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Wednesday, 19 October 2016

The Wonderful World of Mystara

A Manuscript about the Natural Magical World of Mystara

Chapter 6

Venturing in the Black Hills

As penned down by Separim Longstrider
Darokin Province of Inlashar 1014 AC, 3rd Yarthmont
After several confusing transcripts, it is my blessed turn to tell the fortuitous readers of our splendid exploration of the wilderness areas of the Known World.
This night we heard the vague story of the hero Ugleton. The name does not provide any more hints, and actually we did not need to know. All we could be certain was to be aware in the lands in front of us. The Emyn Mon or Black Hills as the Humans call this area. Actually a series of hills and pushed up ground, eroded by time and weather, with several layers of volcanic ash from the Twin Volcanoes in between. The ground is very fertile, but the combination of Pine trees and volcanic ash discoloured the waters here. It is due this disturbing fact we call this area The Emyn Mon or Black Hills. Several springs find their origin here converging in the Celon Morgulduin or Blackwater River. Further to the North East there are Nen Morgulduin, which further downstream becomes Wente Morgulduin, and the Bambra Brook. All these streams eventually merge with the Blackwater River entering the Canolbarth. But even here we can see the devastating effects what the foul Shadow Elves have done to our beloved Canolbarth. With their evil magic they changed the trees, stopped the magic, and with that changed the weather patterns. In all our horror, we see the forest slowly dying, and the hills becoming dryer as less precipitation falls. The Black Hills suffer the same, but seem to attract some rain due the static energies from the Twin Volcanoes…every eruption is followed by a local rain it seems. This instantly spreads the fertile ash, and keeps the area from drying out. Yet even here the reduction in precipitation can be seen…The tops of the pines show more brown twigs and dead branches, and more dead trees can be found within these woods.
Who knows what the future will bring, can this area survive on its own? Will the Canolbarth be saved?
Who knows…I do not. And though the pain in my soul burns brightly of this vile Shadow Elven act, I have to continue, explore the world.
Back to the Night. The stars were brightly in the clear evening sky, and while my guard duty entered I saw the various star signs. (DM's Here is more on Mystara Astrology)
Today the Fenum√ęlaewcari or the Hydra was best visible. One could even see the slim belt of Rocks where once Damocles was. Like the last year many small falling stars lit up the sky, their traces all from the same origin. Then some of the stars were blocked as something large flew over. The size of it deemed it to be a Dragon. That is something new. As far as we Elves know there does not live a dragon in this area, maybe it came here due the changes in the environment…again more evil brought in by those vile Shadow elves. The dark shadow went north…our direction. I decide not to inform the others, it is not their best to become anxious and change their course. We must learn more about this area, and although many elves accompanied the few caravans traversing this alternate route to Ethengar (instead going through the Broken Lands infested with Humanoids), our exact knowledge is limited. If we truly intend to re-conquer Our Canolbarth we must learn to know the current areas around it in the best detail. The dragon, or whatever it was is no more visible. The sky betrays a clear day tomorrow. 4 hours have passed, My guard duty is over, the Hin Straddle Leafboots takes over.

Darokin Province of Inlashar 1014 AC, 4th Yarthmont
A coldwater shower, refreshed my aching muscles, and removed the dirt of the day before. I must be prepared to moments where I can’t clean myself. A dwarf does not seem to wash itself, the Hin does not care if it does or not, and the human does do so only in the human locales. My delicate nose is not used to the stench of all that sweat. Luckily we follow water thus far, and the streams go in our direction. A breakfast from the friendly farmers prepares us for the day. Berries and Salad…they still do know how to treat an elf, even though we aren’t their neighbours anymore. The others think they are carnivores and mistreat their bellies with bacon, beans and eggs. Another hour of informative discussion passes with Gaston and the Farmers…to learn what can be expected.
Then we finally leave “At Eylial”. After about three miles we use a ford to cross the Blackwater River, and arrive on the safer Eastern side. Here the train continues through the Pine forest

The trail also goes here towards a similar barn conglomeration as last night, this one is named Komkommer, and like “At Eylial” on the other side of the river is an old ruin of a former village of the Inlashar named Artil. Though we did see several centaurs from a distance gleaning upon us, we made no real encounters. Their muscular bodies soon disappeared again between the pines.
A single abandoned farm reveals the strenuous feeling in the area. It may be due the humanoids, the volcano or the recent skirmishes, or even the change of the region. It is a pity to see all change. And though we Elves love change, this kind we do not respect as part of Nature. In the early afternoon we arrived at Komkommer. Indeed a farmer settlement, somewhat larger than “At Eylial” with 6 or seven farms. And importantly, not a palisade is used here, but Thorn bushes and slanted pikes as defence. There are several farms, mostly beans and cabbage, and some sheep and cattle. The ruins of Artil on the other side bear a Humanoid flag; Kobolds, apparently they control the other side of the river. But no kobolds can be seen, and from the local Farmers we hear, that they indeed take not much interest in this section of the wood. There are however several Kobold settlements to the west; Camp Cold Water, Camp Waarp Camp Papyrus and even two Kobold villages Koltes and Kolera.
The reason according to the farmers is the areas with larger and darker pines, known as the Whispering trees, more they could (or would) not say. Now that is something I am curious at…would Treants life in the area, or is it something else. It does not seem to be Treants, as the nature is not as abundant as normally when they have settled and control the forest, but maybe they are a recent addition to the region.
After some communication between the farmers we decided to continue our voyage, trying to reach the Hamlet of Estobrun somewhere just after or before Nightfall. Salechaam bought a pig with a broken leg, grinning from ear to ear, the brute probably intents to kill, prepare and devour it later.
Soon the few farms we leave behind, the trail continuous in a region known to the Locals as Maghyar Orzag. A name originating from the Old Inlashar era, when this section was the last province to be abandoned by the Inlashar so long ago.
In the late afternoon, while following the trail up in the hills, going slowly but clearly higher (The magic altimeter of Gaston gives an altitude of 1490’above sea level) we are halted by a small group of Centaurs. Their leader comes forth while at least seven other Centaurs have encircled us, and bow ready. “Who are you, and why do you go here” he speaks in Elvish first and repeats in Thyatian. “Sepawim?” Gaston beckons me. I dismount from the wagon, and step forward, my weapons still at my belt and shoulder. I see the wonderful muscular body of the leader if front of me, his chest a sixpack chest above a lower musled V, and a face, faintly elfish in appearance with dark brown hair maned over its neck and back to where his horse section begins. His warm and astounding beautiful face looks stringent and tenacious. 

His beautiful face…Breaking from my beginning fantasies…I hesitatingly respond in Elvish; “I ..eh…I am Separim Longstride. We are travellers, explorers of the world to say, and follow this trail to the Ethengar Khanates.” “So you do NOT desire to quest or battle in this region?” “No, we do not desire to do battle, other than to defend ourselves, and though we are interested in the area, its population, and vegetation, we have no real goal here other than to learn” “Then, trusting the words of an honourable Elf, Separim Longstride, I Pernicus, Troop leader of the Adanrohir allow you to continue. But beware, we do keep an eye out to all who pass. We do not want to have war here, or vile craves for magic items.” “I only, honourably can tell you Proud Pernicus, that we are not interested in these.” With that sentence Pernicus raised his right arm, the centaurs regrouped behind him; “I wish you well on your exploration Separim and companions. If you are true in your words you will find no hinder from us or the humans living here, but be aware the region has its own dangers, you must learn by yourself.” With these words he turned and with several long strides I saw his muscular back, partially covered by the glistening dark-brown hair and mane disappears. His strong behind bore a similar dark brown tail, but had a large scar on the right cheek…”Come on Separim…stop dreaming”…, Salechaam teasingly spurred me back to reality “…we are waiting for you”
Without a word I climbed back on the wagon, stroked the dogs face gently, looked up into Salechaams face, and although I desired to verbally lunge out to this emotionless dwarf, I turned, took the reins from Gaston and continued our voyage…without a word.     But what a beautiful Centaur specimen Pernicus is…brrr.

The trail continues through the woods, the strong scent of the pines is relaxing. Birds sing and some deer burl further away. Their mating season has started. While in this long section, the creeks parted away from us, they come now nearer again, the more Northeast we go. Then another scent, burning wood reveals we are near a settlement. And indeed in the last rays of the Sun we see a small settlement, protected by a palisade wall and thorned hills around the farms; The Hamlet of Estobrun. Again we are welcomed, the humans here rarely receive visitors, as the alternative trail, is not used as much as it could be. Straddle explains that if we explore this region, this might change. The farmers are content, and so are we. It is a night to remember, Straddle is as interesting to the young maidens as if he is a diamond, I have company of a friendly human (similarly appearing as Pernicus..ahem), even the Dwarf has found joy in a small female, and nobody seems to sleep alone,…except Gaston we discover the next morning.

Earlier chapters;

PreludeChapter 1Chapter 2Chapter 3,Chapter 4,Chapter 5
Interlude;
Geomorphological History of the Broken Lands 1
Geomorphological History of the Broken Lands 2

Following Chapters;

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