To rewind a bit….
On the ninth day of the quest bestowed upon this intrepid band, our heroes had finally cleared through the second enchanted forest along the westward road of An Cliath Kestria. A visitation by a very large while owl, who shared some rabbits collected for dinner, preceeded the trek along the stone road, when suddenly….
A large trench, moving from the river towards the road, was discovered. This trench has continued to be a part of the road, making it difficult to use. Early speculation by Anya and Raven theorized the passage of a boat, being pushed along or towed, or a dragon slithering down the lane. Neither is exceptionally likely, thinks Eamon and Aoife, and the Death Mage is keeping to herself about it.
Ahead, on the right, is a burned out farmhouse. Signs of a struggle appear in the pathway between it and the road, with a body left behind. It is covered in reddish fur/hair, and is humanoid though large.
By the tenth day the band finally made it to Celestria, along the river. An earthen dam was erected some years ago, and a small lake with two islands provides some source of fish, and shelter for small container ships moving up and down the river. But….
Celestria is in ruins. Burned on one side, slaughtered on the other, the last few buildings will at least offer some shelter for the night. Raven visits the local shrine/temple, and Eamon and Aoife begin looking through the remaining structures. They discover a round shield, made of a pounded red metal engraved with a center spiral and four arm spirals. In the Bar they found 18 bodies, stacked. In a clothing store they found general cloth and materials, but in an upstairs vault they found a bolt (18” wide, 240” long) of a material that flows like water, in a blue patterned weave. They also found a spool of gold thread, buttons, fasteners, and some high quality cloth.
Somewhere in here Raven leaps from the second floor, or falls out the window, depending on who’s story you accept. An over-reaction to finding a trap, he has instead laid himself up and needs extensive bed rest to recover.
On day eleven, the bodies in the bar were taken out and buried, to make room in the bar for a temporary base of operations. Aoife got slightly injured, but Raven still holds the record for stupid things done. Cleaning of the bar and kitchen allow for good meals, and on the next day Aoife and Eamon went fishing along the lake to expand the food stores past vegetarian and preserved meats.
This twelvth day Eamon and Aoife find the docks, and pull up some of the salvagable boats from the bottom. Aoife sees a structure on one of the two lake islands, but the weather starts stirring up, and they complete their fishing, an inventory of the bodies buried (including the town cleric), an inventory of the materials found, and everyone prepared to let Raven recover so he would be good in a fight if needed. Oh, and Aoife found a still back in the field. Operational, and easy to stoke, the still has proven to be an asset, as clean alcohol is great for medicinal purposes. Let’s drink to that!
On Day thirteen the salvaged boats (two of them) were under repairs. Plugs were fashioned from old cloth and maple saps, and with buckets in hand a trial float was made. Aoife is now certain that the structures on the island include a tower, and some inhabitants. The boats were taken inside to dry out.
Day fourteen saw heavy fog roll in, and a continued work on the second boat. It’s likely to rain on the morrow, so no real rowing trials were accomplished. Raven continues to improve due to the ministrations of Anya, who is a very good field doctor.
Day fifteen brought the rain. Heavy rain. Horrible flooding rain. The fires across the street have been put out, and the smouldering smell is being washed away by the downdrafts. Anya and Eamon continue work in the kitchen, making it more than it was before—a good cleaning is always a helpful thing for a kitchen in these days. After a good meal, in the dark and rainy afternoon, everyone settled back to wait out the storms.
That evening, however, between a dozen and a score riders went through the center of town at a blinding speed. Humanoid, but no further details discernable, these riders seemed to be fleeing the very edge of Anastar’s Waste. Shortly afterwards Aoife spotted goblins in the town, and with very little effort managed to kill all six. Recovered were six score hunting arrows (she never let them draw), 2 short staves, 3 short bows, and a 1-ft long stick, engraved with odd characters.
On the sixteenth day the rain let up, and the fires were all extinguished. Aoife and Eamon rowed across to the tower to see what was there. Some low lying buildings, a small garden, and a tower met them, along with the priests of the Monestery of Arche Brennen, believer of renoun, helper of the farmer. Eminence Antarian, abbot, invited them in to visit, and for some salt, came over and cast healing spells on Raven. He indicated that perhaps help would come from Keep Mithria, further out along the road and river.
Day seventeen saw our band finally leaving Celstria along the westward road, and by early afternoon they were at the edge of the farmland and into the scrub and heath. The fields look even more un-tended, indicating that the entire crops could be going to waste. Shame, really, as there are no farmers left nearby to help.
A bit later, on the left side of the road, headed south, was discovered the signs of a large battle, with a marching column obviously arriving from or leaving towards the south. Investigation found pools of blood, some broken light weapons, and the occasional bit of broken armor strapping. Nothing of value was seen, but a trek down the pathway to the south showed it to be unerring, which is rare for marching armies.
Day eighteen along the road passed uneventfully. The keep is visible in the distance on the right side of the road, up on a rocky outcropping. More battle signs are about the fields surrounding the castle, but there is an eerie silence about tonight. The road to the castle from the westward road is surrounded by packed earth with ruts, but nothing remains to show what it was for. A quick pass up the pathway, and to a guard tower, and our heroes were finally back to civilization. If they could just get past the watch.
Raven was recognized, and acting as a spokesperson for the heroes and their Royal Quest, they were allowed across the dry moat through a second gatehouse into the grounds proper. The ruts outside were immediately apparent, as the market had moved, on wheels, into the castle. There is much to see and buy, and some attention was paid to the buildings and temporary houses. Anya registered with the merchants guild as a tinker, set up group quarters in the travellers inn, and got their animals stabled. As it was too late in the day to meet with the Castillan, the group retired for the evening, and prepared for real baths the next day.