sigils of some sort, carved into trees at the entrance. They had a glow about them that I’d seen before in the underdark. They were created so that they would be seen specifically by those for whom darkness does not impede vision.

We checked with the elders to see if they had made the marks. They professed no knowledge of them, but when I described their nature, they scoffed somewhat and said that the only creatures that had the ability to see like that in darkness here were the vorscha, and that it was lucky that they were just legends. As we companions explained that they were real, and that we had encountered them, the blood drained from the faces of those gathered. The elders followed up with old stories about how when marks like that appeared, the village where there were made shortly was wiped out.

Our original guide spoke up, indicating that a traveling merchant of some type was soon due in the village and that he may have more information as he tended to travel the entire basin, trading and gathering information. The trader’s name, Soggy Pete, did not inspire me with confidence.

Upon arrival, Soggy Pete appeared (and smelled) to have had trolls in near family tree. Despite his hygiene and slow speech, he was a solid source of information, as was claimed. He told stories of several other villages in the region had recently been wiped out. It had been explained away by natural disasters, disease, and the like. But now, with the vorscha being real, and with them having an alliance of some sort with the Bowmen, it was clear that this land was being brought to heel or emptied out. And that a power behind both the Bowmen and the vorscha was driving them.

This was enough for the town leaders to realize that they had to leave or lose the lives of everyone there. Of course, we offered them sanctuary within Lochaid. They accepted, still clearly displeased to be forced to leave at all. They placed much importance on their land and homes, but these things can be reclaimed and rebuilt; lives cannot. Hershel and Nathaniel felt it important to bring the part-troll as well, and Nathaniel managed to coerce him by handing over an enchanted robe he previously had claimed. So we set up in the town church for the evening, ready to move people out at the dawn.

During the night, Trask reappeared with a few others. I don’t know all who were up, but as I was only in reverie and not full human sleep, I was alert enough to detect them. They came only to the walls of the church, where Trask quietly threatened that moving was not enough to avoid their wrath and that would follow us even to Temple Rise, if that was made necessary. Then they were gone.

The next day, we worked to send the villagers off. They left in small groups, about an hour apart, and were shepherded to the treeline by townsfolk guards and we companions. There’s now an active train of people and supplies heading through Three Cedars to Lochaid. This would be the ideal time to strike against them. But I must leave that to others, as I’m striking ahead to try and alert our people and make preparations for the arrival of a town.

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