Near Pavis and the Pairing Stones...
1621, Fire Season, Disorder Week, Windday
Our gang of travelers has taken residence in Badside. A ramshackle collection of tents and huts, in some cases no more than a few hides roughly sown together. But the one thing that people remember about Badside is the smell. All around Pavis, on a hot day, the smell is sickening. Rotting meat, excrement, barbarians who only bathe when in their homeland, and sweat. Badside is worse. The hides smell, the people smell, the garbage smells, and there's carcasses everywhere, the herd animals shit in the street, and so do the denizens of this lovely settlement.
But you get anonimity. The Lunar guards only occasionally interfere, and never with any enthusiasm. And with one party member a target of the Red Moon, and another a target of a lot of people, it beats the Pavis Inns, where the well organised gangs know everything there is to know about anyone within hours of their arrival. So the story starts in Badside, as Daerius and Herculon are summoned to the pairing stones for their initiation into Orlanth Adventurous.
4th Day of the Fire Season, 1621
Their comrades in arms, Raiko, Giomanach and Jaya, decide to accompany them on the two day trip west. They leave at sunset, before the heat, and follow the Pavis road, at a leisurely pace, a few hundred yards behind a Etyries trader caravan. After a few hours walk they see some people on the road, apparently from the nearby Last Step Stead. They report having been attacked by a gang of people, and the four cottars who went after them have not yet returned. When invited inside for lunch, our heroes find the lady of the stead in tears. Although they are expected at the Pairing stones, they decide to go and look for the disappeared fyrdmen, mainly because Herculon thinks it is the right thing to do for a Heortlander.
They quickly discover the attackers masquerade as Etyries traders, travel with a four horse wagon, and they manage to track the trail in Northern direction. During their advance up north, they notice a Smilodon circling them, looking for an easy kill. When the beast's patience runs out and it decides to try and go for a quick kill, Giomanach stops it with a succesfull palsy. Hardly disturbed the party advances, and stumbles upon a very basic tent camp, littered with body parts and blood. Whatever took place here, it can hardlly have been pleasant for the one who lost all the fingers. The trail now heads south west, and the party decides to keep following.
They keep tracking the wagon trails as long as possible, but when they head towards the road again, our party has no choice but to follow the road and hope they will see the trails quitting the Pavis Road further up ahead. No such luck though. After a few hours it becomes apparent that they have lost the trail, when they meet up with a trader coming from the opposing direction, who has seen nothing. Jaya grabs the opportunity to buy a silver necklace from Goldenrod, the Etyies trader. Seen as they have no direction to follow, they consider heading to the Pairing Stones after all, with some luck they might still be in time. But first they set up camp, with Jaya taking the first guard. They'll decide what to do the next morning.
Within minutes everybody is sound asleep. Jaya notices she is tired as well, and before long she dozes off. When a giant spider wanders into the camp, there is no-one awake to see it coming, and the large arachnid attacks Jaya. This gets everyone up in seconds, and amidst the panic the spider is quickly dispatched.
5th Day of the Fire Season, 1621
The next morning, our fellows run into a Bullford hunting party. These guys have not seen any trace of the fake trader wagon, and the party decides to head to the Pairing Stones, still a long hike north. They keep walking for hours, until sunset, and Raiko, Daerius and Giomanach get real tired with still several miles to go, when they run into a Lunar Patrol. As they are only miles from the Pairing Stones, they refuse to stand down, and when the tension increases and the Lunar sorceress starts casting a spell, Jaya fires an arrow at her and downs her at once. A brutal fight ensues, with Herculon decapitating two warriors and hacking a third one in two, and Daerius and Giomanahc killing a guard each. Giomanach takes the sorcerer staff along, it carries an enchantment that allows to store mana.
When the Orlanthi arrive from the Pairing Stones, alarmed by the magic light and noise, all they can do is clean up the mess. The High Priest performs a ritual of Obfuscation, and the bodies are burned with ceremony.
6th Day of the Fire Season, 1621
The initiation ceremony commences. Both Orlanthi easily pass the knowledge test. Their next challenge involves climbing one of the pairing stones. A piece of cake for strong Herculon, but Daerius seems to be more about good looks than strength. It takes him a few hours, with several resting breaks, to climb the 25m high monolith. In the end he manages though, and drops down on the top, exhausted...