From the introduction to the adventure:
After Bitterford was razed for the third time since its founding, merchants from both Kaad and Mirewater banded together to create the Bitterford Guard, a small but efficient unit led by a Human or Dwarf warrior appointed from either town. Since then, although the raids haven’t stopped, they have been limited instead to stealing the odd herd animal under cover of darkness, as opposed to wanton bloody destruction of the entire town. The current Marshal of the Bitterford Guard is Urad Blackaxe from Mirewater, a grizzled Dwarf skilled with either axe or crossbow and rumoured to have one time been a Trialmaster in Baron Sukumvit’s legendary Trial of Champions. As well as directing the operations of the Bitterford Guard, Urad is the face of law and order in Bitterford though he usually leaves the more mundane judgements and trials to a Bitterford Council made up of the more wealthy merchants and land-owners living in the town.
For the past week however, both Urad and the Council have been sorely troubled by rumours and portents emanating out of the trackless wastes that are the Pagan Plains. Thick intertwining columns of smoke have been spotted rising from the Plains, always an excellent indicator of a predatory warband on the move. A small family clan of Centaurs was found slaughtered on the northern road to Kaad by a merchant convoy from that town. Such was the scene of carnage they encountered that the convoy’s Strongarms were still grey-faced and shaking even as they crossed the Red River and left for Mirewater the next day. Then, Lael Whitebeard, a hermit and hedge-wizard who lived in a small stone hut about a day’s ride into the Plains, was found wandering towards Bitterford by a Guard rider out scouting. Most of his skin had been flayed and removed, apparently by a particularly blunt sword. He said just one thing before expiring, whispering slowly whilst clutching the Guard rider with his now-skinless fingers: “Gore! Gore will come!”