Tales from Aeternum - Rumors of Reekwater

18 November 2020
“There’s a reason I stay on this side of the island,” Watcher Reese said, his eyes drifting away from me. “...and that reason is Reekwater.”
I’ve been on the island for a few months now, finding work mostly by felling trees and cutting lumber for a few of the settlements. A few days ago, I’d heard some of the other loggers swapping rumors of a forest that held a vast store of Azoth like nowhere else on Aeternum. 
Today I was delivering supplies to the outpost on the Everfall shores. Not many folks are willing to make the trek out there since there’s not much profit in it, but I remember the debt I owe the Watchers—I wouldn't have made it past the spit of surf I washed up on if it wasn’t for them. Taking some supplies out there isn’t much by way of thanks, but it’s something. Reese, one of the veteran Watchers, was on duty, and I figured that if anyone knew about strange parts of the island, it’d be him. So I’d asked if he knew what the loggers were talking about. 

“That reason is Reekwater.” Reese repeated, snapping out of his daze. “You’re doing well here. The only thing you’ll find out there is death.” He squinted the sun out of his eyes and turned his gaze back to the beach. Always keeping an eye out for more survivors. 
“Plenty of folk just like you have thought to head out towards Reekwater,” he said, “looking for a quiet dock away from the rabble of town, a spot to cast a line. They hear of tall trees and lush land that can only be described as ripped from their dreams. But those trees are guarded, and they do not welcome visitors.” 
Reese’s eyes started to flash with an intensity, an anger, that I’d never seen before. With a sharp exhale he continued, “Or maybe you fancy the idea of harnessing the power that the Ancients toyed with. Those ruins aren’t anything like what you’ve seen here in Everfall, and the things guarding them are older and stronger than anything I care to tangle with on this island. The power of that cursed place drew many others before you—even a pirate queen, if you believe the rumors. All Lost, now.” 
Reese clapped a powerful hand on my back. “Trust me: you don’t want to go to Reekwater.”
I walked away and considered his warning. Reese has been on the island a long, long time and has watched a lot of newcomers fail. That’d make anyone cautious. But I’m just as handy with my hatchet and spear as I am with my logging axe, and if the trees of Reekwater are really as incredible as the loggers claimed... Surely a little risk would be worth the reward, right? I think it might be time for me to set out to see if there’s any truth in those rumors.
- Pierre Laurent