Friday, May 29, 2009


The Travelers Stop Inn stands just off the main trade route on the fringe of the Arthfell Forest. While it does not lie within any particular community, it often becomes a small settlement in its own right when large caravans stop by and attract locals from the surrounding area to view the available wares. As such an important trade site, it falls within the jurisdiction of the nearby Shire of Elberwick and is policed by that district’s sheriff to ensure the peace is maintained and taxes are collected. Despite the Travelers Stop Inn’s long tenure in the area, locals tell of an even older inn deeper in the Arthfell Forest that once served a now-abandoned trade route from the north. Nothing has been heard of that inn or its occupants for several years.

The Forest King Narven ruled over the Arthfell more than two centuries ago. Devoted to a druidic faith, this arboreal kingdom left few traces upon the land when it collapsed in a bloody coup led by the peoples of the southern moors, who sought to embrace the civilization of the surrounding lands. The only survivor of the forest king’s family fled to the depths of the primeval forest after Narven was slain on the field of battle. Generations later, the last descendant of the forest king’s line, a druid named Willowroot, sought out the ancient battlefield where his ancestor fell. He hoped to recover five unique items that once belonged to Narven—the regalia carried into battle by the last forest king, crafted by his druid advisors and supposedly imbued with the elements of nature. These legendary elemental regalia of the king were known collectively as the Panoply of Narven. The panoply consisted of the breastplate of the sacred fire, the wand of earth’s ire, the codex of the firmament, the vial of pure water, and the spirit-staff of Narven. Five years ago, Willowroot succeeded in his quest and unearthed the panoply and chose to re-consecrate it back to the elements from which the items were formed, marking their locations on the monument he raised in remembrance of his ancestor.

After placing the other four items in appropriate shrines, Willowroot carried the spirit-staff to a small inn standing at the center of the Arthfell. The inn, called Spirit of the Wood, was originally founded by a half-satyr as a way to control the encroachment of civilization into the domain of the fey in the wake of the forest kingdom’s collapse, while maintaining friendly relations with the races who sought to pass through the wood. Unfortunately, when Willowroot arrived at the inn he found a band of goblin brigands attacking it. Willowroot called forth the powers of nature to defeat the attackers, summoning a wooden protector, but even its mighty power was insufficient to the task, and the goblins slaughtered the druid and his fey allies. Their sacrifice was not entirely in vain, however, and they managed to destroy all of the goblin raiders save one. This last goblin fled from the inn, terrified of the power of nature unleashed. For years he maintained a low profile and honed his latent magical ability. Along the way, he joined up with a group of mercenaries that he slowly manipulated into trusting him. Now, he is finally ready to return to the lost inn and reclaim the loot he was forced to leave behind.

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