So it was that on a pleasant late summer day, our soon to be adventurers found themselves in camp. Having just moved into the region in preparation of the coming cold, the Thunderhoof clan had settled into what may have worked out to be a great winter home. Calm rivers protected either side from possible orc invasions, while at the same time ensuring plenty of gatherable roots and berries, vital for the long winter ahead. Finding the location calm and safe, the leaders of the clan ventured south towards the marshlands at the base of the river in hopes of finding medicinal herbs difficult to find in the parched lands they had traveled from. During their excursion, life in the camp took on an air of normalcy as Fire-Tongue took on the duties of acting shaman in his masters absence. Nimble-Finger lived up to his trickster reputation, while the others continued about their business.
Strange dreams filled the night as an unnerving sense of foreboding touched the winds, but with little to go on, the next day was once again filled with tasks that needed immediate attention. Nimble-Fingers, the human alchemist that had endeared himself to the tribe of “noble savages”, as well as Myrik, a wood elf who owed the clan his life, ventured out in search of food while Fire-Tongue and Tusk remained with the camp to oversee their own particular duties. While out, Nimble-Fingers and Myrik got into a hiding contest, an easy task in the high grasses of the plains, while the alchemist continued his search for reagents unknown to the developed lands to the north. Looking up from his studies, he was suprised to find himself suddenly alone. Unfamiliar with his surroundings, he decided the prudent thing to do would be to return to the encampment. Unfortunately, a lone wanderer also makes a prime target to the various other predators that call the plains their home. Were the gods still about, one might say that it was an act of their mercy that prevented and swift end to the old man at the ravenous claws of a cheetah. Narrowly missed, the old alchemist staggered back as Myrik tried to soothe the beast. Nimble Fingers took the opportunity to catch the beasts attention with a quick stab to the side. At the same time, the terror stricken alchemist grabbed his nearest vial and chucked it, sending an explosion of dirt and fire in the tall, dry grass. Lurching to the side to escape the firey tendrils of the explosion, the cat wripped Nimble Fingers sword from his hands and lunged towards Myrik as he resigned himself to doing the beast in. A fierce bite to the collar bone sent his arrow wide, his blood splayed, and staggering back, he caught the full weight of the creature on his chest. Looking back to the rogue, the cheetah lunged forward, raking his claws across his face, and almost gauging his eye before a wrathful swing lopped its head off. Grinning through the pain, Nimble Fingers brought up the head of his conquest to show his companion, when a coldness siezed his heart…rushing to Myrik’s side, he tried desperately to staunch the steady flow of blood as Myriks life pulsed out of him. The alchemist, seeing the decimation of his party, as well as the beginings of a prairie fire, rushed back to the encampment to…..find help…..Seeing the flames edge closer, but not wanting to lose his prize, Nimble Fingers valiantly hoisted both Myrik and the cheetah, and with a loud “pop” and a cry of anguish, dropped to his knees. Meanwhile in camp, Tusk noticed the smoke coming from the horizon and rushed to warn fire tongue. Calling the alarm, a hearty band of horsemen rushed forth to meet the cause of this fire, which up till now had generally been orcs. Seeing the fleeing alchemist, Firetongue sent Tusk to his aid, while he and the rest continued forward to see Nimble fingers, blood and soot coated, fighting valiantly through blood and pain to drag the unconcious Myrik to saftey. Lending them his horse, he then began organizing the men around the flames to slow its growth while he sent runners to move the camp.
Elsewhere, a lonely dwarf continued his journey south in search of his brothers destination. Going by raft had indeed granted a quicker route south, but having cleared the jungle, he feared he may never find the clues he needed to solve the mystery of his brothers disappearance. Fortunately, the weather had atelast been pleasant, and hoenestly, the excursion had been nice thus far. Fishing for a time, he began walking back to his camp as he became aware of faint clouds of smoke in the distance. Hopes filling his heart once again, he immediately broke camp and began setting forth towards the welcoming lights on the horizon.