Ahrea Sidestory: Soul Of The Burning Mountain

Session 1: In Search of Peaceful Days

The year is AC1262. It’s been four days since the final events of Campaign 3. Aras successfully rescued Fiva from Sepna Austir, and escaped from the destruction of the dragon’s lair with the rest of his allies. Ryhar and Yunea decided to leave for much safer travels, though they wished Aras, Fiva, and Selea well.

Aras, Fiva, and Selea find themselves traveling the Highroad southbound from the Divide of the Lands, having literally no where they need to go after the experiences they had in the last few months . They decide to go back to the city of Durden upon Selea’s suggestion – one of the largest cities in the region and of all of South Ahrea. As Selea travels upon Brie, she comments that the other two will find much more opportunities there then they ever would have in their homeland up north.

As night falls, a large thunderstorm brews over the open grasslands they are traveling over, and becomes so bad that they are forced to take cover under their tent for the rest of the night – Selea abandoning her plate/chainmail armor outside in order to avoid being electrocuted in it. Fiva attempts to dance in the rain as she’s so amazed by the sights, but is quickly forced back into the tent by Selea and Aras due to them worrying for her safety. Fiva comments that it isn’t as serious as they’re making it out to be – until a lightning bolt strikes down upon Selea’s armor outside the tent as they all watch on. Unfortunately, the lighting strike spooks Brie, and the horse manages to break free of it’s post and runs off with a majority of their food and other gear – much to Aras’s dismay as he watches his horse run off again.

The next morning, the trio are reduced to walking to their destination – much to Selea’s annoyance, as she’s used to either being given her own horse to ride or a cart/carriage to ride around in. Fiva enjoys the fresh and damp grasslands after the storm, skipping around ahead of them in her bare feet – though Aras and Selea are both rather upset as they’ve lost the majority of their equipment after Brie ran off on them.

Another week passes before the trio finishes their return trip back to Durden, being slowed down by the lack of the horse and Selea tiring out often from traveling in her full armor. Fiva keeps relatively optimistic during the entire trip (very much enjoying the South Ahrea grasslands), though Aras and Selea are relieved to finally reach a civilized city again, as they have ran out of food and are low on money as well. Upon reaching Durden, Selea parts ways with Aras and Fiva, intending to return to her duties with the Order of Ayer.

Aras immediately sets about trying to find work after leaving Fiva to bond with the local group of wood elven drifters – though Aras comes to find that there’s an inherent bias against Northerners, and that he’s just one out of hundreds also attempting to gain employment in the area for civilian labor. His skills in logging and smithing don’t count for much either – there’s not much of a market for loggers in Durden itself (with camps outside in the nearby Gradnel Wood handling that), and no one needing assistance with blacksmithing.

Selea also finds herself without options – her banishment from the Order of Ayer is upheld, and the word of how she was dismissed in disgrace from the Order by her own father has spread. As she tries to find civilian work herself, she finds that she’s not regarded well by the majority of peasants in the area due to her privileged background.

Fiva neither cares or is worried about any of this – she knows that the wilderness will provide for her, though she struggles to understand why Aras is so concerned about their future. She does find Aras looking over a weaponry shop’s wares (him being desperate after his job search and thinking of returning to what he knows best – mercenary fighting), however, and immediately drags him away from it – being highly upset at him for even considering going back to a fighting lifestyle, after having promised to her that he was done after the Sepna Austir fight. Aras attempts to apologize, but finds himself not sure of what to do in order to make money in order to survive.

Unable to afford an inn, the three are forced to camp outside the city after being encountered by local guards. Fiva doesn’t mind as she’s rather content to be out in the wild, but Selea is rather depressed with the state of her current life, and Aras is in dismay that he can’t afford to provide for Fiva in the way he wanted to be able to.

In the morning, Fiva prepares another of her little infamous wood elven dishes (a delicious soup of leaves put into a stew of water), Aras and Selea both inform her that they cannot eat leaves yet again – though Aras forces himself to eat them in order to avoid upsetting her.

Selea has a conversation with Aras in regards to the situation, venting on her fall from relative prestige to dire economic straights. She informs Aras that more than anything she wants to see her childhood friend Alahar again, to which Aras says he sounds rather nice from her description of him. Selea then comments on how nice it is of Aras to be so concerned for his wood elven friend, to which he’s slightly embarrassed and states that he’ll always look out for Fiva. Aras ends up becoming rather depressed upon the end of the conversation, and it rather moves him more towards considering becoming a sellsword again.

Unable to continue to survive in such a manner (as starvation is a very motivating factor) and his desire to see the wood elf live in some manner of actual comfort (along with the fact Selea is his hireling and he needs to pay her at some point), Aras leaves very early in the morning, and finds himself a farming company requesting mercenary escorts to maintain the wheat shipments from a local farm. Figuring it is rather safe in comparison to his former life, Aras signs up immediately and is given the order to report to the farm for his first assignment.

Upon returning to their camp, Fiva becomes distressed and slaps Aras for having broken his word to not fight anymore – though he attempts to reason with her that it’s the only way he can make a living. Selea figures that it’s relatively safe work herself (having been a farm girl in the past), and eagerly agrees to assist him – looking forward to arriving to the farm and receiving a decent meal. Fiva reluctantly comes along, greatly concerned that Aras is doing something he does not need to do on her behalf (then again…starvation also kind of motivates him, so she wasn’t the only reason he signed up).

The party begins their travel to the farm, seeing a trail of smoke in the distance as they approach. They come closer as they figure it’s a bonfire – find themselves staring at the burning remains of the farm, while draconians are rounding up and preparing to execute civilians. Fiva realizes that this is a repeating pattern when she sees that Aras is already preparing to fight on their behalf.

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