The first night of the campaign began on the evening of the Harvest Festival, where all of the folk of Land’s End have spent the entirety of their day reaping what they had sown in the beginning of the summer months. On top of the communal farming plots, every family has a personal garden, and all of the harvest must be taken in and packed away for the coming winter. Farmer or not, everyone pitches in for the labors of ensuring that the colony will hold up through the brutal northern climate during the legendary duress of the deep freeze.
The festival begins, and as folk finish with their work, they filter out and into the central section of the colony, which has been organized for the event. The children play games of Knock Knock, Apple Catch, Choo Chicken and whatever else their vivid imaginations can muster. The adults consume the latest batches of brew to be rolled out, winter ales and frosted wines. All of the colonists, no matter their age, clamor for the sweet meats and candied treats that are reserved solely for this time of the year.
As night falls, the massive ring of stones in the center of the festivities are filled high with the prepared lumber, and a great fire it set to blaze, shedding light for the happenings. The entirety of Land’s End gathers at the small stage that is set before the bonfire, where several people are chosen to offer stories for the entertainment of the many. The stories and their tellers are listed below:
Benjamin MacDougal – Big Ben’s tale is that of the whispering mists, the eternally lost that have been swallowed by the rolling mists that sweep over Land’s End every morning as it flows from off of Lake Mistamere to the south. People who enter the mists are said to hear the pleas of those who came before them, ever wanting nothing but rescue and never doing anything more than disorienting those who they beseech, adding yet more to the flock.
Collem Kell – Collem’s story is a fabrication about the people who originally came and settled the area before Land’s End was established. Those who turned their back on the holy trinity in favor of the power that their corruption brought them. These people cast aside their humanities, and for it they were cursed to live as monstrosities.
Ranulth – Ranulth brings to the stage a story of a man that has been blessed with the gift of the Author’s silvered tongue, and how he eventually fell to abusing it and using his glibness to con and swindle for personal gain. The moral is found when his gift is taken from him, a jilted lover and a sharpened blade leaving the man forever mute from that point forth.
Nathan Bog – Bog’s story is an old miner’s tale, a yarn about the evil spirits that sometimes latch onto those who dig too deep, finding succor from their earthly tombs and riding up with them. These people are slowly driven mad, sometimes spreading major grief among their friends and family before coming to a violent end. Before he can finish however, Ranulth interrupts him and essentially shames him off of the stage. This doesn’t cause as much of an uproar as it normally might, as Bog isn’t much liked by most and is sketchy at best to others.
Adrian Vohrhel – The story told by Adrian is that of a huntsman that lived in the woods that surround Land’s End, and of how he stumbles upon a beautiful young girl caught in one of his traps. He brings her home and nurses her. As he does so, she becomes lustful for him, seducing him into wicked acts. Upon awakening, the huntsman finds her missing, and nothing more than a trail of rose petals that lead into town. He follows, and is startled to find the place emptied of people. In vain he searches, endlessly. To this day, on dark quiet nights, one can see him sometimes wandering amongst the buildings, always seeking his lost charge.
At the end of the Harvest Tale-Tell, adequate time is given for the gathered to send their thoughts and requests to The Author, The Editor and the Archivist. Thanks are given for a strong harvest season, and more are given for keeping them safe from the harshness of the world. Four colonists are dispatched to the four smaller fires at the north, south, east and west of Land’s End, each sent with a small, ceremonial cornucopia to burn in offering. Collem is sent to the north fire, near the church. To his shock, he finds another person there already, a small girl in the tattered remnants of clothing, her left eye having gone the color of milk. She’s bloodied and a mess, bare of feet and thickened with dirt and small scratches. A strange, dark-colored design graces her skin in places where it can be seen. When he tries to speak to her, she’s unresponsive. After seconds of putting his mind right, he wraps the child in his cloak and scoops her up into his arms, carrying her back to the festival with great haste.
Adrian or his brother Nathanial (the only surgeon in Land’s End) are the people that Collem goes looking for. He finds Adrian first, who urges him to take the girl to the tavern while he seeks out his brother. On his way to find Nathanial, he bumps into Ranulth and asks him to keep people out of the tavern, as there has been a bit of an emergency. Naturally, the nosey barkeep hurries off to his tavern in order to see what has happened. The brothers Vohrhel soon return, and immediately set about tending to the girl while barking orders to Collem and Ranulth, calling for heated water and clean cloth. They go to work in cleaning her up, examining her wounds, checking to find her purity intact and finding her something in the way of suitable clothing. The whole time, the girl remains unresponsive to anything at all, simply staring ahead with a blank look on her face.
As the filth is wiped from the girl’s body, it becomes more readily apparent that every limb along with her entire torso has been tattooed with a series of interwoven, tribalistic patterns that are done in a pitch-colored ink. Some discussion about the girl and her condition brings about no real useful result, but those gathered come to the conclusion that she isn’t a familiar face at all. There is some idle discussion that perhaps she survived a journey from the splinter-colony that lies near a hundred miles to the west.
Before the midnight bells are tolled, the festival outside begins to die down and people start to filter back to their homes, where they prepare for the rest that they’ll need in order to cope with the strenuous labor of the next day. Adrian and his brother take the girl to Adrian’s home, where the both of them take turns in checking on her through the rest of the night. Fires are stoked, doors are bolted, and a tangible silence settles over the sleepy colony of Land’s End.