Ranza (Changeling 4)
Jonesomon (Specialist 5)
Gnarl (Wood Gnome 5)
Hobbs (Hedgefey 4)
Gnarl (Wood Gnome 5)
Hobbs (Hedgefey 4)
Thrax (Fighter 3)
The party spent the day trudging north-east through thick forest, notable mainly for being filled with mainly pine and spruce rather than the oak and birch they were accustomed to further south. As evening descended and the sky began to darken, they started to see hints of something more than forest ahead. Ranza climbed the tallest tree she could find to get a better look around. Ahead a braided river flowed south through a valley of gravel outwash. In the deepening twilight, she could also see hints of a fire starting to spark to life on a hilltop to the northwest, while to the south a column of smoke rose from the trees. There was some discussion of checking out one or the other signs of warmth and comfort, but in the end they choose to set up camp for the night right here and proceed in the morning.
After an uneventful night, they arose to downpour of rain which made travel miserable and visibility worst. Climbing down the wooded hillside, they entered the valley. To the north they could see two towers perched on the hillside to the north, the closest about a couple of miles away and the other a mile beyond that. But they opted to ignore these for now, and turned south towards the still visible column of smoke. Picking up the remains of a well engineered road, they made good time until it disappeared, washed out at some time in the past. Moving on through the low bushes and gravel, Thrax on point caught sight of something moving to his left, down behind a low bank on the edge of a pool of water. He advanced towards it to investigate, but before he got too close, the dripping green and slimy form of a troll rose out of the water and lopped towards him. The fighter boldly stepped up and lashed out at it, while Ranza, coming up behind him, blinded the creature. As the troll lashed out wildly, the rest of the party surged forward and joined the fray. After a few solid claws and bites from the troll, they were able to fell the foul creature and the butchered remains fell into the water at their feet. But almost at once, the dismembered parts started to writhe and move towards each each, and the troll dragged itself up on it's feet again. Once more the party hacked it to pieces, and this time doused the remains with oil and burned them. Except the head, which Thrax opted to keep and spiked it to the end of his whip for future use.
Continuing south, they once more picked up the old road and followed it back into the forest. After a short distance, they came to a point where a footpath joined the road from the east. Nearby was a clearing, and in that clearing stood a massive oak. And around that tree was built a log cabin, the source of the smoke they'd seen yesterday and today. The party carefully approached the front door, but before they got there, the door opened and out came a massive man. He stood a good head and shoulders taller than even Thrax, and was equally broad at the shoulders. She stood there, sword in hand, and challenged the characters. There was some initial hostility due to a misunderstanding regarding from where the characters hailed; they man thought first they came from the north but was reassured when told they actually came ultimately from the south. Eventually, the man introduced himself as Mikan and invited the party inside for food, drink and warmth. They were shortly joined by his wide, Allisan. She was a slim woman of indeterminate age and dark complexion. She also showed signs of not being well. After some time and banter, the party learned she was someone linked to the oak tree, which they now realized was dying. Informing Mikan and Allisan of their ultimate goal, Fortress Iacarta, they asked the pair for information. Mikan informed them many dangers lay ahead of them, from trolls in the valley, to creatures of shadow at the fortress itself. And the further north they travelled, the closer they came to the dark fairy realm. After some time, he also asked that since they were going to the Fortress, would they do him a favor? He noted that as they had already suspected, the oak tree and Allisan were dying. She could only be saved if the tree were replaced by another sprung from one of it's acorns. Unfortunately, the tree had produced none in many a year. But Allisan, years ago, had planted one inside the Fortress, trying to cleanse it of shadow. Would the party recover it for them? He offered the loan of his sword as payment, a mighty weapon of magic, for he noted many of the shadow creatures could only be harmed by magic. This Thrax graciously accepted. He also offered their home as a safe refuge, and Allisan offered her services as a healer and herbalist to prepare healing poultices for them. All this the party accepted gladly, and took advantage of the pairs hospitality to spend the rest of the day and the night in warmth and safety.
Next day was bright and sunny, and the party started their journey north to the the head of the valley and Fortress Iacarta. Asking Mikan for guidance, he had little to offer in terms of the best route. The old road lead through troll country, and the witch Ygrite dwelled in the hills above. The trail that branched off nearby led up the other side of the valley but it too had it's (unspecified) hazards. They opted to try the route up the east side of the valley, to avoid the trolls at least. They crossed the gravel flats and a crude bridge over the river, before climbing up the hillside and back into the forest. Late in the morning they approached a clearing, in which stood the remnants of a bonfire. It had obviously just been doused, and still steamed and smoked. In front of it stood a small iron bound chest. Sensing a trap, but also treasure, Gnarl and Jonesomon headed towards the chest. Jonesomon checked for traps and declared it safe, so Gnarl reached out and opened it. Inside was a pile of silver coin and jewelry. But before they could count it, from under the chest shot a thick mass of black hair. It grabbed Jonesomon and entangled him; Gnarl being a little quicker on his feet got away. As they rest of the party rushed into the clearing to help, from the other side entered three stout figures. Their legs were those of a goat, and their heads were a wild mass of hair. They rushed towards the fire and started to dance. Gnarl cast an entangle spell and caught two of them, but he then had the irresistible urge to join the remaining creature in it's wild dance about the remnants of the fire. The creatures all then laughed a booming, wicked laugh, stunning Thrax and Hobbs into a stupor. That left just Ranza, who turned a pair of colour spray on the korred (and unfortunately the prancing Gnarl as well). But the korred all fell unconscious, and the party quickly finished them off and untangled Jonesomon. Looting the chest, they then dumped the bodies in the hole beneath from which the hair had emerged, poured oil over them and burned them. After a short time of rest and recovery, the party leaded up again and prepared to continue along the trail ...
silver skull with ruby eyes pendant on chain [1100sp]
small platinum wire sculpture in the shape of an egg with a golden topaz at centre [500sp]
scroll-protection from magic
potion of heroism
Blade of the East Wind [Sword +2, wielder can cast Gust of Wind twice per day, can Control Winds once per week and can Wind Walk once per month] ON LOAN