Session 5: Ambush!
The pink and purple tones of the setting sun reveal hints of the beauty this place had before the corruption. The sickly trees swell and shift in the cool breeze, creating lacy silhouettes against the darkening sky. A breeze rustles what little green remains and carries on it hints of nutmeg, cumin, and musk. The nocturnal creatures begin to rouse. An owl greets the twilight with a hoot. Several mice scurry past, hoping to avoid the notice of the great hunter, but she’s spotted them. In a blur, the owl streaks across the now dark forest and delicately plucks one of the scampering mice from the ground. It soars up and out of sight before the other mouse even notices his friend is missing.
The shadows crowd in as twilight fades into night and the larger predators awaken. Things move. You see a flash of two sets of large glimmering eyes that drink in every photon of light in the darkness and they are gone just as quickly.
The corrupted guardian’s corpse is a mountain in the dark and the forest is quiet. Even though you can perceive nothing, you can’t shake the sensation of being watched.
Cast of Characters
- Alzaren played by Dave
- Salvine played by Cody
- Morina Stormsbane played by Jolene
- Baeren Torunn played by Brad
- Eln of the Willow A crazed druid who claims to be responsible for the corruption in the Southern Grove.
- Sunbark The last of the Grove Guardians in the Southern Grove.
- Quat Suelto The head priest at the temple of Sonah in Griffondale.
- Magda Riarson Harassed proprietor of the Baron’s Chamber Pot.
- Cobb The proprietor of the Briar’s Blossom.
- Calloway The leader of the bandits who had taken over the Baron’s Chamber Pot.
- [Name Unknown] A bandit who was tortured by Baeren.
Shadows in the Night
The party decided to leave the site of the south western shard and return to the relative safety of the Guardian’s Clearing to rest for the evening. Morina took the first watch. While she patrolled the rim of the Guardian’s Circle, four shadowy creatures slipped by and assaulted Baeren. Baeren was able to fell one of the creatures quickly, but not before two others sapped away most of his awesome strength with their withering touch. Morina and Salvine joined the fight, trying to save Baeren. Alzaren dispatched the remaining creatures with two well placed explosions of sound.
After the attack, Alzaren gave a rousing speech that bolstered the party’s spirits. They again tried to rest, and this time were successful.
The party embarked on their journey to retrieve the final shard the next morning. Heading northeast, they soon encountered the signs of decay that is the hallmark of the blighted shards. Soon after that, they discovered Teak of the Bear’s body, left suspended between two trees as a cryptic warning. Baeren climbed up and retrieved her body, and Morina wrapped the body to be transported to Tokcha Vandalmar, and returned to her circle. With a more somber tone, the party continued deeper into the corrupted region.
Green Eln and Hags
After a few more hours slowly following tracks discovered by Alzaren, the party drew near their destination. But before they could hack the shard out of the tree it was embedded in, they were ambushed by Eln of the Willow, a jaundiced, emaciated druid whose skin had a greenish tinge. She caused the forest to erupt with sickly, greasy plants that surrounded and slowed the heroes. The adventurers sprung into action, wading through the vines and brush to close the distance with Eln, hurling spells and javelins ahead of them. Eln, overwhelmed by the ferocity of the attack, sent a bat messenger to call for aid and retreated in the form of a crow. Rushing to Eln’s aid, a Corrupted Guardian crashed through the trees and set upon the party. Salvine hurled lightning at the monstrosity. Alzaren’s cutting words caused the corrupted guardian to momentarily flee in panic. Morina summoned her spectral mace to assault the creature more directly, while Baeren charged - hurling javelins and hand axes ahead of him.
Once the corrupted guardian was defeated, Sunbark, the last of the living grove guardians arrived. He told the party that Eln had been working with a coven of Hags who resided in Willowblight Cave to the west. After forming a quick plan, the party decided to head to Griffondale to rest before meeting Sunbark at the logging camp and assaulting the cave in the morning.
Out of the Forest and Into the Fire
Upon reaching Griffondale, Baeren and Alzaren took the bodies of Teak of the Bear and the cultist they defeated in the Guardian’s Circle to the Temple of Sonah, the Goddess of Death. Morina surveyed the town to find lodging, and Salvine played with the children of Griffondale.
Baeren asked the High Priest of Sonah, Quat Suelto, if he would store the bodies for a time. Quat said he would hold the bodies and inform the Baroness of the cultist. Alzaren asked the priest if he could speak with the dead cultist, who retrieved his incense and recalled the cultist to the mortal plane for a moment.
Meanwhile, Morina considered Griffondale’s two inns. She decided that the one made of stone was more appealing. However, the interior of the inn was dingy and filthy. It smelled of urine, sawdust, and stale beer. The patrons had a dangerous look to them and even the bar’s owner, Magda, seemed afraid. Morina asked for lodging but was advised to seek accommodations elsewhere due to the dangerous situation.
Morina headed across the street to the wooden inn, which upon entering she discovered was empty except for the bar’s owner, a satyr named Cobb. Cobb told Morina that rooms were available for 5 silver hammers a night or 3 rooms for 10. He also offered her a deal: If the musicians she travelled with could impress him with a song, he would give them free lodging for one year and one day (393 days), otherwise they would owe him a favor. Morina said she would need to consult with her friends before agreeing.
Salvine quickly befriended several of the children playing in the streets. He played games with them until they invited him to play their favorite game, Heroes and Villains. Salvine had to be the villain because he was the biggest and the smaller children armed themselves with sticks to fight a mock battle. Salvine used magic to enhance his terrifying presence, but went a little overboard and scared the children too much and they fled.
Alzaren and Baeren interrogated the deceased cultist. His answers were cryptic, but they were able to determine that the Hags of Willowblight Cave killed the Fey in the Clearing of the Guardians.
Salvine started to pursue the frightened children, but Morina, having exited the Briar’s Blossom, intereceeded and began scolding him.
Baeren and Alzaren exited the temple to see Morina and Salvine talking.
Baeren, his duties discharged for the evening, decided to pop into the Baron’s Chamber Pot for a drink. Baeren kicked the door off its hinges and threatened to kill everyone in the bar. The patrons, who were bandits using the bar as a base of operations to scout and survey the area, responded by jumping to their feet and drawing their weapons.
Morina tried to defuse the situation by charming one of the bandits, but Baeren’s aggressive challenges and belligerent demeanor kept tensions high. The leader of the bandits accepted Baeren’s challenge and attacked from behind with a poisoned dagger. The wound was vicious, but Baeren shrugged it off.
Morina, realizing the attacker had materialized from nowhere, assumed he was a more dangerous foe and attempted to dispatch him quickly with a devastating spell. Salvine finished off the attacker with a casual eldritch blast and broke the resolve of the remaining bandits, who fled out the back.
Baeren managed to grab one of the bandits and subdued him before he fled. The party surveyed the tavern and found the innkeeper hiding behind her bar, shielding herself with a serving tray. After convincing her she was safe, Magda tells the party that the bandits had been using her inn to stage raids in the area, thanked them, and proceeded to drink herself stupid.
Baeren retrieved a bucket and revived the captured bandit. He threatened the bandit with torture, but was unsuccessful at retrieving any information other than the person calling the shots was terrifying. When Baeren pushed, the bandit said he would rather die than betray his allies. Morina cast a charm spell on the bandit and promised him protection if he told them what they wanted to know. He was suspicious, but began to talk. Baeren was impatient with the speed at which the bandit was revealing information, and so he started breaking the bandit’s fingers. The charm spell was broken by Baeren’s reckless action and the bandit’s resolve returned. Baeren retrieved a Tauxith quill to try and use the poison to induce him to speak. Morina, disgusted by the horrific torture her ally was inflicting on the bandit, decided to put the bandit out of his misery.
Baeren and Morina had a terse exchange before deciding to let it go for now and see about finding a place to rest for the night.