When last we spoke, I'd just come back from the Outlands, rattled but still (mostly) whole, with a glowing gold-hued flask to show for my labors. Since then, we've seen this strange energy become part of our lives: our tools, our food, and even our creatures have been infused with its power. And it fetches a pretty penny on the market as well – I know more than a few who've seen their coffers swell with coin from trading it.
Not one to be outdone by the average adventurer, a few of us geared up and headed back into the northern wilds, ready to harvest more of the stuff. We headed through the portal, evaded a few wandering bandits looking to get their hands on our gear, and prepared ourselves for a fight.
We stood huddled behind a rock, our weapons at the ready, and Handsome Jim sticks his ugly mug out to take a look. Quick as a bolt he crouches back down, looking like he's seen a ghost... or worse. Well, Jim, I say, out with it. What is it? He just stares at me wide-eyed, saying nothing, and shrugs. Whatever it is, I think, it's nothing we can't handle. Come on, lads, I say, and step out into the clearing.
Jim may be a big dumb lug, but to his credit, I couldn't rightly describe what I was seeing either.
And then it saw – or rather, sensed – me, and immediately it was on the attack. It fired out some sort of concentrated energy, knocking me tail over top and sending me flying back into a thicket. Dazed, I lifted my head enough to see Jim raise his axe – and the thing charged at him, knocking him back as well. I gathered my wits, picked up my sword, and ran back into the clearing.
I can't say how long the fight went on, but we finally managed to best the thing. It flew apart into a mess of springs and gears, and then, one by one, each of the pieces dissolved into that same white light. Gives me the creeps, I tell you.
After that, we called for backup from our guild. Rather than let these white-clad goons shove us around, we thought we'd go on the offensive. We weren't going to let them roam around unchecked.
As a first step, we decided to claim a few territories for ourselves. With a steady supply of resources, we could get ourselves a foothold, and really start to carve out a piece of the Outlands for ourselves.
We regeared and mounted up, and as our army rode off toward the nearest territory, I felt my confidence returning. We mounted the crest of a hill, and as we looked down upon the yet-unclaimed territory, my heart sank once again.
Now they were in our territories! This was too much! Sure, we adventurers may shed blood over territories, but at least their resources end up back in our hands eventually. This has gone too far!
I lost count of how many of the great, pike-wielding giants I slew that day. As the sun set blood-red over the horizon, the last one fell, and the territory was ours. We live to fight another day, and set about putting our hard-won territory in order.
As my blood cooled from the frenzy of battle, I felt a surge of pride for our victory. But in the back of my mind, troubling thoughts lingered. The boldness of this new force knows no limit, and they keep pushing further and further into lands we once thought were untouchable.
Part of me wonders: what else might they try to claim for themselves?
Stay tuned for more Outlands Reports in the coming weeks.