The underground passage proved to be the right choice: only half a day of march and the group of adventurers was finally outside of the uncharted territory and into a drier area of the Korkari wilds.
As the dim light of a winter afternoon shined in their eyes, Namary looked around and recognized the ruins at the center of the lake, the ruins of Yregh: she knew where to go.
Namary led the group through an hidden path on higher and drier grounds and they marched until the light was too low to be able to see around.
The march was tiring and grueling, always having to be careful to hide their traces behind them, as well as making sure that no surprise laid ahead.
When they finally found a place dry enough and safe enough to set camp, Tharn offered to go find some food and the group settled.
Tharn’s hunting trip wasn’t very successful, but the group didn’t complain to much as they sat around camp: Sigmund was happy to finally rest his tired legs – marching in the swap was especially tiring for the dwarf – and Namary took the opportunity to finally start translating the mysterious book they had found among the ruins; she knew it was going to take long, but she was eager to learn the secrets it guarded.
Jan cooked a dinner based of frogs and herbs, all the while singing a song his grandmother used to sing him when he was a child.
The night was uneventful and quiet, except for Namary: sleep bought her in a place where she was chased by demons wanting her sould and her magic. The nightmare turned into a strange dream when a set of familiar hands appeared and she escaped the demons by turning into a mouse, then a salmon and then a bear.
At dawn, during Tharn’s watch, the group heard someone screaming for help.
They ran towards the voice and found a man, standing on a cart, fighting off a small group of Dark Spawn.
It was clear that the man didn’t have a chance, so the group charged. After all they’ve been through, it was an easy fight for them and soon all the Dark Spawn were dead.
The man introduced himself as Faryn, a travelling merchant who was begrudgingly completing a task assigned to him by the soldiers at fort Nildud: he was salvaging some food from a nearby abandoned village and bringing it back to the fort, where a group of soldiers and refugees were resting during their march north.
He agreed to share some of his food with the famished group, then asked the group to escort him to the fort, where, as a sign of gratitude, he would sell them his wares for a special price.
With a whistle, Faryn called back his horse and the group was ready to move, Sigmund thankful that he could sit on the cart, and the group equally thankful that they could move at human pace, rather that dwarf pace.
The short trip to the fort was group wasn’t very surprised of the merchant’s raggedy clothes and unshaven face: after all, they were dirty and looked just as messy as he did.
The four adventurers were surprised about the fort at first, since it wasn’t there when they came from the North looking for the Golden Eggs, but Faryn explained that this fort was built in a hurry with salvaged materials, as a way to protect fugitives from the Dark Spawn while they moved north.
Very soon, the sight of the fort: a group of tents surrounded by wooden walls, confirmed Faryn’s words.
After a quick bath, a dinner offered by Faryn and a good night of rest, the party was woken up by Faryn: he wanted to show them his wares before opening the stall for other people, to make sure they could access the best selection.
He also had prepared a surprise for them: he gave them four healing potions and one lyrium potion to thank them again for saving his life.
A quick look at Falyn’s wares was enough for Tharn to realise that he was selling stolen goods, or possibly items stripped from corpses: there was too much variety in the way the objects were made, some very outlandish, some very fine and some really crude, like the big Chasind warhammer that the merchant was keeping near a fine Qunari sword and a Silverite rune.
The group quickly came to the conclusion that in times of war it wouldn’t be wise to be picky about where the merchandise came from and their need of better equipment after losing most of their possession at the Dark Spawn camp was too big anyway, so they happily browsed Faryn’s wares and purchased some equipment.