The withered Kingdom of Gorgoth is no more. After The Happening the land is despoiled of all life and not even mana flows on the rock and vale. Charred tendrils of the ruined place jut Northward like the fingers of a dying man clutching to the living, desperate to survive. The Southern Reaches are now a wasteland as Gorgoth; where the magic weapon touched land only ash remains. All traces of the Alliance army and the Gorgoth Beastmen are destroyed. Twisted metal and wretched corpses are all that remain. A grim reminder of a short and bloody war.
The fleeing Scorned and Ro-Haern flooded into the land like a tide, with the remainder Alliance army trickling in between them. Order has been maintained through immediate and decisive response to any lawlessness. The shanty towns springing up around Old Mill and Oakway have nearly doubled the populations already there, and the fields lay fallow and untended in all directions as dissident refugees and local landowners clash daily. Where the militiamen were conscripted from the workers and farmers of the land, the farms are left to grow unharvested, soon nearly to rot in the sun. The Scorned are not invited to work, and the Lords of the land do not invite them to sup on their stocks. The people are hungry and the heat boils tempers.
The caretakers of the caretakers are the aristocrats left behind at the war call. Those unfit for the front lines; training, provisioning, building up the home defenses. These men rule now, uneasy, their mettle tested like the forges hungry for iron and gunpowder. They are flush with new income as inheritances free up land once ruled by now dead men. With little to no direct orders coming from Greyhold and the Court, they opt to wallow in hedonism, wine, song, and women. Locals blame the Elven dignitaries and “their wild ways”. Others blame the Scorned’ infernal touch. Others simply blame human frailty. Regardless, the parties wane into the night, and the people hear the songs of revelry late into the dawn.
The Heroes of the South are no more. The recognition earned for liberating Glardenfen has fallen away like so many of the bricks in it’s shattered walls. As the group returned to living land, they joined the stragglers who also fled for the safety of the Kingdom. Some remains of the militias, and scattered officers survived and kept some order heading Norht; no Beastmen were found moving on the trek. Those who would listen to the terrible tale of the Dreugar Keep and Ansible of Spirits were rapt with attention of the tale. But when it came to the telling of The Happening, none were glad to listen.
The Commander moving the survivors North, a young man named Hale Dorn, he hushed your tales and implored your silence. He warned of their effect on the shaken morale of the people, and ushered the Party to more private sections of the exodus. Once in Old Mill, past the hungry masses and trampled fields, he ushered them to a carriage and caravan moving man and materiel to the more beleaguered Oakway Eastward. The carriage windows were shuttered, and the passenger quarters packed with supplies, but at least they were finally not walking anymore. The cries of beggar Rover children and starving Scorned echoed up and down the highway as the disgraced heroes returned. Hungry voices, tired voices, those without hope or homes left in the world cried out, and were left behind.
Under cover of night the carriage made it through the guarded gates of the city, past ramparts fresh with pine sap stinking in the heat, keeping out unwashed masses of citizens instead of beastmen hordes. Under cover of night, the carriage opens up and you are pressed to rest in the somewhat familiar barracks of Timberkeep. In the morning, they are told, “you will meet with Lord Marshall Geofferson, and submit your report to the acting Commander of the City Garrison and Watch”.
The night is hot, and rest does not come easy.