To Rise from the Ashes

The Crownwood

and the bridge over Cullin's Gorge

dense_forest.jpg
The Crownwood is dense, and emerges around travelers quickly as they move westward along the Dawn Way or parallel to it along the northern slopes of the Seawalls. The terrain is hilly, with enough relief in the land to provide for multiple blind spots and hiding places, which are then compounded by the woods themselves. A trail leads to the southwest off the Dawn Way into the forest. Although overgrown and not as wide or clear as it once was, it’s visible enough to follow into the wood. This trail was suggested by Captain Leandra as the best way to get into the forest to see what, if anything, is there that’s related to the recent troubles.

Vraath Keep is deeper inside the forest, and the area around is it supposedly recognizable by a few farmsteds and other structures in the vicinity of an extension of the trail. Leandra has not been in the forest in a few years, however, and admits that it’s not an area with which she’s very familiar, anyway. In fact, she’s only seen the keep from a hilltop in a clearly a few miles from it, pointed out to her by her commander years ago when she was a newly-commissioned officer. She and others provide what information they can, but they don’t represent it as anything more than secondhand and out of date.


Meta
I’ll add more to the body of this post as you move around and ask questions.

Comments

Deaton offers to scout ahead and travels with his bow in hand.

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Of course he does!

It’s easy to move ahead and keep some tabs on Amarack and Luc, given that the land is generally open, with mountains to the left and low(er)lands to the right, with glimpses of the Shrike River now and again. The Crownwood looms a few miles away, and the terrain to the north and south of it is rougher than what you pass through on your way to it.

About a mile from the wood, the Dawn Way splits into two paths: one that parallels the river north of the forest, and another that goes through the forest. The path outside the forest is technically the Dawn Way, but on some old maps you were shown the forest path was depicted as part of the overall system of transit it creates. Anyway, which path will you take?

The Crownwood
 

Take the forest path

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Taking the forest path, sending on the arcane eye to scout ahead of us.

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The forest path it is, then. Will Deaton scout ahead there, as well – note that it is quite dense, and 50 or 60 feet ahead and you’re gone from sight – or will the Arcane Eye (with a limited range of 30 feet) do the scouting ahead?

The Crownwood
 

The arcane eye moves 30’ per round but the description states it can go any distance away from the caster while it is active.

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Deaton will follow the eye’s movement from a distance off the path while hiding in brush/trees, maintaining bow in hand.

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It is also invisible, and can fit through a space the size of a keyhole.

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Amarack draws the recently acquired long sword and his shield, but remains with Luc on the path, watching for signs of movement/danger while executing his best stealthy moves.
All the while, he thinks to himself, ’don’t be jealous, Deaton.’ ;)

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Can’t you just hear the 1e narration, “Using the Cyran military hand gestures, the three patriots make their way forward through the forest path toward action and danger…”

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META Questions:
Are there normal forest sounds or are they subdued? Are there signs of substantial foot-traffic as with the humanoid units we crossed earlier? I know we aren’t rangers, but are there any way-marking signs left over after a large unit passes through the area? I was just thinking we might recognize something similar to what we found following the other units.

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Deaton’s primary goals are spotting ambushes, recon (or counter-recon) personnel and spotting potential traps as the group moves.

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Arcane Eye: thanks for the clarification; got it.

Readiness of everyone: got it; you’re prepared to pounce.

Forest sounds & animals: they seem normal.

Tracks: some on the trail you’re on right now, but nothing alarming. Granted, you’re only about 1/2 mile into the forest at this point.

The Crownwood
 

Another mile into the forest and from a hilltop you can see through breaks in the trees here and again, the remains of a keep tower, rising about the canopy. It’s about 1/4 mile away, and by this point it’s mid-afternoon and cloudy, with deep shadows throughout the wood. and a slight breeze that makes hearing & seeing tough, and is also bringing in colder air.

The Crownwood
 

“Deaton, stay close to Amarack and I but range forward about 30 – 50 feet. That would be best. I will continue to relay what I am seeing through my third eye. Apparently the locals were correct that the Crownwood is generally avoided. I am seeing remnants of movements, broken branches, refuse. We shall continue.”

The Crownwood
 

Deaton, ever-obedient to Luc, nods curtly and moves forward, cursing under his breath about “if I could SEE the damn thing…”

After a bit Deaton sees the ruined keep, still from a distance. It’s across a small, shallow valley – Deaton is viewing it from one low hill, and it’s sitting on another, with dense forest about 1/2 the way to it. The area immediately around it is less dense, probably the result of new growth that’s come in since it was abandoned.

A glint of quicksilver beyond the keep turns out to be a stream running north of it, around the hill where it’s situated.

The keep itself, what you can see of it, is roughly square with a round tower in one corner. You can’t see around the base of it due to the forest, but it does look like there’s a trail that leads to it – a thinner line of trees. If you’re heading toward it along your trail from 9 o’clock, the trail you see comes at it from 4 o’clock. It seems that the trail you’re following will take you either to it or near enough that you could go overland to reach it. It also looks like your trail might intersect with that other one, which would then lead to the keep.

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“Good work, Deaton.” Amarack whispers after the report is shared. “What kind of troop intel did you grab? Anything in the way of personnel, or was it abandoned?”
As Deaton reviewed what he’d seen, the priest turns to Luc, “From your vantage, do you have more to add? I figure we can handle this similar to the POW camp recon and get back before we have to kick the hornet’s nest. Hopefully, we can grab some info to benefit Cyre…uhmm, New Cyre.”
While he awaited the others’ responses, Amarack eyed the blade in his hand. The new sword felt different than the warhammer. The feel of it wasn’t necessarily better, but designed for a swifter attack…and for more of them. The recovery of the swing would be much faster and thereby delivering more damage in less time. The hammer had a very satisfying crunch to it’s impact, but lacked the grace of the weapon held before him. The priest could understand why Dol’Dorn had chosen this very weapon to symbolize the power of war. Much had changed since the Mourning. To the priest, focus was returning with such clarity that he was certain of one thing: the Host still called to him, but most of the words flowed to him in battle and from one source. The long sword represented so much more than it ever had before.
Many paths were converging, events were no longer randomly occurring, but now seemingly with more of a purpose. Things were coming together now.

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Comments are closed for this post. I’ll pass along some info via Player Secrets, but let’s go ahead and close this post for comments.

The Crownwood
Lyle

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