Sunday, November 12, 2023

Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States -- Week 45

Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States -- Week 45

Compiling week 45 of the project, comprised of an additional 7 posts, this week's subject being a deep dive of a location of interest - along the Segnem River in the Ulu Maug hills of the Wastelands:


Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States #309 

November 6th, 2023 

  • Number: 309 

  • Name: Deep Dive on an Area of Interest:  The Journey to Rest – Part 1 

  • Location: Along the Segnem River between the Ulu Maug and the Danthas River in the Wastelands 

  • Population (approx.): Varies 

  • Brief:  The collapse of the Ta’arnan Empire and the failure of the churches and nobles of the Wastelands to form any sort of cohesive state (like the four City-States to the north) left ancient families with long lineages scattered across the region and left to rebuild their own pocket of civilization. One of those was the Macadams, who once controlled a County-sized area on both sides of the Segnem River of about 8,000 square miles. The wars reduced their military power while corruption seeped in and claimed many notable royals, supporting Viscounts and loyal Knights. Macadam slowly declined until all that remained was but a manor or two along the upper river, the area further separated from land along the banks of the Danthas River by the appearance of the Enshrouding Mists. 

  • Geography: The Segnem River begins in the southern Ulu Maug mountains, bolstered by minor creeks and brooks on its initial 50-mile eastward course. The river exits the hills and heads almost directly north for about 70 miles and empties into the Danthas River at Segnem Falls. Macadam lands once spanned both sides of the river about a day’s ride in each direction. Currently all lands within and north of the Enshrouding Mists (#32) are free lands. Macadam holds a small keep at Macadam Lake in the hills along the Segnem’s course. 

  • Next Article: Over the course of this week, we’ll present the events leading to the last fall and rise of the Macadams in Journey to Rest. 



Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States #310 

November 7th, 2023 

  • Number: 310 

  • Name: Deep Dive on an Area of Interest:  The Journey to Rest – Part 2 

  • Location: Along the Segnem River between the Ulu Maug and the Danthas River in the Wastelands 

  • Population (approx.): 216 (Segnem Falls) 

  • Brief: Six years ago, one final tragedy struck the Macadams, leaving the old Count and Countess dead and the surviving children scattered across the region. Garett, 2nd son, his wife and family fled north and found themselves in Segnem Falls where the river meets the Danthas. They purchased a cabin on the outskirts of the village, refusing to exploit their prior station and settled down to a quiet life. One day, today in fact, a fisherman spotted a body drifting down the river toward the falls. Fearing a person in trouble, he waded into the waters and pulled a figure, wrapped in sickly green vines, to the shore. Before he could check for a pulse, the body lurched to its feet, throwing off its erstwhile rescuer, and stumbled toward Garett Macadam’s cabin. As the fisherman staggers to his feet, a second and then a third body rises from the waters and lurches inland. 

  • Garett Macadam, 32, male Human is a hunter. He is of average height and has a wiry build. He has light brown hair that he keeps short and serviceable. Garett has azure eyes and a soft smile. He wears a moss green hooded cowl along with leather pants. His leather doublet is a lighter green than the cowl. Garett uses a bow while hunting but usually walks with an exceptional staff that helps him detect animals nearby. He is capable, kind, and trustworthy. 

  • Garett learned to hunt from his father as a small child. As an adult, he has taken many roles for Segnem Falls, but now he guides the mayor about the health of the land and the flora and fauna on it. He still hunts daily and provides the venison and other meat for the Spicy Parsnip Inn and Restaurant. 

  • Garett's family is essential to him. His wife of ten years, Adreanna (Ade), 30, is female Human and all sweetness and light. She cares for their twin girls, Angela and Breanna, eight. They live in a cabin just outside of Segnem Falls. Garett's younger brother, Terrell, was his best friend for years. For years, they protected the Macadam lands to the south until something happened to Terrell, and he changed. Where once he was light, now he was dark. Garett eventually had to slay Terrell and buried him south along the river. Currently, something is happening. The local animals tell him that weedthralls (bodies animated by plants touched by Corruption) have come down the Segnem River to attack the town. 

  • So warned, Garett Macadam stands before his home, staff in hand. Behind him, Ade holds a container of lamp oil and a lit torch. Garett uses crushing blows to disable and down the weedthralls. Ade pours fuel upon them and sets the once dead alight, burning the weeds away and destroying the bodies. Other villagers, hearing the commotion, arrive and assist the Macadams in defeating a half-dozen undead in all. Terrible recognition comes to Garrett for these thralls were once minions used by his younger brother Terrell in his time of madness. Turning to his wife, he says, “I must head south. These things targeted us. Something is amiss.” 

  • Geography: Segnem Falls (location 1 see below), as the name implies, can be found where the Segnem River tumbles into the Danthas River about 100 feet below. The village sits on a rise of flat ground, above the spring flood line, just west of the river. A wooden palisade runs in an arc from the Segnem to the Danthas, with most of the village inside. The Macadam house is southwest of the wall. 



Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States #311 

November 8th, 2023 

  • Number: 311 

  • Name: Deep Dive on an Area of Interest:  The Journey to Rest – Part 3 

  • Location: Along the Segnem River between the Ulu Maug and the Danthas River in the Wastelands 

  • Population (approx.): 2 (A cave along the Segnem River) 

  • Brief: Garett, after ensuring that not a speck of living green could be found in the ashes of the weedthralls, gathered his gear, made his farewells (with the usual assurances of his planned return) and headed south along the Segnem River. Half a day later, as the sun edged toward the western horizon, the tracker spotted a small sailboat abandoned on the far shore of the river. Backtracking, Garett forded the Segnem, approached and recognized the vessel as the sailing dinghy of his Macadam cousin, Jarod the Magician. 

  • Jarod Bearstride, 48, is a male Human Mage who is a cousin of Garett Macadam. He is short and has a gut that overhangs his leggings. His black hair is always messy, but his smile is quite disarming. Besides the leggings, Jarod wears multi-colored tunics that may have a bit of yesterday's lunch on them. Jarod uses an ornate oaken staff that adds to his magical ability. 

  • Jarod occasionally works as a mage for the Macadam family. He knows various spells having one for just about any occasion. Currently, he is stuck in a cave with one of Garett's bear friends, Rocky. They are fending off weedthralls with claws, spells and a temporary barricade. Jarod hopes some aid will come soon as he is running low on spells. 

  • Jarod lives in Segnem Falls and has cast some enchantments to help protect the town. He has a house on the outskirts and lives there with his wife, Celina, 44, female Human. She cares for their four children, Carlotta, girl 12, Minta, girl 11, Jahn, boy 9, and Sandon, boy 5. Jarod is a whittler in his spare time and makes toys for the children. He is also religious and attends local church ceremonies whenever he can. 

  • A trail of broken foliage and deep shuffling footprints leads inland from the damaged boat down a familiar game trail. Soon Garett is outside of Rocky’s den, concealed from view, and lets fly with a flaming signal arrow that brightens the cave’s darkness for Jaron and the bear. Working together they quickly dispatch and destroy this second spawning of weedthralls. Catching his breath, Jarod relates encountering the undead as he was fishing the Segnem. He concurs some is terribly wrong and agrees to accompany Garett and Rocky further south, but after a rest perhaps. Garett frowns but nods at the sense of it, so the three rest for the night in the cave and depart the next day. 

  • Geography: The Segnem River flows from the south of Segnem Falls, surrounded by small woods mixed with hilly terrain, fed by numerous brooks and creeks. Rocky’s den (location 2 see below) is about 15 miles south of Segnem Falls on the east side of the river. Jarod’s home in Segnem Falls (location 1) is near Garett’s but within the enchanted palisade. 



Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States #312 

November 9th, 2023 

  • Number: 312 

  • Name: Deep Dive on an Area of Interest:  The Journey to Rest – Part 4 

  • Location: Along the Segnem River between the Ulu Maug and the Danthas River in the Wastelands 

  • Population (approx.): 1 (Macadam Memorial) 

  • Brief: A new day dawned and the trio; Garret, Jarod and Rocky, departed the latter's cave and continued south along the river. They kept a wary eye to the waters but spotted no vine-encrusted corpses drifting downstream with the current. After a half day’s walk, the fog wall of the Enshrouding Mists comes into view. The group is about to turn east to skirt the border when Garret, ever sharp-eyed, spots a familiar red shape in the air above the mist. They pick up their pace and follow a large cardinal into the boundary of the cloaked region. The day is nearing its end when the familiar three-pillared centerpiece of the Macadam family cemetery, the Memorial, comes into view. Standing at the edge, cardinal on shoulder and lantern in hand, is the caretaker, Luro Angelsong. 

  • Luro Angelsong, 467, is a male Elf, a retainer for the Macadam family. He is tall and gaunt with graying silver hair. His lavender eyes are kind, and his demeanor is respectful. Luro wears black form-fitting pants and crisp white shirts. He wears colorful bow ties that have often cheered the Macadam's family members. Luro has never been called to use a weapon but keeps several small daggers on his person for emergencies. He is rarely seen without his companion cardinal, Melody, on his shoulder. 

  • Luro comes from a long line of caretakers for royal families. He took over handling the Macadam family affairs when he was just a hundred eighteen. He did many duties for the family, but since they have come on hard times, he primarily acts as a guardian of the cemetery. Luro has become more than a servant to Garett and the family. Garett considers him a friend and confidant. 

  • Luro, when not at the cemetery, lives near wherever Garett currently lives. He used to have a wife, Valana, Elf, who passed away many years ago. Together, they had many children and lots of grandchildren. On his once-a-year vacation to Aai Lau (#21), Luro will visit his family and spend lots of time fishing, laughing, and telling old stories. When Luro has time off, he reads and keeps a journal. 

  • Luro bows deeply, “Lord Macadam, welcome. Given the happenings here of the past couple of days, it is not unexpected that you are here.” He gestures for the trio to sit with him on the benches that encircle the cemetery, and he relates a terrifying series of events. In the dark of night, the earth rumbled and tossed about Terrell’s grave then a figure rose up from the ground. It was dark, misshapen but wrapped in a lurid green glowBut before it could act, the vapors of the Enshrouding Mists thickened and drove the thing into the Segnem River. The waters swirled and bubbled but the Mists could not affect the thing under the surface. In the morning, Luro was horrified to find Terrell’s grave empty. Then, worse still, the next night other graves of Terrell’s close companions erupted and again the green limned corpses staggered to the river chased by the fog. The trio set a watch but this night the cemetery is quiet, and, in the morning, they inspect the river but find no sign of Terrell’s body or that of his companions. Garett thinks out loud, “He sent his companions to delay or slay us, so he must have headed upstream. Likely to the castle. We must not delay.” They thanked Luro for his hospitality and stewardship of the site and continued south along the river. 

  • Geography: The Macadam Memorial and cemetery (location 3 see below) can be found at the eastern edge of the Enshrouding Mists (#32), predating the appearance of the fogs by several hundred years. The cemetery features a central stone structure with three large pillars (one each for the opposing pairs of the Six Gods such as day and night) raising a triangular plinth over a large stone mosaic. The graves of the Macadams are arranged in concentric circles about the Memorial, separated by circular walkways. Six paths radiate out from the center, connecting the walkways. Benches, next to the paths, dot the outer row of graves. Terrell and his rebellious relatives and companions, slain and buried but five years ago, were interred along the outermost ring. Luro is slowly working to restore the grounds and refill the now empty graves. 



Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States #313 

November 10th, 2023 

  • Number: 313 

  • Name: Deep Dive on an Area of Interest:  The Journey to Rest – Part 5 

  • Location: Along the Segnem River between the Ulu Maug and the Danthas River in the Wastelands 

  • Population (approx.): 73 (Caer Macadam on Midnight Waters) 

  • Brief: With a fond farewell and best wishes all around, Garret and his companions left Luro at the Memorial and continued south. As they left the Enshrouding Mist, Garret noted a trail leaving the river and heading overland southwest toward a distant lake, Midnight Waters, and Caer Macadam, his family’s ancestral home. The dead most certainly would take a direct route for they could not anticipate and would not care about delays due to terrain, but the trio took the quicker path along the Segnem River. Two long days later, Garret spotted the sparkle as the setting sun reflected across the dark surface of Midnight Waters. A dark shape marked Caer Macadam at the south edge of the lake. A lone figure stood on the shore, apparently sensing or anticipating their arrival, Garret’s sister, Leslie. 

  • Leslie (Macadam) Nidum, 40, female Human, is a Druid of this area surrounding Segnem River. She is tall and has a slight beanpole body. Her wondrous golden blond hair cascades down her back in waves. Leslie has cornflower blue eyes and a vivacious smile. She is the middle child of this generation of Macadams. Leslie wears long skirts and tops made of floral prints. Her favorite piece of jewelry is a silver brooch in the shape of a bear she wears daily. It is a piece of Macadams's history handed down to the eldest females on their eighteenth birthday. 

  • Leslie grew up in the Macadams's castle, which Midnight Waters surrounds. In a ceremonial gesture, Leslie's mother, Marisol, placed Leslie's tiny hand in the water when she was three. The lake responded, and a little tattoo of a drop of water appeared on her small hand. The bond has only strengthened throughout the years. Marisol and now Leslie can commune with the plants and animals of Midnight Waters.  

  • Leslie is married to Irwin Nidum, 42, Human, who is a tailor. They have one child, Ann, who is 15. Leslie tried to bond Ann to the Waters, but they rejected her. The Waters explained that the Nidum blood mixed with an element from the Macadams' blood could lead to a person of great evil. Leslie has tried desperately to locate a spell that would cleanse Ann's blood. So far, nothing has worked. 

  • Leslie, seeing the trio’s arrival, smiled and rushed to hug her brother. Garret asks, “Is everyone alright? What happened?” She takes a breath and replies, “It was terrible. The lake awoke me, carrying the cries of the flora befouled by their touch. He led them, but he was and wasn’t Terrell anymore. He commanded his minions to take the keep, but the Waters fought them, delaying their crossing until we could slay them with fire and light. Not-Terrell howled in frustration and ran off, to the west we think. Corbett, as you might expect, stalked after them. Try upriver, perhaps at Piety Tower?” 

  • Geography: Caer Macadam (location 4 see below) was built centuries ago on an outcropping of dense stone rising from the surface along the south side of the Midnight Waters. The castle’s central keep is four stories tall with round towers at each corner and a fifth central spire on the east wall, the main gate piercing this tower at the ground level. Battlements top the towers and walkways with crenelations run between the pairs of towers on the south and north walls of the keep. The lake is fed by the Segnem River descending from the hills to the west and in turn feeds the Segnem’s continued eastward course. It was named after the deep deep blue color of the waters, likely due to stone under the surface having the same dark gray color as the outcrop supporting Caer Macadem. After 17 miles the river turns northward and after another 15 miles enters the Enshrouding Mist (#32).  



Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States #314 

November 11th, 2023 

  • Number: 314 

  • Name: Deep Dive on an Area of Interest:  The Journey to Rest – Part 6 

  • Location: Along the Segnem River between the Ulu Maug and the Danthas River in the Wastelands 

  • Population (approx.): none (Piety Tower) 

  • Brief: Another restless night of sleep and an early rise for Garret and his companions. They gather their gear, say their farewells to Leslie and the rest at the castle, and depart westward following the Segnem River upstream. Truly within the Ulu Maug, the river winds through narrow valleys and ravines, across tumbling rapids and drops down waterfalls. Mists drift down from the hilltops and float across the waters. The sun nears its peak as small keep comes into view, sitting above the junction of the Segnem River and Piety Creek. A figure stands on an outcropping of rock across the Segnem, watching the hills to the south. Garrett recognizes the bulky well-armed and armored silhouette of his adoptive brother Corbett, hunter of beasts. 

  • Corbett Honorrock, 37, male Human is a family friend of the Macadams. He has burly shoulders and a small waist. He has dark brown hair that he wears close-cropped and spiky. His amber eyes dart around, seeming to take everything in. Corbett wears leather armor and a forest-green cape. He also wears a brown bandolier with crossbow bolts that work in the small crossbow he keeps strapped to his back. Corbett also uses a longsword as his primary weapon.  

  • Corbett grew up playing with the Macadams's children daily. Then, when he was ten, Corbett's parents were slain by an owlbear. The Macadams brought Corbett into the family and raised him as their son. Corbett hates monsters of all kinds and has vowed to protect his adoptive family at all costs. 

  • Corbett moved out of Caer Macadam many years ago. He moved west to Piety Tower, which used to be the religious site for the Macadams Clan. The tower was damaged and became unusable when a mountain wurm tried to get at Corbett by knocking it down. Corbett has moved back into the castle until he can find someplace else to live. Corbett is an expert forager and is especially skilled at finding mushrooms. 

  • Garrett signals Corbett, who crosses the Segnem at a nearby ford and joins the trio at the still shattered gate to Piety TowerInside Corbett’s companions, his monster squad, sit about a campfire finishing lunch. Greetings exchanged, Garrett asks, “Where it is?” (He can’t bear to call it Terrell.) Corbett replies, “We tracked Ter... err …  it here. I think it tried to raise the wurm’s remains,” he points to large rib and leg bones scattered about the courtyard, “but failed. Frustrated, it headed south. Toward the hills.” Garrett thinks and replies, “Yeah, south of the river and over some hills, it had a favorite place. Where it learned or was taught darkness. But now, it is the place where we must end this. Will you join us?” Corbett smiles, “Slay a monster. Of course!” voice raised he bellows, “Let’s GO!” 

  • Geography: Piety Tower (location 5 see below) sits on the north bank where Piety Creek pours into the Segnem River. Similar in style to Caer Macadam (likely the same builders centuries ago), the Tower has a single main gate, turrets to either side, fronting a small courtyard with a central shrine leading to a three-story square keep in the back. The mountain wurm, two years ago, shattered the entry staircase and the front gate and then crawled inside to flatten the shrine and damage the main keep before Corbett could kill it. He has spent the past years slowly removing the remains and debris. 



Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States #315 

November 12th, 2023 

  • Number: 315 

  • Name: Deep Dive on an Area of Interest:  The Journey to Rest – Part 7 

  • Location: Along the Segnem River between the Ulu Maug and the Danthas River in the Wastelands 

  • Population (approx.): 1 (The Whispering Grove of the Ulu Maug) 

  • Brief: The quest, now doubled in number, crosses the Segnem River and heads southward toward the Whispering Grove. Garrett observes to all, “He was always fond of that place. No one else was. There are places in there where shadows consume what little light reaches the ground.” Heading south, they parallel the Segnem River’s course, climbing and descending the rolling hills of the Ulu Maug. After half a day, nearing time for rest and a repast, they reach the northern border of the hills that encircle the grove. A narrow trail between two hills is marked with fresh heavy tracks of shuffling feet. Garrett frowns, looking at the treetops barely visible above the peal of the trail, “He … it …. is in there.” He shudders, memories of his brother flood his thoughts. 

  • Terrell Macadams, Undead Master of Weedthralls, is the former youngest son in the Macadam’s current generation. He is tall and has barely any skin and bones. His face looks normal from a distance, but it is evident he's not alive up close. He wears dark clothes, a cape, and a large dark gray hooded cowl. Terrell carries the maple staff that he had when he was living. The staff has various runes and radiates necromantic power. 

  • In life, Terrell was the baby of the Macadams family. Everyone got along, and he adored his brother and sister. By his teen years, something changed. Terrell became interested in necromancy, and as the years passed, his power grew. Terrell learned the secret of "living beyond the grave" just before his death. Now, his plans thwarted, Terrell has retreated to the Whispering Grove to raise himself an army. 

  • Terrell used to explore the Whispering Grove as a student of necromancy. The woods teemed with small creatures, the dead were plentiful, and the trees always seemed to talk to him. Now, he hopes to use the whispers to bring to him both living and dead creatures and turn them into his army. In the woods is a cave that he used in life for his meditations and alchemical practices. The cave now becomes his home base. One of the first things Terrell does is send two animal messengers to Braden Tung, 47, a male Human and the first person to teach him necromancy: the second Stefan Shadowcaller, 67, a Lich whom Terrell served in life. 

  • Jarod, the Magician, steps to the fore, raising staff and free hand to inscribe whorls of magics in the air. He concentrates as the essence floats over the hills and down across the woods. After a minute, Jarod shakes off the concentration upon the enchantment and reports, “He … It is not alone. There are quite a few minor undead and three powerful presences. One I recognize, the thrall’s master once your brother and two others I do not know. I fear we might be outmatched.” The air behind them brightens as a voice replies, “Then it is fortunate I bring hope to overcome fear.” Garret turns and smiles, seeing his sister, Leslie, and a very tall oddly shaped stranger stepping out of a magical gate. She turns and says, “Let me introduce Inari Limid of Cloudspire, the creator of the Enshrouding Mists. They sensed the gathering darkness feeding off Corruption in the grove and brought me here so we might aid you.” Corbett, ever ready for a fight, smiles and says to all, “Let’s do this thing and put this matter to one final rest.” 

  • Geography: The Whispering Grove (location 6 see below) is a narrow band of dense forest stretching across the Ulu Maug about 20 miles south of Piety Tower (location 5). There are no known settlements beneath the trees and Macadam considered it to be outside of their territorial claims. Cloudspire, the home of Inari Limid (#171), creator of the Enshrouding Mists (location 7 see below, also #32), overlooks the mists from its western edge (northwest of Piety Tower). 


No comments:

Post a Comment