Borderlands Campaign, Part III: Shapeshifter Ambush
The shape-shifters who attacked you now lay dead amongst the grass and the rubble. Their bodies & clothing turned smooth and gray, like wet clay figurines waiting to be sculpted. They carried 500gp of coins & stolen loot, along with their short swords and 2 potions that Alethea identifies as a potion of poison resistance (lvl 4) and an elixir of reflexes (lvl 8). They also wore the same Naarash talismans you found on other dead cultists, also with the gems exhausted.
After an uneasy night’s rest, you make your way North toward Skullcraig mountain, where the Temple of the Pillars of Night should be located. The rolling hills that distinguished your journey to this point have now become foothills, and the scattered forests become denser and choked with brambles. Darious easily follows the tracks of goblins and humanoids that converge from many directions toward the Black March. True to its name, this road cuts like a black scar back & forth up the steep climb. Thick branches, their leaves yellow and red with the changing season, cast a gloom over the trail broken only briefly by the midday sun.
This desolate trail marks the only easy path into the mountains. Any other way would likely take weeks longer and be most unpleasant. Fortunately, the dense trees and thickets should provide ample hiding places, should you encounter anyone else on the road you don’t want to meet. You’ve stocked up with adequate provisions from the last village to make it through the Black March without need to forage. Crude signs in common and goblin mark the trailhead, proclaiming it the territory of the Hand of Naarash, visitors unwelcome. Symbols of Bane and numerous heads on pikes underscore the message.