by udoroth Thammilidaar (kelsey w.) 14-18 ss
Black River Island & The Bayou
The last four days proved to be little help as I prepared for my next journey into the bayou. No one on Black River Island seems to know anything about bullywugs or their purpose at Fort Providence. Even the Warden, who knows more languages than almost everyone I have ever met, can’t teach me one word in the bullywug language.
There has to be a way…
More visitors arrived today, some of which looked suitable for the challenges I hoped to tackle the upcoming morning.
Wait - who is that? That male elf looks awfully familiar, white hair, almost like…did Eilis mention having a brother?
I confidently introduced myself to Ayten Gilrin when I saw him in the tavern, and inquired about his relation to Eilis. It turned out I was correct, and he asked me where I could find her. I informed him that Eilis had left on the boat with several others a few days prior, and without hesitation, I offered my condolences for the loss of their sister, Astrid [I had been with Eilis when she received a letter stating that Astrid had been killed]. I instantly knew that this was new information for Ayten.
Shit. Now how am I supposed to ask him to join me in the bayou?
Before I could come up with my next words, a dwarf in leather who I would almost describe as lanky for his kind turned up next to me, and took Ayten’s hands in what looked like a peace offering.
Monks….this monk. Swiftwater?
I immediately recognized Rawq from the Hills of Sanctus. Rawq, known by the name Swiftwater, crafted the ornate stone aqueduct system for the Hill Cluster. After giving Ayten some time to process the information about Astrid, I spoke to Rawq about my plan to canoe into the bayou the next morning. His interest seemed to peak when I told him that I hoped to find structurally sound bases in the bayou to aid in safe passage
and colonization of the territory.
Another elf appeared next to Ayten as my conversation with Rawq came to a close. Kanyu, a slender blonde, seemed to know Ayten, and Ayten seemed to know her, though he didn’t seem to like her that much.
One more seat in the canoes, I guess she will do.
I quickly explained my mission to Kanyu, and she agreed to join us on our journey. I asked Ayten, Kanyu and Rawq to meet me at the fisherman’s launch point tomorrow at dawn.
The canoes and I will be ready…
15 SS, 1 AOE
Wet soil. Wet scales. Wet air. Here we go again.
We met at dawn and began the row at 7am. At the fork in the river, we went northwest with the hopes of gaining some land north of Fort Providence. At lunchtime, we rowed our canoes to the eastern shore, tied them into some trees, and began walking east into the thick woods.
The forest was thick, but not thick enough for me to let a vine blight go unnoticed. As we walked, I saw one straight ahead and warned everyone to stop. I decided to lead everyone carefully around it.
I will not be shooed away by a plant. The vine blight shifted but we avoided an encounter.
As we continued our trek east, Kanyu hesitated.
That look. I saw it on Kiera’s face not six days ago. Bullywugs.
Kanyu tells the party that she heard croaks northeast of our position, so we shift our trek slightly south to avoid their “song.”
The trees begin to thin and the bayou waters become more prevalent.
I knew exactly where we were at this point, positioned directly north of the fort. As much as I wanted to turn south immediately, we had to set up camp to avoid getting drenched by the nightly downpour.
Good thing we have Stillwater [Rawq] to build us a water-diverting shelter.
The rain eventually subsided, as it always does, but we decided to rest for the night and continue our course to the fort in the morning.
16 SS, 1 AOE
The morning came, we packed up and headed south. As we approached a position of viewing, I advised everyone to move slowly to avoid being spotted. Our party managed to confirm five bullywugs keeping watch in the towers at the wooden fort, and six frog “pets” playing in a mud pit near the eastern fort wall.
Those frogs could eat a halfling in one bite.
There was no argument - we knew we couldn’t go any closer. The party agreed to head back to the canoes and make our way further up the river.
At lunchtime, we continued westward on the river. After approximately two hours of paddling, Kanyu points to a marking carved in the trees on the north embankment.
The Shield. There are brothers out here.
It seemed as though another party had marked this trail head with the symbol of The Shield, the mercenary company of Sanctus. We decided to mimic their ideal and mark the trees with a similar symbol, but adding an aqua type symbol to distinguish groups. Rawq agreed to create this carving as we traversed the river westward into the bayou through the afternoon.
The river brought us around a bend, where Ayten spotted animal tracks near the trees at the embankment. We pulled our canoes to the southern side of the river, but immediately got back into the canoes after seeing footprints 12-inches long, a creature that Ayten couldn’t identify. Once on the north embankment, we set up camp to prepare for the downpour. I allow the others to take first watch as I drifted quickly into sleep.
17 SS, 1 AOE
The only noteworthy thing of the night was what Ayten claimed to see at the watering hole across the river. As he described it, two lizard-type creatures with webbed feet and feathered tails were wading in the water. I bet he was smoking something on his watch.
We dissolved camp and continued in the canoes toward the west. As the river hooked slightly north, I heard a gasp from Rawq, but one of joy rather than panic. Rawq pointed out an obelisk on the northern bank. How in the world did he see that?? It is completely overgrown!
We redirected the canoes toward the obelisk. Some unknown writing to me is only slightly visible on the surface of the worn stone. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but I knew it would require magic for us to figure out what the symbols meant.
Rawq proceeded to find a stone road heading north into the woods. Sneaking seemed like the best option. As we continued along the path, Ayten and Rawq spotted humanoid creatures in the distance. All of a sudden, I am being dragged by Kanyu off the stone path toward the west side.
“They have weapons.”
Of course they do.
I look up to see Ayten and Rawq running past us on the stone road, and Kanyu and I followed them toward the canoes. As we pushed off and established distance from the embankment, we saw four humanoids with lizard features carrying spears and shields, eyeing us from the shore.
We decided it was time to head back east toward Black River. We rowed all day and finally stopped at a clearing on the north embankment. This time I took first watch…
Crackling....vine blight again? No wait….twig blights.
I woke everyone up from their rest, quietly, and pointed toward the north where I heard the crackling. At first, everyone thought I was pointing at harmless bushes, until the bushes began to move. A swift entanglement and moon beam spell by Ayten, an explosive Sacred Flame spell from Kanyu, and a thundering smash of my great sword reduced the four creatures to firewood.
Suddenly, Kanyu pointed to the north, claiming to hear a cackling laugh and to see a humanoid woman with long flowing hair.
Who is out here? And why are they toying with us?
18 SS, 1 AOE
Our return trip continued the next morning, heading east on the river. As we passed the marked trailhead, we noticed two bullywugs toward the east, so we immediately beached our canoes on the west embankment, but we were not quick enough. Two bullywugs met us at our canoes. I tried to intimidate them into standing down, but they were unaffected. We easily defeated the two in melee, but four more were spotted on pursuit. Seeing as it was successful in my last encounter, I encouraged everyone to climb into the trees and ready themselves for the next wave of bullywugs. Everyone but Rawq climbed up, but Rawq successfully used the trees as coverage to hide.
The four go down, but a horn sounding in the distance, followed by a returning horn sound from a different location, made the victory extremely short lived. We grabbed the canoes and paddled as fast as we could back to Black River Island…
What is going on in the Bayou…?
The journal entries here are provided by the active player characters participating in the Detroit Marches.
All Abaza Amaranth Aredhel Lethe Astrid Gilrin Atuji Of Clan Greatscale Audra Ayten Gilrin Basil Benedict Greenfield Black River Swamp Blackscale Brea Daergle Brynn Bryn Naikaho Cavalier's Watch Chat Clan Shimmerscale Crimson Surgeon Cylowboborow Nonsoon Demogorgon Diamondshard Banwyze DILONDORG KAAL Doros Doross Dorros Dredge Dufdor Dwain Eilis Eilis Gilrin Eladrinne Escobar Fagan Far Reach Fort Providence Gator Rock Genji The Wererat Glin Ybendawien Droat Golden Apple Great Cataclysm Griffin's Roost Grildor Trueforge Haldor Kemleigh Ham Hamilton Hekili Nalani HEYKITD GETOFF MELAYN Icegate Jerimiah Jerwin Jinn Kanyu Il Senya Kathra Kegrove Kellen McCall Kenku Kiera Lyssandria Kohaku Ruim Koltalon Kresh Krolan Kunyata Kar Leatherhead Liam Buckham Liana Lindir Lizardfolk Longtail Lucretzia Borgia Makani Pahili Malmir Merelda Meznen Midden Heap Mindartis Morgrimm Naill Amakir Namfoodle Nehi Xum Nehi-Xum New Cadeni Njord Noric Synphase Noxochiyotl Obelisks Of The Bayou Omgar Onen Peter The Wolf Phoncledeh Player Character Journal Entry Polar Bear Polg Pollen Quinzli Rabbits Ralthor Rawq Elrid Rhogar Roscoe Greenfeld Rotten Morgan Bonecrusher Rube Lastname Ruins Salazar Sang Woo Ser Mathius Shaena Tosscobble Silent Mockingbird Som Sorrel Summerport Syndar Beratos Tabaxi Tainted Falls Teddy Bear Tharrus The Fist Theobold Peacekeeper Thur’a’ugh Tormund Firehammer Tortles Treewalker Truss Stacianodel Udoroth UDOROTH THAMMILIDAAR Umberlee Underdark Valaquaraptors Vandil Varron Greensleeves Vengir Duskhallow Verloren Yuan Ti Zorak Dreadmast