Lochfort: Darkest Days (SC'20)

Written by Steve Tremblay

Lochfort was founded almost 70 years ago as a roadside stop for those leaving Whitehedge going west for mining and other job opportunities. It was settled at the southern point of the The Silver Glade with the thought that the forest would provide all of the building materials and hunting the community would need for centuries to come.  
Lochfort by Lacey James
  The town was relatively quiet and slowly becoming prosperous enough to stand on its own as a town and not just a place that people would only pass through. Businesses were setting up, caravans traveled through and residents were starting farms.   Fast forward about 50 years to 1250 AEC (16 years ago). Lochfort has been established as one of the standard stops on the southern route along with Fairbay and Whitehedge. The town was safe, somehow without even having walls. It had a mayor still with some respect from the people and a small but happy population attempting to live their dreams.   Then the disappearances started. At first, it was a hunter who never came home at night. Then it was someone working their field near dark. There was no evidence of what happened save a small trail of blood leading toward the forest. The locals panicked but became much more careful. They started hunting with a partner or two, don't be out late near dark. Something is hunting, don't make it easy for them and maybe they will move somewhere else.   Fast forward 11 years to 1261 AEC (5 years ago). Everyone still living in Lochfort is quietly screaming on the inside and the Mayor finally reaches out to Fairbay to organize a healthy inter-city hunting competition called The Great Hunt.   The Great Hunt:
The background of the hunt was only known to a few Lochfort locals. it had been discovered that the cause of the deaths over the last 10 years or so had been from Werewolves attacks becoming more and more bold. It was rare that someone survived an attack but if someone did, they most likely gained the affliction as well. Some never regained their humanity and just remained in wolf form forever. The hunt was organized as a competition but became complicated as many hunters were injured in the attempt creating new werewolves for the pack or sending folks home to Fairbay with a curse they didn't know existed.   The Great Hunt was a flop. It was promoted as a success to Lochfort but as attacks continued, the town had little choice to to try another plan. When adventuring groups came through town, locals at the bar would spin stories of treasures in the forest and needing help eliminating a pack of beasts but never explaining directly what they were sending them up against. A lot of adventurers died. Some werewolves died. One group did succeed in killing a pack leader, formerly one Trevor McBride, the son of a Lochfort local who had been bitten on a hunt but survived, only to change form in the town tavern and be run out of town. He was never seen in human form again.
Note: These events play out on the Dungeons and Randomness podcast, Arc 1 - Episode #065, Arc 1 - Episode #070 and Arc 1 - Episode #072 with background on Trevor McBride in Arc 1 - Episode #069.
On the 28th of Amada, 1263 the werewolves, now with a new pack leader descended onto Lochfort at night. 75% of the population was killed that night. The werewolves attacked everyone and everything sparing none. For 15 days they patrolled the town looking for anyone who had been hidden or trying to make a run for safety. Several groups of White Ravens had been sent to check on the town but none returned. A final group was sent to Lochfort and while poking around were chased into a house and hid in the attic and managed to rescue 3 children who had been hiding.   After what seemed like weeks trapped in the attic (the reality was only 3 days), the adventurers and the children made a run for the town hall and hopefully more safety while waiting for a response to their distress call. One of the adventurers, Josephine, was killed on the way and Sora took down two werewolves attempting to save her. Everyone finally barred the door and waited in the town hall as the pack circled outside feasting on Josephine and poking their heads into windows and cracks. Finally after throwing their bodies at the door, the werewolves broke through and the group was forced to fight for their lives. More of the group fell, Coal and Ingrid were both mauled and the oldest of the children Kaley died from her wounds.
These last days are part of the Group 4 story starting at Arc 1 - Episode #124 and running through Arc 1 - Episode #152.
The finale of the story and the birth of a new holiday for Lochfort can be found in Lochfort's Reclamation Day.   In the end, only about 15 people of the hundreds from Lochfort survived the massacre. All surviving children were sent to The Esterholt Shelter For Children and to this day, 3 years later the sound of children playing in Lochfort is a foreign. Many couples will move to another city rather than attempt to raise a child in the town even though it has been attack free since Reclamation Day.   Lochfort flourishes again having been rebuilt and repopulated. The citizens are still wary of the forest but are still attempting to make the best of things.
For more information on the Lochfort and the Silver Glade, see the NOW AVAILABLE! book The Adventurers Guide to Theria vol. 1: Ellara
Werewolf by Jamieson Alcorn, colored by Arthur Hesli


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