Synopsis: The party finds a new clue that might lead to the identity of Xanesha’s mysterious “Master,” which leads them halfway across the land of Varisia.
Toilday, 22 Neth 4707, Magnimar, early evening
During dinner at the Shield and Sheepdog, an emissary from the City Watch came by, telling the Sandpoint Heroes that General Odinburge wanted to see them at their earliest convenience; it involved something found at the Shadow Clock.
An hour later, in Odinburge’s office at the Arvensoar, Odinburge told the party that a letter had been found in the rookery of the Shadow Clock earlier that day.
“Turtleback Ferry is a protectorate of Magnimar. Geographically, it’s our farthest holding. The town came to us a few decades ago to ask for help against the monsters and giant vermin that live in the nearby ogre-held Hook Mountain and the haunted Ashwood Forest. We built a fort in the foothills of Hook Mountain and created a regiment of rangers called the Black Arrows to man the fort. The Black Arrows are pretty self-sufficient and independent now, but are still under our nominal command.
“I don’t have that many men to spare right now, especially with the weather getting on toward winter. I was wondering if you’d be interested in heading up there to see what this Lucretia is up to, and hopefully put a stop to it. I’d suggest that you meet with both the mayor of the town and with the Black Arrows to let them know that you’re acting on our authority. I can give you a letter of introduction. We would also cover reasonable travel expenses, of course, plus a stipend.”
The party agreed, and began preparations to set out.
Wealday, 23 Neth 4707, Garret’s Landing
The party geared up and set north along the Lost Coast Road, making it to Garret’s Landing by nightfall.
Oathday, 24 Neth 4707, Sandpoint
The Sandpoint Heroes returned to Sandpoint in the early evening. One farmer recognized them about two miles out of town, and raced to town to let everyone know— a small crowd gathered at the South Bridge to applaud and to welcome the heroes back to town. Ameiko Kaijitsu comped a night’s stay at the Rusty Dragon, and the Sheriff Hemlock came by to catch up. The Heroes were also treated to a performance of the ballad “The Heroes of Goblin Day,” performed by the theater owner Cydrak Drokkus himself. Everyone was disappointed to hear that the Heroes would be leaving the next day.
Fireday, 25 Neth 4707, The Moors
The party left Sandpoint mid-morning and headed east along the Nybor Trail, a minor road, for the three-day journey to Nybor. After an uneventful but cold and rainy day, they found a decent campsite on the Moors and night passed without incident.
Starday, 26 Neth 4707, The Moors
The rain turned to sleet, but the day otherwise passed uneventfully. As the party set camp for the night, three horse-sized giant insect-like creatures burrowed up out of the ground to attack, but the party made short work of them. They did pick a different campsite, though.
Sunday 27 Neth 4707, Nybor
The party arrived at the village of Nybor shortly after noon, and found an inn. It was nice to be able to hang wet clothes and gear by the hearth to dry them out, and to have a well-cooked meal.
Moonday 28 Neth 4707, Wartle
The adventurers made the day-long journey to the trading village of Wartle without incident, and stayed at a precariously-tilting inn called the Lean-To. Halfred dared to try their local drink called Bog Grog— and reported that it tasted like a strong, peaty, smoky beer.
Toilday 29 Neth 4707, Sanos Forest
After talking with some locals, the party decided to take the Old Sanos Trail north from Wartle through the mysterious Sanos Forest, considered by many to be the homeland of the gnomes. At the suggestion of several locals, they hired a female gnome guide named Flijit Frothelthimble, who had indigo hair and pinkish skin, to lead them through the forest. Durrok noted that he’d never encountered anyone who used so many words to say so little, but Flijit was an able guide, leading them to an excellent campsite.
Wealday 30 Neth 4707, Sanos Forest
Flijit led them off the Old Sanos Trail at midday, following what appeared to be a game trail for a few miles, before returning to the main trail. She was a bit evasive, but said that she shouldn’t bring outsiders to that village on the 30th of Neth— it’s a sacred day for her people. She wouldn’t say much more about it. The party camped in a log shelter that night. Flijit said that such shelters are built for travelers, and are common along the trail— although none of the party had seen any others.
Oathday 1 Kuthona 4707, Sipplerose
The Old Sanos Trail led to the gnome town of Sipplerose, and the party made it there by late afternoon. A cold blast of winter had settled on the forest, and the first snow started falling. Flijit led the party to the Longfellow Inn, which catered to human-sized guests. While the decor was a bit garish for most of their tastes, the inn was comfortable, and the food was excellent.
Fireday 2 Kuthona 4707, Sanos Forest
The party left the odd but comfortable gmomish town after an excellent breakfast of eggs and smoked fish, and continued up the Old Sanos Trail. That night, the party camped in another wayfarer’s shelter.
Starday, 3 Kuthona 4707, Turtleback Ferry
Flijit led the party to the edge of the Sanos Forest, to where it met the cypress swamp known as Shimmerglens. Decades ago, the gnomes had built a three-mile-long long causeway over the swamp called the Wicker Walk in order to foster trade with the humans who lived on the shores of Claybottom Lake— named because it appears to be woven out of reeds. Flijit bade the party farewell and took her payment, and the Sandpoint Heroes made their way across the Wicker Walk, which eventually crossed the Willow River to the human hamlet of Bitter Hollow. There was still an hour of light left, so the Sandpoint Heroes continued along Turtleback Road to a ferry station on the shores of the Skull River. A ferryman was waiting there, and took the party across the river in a boat made of the shell of an immense turtle. On the other bank of the river, where the Skull River empties into Claybottom Lake, lay the town of Turtleback Ferry. The party found the only inn the town had to offer: the Turtle’s Parlor, and got rooms for the night.