Farther Gone

[Scupi Province, Ananios(02) 1025]

One day while collecting your share of mine profits in Silvertown Hyrmina asks you to investigate the settlement of Farther, deep into the Badlands. She relates Farther’s sad tale. About 5 years ago many families[1] and a few of the more naive/greedy miners were tricked into buying shares of a non-existent mine. 11 families, ~80 people have been forced to stay having spent everything and having no means to move away. At least the place has reliable water and they’ve been able to subsist on irrigation agriculture. Followers of Mylien have also sent aid several times.

Contact with them has always been sparse. But they have been raided by Zatar within the last year and there’s been no word for several months. Hyrmina hasn’t been able to spare a Feather[2] to check up on things. She asks you to do it. To this end she provides you with supplies, some minor potions, a letter of authority(to patrol Farther and apply discretion in dealing with any immediate threats encountered), and lends you each a Pelosian Horse Token[3] which she suggests there is no need for others to know about.

Stopping in Mine for the evening. The beds in House Majid[4] are far softer than the rocky badlands. Besides it is good to check in with Eriboea and keep tabs on the Roxors. Tariq is glad for the brief company but is not yet fully recovered from the disease that has troubled him since being bit by that mutated ashworm. Still bedridden he is doted on by Glimlum[5].

Your plans to push on to Far in one day were dashed when a flash flood roared through the large wadi you were crossing. Spent rest of day recovering your equipment and fending off various creatures attracted by your misfortune. Reaching Far the next day you decide to stay couple extra to regain strength and poke around for info on Farther.

An hour from Farther you are attacked by a Zatar[6] raiding party led by one of their shamans. She is herding/controlling a couple of giant(10’) scorpions. The battle is intense, both sides taking casualties. It’s the Zatar who flee first but not before killing all their non-mobile wounded. After tending his fallen comrades Qazir moves to examine these disturbing arachinoids only to find they had dissolved into goo bubbling noxious vapors. It “melts” several utensils and containers Qazir uses to try and gather a sample. Ian regains consciousness and fearfully warns that the substance is corrupt and “evil”, that nothing but woe can come from it. Then an aura of hate and rage you have never seen before overcomes him and Ian demands that group immediately goes to Farther. Djinn who had been juggling scimitars to pass the time is all to happy to comply with this.

Getting to Farther you find it empty, completely. There are no people, animals, bodies, bones, even the small gardens are empty. There are no obvious signs of battle or struggle. A few outlying buildings seem ransacked probably by Zatar but that is a guess. You feel uneasy amongst the eerily empty buildings. Qazir especially feels ill. Says it is like a void, empty of nature, as if something removed all life from this area.

Djinn estimates whatever happened ocured sometime in last couple months. He follows several tracks out of town. One seem to be Zatar but it soon crosses solid rock and you soon lose it. The others all seem to be people of Farther going about their business, to a trash dump, tending an wild orchard of date trees. A couple with camels continue for some ways Ian guesses are prospectors or rangers searching for something of value.

Following the second one you come on a ghastly scene. Under a shallow overhang, surrounded by some decaying parts of his Ka’im servant crouches a Pelosian? scooping out and eating the putrid guts of his camel. Screeching incomprehensibly and launching to attack his/its long dirty claws rake Qazir across the face. Djinn fills it with arrows and then joins the fray scimitars blazing. Surrounded by the three it is quickly cut down. Ian is silent for a bit and then says that group must return to Silvertown with utmost haste, he will explain later.

Hyrmina is deeply disturbed by your report. Her usual firm and confident demeanor briefly crushed by fear. Then “No, this can’t be, it’s not possible” The Babrem exchange puzzles looks. But Ian assures her that he is positive, he was not mistaken, “Trust me, I know”. “Ok, please keep this amongst yourselves, for now.” She hands over a small bag of coin “thank you for all that you have done.” and quickly sees you out neglecting to ask for the return of the horse tokens. Not sure if she forgot or they are suppose to be some sort of payment you are sure it’s bending the “rules” for Hyrmina and mentioning it would probably require her to demand their return. Before you are through the door Hyrmina starts barking orders.

“When’s Kirphis[7] scheduled to report in?”

“Summon the council.” … “No, escort them here.”

“Get me in touch with Amphipolis[8].” “Excuse me 1st?” “You heard me citizen, do it now!”

[1] Families, other than Ka’im ones are fairly rare in Eastern Scupi. They exist but most people here are bachelor miners or have families somewhere safe and nice only working here cause of good income potential.

[2] Unit of nine Pelosian citizens/soldiers. Typical size of mounted patrol.

[3] Magical horse construct thingy.

[4] This is Vareef Dirthand’s(former mine owner) old house. Eriboea believes it was included when she bought the mine from Vareef and has given it to you. Djinn & Tariq have claimed it in their tribes name (Majid) and have been busy decorating, expanding and generally making it more like home i.e. Babrem like.

[5] When you first entered Vareef’s former house you found, Glimlum, a 1/2 Ka’im female crying surrounded by several young children and holding a baby with a suspiciously large and gnome like nose. She was Vareef’s slave, although he freed her before leaving to pursue his new idea(producing wild beast combats for paying audiences) she has no means to survive and no were to go. I’m not sure if any of you are “good” and would take care of her out of kindness but she stayed. At least she and her eldest daughter keep House Majid clean and make your meals.

[6] Zatar are tribe like Ka’im(orcs) but violent, vicious, and not at all civilized.

[7] Kirphis high-priest of Creegus, god of war.

[8] Amphipolis is the capital of The Pelos Republic. The Senate, Military Command, and largest Republic Tricademy are all here.