“After all,” said Valannus, as if speaking his thoughts aloud, "what do we know—what does anyone know—of the things that jungle may hide? We have dim rumors of great swamps and rivers, and a forest that stretches on and on over everlasting plains and hills to end at last on the shores of the western ocean. But what things lie between this river and that ocean we dare not even guess. No white man has ever plunged deep into that fastness and returned alive to tell us what be found. We are wise in our civilized knowledge, but our knowledge extends just so far—to the western bank of that ancient river! Who knows what shapes earthly and unearthly may lurk beyond the dim circle of light our knowledge has cast?
Robert E Howard – Beyond the Black River
There is trouble on the frontier. The Picts have been stirred up, and there are rumours a shaman has risen among them who seeks to reclaim their lost lands. The Aquilonian settlements are in chaos – shipments of goods and coin have been hijacked and soldiers are close to desertion. In desperation, a group of mercenaries have been hired to help escort the latest shipment to the fort. For if this shipment doesn’t arrive, the settlers may be doomed.
Murtagh, Amaris and Josefina tracked the stolen pay shipment deep into the Pict wilderness. Warily casting their eyes over the unfamiliar terrain with the heighten awareness of true warriors. Suddenly they heard a cry and Picts erupted from the trees. The savages were covered in blue paint and swung cheap steel but neither this nor their blood curdling screams of rage swayed our heroes. The Picts fled back into the swamp, leaving behind the last of the guards who should have been escorting the shipment. This brave lad gasped his last directing our heroes toward the Picts encampment. The surged onwards! But not before stopping to sew their armour back together.
Signs of the Picts could be seen along the trail. Markers and carvings in trees. Our heroes spotted a bridge ahead, held by Picts. They attacked! The savages swarmed them. Pushing our heroes to nearly breaking point. Murtagh fell and Josefina was trapped! Everything seemed lost but they managed at the last to defeat the Picts at the bridge and after some bracing wine they trailed the survivors to the Picts encampment.
Strange smoke frothed and bubbled from a bowl in front of the Pict Shaman who chanted to their strange God. The linguists among our heroes could recognise the words “Summon” and “Great One” and new this must be stopped. Also hey look there’s the pay shipment box spread all over the ground! Our heroes threw themselves into the battle with fervor but were too late to stop the Shaman from summoning a Giant Snake Demon! Angry at being summoned it lashed out at everyone in the clearing, sending the Pict warlord fleeing from it in terror and leaving our heroes victorious in the end.
This adventure was suitable for mercenary types, borderers, and soldiers of all nations.
Beyond the Black River, The Black Stranger