A conical-shaped rise with a slightly flattened top, the hill named as Barrow's Range is an oddity of nature in that it ascends from what is otherwise level grassland, and stands alone four hundred feet above those lands with nothing for miles around that can remotely compare.

However, although the hill itself is a natural construct, the fortifications that are present upon the flattened apex of the rise are not. It was once host to a great watchtower and a number of supporting buildings, and although the watchtower and the bulwark have been rebuilt, the fortifications were burned and destroyed many ages ago and have long since crumbled to dust.

The watchtower, rebuilt in 628 by the Fastheldian calendar and named Moonsong Tower, provides shelter from the elements, while the ring of smooth obsidian stones that once formed the perimeter wall - though badly worn from the elements - has seen careful repair and reconstruction, defending the hilltop once again. Amidst the vast debris and rubble that litters the area, one might also come across a number of interesting items, and a meticulously repaired tunnel provides safe exit to the lands below.

The most distinctive of all these ruins is a pool of clear water, evidently tapped from a natural source, that rests in the middle of what appears to have been a religious shrine of some kind. The surrounding marble facade still mostly intact, along with a statue of an ancient and grim-looking monarch.

From this vantage point much of the surrounding landscape is revealed: A desolate stretch of ashen desert to the southwest, the rolling grasslands and foothills of the north, the marshy mires of the west and the meadows and fields that rest to the south. Far to the east, a distant shadow can be seen on the horizon.

To the north, from the top of the hill, something can be seen moving across the grasslands.

Sandrim slips out of the tower, looking out to the north with a frown. He'd been watching the landscape from up above, before, and there was a bit of a hint. "What is that?" he murmurs to himself.

Slowly, slowly, the shimmer grows on the horizon. A group of travelers, it seems. A tribe, perhaps, on the march.

Bloodstone is sitting on large broken stone, going through the process of checking over his bow for any potenial flaws. He doesn't seem to been paying attention to much, but his line of concentration is broken at Sandrim's declaration. "Hmm?" the hooded one notes.

Sandrim frowns, standing up on a bit of fallen masonry to try and get a better view. "There are people out there," he says. "A number of them."

Rising languidly up to his feet, Bloodstone steps over near Sandrim, looking in his direction outward into the expance. "Could be nomads. They have been on the move recently. Usually more during the dry season. I have passed a few of them myself, though I cannot tell from this distance."

Sandrim nods. "Right," he says. "Wait here a moment while I get the Last Resort, and I can try to work it out again." He smiles a small bit. "Don't think there's any reason to believe they'll cause trouble, but... I'd like to be safe."

Being one is almost never out of his armor, a suit of black ringmail in particular, Bloodstone nods. "They tend to stay to themselves for the most part. As long as you do not interrupt their hunting parties, however some are known to be prone to sacking and raiding." he states mildly.

Sandrim disappears upstairs for a few minutes, and when he returns is dressed in his armor, though it's a bit awkwardly set over his broken left arm. "Could be friends," he says, before opening himself up.

"Since we are guessing, it could be anything from this distance." Bloodstone notes, going down to one knee and sniffing at the air, perhaps on the off-chance that he may catch a whiff of the passing party on the winds.

"Too far away to tell," Sandrim murmurs. "I think they're headed this way, though. How long do you think it will take them to get here?"

"We must be downwind." Bloodstone says, getting back into a standing postion and shaking his head. "From here? I would say there are about half a day's ride away, maybe less depending how fast they are moving."

Sandrim just looks horribly curious now. "Want to ride out there?" he asks. "Maybe see what we can learn. If they're friendly, it wouldn't be a bad idea to see if we could ally ourselves."

That shadowed gaze from the wolf rider's hood drills into Sandrim. "You play a dangerous game. I have seen both sides of what nomads can be like. If we wish to alley them with us, we cannot show signs of weakness." Bloodstone warns. "However...they are renown for their resourfulness, even on Wildlander standards." He takes a moment to think, before nodding. "Very well, I will round up Crimson and two others of the Pack, as taking them all may be seen as a threat."

Indeed, the group is far away, visible only due to the great height the pair stands upon. But there's something...a bit odd...about the way the group moves.

Sandrim grins a bit. "I'll keep my broken arm hidden," he says, before looking out to the group with a frown. "In any case, I just want to get close. Not right on them, but close enough that I can observe." He stands up, and starts walking for the exit tunnel. "Stick with me, and, ahh, if I say we need to run, we really need to run."

Bloodstone nods. Its at that point that he lifts his head up to let out a wolfish howl, even if by human standards. Moments later, three timber wolves bound out of the nearby shelter; his brother Crimson, Ashpelt, and Blackeye. He gives them all some quick affection, growling out some various commands before pulling himself into Crimson's saddle.

The rocky ascending path ends here, some two hundred feet below the apex of Barrow's Height. At the trail's end is a sheltered hollow with a bowl-shaped dell at the bottom, resting within the western face of the hill. This small sanctuary is in rather better shape overall than most of the climb that preceded it, and sports shelter for man, wolf and horse that is free for the asking. Old wooden supports prevent the roof of the shelter from collapsing. A refuge from the elements deep within the core of the hill, Barrow's Dell remains an safe haven for those looking for a night of safe sleep, or for those wishing to heal wounds after an unfortunate encounter.

A panoramic view can be had here of the western horizon, from a vantage point of eight hundred feet above the ground - granting those with the stamina to climb so far a peerless view of the Snake Mire to the northwest, and the Ashlands to the southwest.

A ring of stones in the middle of the dell presents a well-used shelter for camp fires, while a branch of a natural spring trickles down into this area from higher above, providing a rocky pool of clean water. The occasional carrot or potato also seem to grow here, apparently having been planted by other travellers over the years. A tended wolf shelter has been built by wolf-riding Wildlanders into the very hillside, and a weather-battered stable is tucked into a windless corner of the shelter's structure. The trail back down the hillside begins at the northeastern corner of the dell, but there seems to be no path left to ascend higher. The outer wall has been rebuilt, ringing the apex round once again, and beyond it one can once again see a tower rising.

Sandrim whistles as he passes by the stables, and out trots Purga. He slips onto the horse's back, petting her neck. "Alright, girl. Let's go see what's going on."

Atop Crimson, The two other timber wolves flank at Bloodstone's side, already looking like they're falling into the position of scouts, and not to mention anxious to get out for some exercise. Once the man is upon Crimson, the two appear to almost become one, each mimicing the other's movements and glances. Another bark and Ashpelt and Blackeye set out first down the northern face. "Lets be off then."

Sandrim nods, and follows.

The region surrounding the base and adjacent areas of foothills around aa high-mounting hill known as "Barrow's Height", Barrow's Stairway is named for the formation of rocks that spiral around three quarters of the natural elevation, following the incline of the hillside to create a "staircase" of rock that one can use to climb the hill itself.

The hill rises around one thousand feet above the level lands around, and was the site of a watchtower in the days before the Cataclysm. The watchtower and fortifications were burned and destroyed long ago, but at the top can still be seen the outer stone wall, and a tower rising above it.

Dry brush and scratchy shrubs cling to the hillside where the once smooth rise has been sheered away by time to create smooth, vertical spaces of bare rock and soil. One can make out a vast lake, far to the southeast, from this vantage point. Grasslands sweep over much of the land to the north, while a vast mountain range rises from the land far upon the northern horizon.

Atop Crimson, Guiding his scouts by a series of howling commands, the two wolf scouts veer off to the north at an easy pace, while keeping pace with Bloodstone, wary to get too far ahead.

Sandrim goes quiet as he rides off to the north, in the direction the group of travellers was in, pulling his hood up to hide his face.

At this low height, the distant travellers cannot be seen at all.

A region of rolling grassland, characterized by vast areas of short grass plains, rising and falling in gentle slopes amidst some dramatic topography. The landscape is comparable to most other expanses of open land within the greater Wildlands territory, and are distinctive due to their wholesome perennial bunchgrasses that remain green all year long, regardless of the season.

A unique part of grasslands are the vernal pools; shallow basins that hold water like shallow lakes for much of the year before going completely dry in summer. They occur within every region of grassland and support some rare flora indeed while helping to support the greater ecology of the lush grasslands themselves.

Flowers bloom and blossom across much of the landscape, bursting with color and teeming with life as they stretch across the green canopy of grasses and herbs. The terrain rises and falls with greater regularity than normal, while formations of rocks and clusters of stone mark areas that may have once been bluffs, but have long since been reclaimed by the land.

Atop Crimson, Bounding across the grasslands at an easy pace, the hooded wolf rider seems to look at home. Everything simply comes more naturally when out in the open. Crimson and the two scouts certainly seem happy to be outside as well. Bloodstone scans the horizon before him, attempting to spot any signs of travelers from before. Considering the height he saw them from earlier, it might not be for a while.

Sandrim frowns as they continue along. "Easier to manage this from up on the hill," he murmurs. "Have your wolves spotted anything?"

Atop Crimson, "No, not as of yet. They have not given any signs that they have seen anything. When they do, they will alert us." Bloodstone replies. "Their senses are quite sharp, but that group was some ways off."

Sandrim nods, continuing to ride north. "I'll remember that," he murmurs. "I wonder... did anything seem odd about them to you?"

Atop Crimson, The constant moving of riding a moving timber wolf might hide the nod that Bloodstone gives. "Yes. There was something different about them, but again, from that distance I could not tell what. We will know once we get closer."

Atop Crimson, Its then that Blackeye gives out a yelp, and begins to veer to the west. Bloodstone returns with a bark of his own, then glances toward Sandrim. "He is on the scent of a moving group. Might be what we are looking for." he states, giving another yelp that directs Ashpelt in the same direction, and beginning to move Crimson toward the west as well.

Indeed, they have. And they're...quite predatory, and wary, about the scent they've picked up.

Sandrim blinks as he turns off after Bloodstone. "How far?"

Atop Crimson, "Hard to say, they being just on the fringes of their sight and smell." Bloodstone returns. But theres slight frown on his visible features. "Odd...I commanded them to only scout, but their acting as if they are hunting. I will bring them in closer in a bit. I do not wish them running off."

"They're wolves," Sandrim points out, before starting to concentrate.

Atop Crimson, "There is something odd about this, and they know it. I am going to watch them closely because they may see or smell something before we do." Bloodstone replies, giving out another command, which reins the two scouts in a little and closing the gap between them and the two riders.

Sandrim goes wide-eyed. "Rein them in!" he say suddenly, reining his own horse to a stop. "Don't let them run too close!"

Atop Crimson, It must've been a good thing that Bloodstone was a wary and decided to start to pull his wolves in before Sandrim declaration. Another sharp, abrassive bark goes out, and Ashpelt and Blackeye immedelitly come to a halt and pad their way back to their Alpha, who also pulls Crimson to a quick stop next to Sandrim. "What? What has the Shadow told you?"

"Your wolves are scared," Sandrim says, gesturing to the beasts. "Whatever that is, it's bigger and badder than they are. A rival predator."

Atop Crimson, "Size was hard to tell from the Barrow's. But there are few things bigger than a timber wolf on the Wildlands. That I have seen at least that could be considered a predator." Bloodstone replies. "Do you think...Wildlings?"

Atop Crimson, "Size was hard to tell from the Barrow's. But there are few things bigger than a timber wolf on the Wildlands. That I have seen at least that could be considered a predator." Bloodstone replies. "Do you think...Wildlings?"

Atop Crimson, The man's face darkens visibly. "What? I had not heard of this. People coming back to life? This is first I have heard of such things."

Sandrim shakes his head. "It was a while ago, when we were looking for the raiders," he says. "A band of wildlings, all dead. And later, they just disappeared. Got up and walked away." He looks off to the northwest, and distant Northmarch. "Then three raiders killed. I wasn't there, but they were all came back to life. An arrow in the eye didn't stop them, and they had to be burned."

Atop Crimson, "Sounds like some perversion of the Shadow." Bloodstone notes. "Well, we have a choice; get closer to see what they are up to or return to the Barrows." he says, though he starts to sound more than a bit wary at this point. "Did they not seem like they were headed this way?"

Sandrim nods slowly. "Yeah," he says. "That's what worries me. Where are they heading?" He looks aside to Bloodstone. "We can watch where they're going from the Summit," he says. "We don't know what they /are/ yet, though."

Atop Crimson, "We should return then. Fast as possible. Wildlings have acute senses, they may already smell us as we speak. Though I cannot say how they act if undead." Bloodstone says, turning Crimson around to face the Barrows, and giving another barking command to the other two. "We should alert Taran as well. He will want to know about this."

"He'll be just as clueless as us," Sandrim counters, frowning as he follows after Bloodstone. "But it will be safe from the Summit. We'll keep a watch, from there."

Atop Crimson, "He should still be made aware of the potenial situation." Bloodstone replies. "It is times like these that I wish we had our contingent of the Blood Guard."

"The hill is safe," Sandrim reassures. "It's protected, so long as we don't break the peace there."

Atop Crimson, "I have no intention of breaking the peace, Sandrim." Bloodstone notes. "I intend to keep it guarded if it comes to that."

Sandrim frowns. "It's not us I worry about in any case," he says. "There are others."

Atop Crimson, "Yes, well. We alert the rest only if we know a threat will be evident." Bloodstone replies.

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