Fort Mawrcant guards the mouth of a tributary of the Black River, keeping watch on the Picts but also serving as a trading post. The fort is built of stone and timber, but trading happens outside and away from the walls, in tents that are broken down each night and erected in the morning. There may be peace just now, but no commander of the fort has yet been foolish enough to let down their guard.
The biggest, best and only inn in the fort is busy tonight, the mates of one of the soldiers are celebrating his promotion and, more importantly, his posting to a command of his own, albeit a small company in an interior road fort. Thus a rag tag collection of wanderers are in the small back room, listening to the conversation of three old, injured men, obviously soldiers pensioned off but whose farm grants are probably local to this border.
“Those young rogues know nothing…” one starts
His friend interrupts
“You say that every time. Let them have their joy, we were young once.”
“Aye, but we lost it in the sack. The burning folk, still alive and still screaming. That will be the fate here one day. Maybe not for those drinking here today, but if not them, then their successors.”
A well-built but clean man, he has the look of an merchant selling to soldiers to you, but a fair one otherwise he’d be missing fingers.
“What do you mean? I do not know of this fort having been sacked”
The oldster replies
“Not this Fort Mawrcant, the original, the one for which this was named. It sat in an island, downstream a half mile or so. It sits on a great circle of rock, from which it gets its name. It was thought safer from the Picts than being on land, though the Picts would stream across on their canoes from time to time, we held them back.
“Then one day, one day the ground opened up, and the Picts came over the walls as more Picts, or something like, came out of the ground. The Picts we could thrust from the walls, those inside were our undoing. Few of us escaped, Fewer are alive now to remember it. There may be gold there. There was rumours of a paychest, but none dare go there, even those who do not know the island’s history seem reluctant to stay there.”
Bladyyn lead the way for this motley group of new acquaintances. Bladyyn and Lydyn, the two Bossonians, from further East, Aswolf the Aesir heading south and Arum, the Shemite heading north and Tyrok, of no known people. Bladdy found the long overgrown trail that took them north and through the woods before emerging into a place where the river bend and broadened, with almost a small bay in the riverbank.
The island was hidden from modern Mawrcant, and the trees covering much were young, moving in after the night of horror destroyed the oupost. Bladyyn and Aswulf cast about to look for wood and things with which to construct a raft, when they found an open area near the water with what lookd to be the remnants of a boathouse.
As they approached, however, they were surprised by three worlves jumping on them from a nearby bank, Luckily, though startled, all flinched out of the way and Bladyyn struck the nearest wolf stone dead as two more rushed out of the boathouse. There was a tussle in which Bladyyn cut down two more wolves, Tyrok and Aswulf killed the others, but Tyrok and Arum are wounded and Lydyn is down, savaged by one of the wolves which jumped on him. However the wolves were finished and Bladyyn could bind his brother’s wounds.
The boathouse proved to be their den, and Bladyyn and Arum cleared it out as Aswulf and Tyrok carried Lydyn in and onto a hastilly thrown together pile of bedding. Once a fire was started and they settled in, an inspection of the boathouse found a couple of boats in an adequate state of repair lodged on racks, They would leak, and would need bailing, but they would get them to the island.
I had forgotten how deadly combat is for low level characters in D&D style games, and why getting to second level was such a big deal, because so many die at 1st level. Lydyn was on 0HP, so am using the optional rules and he can heal himself when he regains consciousness. Each round up to CON roll Save vs Death-ray with CON modifier as a bonus/penalty.
The adventure will continue!
All that needed to happen would be for Lydyn to heal a little….