After some of the Southroad Seekers had comfortably retired in Southroad Fair. Merindell and Sheldon accompanied Torvald to the Maldrog city of Bergbaulager. Once there, the big, Norikadian, Dahmre apprenticed himself to his friend, Hanse Anfilshtop, to advance his growing talent for smithing. After repeated refusals to don more armor, the two returned to Southroad Fair, as this is the only feasible walking destination from the mountainous city. On the road, the two began to discuss some of there past discoveries, in particular, dwelling upon the two hidden valleys that had been discovered in the Western Jungle. After a brief recollection of the two warring tribes who occupied the northern most valley, and the unfinished business with the Deviard, in particular, the destination was set in their minds.
Sheldon ran his left hand through his hair, pulling it back from his face. "Indigo is dead set on staying in town and working with Maeli and her mother as an herbalist. I do not fault her decision. She and Tor were the only ones to retain any elder family members, after all that trouble with the Ansylin Magistry. It seems Aust and Revan, Galen and Siofra, and Sannit and Bolo are all ready to settle and grow old."
"Indigo and I are, of course, still very close, and she is perfectly willing to see me travel as long as it is her to whom I come home. Since we are heading to the jungle, I really think we should leave our horse and travel by foot. I don't need the horse, anyway. I wonder if anyone else would want to join us. I know Saemund lost his mind, incurably, but maybe Vadin is not ready to settle, yet."
Merin says, "Good idea. Now that we're back in Southroad, finding Vadin shouldn't be a problem. I've noticed that he seems to spend a lot of time with the hunting parties, so why don't we start with their guildhouse first?"
And with that, Merin begins walking to the Hunter's Guild, with the intent of enticing Vadin to join them on the Road to Discovery.
Vadin is sitting in the guildhouse preparing for the days hunt. He gathers his weapons, as well as some provisions, and heads out the door. As he leaves the guildhouse he notices a friend approaching. Vadin calls out to Merin, "Merin, good to see you my friend. How are you?"
Merin smiles and says, "Ah, Vadin, just the person I was coming to see! I'm fine, my friend, and I hope you are as well. Sheldon and I just got back from dropping Tor off in Bergbaulager. Next, we were thinking of returning to the Western Jungle, to investigate the hidden valley we all found awhile back. Remember it? Two opposing tribes separated by a lake? Da'Roneh on one side, Deviard on the other? Sheldon and I want another go at it. Strictly fame and fortune type stuff. We could use a third man, though. What say you? Would you like to join us? There's nothing for you here in Southroad except plenty of chances to take a nap. Don't grow old yet! Stay young by coming with us!" Merin chuckles, jokingly.
Instead of taking the sluggish and heavily impeded way around the western ridgeline through the Western Jungle like was done before so that horses could be brought, the three decide to take the South Road out of the Piney Wood and into the southern scrub lands. The path is easily followed due to the regular passage of caravans and three had all traveled it many time as youngsters, though Vadin had been with a different caravan than Merindell and Sheldon.
As memory serves it was about ten days south of Southroad Fair where the seekers had originally encounter a raiding party of the Birdfoot Clan of Da'Roneh, which means that there has to be a pass or some easier means of travel from the road, across the ridge, and into the jungle where the clan was discovered to reside.
Water is about the only consumable necessity that must be carried through the desert scrub, as game is still plentiful and easy enough to acquire, even without the benefit of a bow. Though Merindell has one, it has really become just an ornament, for he is much more dangerous with the talent to manipulate way lines, even at a distance. Sheldon does not even carry a visible weapon, though he keeps a carving knife for preparing game.
The Drenching Season is in full force in the northern part of the land, and rains occur almost daily in Southroad Fair. Since the party is traveling south, passed the orb meridian, the weather hardly changes there, hence the persistence of the scrub and the arid desert that surrounds Asylim. What rains come from the Western Sea, are bound to the jungle by the ridgeline, seldom does water fall upon upon its eastern side.
All character should be aged 1 year after completing the Caravan Campaign.
Merin comments, "You know, the next time we meet any friendly villagers or tribesmen, I think I am going to trade my bow away. It's been so long since I even used it, I don't even know why I keep lugging it around from place to place."
Vadin listens to Merin and says "Yes, I remember that place. This voyage sounds like it could be interesting. I have to admit, I am getting pretty bored hanging out with the hunters. I do love a good hunt, but a good adventure sounds much better. Let me think about it."
After thinking for a second Vadin says, "Yep, I will join you and Sheldon. When shall we leave?"
GM NOTE: Vadin's languages are missing. He should be fluent in spoken Centrin and Ansylin. 20% in written Ansylin. 40% in spoken Rheini. 30% in spoken Spiofthest. 10% in spoken Amiradthan. 1% in spoken Maldrog.
NOTE: Without the declaration of an active search, by the numbers, the party is limited to noticing tiny game. Tiny Game represents creatures whose acquisition is more desirable than those of granted encounters, for the purpose of suitable consumption. Tiny game consists of Harvester birds, Thrushes, and small Varmints. Each creature can provide enough meat for one meal for one character. The acquisition of such game is considered to be granted.
Common varmints are about the size or mass of a person's hand. Rodents are the most common and, depending on environment, may be field rats, which are found in plains areas, arboreal rats (squirrels), which are found in forests and jungles, or burrowing rats, which are found in mountains, scrub, and desert.
For Sheldon, Merindell, and Vadin, travel by the Southern Road is easy, even if by foot. The time is surprisingly void of encounter. It stands to reason that with the return of the normal caravan traffic, wild animals tend to keep a greater distance from the roadway.
After seven days of easy walking, three days shy of the turning point, A single figure is seen making its way from the west where forest and jungle merge and the ridgline starts its southerly climb. The figure enters the road, looks south then north, stamps his feet to loose some debris, and proceeds northward toward the three Seekers. The approach is deliberate.
Upon arrival, it is observed that the single figure is non other than a Deviard. This man show no outward hostility. In fact, he has some knowledge of the Ansylin tongue and proceeds to parlay, introducing himself as Matumbo. It seems the oddest of circumstances that an expatriated Deviard would meet with the Southroad Seekers on a return trip to the very valley of his departure. Not knowing that the Da'Roneh had another point of egress from the valley, he arrived from the long way around.
In the three days necessary to make the turn point, the group becomes more familiar with its newest member. At the surmised destination, evidence of previous caravan attacks can still be discovered. The Seekers remember finding a path out of the valley that would cross the ridge, but did not travel it, before. The desire is to locate the path from this direction and take it in.
Look at the character backstory in the Southroad Seekers character record thread for more information.