The Western Reach
A line of soldiers clad in darkened leather waded through the murky water. Encircled by the Gorgon wilderness they kept their eyes fixed to the depths of the swamps, scanning for what might emerge. These once Gorgon lands were now only theirs in claim. This was the Western Reach, home to bestial primitives who resisted the taming touch of civilization. Fiercely so, for not all the armies in Gorgon could pull this land to heel. When Malfear's savage army had marched on the south they had come in a flood of fire and blood. The lands they conquered were not quick to be relinquished and they slowly continued their push into civilized land, even years after the death of their great idol. Yet as contested as these lands were there was a place even the horde dare not venture: King's Pass.
A bridge of dry land surrounded by unforgiving swamps, it stretched from the border to nearly the Gorgon heartland. It had been the path Garren Blackwater had took when he sought to reclaim his throne from the usurper, and it was in the Western Reach where the fate of the Gorgon crown was decided. It was where the armies of these two claimants clashed and waged brutal war. At dawn the battle began and by dusk the usurper, Arminius Briar, had the head of the Blackwater king displayed on a pike. Those who had fought for the fallen king and survived were taken prisoner. Then over the following week those five thousand men taken captive were hung as traitors throughout the nearby swampland, their bodies stripped and left to rot. The land had grown twisted and evil since then, and even the barbarians who had no fear of death dare not approach, especially since now death had no master and served only itself. Yet now a small group of soldiers and mercenaries were preparing to brave that horrible land.
They were loyal soldiers and mercenaries paid by house Whiteoak, one of the great Gorgon noble houses. Accompanying them were a mage and her guardian from the Ivory Tower. The mage and guardian both were daring to brave unhallowed land in pursuit of a pair of comrades, or possibly deserters, who had abandoned their post and where seen heading to King's Pass. The men employed by lord Whiteoak were offered as guide and assistance for what may come, but every sellsword and soldier there knew the true reasoning behind lord Whiteoaks overwhelming support of this mad excursion: Briar soldiers were seen to have been escorting the missing mage and guardian. Whatever reason house Briar had taken interest to affairs of the Ivory Tower, Whiteoak would know. Assisting the tower for the sake of common good was not something the Briars would take an interest in. Unless of course there were some reward in it.
The soldier leading the group slowed his pace and raised his hand to point to a lonesome, decrpyt statue now barley in range of sight to the approaching party. "Lady Fortune," he named the statue. "Our last way marker. We'll set camp there for the night and be in King's pass by midday tomorrow." As the group drew closer they would see the moss covered sculpture molded after woman drabbed in cloth, smiling with her hands cupped before her. Surrounding her was a wide circle of dry land, and the signs of fire-pits long in disuse. The party, most of which exhausted from the strenuous travel, prepared to set camp. Yet there was a feeling no one would find respite in the face of this thick, sultry air.
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