Scottsboro proved to be an unpleasant place to stop on the company’s trip up the Tennessee River. While minding their own business in the market, a local resident accused Ser Marcel, Olis, and Khiron of a crime and they were quickly arrested and their currency “confiscated”. To free them, Mr. Dwight had to pay a additional fine and the whole exchange left a distinctly sour taste in everyone’s mouth. Mr. Dwight felt it was important to leave a message for other travelers to warn them away, so he dropped a few mines in the harbor which elicited a response which he felt was worth it. The party left in haste, exchanging gunfire in our wake, and took pains to spread word of the mistreatment we received in Scottsboro—although Thorne tends to over-embellish the story in the retelling.
Further up-river, the ruins of Chattanooga were a strange and disturbing sight. The ruins are inhabited by many thousand half-dead shells of people wandering the streets, and attacking passers-by. Thorne and Mr. Dwight studied the area and determined that the whole city was the subject of some twisted arcane ritual, luring spirits into eternal torment within. Exploring the area from the river with the aid of Mr. Dwight’s “cricket”, the center of the ritual turned out to be within the lower levels of the National Bank of Chattanooga. Returning back down-river and speaking with some lingering spirits outside the ruin, Thorne determined the city succumbed to it’s current state some time shortly after The Fall.
Unsure of the wisdom of disturbing such a powerful and lasting effect, the party hid the boat with Justice and Olis in charge of the vessel, while the rest set of to Fort Payne, the nearest Protectorate outpost, in the hopes of getting more information. On the road, the travelers encountered a group of Scavengers under attack from a number of huge hippos—creatures we’d been warned of along our travels. Gabriel and Khiron rushed in to pull the weaker members of the group out of harm’s way, while Thorne used hir’s weird ways to set fire spirits upon the forest canopy and then wipe the memory of a Hippo enraged by Mr. Dwight’s rifle. Thankfully, only one of the guards died in the encounter.
Traveling onto Fort Payne, Mr. Dwight determined that while the exact contents of the bank vault remained unknown, removing a “hazard to navigation” was likely worth the risk, and Thorne was already keen to release so many tormented spirits.