The Circle
Blood of Wintersbreath
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Book 1
Chapter 4
The Circle

Featuring

icon-ashera.jpg icon-durgan.jpg icon-iandra.jpg icon-jora.jpg icon-mechiam.jpg icon-sloan.jpg

Synopsis

After the defeat of Gamorrok in Nathrovaskur, the former orc captives turned to Sloan for leadership in their time of need. Alongside her mother and Ashera, Sloan managed to lead the survivors of this harrowing encounter south for several days through the bitter cold and dangers of the Fangwood to the remote settlement of Crystalhurst. Here, Sloan and the refugees reunited with the others survivors of the attack on Wintersbreath, including her old mentor Jora. The Council of Hierophants, the druidic leaders of Crystalhurst, refused to allow the refugees into the town proper, forcing them to live in a tent encampment outside of the tall palisades, out of fear of antagonizing the orcs by choosing a side in their activities. Jora, seeing this stance as unusual, recommended that Sloan meet with the Circle as representative of her people to plead for a better lot.

Thanks to Jora's influence in Crystalhurst, Sloan was able to meet with the Circle and discovered that they all were representative of elements seen in her vision prior to arriving in Nathrovaskur: a circle of five trees and ancient standing stones. While Sloan argued on behalf of her people, the Circle was unwilling to concede to her request for shelter, however the Circle made a counter-offer. If Sloan was able to clear out the bandits who had come to settle in the nearby Fangwood Keep, the Circle would deed the land—long having been difficult to maintain—to the people of Wintersbreath. Reluctantly, Sloan agreed to the terms and set out from the Circle's chambers with new purpose.

On her way out of the Green Faith's cathedral, Sloan was confronted by a dwarven soldier calling himself Durgan. Introducing himself as a Lastwall crusader, Durgan commiserated with Sloan regarding the Circle's inflexibility. Durgan revealed that he has been traveling Nirmathas following rumors of increased orc activity in the area along with his squire Mechiam Graccus. Durgan overheard Sloan's negotiation with the Circle and offered his aid in clearing out the bandits in Fangwood Keep if Sloan would help in his investigations of the orc activity in Nirmathas. Sloan was eager to accept the dwarven soldier's aid and the pair prepared for a long, dangerous journey south after briefly speaking to Jora regarding the results of the meeting. During the meeting, Iandra took Sloan aside to share her reluctance about continuing to put herself in harm's way. It had become clear that Iandra—without her spellbook—was becoming a liability to her daughter and promised that once they secured a place for the displaced people of Wintersbreath, that she will settle down until she can rebuild her repertoire of spells.

Later that day, on the road south to Fangwood Keep via a mostly abandoned town called Marideth's Crossing, Sloan, Ashera, Iandra, Durgan, and Meceum happened upon a merchant under attack by what appeared to be wild dogs. These hounds were, in fact, infected by a strange fungus from deep within the Darkblight. Dispatching the hounds, the merchant—Bergis Medan—replenished the group's stores of healing salves and potions, before packing up his possessions and continuing north to Crystalhurst.

Shortly thereafter, the group made camp on the side of the road and Durgan spoke briefly about his experiences in Lastwall and how his superiors did not seem concerned with orc activity in Nirmathas, given the relatively small scale. When Durgan learned of what happened to the town of Wintersbreath and some of the true scope of the orcs' activities, he seemed greatly distressed.

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