Designed by Ronar
Lifespan: 60 minutes
Medium Groups: 25-29
Large Groups: 23-27
It was a quiet night in Medievia. The inn bustled with the normal mix of dancers and gamblers. The hearth glowed with a warm fire. Food and drink flowed from the bar and music from the very rafters. All seemed to be well; fierce dragons and mythic quests seemed so very far away.
It was a moment of peace, and it was broken by a figure stumbling through the inn doors. His hair was long and wild, his eyes wide and distant. He dropped to his knees, gasping for breath, clutching the tattered remains of a violet traveling cloak. The cloak marked him for what he was, a Chandali traveler, though clearly one separated from his clan.
The Chandali are a peaceful, nomadic people. They range quietly across the wilds of Medievia, taking care not to disturb the many different peoples they pass. They move in small clans, cloaked in violet, and they take pains to steer clear of conflict. The Chandali fight fiercely if pressed, but for the most part prefer to remain neutral. They camp outside the cities and never go much farther than the local trade post. Seeing a Chandali in an inn common room was unheard of.
"Please, I beg of thee, I ... my people ... there were so many..." His voice was ragged, and his eyes never gained a real focus on the room. They remained fixed on horrors only he could see. The dancers moved to fetch water and blankets. The inn as a whole moved around the man and listened as he began his tale.
The clan wagons had been driven south from their path in the flight of a swarm of wasps. The trader and his party rode ahead, hoping to pass before it swept over the land. To escape the flood of stinging wasps they were forced to cross a river and enter a dark wood. The clan elders had always steered well north of the foul wood, but the wasps meant certain death; so into the trees they went, cutting a path for the wagons.
With the wasps safely at their backs, it was decided to press quickly through the trees and camp on the other side of the wood. They moved slowly but persistently, and as they did the wood grew darker. They saw things move in the darkness, as if the clan was being shadowed. Their patriarch Antalan wrote the shadows off as nerves and had them press forward. The column came within sight of a great, blackened cluster of trees. A mockery of life, it rose high over the surrounding wood and cast a deathly pall over the area.
As none of the clan wished to set foot in that foul place, a decision was made to turn back, and they began the task of turning the wagons in the close quarters of the wood. It was while they were turning that the attack came. A swarm of creatures flowed in from the trees and fell upon the clan. All manner of foul beasts assaulted the wagons; spiders, darklings, zhayvens, and some of the very trees themselves. The Chandali fought hard, circling their wagons to form a defensive wall, and beat back their attackers.
Days passed, and the cruel denizens of the wood seemed to amuse themselves by tormenting the clan. Small and persistent raids kept the clan ever vigilant and at the point of exhaustion. In desperation a small pocket of men broke for the ranks of the spiders and their ilk, and a few broke through the lines to flee into the forest. One made it to safety.
It was his desperate call that caught the other travelers' attention, the ones who had come for the great black horses the inn sold. They circled the man as he finished his tale and used their magics to heal his wounds and sate his exhaustion. He provided the location of the clan, and they rode back to do battle with the dark creatures of the Spiderwode.
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