The company has just finished up Kinstrife & Dark Tidings, and on behalf of Beorn now travel south again to investigate the area around the Gladden Marches, and to talk to the men of Mountain Hall, in the adventure A Darkness in the Marshes. This is a turning point adventure; it's when the company will first encounter the Gibbet King, and start to see what has really been going on behind the scenes in the campaign.
I knew I needed a picture of a fitting marshland, both for setting the mood, but also because once the company finds itself in the Gladden Marshes, they encounter a band of orc slavers and engage them in combat, and I wanted to provide the battle mat with a background to distinguish it a bit. I found this beautiful painting by Ivan Shishin, a fanastic Russian landscape painter from the 1800s.
However, it's not quite mysterious enough, so I added a layer of mist, as described for the Gladden Marshes in The Heart of the Wild. And for the battlemat, I knew I wanted to put the Orc and Wolf tokens on top of the image, so I didn't want the birds in there (presumably they flew away when the fight erupted). And just for kicks, I threw in The Dwimmerhorn in the background, with a bit of black smoke coming out of it, and circling birds.