Arcus begins his adventures in the town of Wolf’s Run, far to the North in Asturias. The town is unfriendly to outsiders, viewing them all with a measure of distrust. Its major export is ironwood from the nearby forest. The Lumber Consortium controls the town, and surrounding territory with an iron fist. Arcus came north in the hopes of finding work, which has been steadily getting more difficult. Troubles in the western marches has destabilized much of the area (Western area on the map we looked at). Local warlords vie for position and land against the seemingly shrinking presence of the Asturian Army. Needless to say, Arcus felt it might be prudent to head elsewhere for gainful employment.
Arcus learned the following about the town after a few days of residence – many migrant workers are coming to log the forests. The workers pass along that work elsewhere in the country is drying up, tensions along the eastern border and raids into the Verduan forest make logging there dangerous. The forests to the south are filled with bandits and evil spirits that will steal a mans soul. So, despite Wolf’s Run being one of the more dangerous places in Asurias – it’s really the last major settlement before the Western Marches begin, workers are flocking here because work is steady and pays well. Workers come in, bodies inevitably end up at the local morgue and in the surrounding cemeteries. Local legends tell of spriggans, werewolves, boggans etc., eating you in the night. Arcus is more convinced that banditry and murder will get you than any monster that goes bump in the night.
Several other bounty hunters are posted up here now. Through professional courtesy, Arcus learned that every now and then, a wanted man arrives in town. It’s good money to pick them up and deliver them to the local constabulary. Justice is swift and unforgiving in these lands.
Recently there has been talk of local children from the town proper and surrounding hamlets going missing. At first it was just talk, however now it’s spiraled into something else. The town mayor, Ricard Connact and head of the lumber consortium has put out a reward and charged those willing to brave the forests a large reward for their safe return (50 golden marks) for the kids return. HIs son is one of the missing children. Arcus, and a large number of “able” men signed up and have ventured into the woods under the orders of the local Sheriff, Delo Piedmont. Delo assigned the volunteers into groups and assigned them sections of the woods to search. Arcus was grouped up with a few local toughs, a short little man named Muttonchops (Arcus is convinced he was a halfling, but having never seen one, and Muttonchops insisting his father and mother were just wee folk from over the river, he’s not sure what to make of him), and a young man named Ryse. Muttonchops and Ryse by far seemed the more competent of the group. Muttonchops was an easy going fellow, quick with a song and friendly to a fault. Ryse is a proud young man, sure of himself and dotes on his warhorse. (See end of email for the names of the missing kids)
During the search, Arcus picked up the trail of what he believed to be a group of men with a child with them. Arcus, being skilled in woodscraft felt that the child was being taken forcibly due to how the tracks seemed to indicate the person was partially dragged. The trail led his group north over the river and toward the mountains. Arcus is at home in the woods, however these unnerved him. The stories of the place being dangerous seem very real to him.
During the search, Arcus and Ryse were split off from Muttonchops and the local toughs. A group of “men” ambushed the group at night. Despite being competent warriors, Arcus and Ryse withdrew when the nights darkness seemed to rise up and swallow them. The tracks led Arcus and Ryse through some difficult parts of the forest, and the warhorse Ryse rode slowed the pursuit down more than Arcus would have liked. As the two rushed to catch up to Muttonchops, Arcus saw that more tracks had converged on the path. Three or four men were on the trail now as well. Arcus and Ryse arrived at a broken down Monastery on the northern edge of the forest. All tracks went into the Monastery, no fresh ones emerged. Arcus saw older tracks he believed indicated more than one child had been taken inside. Venturing into the Monastery, Arcus and Ryse were met with the results of a pitched battle. The dead littered the floors of the basement. Muttonchops and a child, the local toughs, a few loggers, and members of another search party lay dead on the ground. Surrounding them are men that have scalely skin, and covered themselves from head to toe in rags – possibly the same men that attacked Arcus and Ryse. Upon examining the child, Arcus and Ryse identify him as Michael Thumbs, son of the local butcher. Both the butchers son, and Muttonchops were bound and gagged. Muttonchops had tried to shield the boy with his own body as they were hacked to pieces. A grisly end to a nice man, and innocent boy.
Pressing further into the basement, Arcus and Ryse come upon another search party comprised of a huge half-orc, and a smaller man, with one of the missing children with them – Kami Surefoot. They appear to be about to descend into a lower part of the basement, or more likely a cave system below in pursuit of the rest of the children. All of them are bloodied, and have grim faces.