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Deepwood Holt

The Frostmarch is the ancestral home of the Woodwen, a culture rooted in ancient primal magic. The Woodwen fiercely resisted the Avar Imperium's expansion, but in the last century the Woodwen king allowed a group of Avar settlers to establish a peaceful lumber community, Deepwood Holt. This resulted in a decade of uneasy coexistence, balanced carefully by the Reeve (or headman) of the Holt. When the Gloomfall struck, the Holt was cut off from the Empire. A brutal new threat appeared: the Reavers, ruthless warriors who slew any Avar who ventured too far outside the Holt. For the last year, the colonists huddled in the heart of the Holt, struggling to survive. Now that a Wayfinder has connected the Balefire of Deepwood Holt and the Beacon of Skylight, the majority of the survivors have evacuated to Skylight. The Seekers have posted a Warden and a small team to explore the region, protect the handful of colonists that remain, and salvage what they can. As for the Woodwen, they haven't been seen since the Gloomfall, and may have been destroyed by the Reavers.
Details
Repeatable: false
Rewards:

Objectives

Phase 1

First Snow Sanctuary

This standing stone dates back at least as far as the Stonegren tribe, an ancient people who resisted the expansion of the Avar Imperium into the Frostmarch. They were said to be skilled in geomancy, building their monuments on junctures where ley lines of power intersected throughout the land. During the Gloomfall, it is said the Reavers hesitated to go near this stone, to the eternal gratitude of the refugees fleeing to the central Holt.

First Snow Sanctuary

The Hecatomb

Most caves are cold, but this one is warm, far beyond what one would expect from the few guttering candles you see. Moisture hangs in the air like the fetid breath of an animal. Human bones litter the ground, but they bear no teeth marks -- straight, clean cuts on the bones indicate that the bodies were slaughtered and jointed by someone skilled at hunting. For a moment, you think this was cannibalism during the long siege of the Gloomfall, but no -- the most recent set of remains still has recent stains by it. Either the Reavers managed to get inside Deepwood Holt, or someone on the inside is killing people and butchering the bodies.

The Hecatomb

Bitterwind Hollow

Despite the glow of candles and cooking fires, this hut seems no friendlier than the icy wasteland outside. The witch Greymourn is supposedly human behind the bony mask she wears, but few have ever seen her true face. The hut smells of scents you cannot name, weird musks of animals you have never seen and spices you have never tasted. It makes you wonder what she hoarded during the long siege, and what else she knows that she will never tell.

Bitterwind Hollow

The Sunken Road

A layer of recent snow covers the ground near this Breach, but it is easy to smell the dust beneath. It is the smell of coal, oil, and the coke used in foundries. This rift leads to the ancient mine of Bal Duum, a cursed place shunned by the Woodwen long before the Empire came to these lands. The Woodwen say Bal Duum is where secrets go to die; there's no telling what is hidden in its depths.

The Sunken Road

Boreal Ridge

The ridge here is blasted by a cold wind that cuts like a serrated sword. The only reason to be up in this forsaken spot is that it grants a clear view of the surrounding Holt. During the Gloomfall, the Reeve posted archers and sharpshooters here to bring down flying Gloom creatures, as well as fire-watchers. These volunteers scrambled bucket brigades of citizens whenever the Reavers fired flaming arrows into the town. In more peaceful times, lookouts are still often posted here. Chunks of burned pipe-grass dropped on the ground suggest that the Seekers smoke to stay warm on duty.

Boreal Ridge

The Forest's Eye

This Breach glows with an inner light that makes the hair stand up on the back of your neck. It feels as if something beyond the gate is watching, waiting for you to breach it, and only then will it pounce. You examine the terrain and see pine needles ground into the snow, perhaps indicating that those who pass through have come from a forested place. But that is no comfort -- the natural world here seems less like a place of safety and more like a lure, reassuring victims just long enough for the predators to surround them.

The Forest's Eye

The Gravegulch

The rock walls shelter the hollow from the wind, which makes it even stranger that an uncharacteristic shiver runs through you. Something is wrong here. The carved figures stare at you, as if expecting some kind of performance. A thought occurs... what is more important in winter than shelter and fire?

The Gravegulch

The Main Walk

If it weren't for the icy winter turning the ground as hard as a rock, the center of Deepwood Holt would be filled with footprints and wagon tracks. This is where the refugees gathered before retreating to Skylight, and now it is an empty shell of what it used to be. It is hard to imagine all the people who used to live here, all the farmers' markets and merchants' stalls and brewers' tents that may never come here again. Deepwood Holt is now a ghost town, with only Seekers and the minimal support staff for company.

The Main Walk