It’s been days now that the party has been stuck in Portsmith after stepping through that god-forsaken portal. Alana and Aleen have been doing their best to keep their fellowship alive, if not conscious, but it has been a difficult job doing so. They even managed to map the whole town and parts of the areas below it, but with no hope of finding a way to get through the magical traps aimed at males.
Perhaps There’s Hope Outside
Lancelot, Percival, Rax and Robin suffered a lot, though Aleen can’t help but think of it as some sort of twisted justice for what the “stronger” sex has been doing to women since anyone could remember. Thoughts like that keep getting into her head since the moment the party entered the city, as if some sort of force or entity is pushing those thoughts in there. She fights them, as is Alana, but it’s been getting harder and harder with each passing day.
The party was hoping to find a way back to Sorpigal through the caves below, or at least to somehow disable the traps in the city, but with no luck. Finally, after days of fighting it, they decided to try their luck in the wilderness above the city. Aleen’s magical location spell told her they aren’t actually that far from Sorpigal, geographically, though if the wildlife turns out to be too dangerous, they might as well be on the other end of the world. Every other option has been exhausted, though, so they don’t have much of a choice. It’s time to visit the surface.
The first steps did not seem promising. The tunnel led them to a small mountain pass, overlooking a beach to the north. The issue here is that Sorpigal should be to the southwest, but both of these directions seem to be blocked by mountains. Perhaps there’s another pass somewhere. One can only hope.
Not all luck was bad, though. There seem to be no traps between the town entrance and the inn, so at least it will be easy to recover between scouting trips.
With some fresh air slightly rejuvenating the party and raising their hopes, they decided to try their luck to the south, by following the water bank. At first, it seemed promising. The mountains could need be traverse by the shore, but any hope of finding the road to Sorpigal was soon shattered when the water bank started to wrap around back to the north. The mountains didn’t block the party’s way, but the water did – the swim would simply be too dangerous. Some progress was made, though. As they were about to get back to Portsmith, for a welcome rest, Robin noticed a narrow entrance to a cave of some sort. The party took note of it. If all else fails, there might be another portal in there.
After a day’s rest, an attempt was made to find out where the shore ends in the opposite direction, but the way was almost immediately blocked by a sheer cliff, impossible to get past. To make the situation even direr, a pack of hippogriff ambushed the party. Lancelot was the last person to stand when the battle was over.
After another day’s rest and recovery, though everyone’s hopes were rapidly dwindling, they decided to give it a try in the north-western direction. This time, the scouting expedition would show signs of promise, or at least, signs of civilization. There was a sing post up north, pointing at the direction of Portsmith. Sign posts usually exist on roads someone actually uses, so this might be a road to another town, if not Sorpigal, then perhaps some other less hostile town than Portsmith.
To the northwest was nothing, though, or at least, there was no passage even hinting at eventually leading southwest. The only open routes were leading further north, away from Sorpigal. East of the sign pointing at Portsmith, however, there was something that showed promise – another sign post, pointing north, towards something or some place called White Wolf. Percival heard of a person, or perhaps a legend people called the White Wolf, but none heard of a place with that name. They could see the roofs of it over the hill to the north east, though. It was a castle, so it was off limits, for now. The party is at such a state, it would not be prudent to risk entering a potentially hostile castle. Instead, they moved on towards the east.
The Dark Forest
A few miles ahead, there was a crossroad, with the option to take the southern route. Again, hopes rose, but only for a short time, before Robin’s keen eyes could see the water bank again. There was no passage to the southern regions here. There was only a huge, dark forest to the southeast. It was so dense even Robert couldn’t see past the first couple of trees, but the noises coming out of there made it clear – it was too dangerous to explore now.
The party went back to the crossroads and took the eastern route this time. This one also quickly turned south, only to turn again, leading into the eastern regions. The north was also impassable. If there is something behind those woods and mountains, it needs to be approached from the other side.
Feeling suicidal, the group decided to push through the dense woods to the southeast. Somehow, it felt like it was the better choice than entering castle White Wolf. They couldn’t rely on their sight and something was blocking both schools of magic, so they took the slow and methodical approach, creating a mental layout with each step, trying to avoid the horrible noises they could hear in the bushes.
Eventually, after several battles, they got to what was obviously a temple building, but with no visible way to enter it. Defeated, they decided to get out of the woods and go back to Portsmith, to recuperate. Tomorrow, having exhausted all other options, they will visit castle White Wolf.