West Marches field report by Capt. N. Greywood
To be delivered to King Godric I
Dates: 16th through the 20th of Havis, 1186
Attending: Capt. Nevin Greywood, Olgar Ironside, Yarid, Comet, Yolu
Traveling by way of the mysterious skull-shaped vehicles, we were taken to the land known as Dordon. The skull landed on a platform south of a lake. Since a previous excursion had explored to the south, we chose to head north. When we reached the lake, we headed east and came across a sentry tower. A young boy in the tower fired a warning shot at us, which angered Olgar and Comet despite the fact that we were trespassers to their home.
Continuing east, we reached a fishing village and were met by guards with their bows drawn. This again angered Olgar and Comet, who were ready to start a battle at this perceived slight. The calmer heads of Yarid and myself prevailed and we talked to the village elder, a man (of a sort) named Horath.
Horath, like all of the people of the village, bore dozens of tattoos across his skin, all depicting scenes of water. We asked him for the lay of the land and he told us of each of the cardinal directions:
- West of their village is their current hunting grounds.
- East of their village used to be their hunting grounds but the creatures there suddenly grew larger and more fierce and they no longer travel there.
- To the South is the forest that belong to a race of elves that they are warring with, and to the southeast there have been reports of demons but none have attacked them.
- To the North is their temple and beyond that is their previous homeland. According to Horath, they were forced out by usurpers, which is why they live in their less hospitable location.
Again, the rash behavior of Olgar and Comet almost started a fight, but it was defused by Horath and we decided to travel to the north to see their previous homeland and its current occupants. They allowed us to cross their bridge and we went on our way.
Soon thereafter we found a large hoofprint in the ground and a gash in a tree 8 feet high. After some examination and deliberation, we decided that it was likely caused by a giant stag of some sort, grown way out of proportion as Horath told us about. Taking a detour from our exploration, several members of the party wanted to hunt the beast and so we set out after it.
We did not find the stag but came across a cave filled with bats – both of regular size and enormous ones. We smoked them out, slew them without too much trouble, and found some valuables inside the cave. As it was getting dark, we decided to make camp for the night in the cave.
It was late in the night when we were awoken by a strange visitor. A man of some sort, easily 15 feet tall, came to our camp. He was not hostile and we made a fire where he cooked the wings of the giant bats we had slain and happily ate them. Communication with him was difficult, for even though he seemed capable of speaking in several languages, he was a simpleton and had not the brainpower for intelligent conversation. In the morning, a giant eagle landed beside the man and ate the scraps of the giant bats that remained. Once the man and eagle were finished, he gave to us a massive ruby which, although flawed, was likely to fetch a very nice price when we returned to Midgard.
We set out to the north again and came across a shallow but strong river. With the help of Olgar’s strength we were able to cross it. As we continued to travel, we came across a giant white feather. We identified it as the feather from a celestial and took it with us. Since Olgar seemed very attached to it, we allowed him to carry it.
Soon after, we came to a town at the base of a tiered fortress. A man wearing a cloak that seemed to flow in the breeze, even when there was none, met us. Seeing the feather, he greeted us friendlily. His name was Rushing Gale and he had tattoos similar to those of the ones on the people of the fishing village but instead of images of water they were images of storm clouds. We explained that we were travelers from far away and he knew of the skull by which we traveled. He offered to schedule a meeting with the town leaders but it would be a day or so before we could meet. He escorted us to an inn in town and we arranged for lodging for the evening.
While the others stayed in the inn, playing games and music with the locals, I decided to walk around the town to get the lay of the land and see what I might learn. During the course of my walk, I encountered 2 fools in an alleyway who intended to rob me of my coin. Before it came to that I was able to convince them it would be a bad idea to attempt to do so (I believe I used the phrase “balls of steel” at one point) and the cowards retreated to the shadows of the alley. I found some local guards who knew of the 2 and I took them to the alley so they may prevent them from mugging anyone less capable than myself. As it was getting dark at that point, I returned to the inn and rested until morning.
At noon, Rushing Gale showed up and took us into the fort to meet with the chancellor of his people, a man named Gust. I discuss the idea of establishing communications or trade routes with his people but they cannot get to the skull platform because they would need to cross a bridge controlled by the people of the fishing village. We offered to try to convince them of allowing them safe passage but it was clear the enmity between the two peoples ran deep. Gust gave Comet a dagger to present to Horath but it was clear that doing so would likely provoke a war between them.
Yarid and I then went to a grand library with a history advisor to discuss the history of Dordon. Reinforcing what was learned by previous expeditions, he told us that their scrolls detail the story of celestials that rose up to fight the demons of the land. But he also presented us with an ancient scroll recently discovered. It told a slightly different version of events, where the celestials and the demons struck a bargain, though they did not know what the bargain was. There was also a betrayal (again, they did not know by which party) and the “Righteous One” cast the demons back to the depths.
Yarid told the advisor of the unicorn that the previous expedition had encountered, as well as some of the other information he had. The history advisor was very grateful for the information.
I asked the advisor if he had a map of the land for us to take back with us and he said he had none he could spare but a crude one could be created within a few days. We arranged for him to have it left at the skull platform so that we can pick it up on our next journey to Dordon. This map might be very helpful to the next expedition.
I also asked him about the hostilities between his people and the people of the fishing village. He explained that the water people were in this city first. But the air people bred warriors for “the hierophant” and grew strong. For this, the hierophant, who is the true owner of these lands, gave the city to the air people so they drove out the water people and claim righteous ownership.
He said we might find celestials in the mountains to the north. We would first have to go across the lake, to the first river on the north side. If we follow the east side of the river for half a day, we would begin the climb into the mountains. But there are weird creatures in there, enemies of the celestials. The air people do their best to hunt and kill them but the creatures are powerful.
We returned to Gust, who was dining with Olgar, Comet, and Yolu. In conversation it became clear that the air people are warriors who have not fought in a long time. They were itching for the chance to battle, which would no doubt bring them to war with the water people.
At this point we decided we would return to Midgard and the next morning we headed back along the route we traveled. When we reached the water people of the fishing village, Comet presented the dagger to Horath who was not pleased to receive it. He left to go and make preparations, so I have no doubt that war has come to Dordon. The next journeyers there should take heed of this and plan accordingly.
Captain Nevin Greywood