Ynera’s 4th, 105E
Aerson Solborn entered the tavern known as the Burning Mug. The rain had created puddles of dirty water that littered the streets, forcing his boots to imprint muddy footsteps onto the tavern floor. He sat down next to Norwil, the man who had hired him to guard his wagon full of goods. Aerson needed a cover, a way to gain information discreetly. Norwil presented the perfect opportunity to enter Saren’s Swamp with an alibi. He had heard of the recent murders in Ravenrook and how many of the city’s bigots and ignorant citizens were blaming the Lizardfolk with little more than an assumption. He couldn’t blame them for their fear, but he couldn’t believe any of their claims. The Order of the Seven-Fold had always taught him to question so called “truths”, and this felt like something that needed to be questioned. He accepted Norwil’s offer, greeted two others at the table who would be tagging along, and prepared for the next morning.
Valentia Miros took a seat at the table with Norwil. The Burning Mug was not a classy tavern. Loud, dirty, and situated near Vlari Market, it was quite possibly the worst tavern in the city. Nothing like the upscale vineyards and coastal views from her family’s estate in uptown Ravenrook. But Valentia didn’t mind. She felt at home in places like this tavern and frequented various others just like it. Her time spent as an agent and scout for the Republic of Delmond washed away all the privilege that came with her family’s name. Valentia had heard about the recent spree of murders, but couldn’t stand the unsupported claims that it was Lizardfolk who were to blame. Her intelligence sources alerted her of a group who was carrying out the murders, but other than that, it was just more rumors of Lizardfolk. Still intrigued by the mystery, she opted to spend some time helping a local delivering some goods to Saren’s Swamp in the hopes of investigating Sathras for more clues about the Lizardfolk murder claims.
Jorah Wulfryk was sitting at the table with Norwil when the other two arrived. Jorah had traveled extensively in the previous months, just after the snow thawed from the North Road. He arrived at Ravenrook with little more than the clothes on his back. But this was the way. He had the vision, and sensed a spiritual call to this place. Locating a spiritual pull proved difficult for Jorah however. After days of attempting to make contact, he decided to help a local merchant deliver goods to a nearby swamp to make a few coins. The Spirits would understand the need for a few coins, and Jorah needed some time to align his focus to observe the Spirits.
Ynera’s 5th, 105E
Norwil and our heroes left Ravenrook early in the morning. The rain had left the North Road muddy with puddles decorating its edges. They left early that morning with a wagon full of barrels of oil. They veered off the North Road after a few hours to head East toward Saren’s Swamp. The swamp made for difficult travel, but Aerson managed to keep the roads clear and the wagon moving. Aerson’s suspicion of Norwil grew when he realized they were not heading towards Sathras, the Lizardfolk settlement, but instead keeping to the outskirts of the Swamp. Nearing their destination, Norwil stopped the wagon to feed the horse and take a quick break. Aerson questioned Norwil about their destination, but Norwil was quick to dismiss it, stating that he was paying them for protection and nothing else.
After a few more hours, they arrive at a make-shift camp. There seems to be about 50 men at this camp, many at work collecting wood and moving supplies from one place to another. There are barrels stacked up near a tree and a few horses being tended to. A large middle-aged man stops them and greets Norwil. They exchange a glance and the man introduced himself to Norwil as Rudder. Rudder glares at our heroes and asks why they were brought here. They state their names and Norwil responds that he needed protection and help bringing the delivery here. Rudder casts a glare at Norwil and quickly hands Norwil something from the chest that was brought down from the wagon. As Rudder’s men unload the wagon, he tells Norwil that they should leave right away. Norwil and the heroes try to convince him to let them stay for the night, since it is dusk and that the Swamp is treacherous at night, but Rudder shows no compassion, only stating that there is a turnout on the road they can use down the road.
They head down the road and make camp in the turnout that Rudder mentioned. There, Norwil and the heroes have a conversation about what Rudder is doing out in Saren’s swamp, but Norwil seems to be just as confused as them. Jorah heads toward a secluded area to focus his Vision, entering a trance to detect Spirits. He sees a dangling totem on the branch of a willow. A totem… a Dropka totem. He hasn’t seen one in over 4 years, and now he’s found one, in the middle of a swamp. He enters his trance and focuses on finding the next totem that would lead him to a Spirit.
Valentia senses a deep distrust in Rudder and sneaks back to the camp through the swamp to get a closer look at their activity. She sees the men opening some of the oil barrels and pouring the contents into small vials, bottles, and glasses and attaching leather straps/lanyards to them. A very strange thing to do she thought… She waited longer… Rudder emerges from a tent to take inventory of some of the men’s work then retreats to his tent. Afterward, she heads back to their camp when she runs into Jorah and Aerson. They had both left to follow her trail after they realized she went missing. She informs them that Rudder and his men have been bottling some of the oil and keeping inventory on it, they head back to the camp.
On their way back, they begin to hear galloping horses running toward their direction. They get louder and louder as they continue. Suddenly, they hear a few men talking nearby and notice two of Rudder’s men walking along the swamp path in the direction back to Rudder’s camp. The heroes hide in the underbrush until they pass by. Soon, the galloping horses they heard from earlier rush right past them, rushing toward Norwil’s camp. The heroes grow worried, and they hurry their pace back toward Norwil and the wagon.
When they arrive, they see the camp littered with arrows. Norwil has a few arrows impaled in him, the horse is missing, and the rest of the camp is tossed about, as if someone had ruffled through it. Valentia tracks the hoofprints that indicate they continued toward the North Road, likely in search of them to finish the job. They decide to ambush the riders, knowing that if they head back to the camp without them, they would alert the entire camp.
Aerson stands in the middle of the path, with Jorah and Valentia hiding in the brush ready to surprise them. The ambush plays out perfectly. The riders are impaled with arrows from Valentia and Jorah’s bows, and Aerson manages to pull them off their horses before they can even react to the ambush. One rider falls and breaks his arm and the other receives a minor abdominal wound.
Aerson questions the conscious rider about the camp and Rudder’s involvement. They get information about a Scale-Bane Gang, a group of locals who have united under their shared hatred of Lizardfolk. Rudder is apparently part of this Scale-Bane Gang and is organizing an attack on Sathras, the Lizardfolk settlement. Jorah then senses another Spiritual pull as he sees another Dropka totem hanging on a tree. That’s when he notices that there are three figures hiding in the bushes nearby. They emerge, introducing themselves as citizens of Sathras. Karas Sathras, daughter of Orinos, Lizardfolk ambassador for Sathras, is among them. She says that they have been on the lookout for strange activity in their swamps for the past few months, but haven’t found anything substantial until now. The heroes inform her of a potential attack on Sathras. She then asks them to follow her to Sathras to speak to her father about what they know.
When they arrive in Sathras, a swamp settlement built with reeds and vegetation, they head towards the settlements one stone building. There they greet Orinos. Orinos greets them individually where they find out that they each have a connection. Aerson, a member of the Order of the Seven-Fold, is bound to protect the innocent, such as the citizens of Sathras. Jorah, member of the Dropka people, who in years past have taught the Lizardfolk about the spirituality and wisdom gained from Ancestor Worship. Valentia, who’s family has supported many of the Lizardfolk’s pleas in the Republican Council despite experiencing backlash from some of the council members. Orinos claims fate is responsible for their presence during this time and asks a favor of them that will be essential the future of their people.