The Moor was a dismal place, all things considered. The smell of the swamp was almost overwhelming, and the road leading into the town itself was frequently formed of wooden planks and small bridges over the treacherous swampy terrain. For miles, all anyone could see - depending on the weather that day - was fog, twisted and gnarly trees, and swamp shrubs and muck.
The town itself was a small place. If you didn't know, you wouldn't have thought it an Imperial town. The buildings were relatively primitive, made of wood and reeds and sometimes dried mud - how they got the mud to try in a place like this is beyond your ken. The streets are fairly well maintained, though all dirt instead of any cobblestone.
The inhabitants are just what you'd expect: smelly, superstitious, usually fairly grimy, and always casting glares and glances at anyone who doesn't belong there. Truly, this is the backwater of the backwater. There's a reason people don't really come here. But the people of the Moor are hard-working, and during the day, the town bustles with activity.
When night falls, the Moor becomes a different world. Blackness pervades the village, and no one dares go out into the streets. A fire burns in the center of town at all times, maintained by a careful few who venture outside and never stray from its light. The windows of the homes are lit from within by their own warm, orange illumination, but the town falls silent except for the sounds of the swamp. The choruses of frogs, the singing of crickets, and the assorted other wildlife... Sometimes one even hears stranger sounds, always explained by the folk of the Moor as the monsters that dwell in the darkness of the fen.
The Templars, Inquisitors, and Venatori arrived in the Moor at twilight. The streets were all but deserted, and a large bonfire burned in the center of town. As they approached, a few brave townsfolk came out to stand in the firelight and watch them with all too apparent suspicion. It was jarringly apparent that they didn't get many armored warriors - much less Templars or Inquisitors - passing through the area.
Stevan glanced back at the others. "We should wait until morning to head out," he said. "No need to risk traveling at night without reason... And maybe these people have some idea of what's going on."
"They might, but they probably wouldn't tell us," Sebastian muttered under his breath.
"Indeed," Yaroslava said in agreement, though she didn't lower her voice at all. By her horse's side, Shade huffed.
As everyone dismounted, Sebastian and Ben aided some of the slightly friendlier locals with all the horses, as they led them toward the stables behind the local inn. No doubt those locals were planning to head indoors which the last ray of light disappeared from the horizon.
Meanwhile, Stevan headed into the inn itself to get them some lodging. Given the inn's size, there was no doubt they would be sharing rooms even more this time. The inn was the same as everything else: small and homely, with ceramic dishes and ale that stunk almost as bad as the rest of the swamp... At least, the cheapest kind did. Some of the other kinds smelled surprisingly good, and the food seemed uncharacteristically decent.
As the group dismounted, the townsfolk around them stared and whispered among themselves, though a few remarked aloud to the various Imperial officials...
"Gonna do something about that witch in the swamps?" said one man.
"Aye, she stole another child in the night!" added another in frighteningly genuine agreement.
"They shouldn't be here," snorted an older woman. "Just gonna cause trouble."
But a woman shoved her way through the others, dropping to her knees before the group and begging, "My friend - he's dying! Thank the gods you've come! Like a gift from Olympos, ye are! Please, come, help me!"
"Enough, Sandra," growled one man in the crowd. "He went into the swamp. He shouldn't have gone off alone."
"Don't listen to them!" the woman, Sandra, pleaded. "Please, he's sick! One of you could heal him!"
((I'm sure everyone is ready to embark on the actual adventure, but I thought it might be fun to give you at least a brief opportunity to interact with the area and the people in it first. There are plenty of sidequests around to pick up, and there's always more interaction to be done among your fellow players and companions. Perhaps not all the rumors around here are false - and perhaps there's some reward, or at least renown, waiting for the people who can help the townsfolk with certain troubles. Some may even connect to whatever you're looking for out in that swamp.
Whenever people are ready to go, just let me know by heading into the inn to get some sleep. I'll probably move us along into the actual swamp next weekend, or perhaps a little later, depending on my schedule and how posting goes.))