The Way to the Abandoned Keep
In this area you slew four Trolls, three Trollhounds, a pack of Worgs, numerous wolves, cleared out a nest of spiders, thwarted a bandit ambush, sacked two bandit camps, claimed an abandoned treasure in a ruined watchtower, restored and operated an ancient dwarven device to acquire the treasure hidden therein and rescued some hunters stranded by magic - this one area alone was a worthy adventure, and you are certainly leaving strong and richer! That said, treasure can be rather heavy, especially when it’s enchanted full plate mail, so now might be an ideal time to return to town. Do not doubt you’ve accomplished your goal, however, as the "Abandoned Keep" area where the Guardian of the Bloom dwells is easy enough to reach from the Ruined Watchtower, merely head:
East (along the Murque River)
Having worked your way to the Ruined Watchtower, it shouldn’t be too much trouble for your protagonist to make their way to the Abandoned Keep on their own; not with a bit of luck and some save/loading, anyway. That said, there are also two areas between the Ruined Watchtower and Tuskdale left to explore: the "Bandit Camp" and the "Lone House" areas.
Annexing Oleg’s Trading Post
You can get to those areas shortly, however, as aside from possibly needing to sell off some loot back at Tuskdale, there’s another important task you need to oversee while you’re there. Assuming at least a few days have passed, you should be able to visit the campaign map in your throne room. Do so and pick the "Claims" tab where you should find the claim "Claim Oleg’s Trading Post". By all rights this location should belong to you, since you cleared the area of monsters and smote the Stag Lord.
To prosecute this claim you’ll need to assign your Regent to the task, who will take two weeks to finish. In addition you’ll need 150 BP, which you should have, provided you didn’t build too much earlier. Unfortunately, this time you can’t take care of other business while this claim is being worked on, so when you pick the "Start the Claim" button prepare to skip ahead by two weeks. Make sure you don’t have any events you can send people on, and generally find as much to do as possible so you’re not completely wasting this time. Don’t spend any more Build Points, however, as you’ll have a use for them soon enough.
After the two weeks expire, you’ll add the Outskirts to your realm, accompanied by a satisfying image of the territorial absorption on your map. Groovy. It’s no time to rest on your laurels, as there’s a bit of development you can do with your new territory and some problems you’ll need to resolve.
Problem: Problem with Taxes
Exit the campaign map and you’ll have a familiar face brought before you. Apparently Oleg hasn’t been paying his taxes. Pick whatever you want the first time you get a chance to respond, after which you’ll have several dialogue options which are actually meaningful. Picking the [Neutral Good] option will forgive Oleg and resolve to settle the matter with the Aldori. The [Neutral] option will cede taxation rights to the Aldori, which will please them, certainly. Finally, the [Lawful Evil] action will doubly burden Oleg with taxation this month and antagonize the Aldori. Pick whatever option matches your politics and/or alignment, but note that only the [Lawful Evil] choice doesn’t get an experience reward.
|Reward: For resolving Oleg's tax dispute|
Settlement in the Outskirts
With that messy bit of business out of the way, you can focus on something less political - building! Use your campaign map and click on the "Map" tab, then click on the Outskirts province, where you should see a number of map markers, all of which indicate possible locations where you can found a new settlement. It doesn’t matter too much which one you pick, their terrain is the same either way. just keep in mind that founding the settlement will set you back another 50 BP. Name your settlement and build a Longhouse, Tavern, Shop and Smith on the 3x3 grid in the exact same locations as mentioned earlier to ensure you get the best synergy bonuses.
Once that’s done, check out what events you have and respond to them accordingly. This should free you up to get back on the road, and since you have found the way to the Abandoned Keep, you might as well meet the Guardian of the Bloom. Hit the area transition to leave Tuskdale and make sure you remove every companion from your party. You also might want to make a hard save, and bring a Camping Ration and a Potion of Invisibility or two with you. You know, just in case you meet some trouble along the way…
Note: If you only have a few days before an event completes (or until the beginning of the month, when new events tend to come in), you might as well just skip a few days using the "Skip Day" button on the campaign map. The difference between failing an event and getting -3 to a kingdom stat or greatly succeeding and getting +8 on the same stat is pretty huge, and well worth save/loading.