The soft yawning of a violin cried into the black sky of Roothsport, echoing across the still winter waters of River Hollothas to sing to the fishermen that sat like silent vigils over their quiet nets. The smell of salt mixed with thick hickory smoke filled the air coming from a small dinner being prepared in the Goose Feather Alehouse and Inn for the townsfolk that clung to the sleeping town. Since the Roothsport ferry had sank last spring, the town fell into shadow. The Empire guard stopped patrols, and the trades folk forgot about the town all together. Roothsport was alone.
On Tamara’s Eve, marking the night before the winter solstice. Tamara’s Day is celebrated by excited townsfolk gathering in their square to greet foreign diplomats who visit and give them gifts of food, merriment, and feast day celebrations. On this night however, whispers of the diplomat to visit Roothsport have gone from excitement to concern. Lord Marcus Obadai, brother prince of the Csar of Isgardt, had been expected to visit Fairsworth, a town a day’s travel west of Roothsport. He never arrived.
Rumors circulated that Lord Marcus had abandoned the trip, that winter storms blocked his travel, the cold was too much, or the land too harsh, for him to continue. In any conversation, the townsfolk of Fairsworth shared the same feeling. Sadness, disappointment, and fear for the coming winter months. Fairsworth depended on the gifts that Tamara’s Day brought, the town’s farms were too small and too sparse to support everyone, and the roads were forgotten by travelling trade for the town to see any influx of gold.
A group of adventurers set out to find the waylaid lord, and found frozen death along the road. Upon the first day of the search out of Fairsworth, the party found a guard of Isgardt filled with arrows and frozen in a ditch beside the road. Several dead horses told the story of a violent ambush that led into the woodlands north. The party came upon two scouts whom they quickly dispatched, but not before one of them blasted their warning horn into the silent snowy woods.
“They are coming.”
“All of them.”
“How long do we have.”
“A few moments to run, if you’re lucky…”