Rolling up the long sleeves of her overcoat, Filaar tells you, “The Forest of Hope can mark you in ways the Jarl cannot.” Her arms lack the brand indicating her servitude to The Pit. “I was born here, though farther west and inland than this forest. I met Jarvick traveling the Swampcut.” She points to the slow river passing Zelkor’s Ferry.
“We had never gone farther east than the Ferry. Not much to see there, and the Coast Road serves as trade route overland. No need for a river boat’s supplies. Jarvick kept hearing tales of great wealth coming out of the coastal ruins, though. He always wanted to see what the fuss was about.”
Filaar pulls down the right shoulder of her fur and shows a row of teeth marks, long scarred over. “They had taken up in a deserted manor along the Coast Road, using it as a base to raid the caravans. We thought them just thieves, and not having anything to steal, figured they would leave us be. But they had other plans for us. Of the eight in our group, they killed six and roasted them for supper. Jarvick and I did some fast talking and ended up taking their kiss. Their rat-curse was in us then, and we learned to live with it.”
Filaar’s story continues to describe the years since then. The rat lycans came and went, until there was only her and Jarvick of the original mischief. Tunnels were dug into The Pit that they could navigate quickly, avoiding the worst of the threats. The “crop”, as she calls sentenced criminals sent to descend into Hel Hold, created a steady supply of those in need. It was not long before her mischief became an outpost trade between Zelkor’s Ferry and the upper levels of Rappan Athuk’s Deep Hold.
“We can reach locations in the first five or six levels. The old dwarven Deep Hold is carved out of the softer soil of the swamp. Below that, we cannot burrow. Below that, we would not wish to burrow. Hel Hold is deep, and there are rewards for doing the Jarl’s work clearing out the evil, but it leaves its scars upon your life.”