Gnarl (Wood Gnome 3)
Ranza (Changeling 2)
Hobbs (Hedgefey 3)
Jonesomon (Specialist 3)
Thrax (Fighter 2)
Though now done with the Vernal Manor, the party decided to stick around for one more night. To see if Granya was able to escape. After a resting through the day, they once more settled in a twilight for the house's return. Once it had fully appeared, there was no sign of Granya. So Thrax headed over to the house to see what was afoot. Pearing in the ballroom window, he could faintly see through the opaque leaded glass that the massive party continued. Through the kitchen window he could see a figure he took to be Granya, so he knocked on the door. The door opened a crack, and he could see it was indeed the maidservant. She was quite agitated and upset, telling the fighter to go away. The house was in much too much of an uproar at the moment. She did get the scissors, but dared not try escaping until the Lady Vernal and the household had settled back to some semblance of normal. She also revealed to Thrax that even when she cut the string, the only way she could escape is via the stone, whose guardians worried her. Asked why she just couldn't walk away once the thread was cut, she noted any mortal who'd partaken of the Lady's hospitality were doomed to be trapped in Faerie. The only way out then was via the special magic of the cornerstone.
Meanwhile, Ranza had been doing a little experimentation outside and discovered the house would only become visible to someone in the clearing at nightfall. And if one left the clearing when the house was visible, it could not be seen upon one's return. When she did this, the rest of the party was amused to see her walk right through the manor walls and come out the other side, for to the changeling the building didn't exist.
Deciding there was nothing they could do for Granya at the moment, the party headed back to Kreland's Ford with their loot. Jonesmon and Gnarl headed for the "Eight Imps and a Bear" tavern to check in with their spy Cemark to get the news. When the duo walked in the door, everyone in the place turned to look at them and suddenly all chatter and drinking stopped. The whole assembly stared darkly at them, and more than a few hands shifted to daggers stuck in belts. Carefully, the two headed to the bar, Jonesonmon plunking down a bag of silver pennies and telling the barkeep he was buying a round for the house. The barkeep pushed the bag back, and suggested it best the two leave if they didn't want bloodshed. They took the hint (and the silver) and left, but not before noting Cemark hiding in the corner doing his best to pretend he didn't know the duo. Gnarl went off to find the others, but Jonesomon decided to stick around and watch, hoping to get to Cemark when he left tavern. Which he did, dragging the clearly terrified Cemark along to the other establishment in town, the "Lazy Unicorn" for a drink and some answers. Cemark explained that word had gotten out about the party's role in taking out the bandits. Given the usual clientele at the "Eight Imps and a Bear", many of them had been friends of the dead, and some had run with that gang at one time or another. So Cemark suggested the party should watch their backs. And he would do the same, saying now he was done with the party. Pressed about who was 'king of the bandit heap' now that the ogre and his gang were gone, he explained that a group of adventurers (Garath [Magic User], Michen [Fighter], Angus [Specialist], Fraklan [Specialist]) disguised as the 'Monks of the Fallen Fire' were the big name now. Seems they'd looted an ancient temple some time ago and were using the recovered religious accoutrements to disguise themselves and attack/rob travellers along the roads.
Meanwhile, the rest of the party had taken the paintings and gone to see Thayn Clodwin. He was quite excited to see them, and even more excited to see the two missing paintings. He paid the party their fee with no hesitation. Learning they'd recovered other paintings by the great Cuthbin the Younger, he almost demanded they bring those to him as well to examine and purchase if they proved authentic. The party demurred and deflected for now, headed for the 'Lazy Unicorn' to rest for a few days and discuss options. They were a little worried that the Thayn may stab them in the back somehow, and that selling the paintings before learning more about them might be giving away valuable hints to future treasures. They consulted the quilt of augury regarding the Thayn, it indicated he would not send anyone after them if they left town with the paintings. So while not ruling about a sale to Thayn Clodwin in the future, for now they decided to slip out of town under cover of darkness (to avoid both the Thayn and the bandits), heading for Brakenrae. There they would consult the scholar Timpanius on the paintings. And for Jonesomon and Gnarl, try to intercept the three kids at the Goblyn Fair whom they'd been unsuccessful in rescuing the first time time they'd been in this time and place.
Travel east was largely uneventful though unnaturally cool for the season. Or at least it was uneventful until they reached to scene of their bandit battle from a week or so before. The massive oak tree had been chopped up and the path cleared, but just beyond was a young man with a shovel, just dumping a final load of dirt on the verge. Glancing around revealed 7 patches of turned earth, each having a stick protruding from it. And on each stick hing a hat or helmet. When hailed and asked his name, the man/boy grinned and answered "Aeog". They conversation that followed was largely one sided, Aeog responding with single words. And giving little information and grinning the whole time. After a few minutes, Aeog turned to go, raising a hand to forehead as if to tip a hat or tug his forelock. Thrax responded in kind, and the boy wandering off down the road towards Brackerae, soon disappearing from sight. Someone noted they'd killed 7 bandits at this spot, and the piles of upturned earth looked an awful lot like graves. Jonesomon noted one of the helmets last adored the head of one of the bandits. In response, Thrax went around stabbing his sword into each 'grave', hoping to prevent any incipient undead vampires from rising. And with that, the party opted to turn their backs on the odd scene and continue on their way.
Reaching Brackenrae and home, they noted activity in the field below town as preparations were underway for the Goblyn Fair. After some time to rest and restock, they visited Timpanius the Scholar. First they received his report on research into the Yellow Cloud Prophet; unfortunately, he had learned little they didn't already know. They also showed him the three paintings to see if he knew anything about them. Being unschooled in art, he could tell them little except the fortress town looked like an Imperium border fort. There had been a number of forts build after the Imperium repulse of the unseelie fey three centuries before; but he couldn't provide any detail on the one in this particular painting. Ranza then hired the scholar once more to investigate the Vernal Manor; looking for more information on it and the Lady Vernal in case they should return to the manor or be pursued by her and/or her minions.
And then plans runed to rectifying their failure some months before; to save the three children (Sim, Alish and Peta) from the ravages of fairy at the Goblyn Fair [see Forest of Wyrd Session #1-3]. And hopefully murder the tittering fey bastard that had mocked and eluded them at the time . They decided the best thing to do was stake out the ruins and intercept both the children and the fairy. Arriving, they first swapped the fey apples with some regular ones, each pocketing one of the magical apples in case of future need. Gnarl hid in the burned rafters above the fruit bowl, holding a bag of flour and iron filings to dump on their invisible foe. Ranza and Tharax lurked in the bushes nearby, while Jonesomon and Hobbs stood guard at the sage circle fairy gate. The children soon appeared, being led along by a little old man in flashy clothing, performing tricks with glowing lights in his hand. He led them to the bowl, where Gnarl immediately dumped the flour/filings and screamed the children. He also tried to entangle the fey, but curiously it didn't work, even though the wood gnome was certain it would. As Ranza and Thrax charged in with more flour and filings, the creature tried to turn invisible and run towards the sage gate. The flour bombs (as well as a field of flour laid by Hobbs and Jonesomon), however, kept him visible. So the party took some swings and pot shots at him as he ran. But with a last irritating titter, he slipped past Hobbs and Jonesomon, and jumped into the sage circle and disappeared.
Cursing their bad luck again, the party turned to the children and put the fear of the fairies into them. The three children ran back towards the Goblyn Fair, crying and bawling, and unlikely to ever stray from their mothers side again.
1800xp (Gnarl & Jonesomon: 600xp each; Thrax, Hobbs, Ranza: 200xp each)
1800xp (Gnarl & Jonesomon: 600xp each; Thrax, Hobbs, Ranza: 200xp each)
Some fey apples
Some fey apples