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Borderland - Troubles in Auheim

Stephan Hornick

Community Goblin
Staff member
Wizard of Adventure
Faster Combatant
Adventure Builder
Adventure Master
This is the first of hopefully many adventure summaries in the world of Borderland.

A young bard in exile trying to accumulate "real" stories to eventually make a name for himself, Edwyn pondered long about where to go to fulfill his destiny. Eventually though, he overheard parts of a conversation at a run-down tavern at the outskirts of the peaceful Saphire Empire.

"That's bad luck, mate! If they really re-opened the cursed gold mine in Auheim, they will shore more than they expect, I tell you. My cousin heard from a guard that had been stationed at Auheim that there are unnatural tremors! I will not take any cursed gold from there, by the cold bones of my wife."

So Edwyn decided to follow his instinct and joined a travelling liquor trader named Burned Berek on his long way to Auheim, last outpost of mankind in the borderland to the West (at least from the perspective of the Saphire Empire). They journeyed past fields and forests, crossed rivers and hills and eventually came to the Bitter Plains, a sea of endless seeming grass and windy skies sparsely populated to say the least. Only the nomadic tribe of the Ankhara roam these plains, as everybody knows. Politically neutral these survivalists and enduring people only mingle seldomly with other peoples.

When the two travellers spotted preparations for a great bonfire in the distance, though, this tradition was to change for this evening. Berek managed to sell some of his liquor to the Ankhara, who were preparing for some kind of ritual as it seems. First unsure how to approach them, the two travellers soon discovered the Ankahara tribe to be a hospitable people and they were invited to join on this special occasion. One of their own was having her rite of passage this evening.


Born to the Blue Leaf Ankhara tribe of the Bitter Plains Rhea followed the tribe's tradition of a rite of passage. Usually it only meant to wait until the end of the ceremony, drink some alcohol and later fetch some feathers of a bird or find back to the tribe within 2 days as an ordeal to pass the test. Now though, she could only gasp with all the others as it turned out to be a bitter ordeal for her.
The Old Hag, as everybody called the tribe's wise woman, spoke to the clouds above and read the leaves in the wind. During Rhea's rite of passage the clouds had grown dark and menacing. The rhythmic drums stopped for a moment when the dry wood in the bonfire cracked loudly like thunder. And the Old Hag trembled and spoke in her raspy voice:

"You will find your wind not with the others, young leaf. Danger is coming. To all of us. The clouds speak to me, they speak of a dark mass expanding in terror and hate. You must go, young Rhea, you must follow the East Wind and find the origin of the menace beyond the grass. This is what the clouds say and what shall be your ordeal for the rite of passage. Make us proud, young warrioress, and come back safely. Now, leave tomorrow and trust your feet on the grass and your hair in the wind that the Ankahara will be with you the whole time."

Then it became loud and festivities got bitter. Other members of the tribe tried to overrule this ordeal as it was far away and seemingly much more dangerous than their typical ordeal. The Old Hag had become too old, some said. But in the end, she was not to be overturned and insisted on her reading of the clouds. Reluctantly it was decided that at least someone should join Rhea on her quest that may actually entail going beyond the Bitter Plains. But the Ankhara were reluctant to leave the grass lands of their ancestors. Nobody volunteered.


The sky had spoken of danger far to the West, but Edwyn could only think of adventure and fate. He chimed in and after first irritation that an outsider even volunteered, he underwent the Ritual of Fate Threading with her, which included drinking a drop of the other's blood in a bowl of shared horse milk.
And as the morning sun rose, the three travellers went on their way towards the Borderlands in the West. Dreading with excitement the arrival at Auheim.
 

riderv3

Member
Faster Combatant
Journal of Edwyn, Part 1

Rhea, the dusk skinned steely eyed elf-maid squinted at the bitter wind that flowed across the endless plains of Ankhara like a chill tide, it’s tides and eddies carrying the raptors that stalked our traces. To her boon companions, myself and the stalwart Berik Vintner, the sea of tall grass provided little counsel; but to the lithe elf-maid, the land spoke volumes. Danger, spoke the wind; corruption, whispered the hawk. Something was coming, something sinister.

We made camp near a great stone outcrop, under the shade of an old tree, gnarled like a skeletal hand grasping at the last rays of sunlight, roots like tendons anchoring it to the hard earth we rested on. Even as Rhea’s stalwart allies made preparations for the evening, Berik tending his draft horse with murmurs of comfort and pockets of sugary morsels, and myself strumming my instrument, orderly chords leading charges against the tides of nature’s chaos, Rhea watched the dimming sky, ignoring my dulcet tones for the wild song of the winds. Something was coming. While Berik poured the wine, still Rhea watched - something was coming.

Then it hit us, a noise like the very earth crying out in pain, then the ground moved like a living thing, writhing beneath us, and we were tossed like a petulant child’s toys. But not Rhea, her lissom hips flexing like a stallion’s as she stood her ground. Though the tortured earth flowed like water, Rhea stood tall, still drinking deeply of her wine as though the tremor was nothing at all. Berik and I scrambled for safety, clinging to the great rock as it boomed and cracked against the shaking. Finally the trembling ceased, the ground quieted, and silence returned to the plains. Rhea ran long fingers through silken hair as she stared into the distance, “Corruption, it awaits our arrival, and the sting of my blades. Something there infects the earth with darkness, I shall be the cure.”
 
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