Koln - Vult 995 YK - Shadow Marches

1 Vult, 995 YK

By the time William had turned 16, the village has grown, mostly with various sorts of traders and merchants supplying goods or services to the lucrative dragonshard trade. However, few of them brought their children, and so the supply of teenagers did not really increase.

Krepis had nearly completed his apprenticeship, and had called an animal companion, a tall feathered clawfoot he called Rhavad (which was apparently a short form of the draconic word for the beast).

Ket had grown into an accomplished hunter and archer and an exceptionally attractive woman. As the only young woman close to them in age, both William and Krepis developed a crush on her. Being friends, neither of them did anything about it. Which was just as well, since, having grown up with them, it never occurred to Ket that either of them might be a romantic interest.

Although the three did not spend time as a group socially, they did spend time together. Tharashk youths were expected to pull their weight. By this age, that meant all of them could expect to spend time with the dragonshard harvest, up to their chests in water, probing the swamp floor with their bare feet for the large, egg-shaped stones that might be dragonshard geodes, levering same out of the mud with long poles, and carrying the stones to higher ground to be transported to the village on skids.

So they formed the sort of tolerant friendships that one finds in a small village, where peers who would have nothing in common if they lived in a larger center find ways to enjoy each other’s company.

Those relationships would soon change.

It was during such a dragonshard harvest that they first noticed scouts from the Windfist clan prowling around the fields. Hogar, William’s stepfather, sent them back to warn the village, but they were ambushed by Winfists along the way. It would be the first time the three fought in battle alongside each other, and the first time they bled together. For William (and he assumed for the others), it was the first time he killed a man. But William was half-orc, and raised in the orcish way; he had expected this day, and took it in stride.

In defeating the Windfists, they rescued a villager, the young woman Delphiin, and escorted her back to the village. There they spoke with Rond, the chief warrior of the village, and warned him of the threat. But Rond was concerned of the increasing threat posed by the Bonetree clan to the east, and had no warriors to spare. So he asked the trio to scout the Windfists – and while they were at it, could they keep an eye out for the outlander scholar, Douvern Staal, whose wife had been missing him for some days?

2 Vult, 995 YK

The trio learned of a cave to the west where Wind Fist warrior parties sometimes camped, and elected to scout there first. The cave was indeed in use by the Wind Fists, led by a strange, squat creature with four arms and two mouths. Impetuous youths, the trio attacked the camp from ambush; were driven back; then attacked again, slaying all of their enemies.

Koln recovered some magical plate armor from one of the corpses, and they found a message scroll on the leader’s body, which said,

“I have been warned to keep an eye out for strangers to the area. You need to hold off any opposition for a few more days until the ritual can be completed –K”

Battered from the battle, Koln and his friends elected to return to the village to report what they found to Rond, and to Krepis’ master, the druid Crukul. On the way there, they noticed the ashi paddies were stragely empty. Once in the village, the villagers appeared nervous and furtive. Some of them, it turned out, had been having bad dreams.

Douvren Staal was still missing. The party rested for the night, determined to search for Staal in the morning.

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Koln - Vult 995 YK - Shadow Marches

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