A Long Walk

Stalked...

The party sets their first camp, with each watch experiencing the sounds of footsteps at the edge of camp, but seeing nothing in the gray wasteland. Waking the next morning tired and irritable, the party continues the march westward along the banks of the black and poisoned river. Among the ruined wasteland, the party encounters four quadrupedal beasts constructed from bones of various men and beasts. Luckily, Bren quickly discovered the beasts as magical constructs, an enemy he abhorred and so trained to fight with great effect. Despite the creatures' bony carapaces shedding off all but the most direct blows from swords, the adventurers defeated them, with Erthim bashing the last one to pieces with his shield. Bren and Ivellios had suffered light wounds from the gnashing bone creatures, but Erthim laid on hands to heal his new cohorts.

After a long day's walk (seemingly in circles at times), the blasted and rocky terrain gave way to a gray desert-like sand, rolling gently away from the riverbank. Setting camp amid a few scraggly trees, Erthim's watch was again interrupted by what sounded like a creature's soft footsteps stalking their camp from the direction they'd come. During Bren's third watch, however, a visible assailant appeared in the fog that had rolled in from the putrefied shoreline luckily, the ever-lit, dim gray sky provided enough light to make out the silhouette…

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Chapter One: A Forgotten Shoreline

Theme Song: Bleed Well by H.I.M.
Four adventurers awake amid shipwrecks and corpses on the shore of a vile, murky river. Cleaning the oily black muck from themselves, they find each other among the dead. There's one problem – no one can remember who they are or why they're here. Scavenging among the devastated wasteland ashore, they encounter three small, filthy, bulbous apelike creatures and readily dispatch these aggressors. The battle barely complete, eight more blobs of vaguely humanoid flesh descend and try to claw the makeshift allies apart, but the adventurers readily dispatch the feckless monsters by the sword.

Searching through their belongings, each adventurer finds an item reminding of their name:

"To Erthim Sadu, to commemorate 25 years of service to the Watchful Order of Heimdall" is etched on the ornate Horn of Heimdall holy symbol carried by a veteran paladin.

An elven mage opens his spellbook to the first page to find the preface signed by Lin Brightleaf. He happily introduces himself to his new friends.

Some are less trusting. An elven rogue discovers a muck-soaked letter in one pocket, barely legible, and slips it discreetly back into his pocket, introducing himself simply as Ivellios.

The ranger Bren Grassglow finds his name artfully embossed into a fine leather quiver, containing the bow gifted to him by some forgotten community of elves.

The party spends hours trekking by foot to the edge of the horrific battlefield, piled full of burning and destroyed war machines, and dead and mangled creatures of every description. Desensitized to the product of such profound violence, the party manage to scavenge some valuable magic items, and a few potions from a Pelor clergyman who died in a state of desperation. Finally reaching the edge of the massacre, the adventurers turn west to follow the desecrated river upstream. Bren swears he heard something following them, but in the wide open wasteland, nothing can be seen, nor is there any potential cover for a stalker to hide behind. The group pitches camp for the first night on the open wasteland.

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