Ranza (Changeling 4)
Gnarl (Wood Gnome 5)
Hobbs (Hedgefey 5)
Hobbs (Hedgefey 5)
Thrax (Fighter 4)
Vegarious (Changeling 3)
As a first order of business, Gnarl passed the crying baby off to Ranza, who wrapped him up in an impromptu sling. The gruff wood gnome knew nothing about babies, there being no such thing in his world. Thrax then pushed open the door behind the pit, and the party walked into a library. Shelves of books lined all the walls, and in the middle of the room was a comfy chair, ottoman and a side table. While the rest of the party browsed the books and selected a few choice titles, Gnarl headed for the chair. On the table was a pipe and tobacco pouch, as well as an open, face down book. The wood gnome scooped up the smoking paraphernalia, and a quick sniff indicated the baccy was magical. He then moved to the book. To his surprise, when he picked it up and turned it over, the book clamped down on his hand with enough force to crush knuckles and draw blood. Ranza came over the help, grabbed the book, pulled it of Gnarl's hand and threw it across the room. She then approached it carefully, and found he tome to be whimpering to itself. Speaking to it calmly and softly, she got the book to talk. It seemed to know a lot, but was not really forthcoming on much useful information. Though the party learned there was a healing pool someone in the river valley below Fortress Iacarta. But it offered little useful information on the manse, Eya or anything else in their immediate thoughts.
Ranza carefully placed the book back on the table and then the party moved on to the next room. This room had walls covered in apothecary cabinets, and a quick survey uncovered a range of weird things like rocks, herbs, bones, bits of wax and similar items. Three drawers were locked, so Gnarl went after them with his knife, carving away the wood to get access. This bit of petty destruction was interrupted by two fuzzy bee men who barged in and unfurled into insectoid nightmares which attacked with claw and stinger. These were dispatched with relative ease and the looting continued. In the three locked drawers were found a small crystal vial (8 drops of healing), a round piece of amber carved with the same eye as Thrax's rock, and a small spider in a top hat. Who tried to bite Gnarl and then skittered away until Ranza slammed a cabinet drawer down on top of it to keep it trapped and safely away from them.
Leaving the spider behind, they moved on again. Having checked most of this level, it was time to head up the stairs to where they hoped to find the pool. Hobbs stepped into the room with the stairs and the buggleburr guards. The two fey goblins didn't seem to pay him any attention, so the badger-man boldly marched over to the stairs and started to climb. At which point the buggleburrs lifted their cranking bars, inserted them into holes on the stairs and started to turn them. Which resulted in the stairs twisting together like grinding gears! Hobbs was nearly crushed but jumped away at the last minute with his lightning fast badger movement. The buggleburrs then cranked the stairs back open, and went back to standing at the ready. Initially stumped as to what to do, Ranza solved the problem by casting colour spray and knocking out the pair of fey footmen. These were quickly trussed up with their own clothing, and then with Hobbs in the lead, everyone headed up the stairs
The hedgefey no sooner reached the top of the stairs when a familiar voice spoke: "Well, you've finished ransacking my manse have you?" There in the centre of the room, ensconced on a throne in the shape of a giant daisy was Eya. After a few awkward and uncertain moments (during which Eya convinced Hobbs to give back the candlesticks looted from the banquet hall), the fey lord got down to business. Which was finding out what the party's business was in Fortress Iacarta and why they were intent on getting all the seals to access the shadow caverns. And the best answer they could give was because it was there and they hoped to find great treasure in the caverns. That said, Eya offered them a deal. He was guardian of the caverns. Charged by the lords of fey to keep the shadow wyrm, son of the Black Mother, trapped in the caverns below the keep. If they gave up their quest and turned over the seals, he could in exchange guide them to whatever they desired. And he seemed to already know what they might want; offering treasure of silver and gold; or great magic; or a safe place for the baby cradled in Ranza's arms; or raise the child's mother from the dead; or where to find the true ruler of the Forest of Wyrd to usurp the Earl. The party was somewhat overwhelmed by the offer and the change in circumstances. But in the end opted to make a deal with the strange creature. They were able to negotiate three paths on which to move forward:
- The Autumn Maiden [Hex 15.01]: Looking for a way to keep the baby safe, they first considered and rejected raising Erthis from the dead, fearing she and the child would be rejected by their tribe as both now had the taint of fey. Instead Eya directed them to the realm of the Autumn Maiden, who saved and protected baby's when they were in danger of being kidnapped by the fey. This was the women from Hobbs' vision in the pool of the Woad Chief. She was, they learned, one of the seven daughters of the Green Man and a power of the Forest in her own right. Eya directed them to a cave above the Witches Fingers where they could access her domains.
- Tomb of the Half Blood King [Hex 01.07]: Eya told of a time after the first men in the Wood, the D'war, had fought the dark fey and driven them back. One of the fey lords, Crindis the Hidden One, had captured the daughter of the High Chief of the D'war. The two fell in love and had a child, who would rule the Forest of Wyrd for a brief time as the Half Blood King. The Half Blood King in turned married one of the seven daughters of the Green Man, but he soon died in battle against his jealous and mercurial father-in-law. The Half Blood King was buried in a hidden tomb infused with the magical power which the party desired.
- The Prince Who Would Be [Hex 02.02]: Eya's story continued to tell of the son of the Half Blood King and She Who Wore the Crown of Stars. This was The Prince Who Would Be, who carried the blood of all the powers of the Forest (man, fey and wood god) and could rightfully claim to truly lead all the inhabitants of the Forest. On his fathers death, The Prince was sprinted away to safety to await the time when could return and claim the Forest of Wyrd as his own.
Their deal made, the party turned over the two flower seals which could unlock the shadow caverns. Eya then led them to the Star Pool, readjusted the constellations and reset the time so they could proceed back to the gate and emerge back in the Fortress without any time effects. On the way to the gate, they met the strange girl again, who airily noted it odd that Thrax still lived, and took the eye stone back from the befuddled fighter. And at that, the party passed though the gate to the world they knew best.
Drops of Healing (8)
Tobacco Pouch (2x yellow lemon scented plugs [wall of fog @ 7th level], 3x black licorice and tar [stinking cloud @ 7th level]; 2x red spice and tea [hypnotic pattern].
Amber eyeball [250sp]