December 15th – The trails become muddy again as the temperature goes slightly above freezing and moisture continues. A hungry bear danced with Hawkster and Scout before eventually succumbing to hunger, cold and arrows.
December 16th – Rain again. The Velashu River is likely flooding, and since this is late winter it will likely be hard to find operating ferries north of Riddleport.
December 17th – Roderic’s Cove. Francisca sought out and cut a deal with the Port Governor, Jess Gildersleeve. Gildersleeve has some pirates who broke the “no piracy” rule… and a paladin sworn to uphold the law and decency might be useful to her, in exchange for safe passage through Riddleport and across the Velashu. The pirates were attacked and disarmed, before being taken into custody
December 18th – More rain on the well worn road to Riddleport
December 19th – Riddleport. Using Gildersleeve’s writ, Francisca found some individuals at the River Runner Inn who could transport the horses and wagons north of the city on the West bank of the Velashu. The Velashu is at flood levels and as wild as Riddleport’s reputation. Yet Sandru kept an eye out, and no one seemed interested in robbing the group, and all their goods made it to the destination intact.
Ameiko heard a rumor some pirate gang escaped from prison in Roderic’s Cove. One rumor has it the pirates were attacked by thugs hired by some legitimate merchants angry at the piracy. Everyone agrees there was a fight and that Gildersleeve had her men arrest the pirates… Some say they were on the way to arrest them before the merchants hired thugs. Some say they were arrested to save them from certain death, and that Gildersleeve was doing a favor to get out of the pocket of a Riddleport pirate lord… Ameiko is entertained by the games of lies and rumor spin doctoring going on in the local politics, and that Gildersleeve seems to have played several players simultaneously. Ameiko doesn’t mention this to her two paladins, but Sandru and Koya seem to enjoy the story. The truth of what happened is irrelevant to players who have other games to play.
December 20th More rain walking North along the bank of the Velashu. Starting to get colder away from the coast again.
December 21st. Winter Solstice. Bran and Koya hold different solstice prayers. Koya, Shalelu and Bevelek thank Desna for a safe journey and night under the stars. Vankor offers some prayers to Gozreh and the spirits of nature, and tries to hang out with Bran and pretend he’s not a B-list NPC. Bran doesn’t notice.
December 22nd – Walking through The Nolands there’s barely a deer trail. Even the Shoanti have deserted this area, and no caravans seem to have passed through here in months. The horses don’t look well after weeks of cold rain, and look a little sick.
December 23rd – Brinewall. Even with a sign off the main trail, the “trail” to Brinewall takes a hunter’s eye to even know it ever existed. Half the day is spent clearing brush and trees blocking the wagons. While the noblewoman was doing manual labor clearing the trail to her rightful lands, she collapsed and fell unconscious. Koya is working on various theories of treatment, but suspects this is not natural. Koya also suggests the horses (and mules) are coming down with a horse flu… rarely fatal, but enough to leave them too weak to move for perhaps a week. Another ill omen. Unnatural noises are definitely coming from the woods, and the sun has just set. Sandru suggests either the PCs split off or take the whole caravan with them, and the group camps near the edge of the woodline outside the abandoned village of Brinewall. So far, it’s certainly living up to its reputation as a cursed, haunted place that every sane being should avoid. And the party hasn’t yet set foot into town.