Lights in the Darkness
The following are rumours and other tidbits of information gathered in the course of the company’s travels:
- Heresy and pagan cults gnaw at the foundations of the kingdom of Dwimores.
- Pagan religion has returned in the village of Ferndon.
- The Cult of the Frog God is strong in the village of Taygle’s End.
- Unfortunately, Yric can offer little save his thanks and favor. If Osric will agree to help, however, he offers a scroll with the following divine spells: Dispel Magic; Divine Grace; and Protection from Evil, Sustained. He also suggests you speak to the local Magonine friary.
- The so-called “Hounds of Magon,” tireless foes of heresy known throughout the Mornlands, have a small friary in Hewflore. Bede, their “elder,” is still young, though the characteristic fervor of his order is tempered by a large dose of wariness. “We too have heard things, Brother Osric.” His eyes narrow. “Long were these lands peopled by the enemies of the Maker. The stink of the Marish is the stink of evil. To live so near the temples of lost Tarchoony is to court peril.” His eyes seek those of Osric. “You might know that better than most.”
- Helmward, the reeve of Froxhall and a mage of some repute, is disengaged from the affairs of his fief.
- The marsh pirates are massing for another upstream raid on the River Hellfor.
- Red Wencing’s Reavers are the most powerful of the marsh pirate bands.
- Bandit attacks are on the rise in northern Dwimores. Lord Drogo seems ambivalent.
- “By order of Lord Drogo, Marcher Lord of Hewflore and All the West, Defender of the Faith, Hammer of Reavers, the Ebon Staff, the villain known as “Red Wencing,” formerly of Ferndon, is wanted dead or alive for myriad offenses against the Maker and Men.” A healthy list of crimes follows including murder, rapine, oath-breaking, bread-scorn, and slavery. His bounty is 50 Marcher pounds (500gp).
- There are bounties on a few other pirate captains as well, though none is more than 100 Marcher pounds (1000gp).
- In the course of your enquiries, you gather that other lords likely offer bounties for particular bandits and pirates, though it is impossible to gain details of any veracity. You conclude that you will have to travel further afield for details, though several folk point you toward the Harding Chapmen and Marchands League (merchants’ guilds).
- The advice is not bad, and you learn that additional bounties for Red Wencing available just in Hewflore amount to over 100 Marcher pounds between merchants and the Alfarn mission. This phenomena is repeated for several pirates and bandits throughout the Ghost Marches. If the bounties are any indication, Red Wencing is by no means the most pernicious of pirates operating in the Great Marish.
- In no case is someone willing to fund an expedition.
- Success against pirates would certainly be a factor in guild membership.
- The Dead Heath is growing. The Dead Heath is hilly region along the southeast frontier of Dwimores where life seems to wither unnaturally. At the center of the Dead Heath are the Deadlhaws, a range of hills throughout which are scattered the many cairns and barrows of long-ancient dead.
- “We reckon it was the dark-walkers that got my dad. Night’s just not safe in the shadows of the Deadlhaws, you know, least not these days…” He pauses. “After the blight came, well, just seemed no sense in staying on. How’s a farmer to support three sisters and a mother on land as barren as an old crone?”
- Lord Drogo is courting his neighbour, the Lady of Orellfor.
- Lord Drogo is unpopular with the Makerite hierarchy in Dwimores because he ignores the clergy’s wishes in regard to appointing teachers. Also, his tithing favors certain monasteries instead of the central hierarchy.
- Two officers: “What’s Lord Drogo’s game, eh? The northern thanes will revolt if something’s not done soon about those bandits, and it’ll be us that have to make things right.” “If you ask me, he’s too keen to sire an heir. He needs to spend less time wooing the Lady of Orellfor and more ruling the March.”
- Some merchants in a tavern: “I’d steer clear of shipping by the Taygle, Thierry, if I were you. Walter’s the third merchant I can think of in a pinch to disappear there just this year. Go by road or don’t go at all.”
- Some sellswords: “There’s opportunity to be had in Gewiss, least-wise fer men wi’ strong hearts an’ good iron.” “Fie! Jus’ reavers an’ worse off the Weanoms Way.” “Fie yersel’, Eddy! Drogo broke the reavers two years ago.”
- Yric the Elder to Osric: “Brother Osric, shall you return to Taygle’s End soon? I despatched two clerics there not long after I saw you last. Now a month has passed, and I have had no word of Brother Guy and Brother Tostig for good or ill. I grow anxious.”
- Metropolitan Warren of Speers only barely survived the recent collapse of a study in Hewflore.
- Agapetos: “Who will save my village? Who will drive off the Green Men if not you?”
- Agapetos explained that the females and children of his village are separated from the males, visitation only possible infrequently and in small numbers. In total, the Green Men number over twenty and have powerful magic in addition to great strength of arms.
- Agapetos advised that his village is on an island south and east of the Temple of Turana. He could lead the company there.
- Fraegr reported the existence of a great ruined temple in the Sunken City some miles to the south and west of the Temple of Turana. He and Mauger attempted to infiltrate the death cult that worship there, but that they ultimately had to flee when their deception was uncovered. In addition to their priests, several mages also seemed to enjoy positions of authority within the cult.
Note that players are encouraged to add rumours to this wiki page and discuss the rumours found here in this site’s forums.
Hewflore, Harvest End rumours:
- Two merchants overheard in the market:
“There’s been trouble in the Taygle. Best stay clear until Lord Drogo’s men see to it. It’s the road for Carlton or not at all.”
“Oh, that’s rich. As if Lord Drogo can be bothered with anything but getting his hands on Orellfor.”
- A man overheard at the Axe and Swan:
“They assassinated the Baron of Weanomps? Sounds like the War of the Wands all over again.”
- On visiting Saint Tibba’s Study, Teacher Ralf d’Arcy:
“Osric, I am worried. In the weeks after the floor collapsed, I wondered if perhaps it was a blessing in disguise. After all, no one died, and while the damage to Saint Tibba’s was not unsubstantial, there was real attention to the study for the first time in years. You were one of many donors who appeared to give us assistance. Finally, we might have the money to do more than the minimum maintenance needed to keep it from falling apart.”
Ralf pauses and frowns.
“Not all of the attention has been welcome, though. Hervé [Ralf’s assistant teacher] has now caught strange folk poking around the wreckage several times. That might not be too strange by itself, but we’ve heard things — scraping, thumping, even a scream, perhaps — underneath the floor. Elder Yric tells me that I’m just getting old and excitable. Maybe… but I don’t like it the same.”
Two sellswords at the Hall of the Sword and Groat (Hewflore’s guildhouse of guards and mercenaries):
1 (dark-browed veteran with a face dominated by a large purple birthmark): “I’ll give Delfin this much: he has some stones. I don’t think the baron’s corpse was cold ’fore he made his play!”
2 (young tough with a weak beard) “Aye, mebbe so… Business’ll be good, though. Mebbe we should try our luck!”
1 “Hah! See how good the business is with a sword in your belly! Mark my words, lad, it’s trouble. If it weren’t for the Reaving, they’d still be at it.”
Two merchants in the taproom of the Axe and Swan:
1 (soft features, gray-haired and balding) “I’ve been trading with the Alfar for years, and still they give me shivers. I’ve heard they eat Manflesh. I bet they buy it in Stathmos…”
2 (red-haired and freckled) “G’way! But, I’ve heard they’re still keen enough ta buy a man. ‘Course, yer patriarch’s no likelier’n mine ta do somethin’ ‘bout it. An’ truth be told, it’s better for your wallet an’ mine ta do trade wi’ the pointies than be rid of ‘em an’ ’ave a Mannish kingdom in their stead.”
1 “I’ll not argue on the latter point, but our patriarch would do something about it.”
2 “Sure look it. I’m no lookin’ fer a quarrel, just another pint.”
A Patron to the innkeeper in the taproom of the Axe and Swan:
“Adventurers? You mean fools! The Scarps’ll kill you easily enough without figuring in the folk that live there! Still, their property’s yours when they don’t return, right?”
A conversation in the taproom of the Axe and Swan:
1 “Lights in the tower again. Saw it. With my own eyes.”
2 “So what? He’s. A. Mage. I think they sign a charter to do it when they’re in mages’ school.”
1 “Funny guy. What’s it all about?”
2 “Entertaining Hildfleda probably.”
1 “Think so? I bet he’s spying on Weanople!”
2 “I think you hit your head too many times as a child. Drink your ale.”
IN TAYGLE’S END
A note for Osric:
“Osric, Peace be with you! We rejoice in the news of your successes in Taygle’s End. Lady Ostryd seems to think you shall stay there. I am glad! I’ve taken the liberty of seeing to the spiritual welfare of Rishdon, but I look forward to speaking to you in person before long. Your brother in the Maker’s service, Colbert.”
Nore (Master of the Boater’s Guild) to the Brotherhood on its return to Taygle’s End:
“Glad to see you made it back, good sirs! I’ve been worried: There’s been more sightings of marsh pirates on on the lake, you see, and we heard there was trouble on your trip to Hewflore. More than a few of the rafters have gone missing, and I started to think they’d got you on your return.” [an earnest smile] “We’re so thankful for everything you’ve done here.”
Garnier to Zephyros:
“Ever heard of the ‘Horned Society?’ ‘Scarlet Brotherhood?’ No? Mmm. You don’t want to. You do? Well, I’m telling you that you don’t. Bad news, Zephyron, er, Zephrykos. Er? What’s your name again? Haha. Just joking.” Or, is he?
Members of the Harding Chapmen deep in their cups at the Hungry Wyrm (of two inns and a tavern, the Wyrm was the only establishment in Taygle’s End to survive the cult)
A1 (short and skinny inclined to frown) “This place is a dump.”
A2 (tall and grossly overweight, a falsetto voice) “Think so? I’d say it’s one of the nicer places on the road to Carlton.”
A1 [an exaggerated laugh] “I mean Taygle’s End, as you well know.”
A3 (dancing blue eyes with many smiles) “Oh, the girls are nice enough…”
A1 “Comedians both of you.” [a belch surprisingly loud considering his small stature] “There’s no point in putting any money back into the End, as you can see as well as I.”
A2 “That’s obvious enough. Until something’s done about the pirates, everything from here to Carlton is a bad investment.”
A3 “Muck melons used to be good business. Real good business.”
A2 “‘Real good’ is strong. It wasn’t bad. It’s not good enough to pay for guards.”
A1 “Waste of time then.”
A3 “Perhaps so…”
A1 “Worst part is we probably can’t even sell the old house.”
A2 “The guild should be worried about Weanople, anyway.”
A3 “Ah, but you have to admit, a few Dreaman sorcerors killing each other isn’t a bad thing.”
A2 “Indeed not. Spells and spirits and all manner of unnatural things. Still, I heard someone in Hewflore say it’ll be the War of the Wands all over again. I say, if it gets us closer to us getting back our own, let’s risk it.”
A2 “I’ll drink to that!”
A1 “As will I!”
Miscellany in the taproom at the Hungry Wyrm:
B1 “‘In the interest of stability and peace’ he’s started seizing the baron’s towers? Seems… risky.”
B2 “If you say so. I’d bet a harvest Drogo’s been waiting to do it for years.”
B1 “No doubt. Doesn’t change there will be a reckoning.”
C1 “So, when are we going to hear of a noble marriage between Dwimmores and Orellfor?”
C2 “Hopefully not until next year. Who needs a holiday in the winter?”
C3 “Goats to groats that we wouldn’t celebrate it here anyway. Have you ever seen Lady Ostryd’s face when someone mentions Lord Drogo?”
D1 “Never seen anything like it, lads. It was like a giant floating eye covered in quicksilver. Hope I never see it again!”
E1 “Not sure it’s safe to leave Taygle’s End anymore. So much for these ‘adventurers’ bringing back the good times. Nore said it’s getting chancy sending anything by boat to Hewflore, and my son heard in Rishdon a few days back that bandits have been snatching folks right out of the fields! Bandits… or cultists.”