Saturday, February 12, 2022

Forest of Wyrd #58 - The Grieving Lady and the Gruesome Guardian

DRAMATIS PERSONAE:

Jonesomon (Specialist 5)
Ranza (Changeling 4)
Gnarl (Wood Gnome 5)
Hobbs (Hedgefey 6) 
Thrax (Fighter 5)
[Slugs MacKenzie (Hedgefey 1)]


The three fey warriors advanced, swords raised, and the party deployed to meet them. There was immediate surprise when their opponents stated casting spells, and while Thrax and Hobbs shrugged off a number of magical attacks,  Ranza was blinded. In the end the trio were defeated, but it was a long drawn out fight. Taking just a few moments to loot the bodies of a bit of treasure, the party then moved on.   

They didn't get far before noticing an alcove to their right, and opted to investigate. Turning the corner, they observed an unexpected sight; a woman draped over a body lying on a raised stone bench. And the two looked just like the false pair the party had encountered in the room on the first level. Could this be the true Half Blood King and She Who Wore the Crown of Stars? The woman stirred to confront them, demanding to know why they were there. Hobbs tried to explain their quest, to gain the Crown of the Forest for her son, The Prince Who Would Be, so he could rule the Forest. She, however, would hear none of it. After much vigorous discussion, they learned she did not want to burden of kingship placed on her son. She cared nothing for the plight of the Forest or anything else but that her husband lay in peace and her son remain safe. Even trying to convince her that the decision should belong to the Prince didn't sway her, nor did suggestions that the Prince might be in danger or imprisoned against his will. Asked if bringing her husband back to life would change her mind, she replied that it was impossible. The Half Blood King lay under a powerful curse such that while the Green Man lived, the King could not. 

Unsure of how to proceed and still unsure if they'd found the 'true' King, She and Crown, the party took their leave and with She's permission, moved on down the corridor to find a place to rest and recuperate. They discovered the  chamber looped back around to another door where three more fey warriors lay in repose. These they did not disturb, retreating back to a chamber with three curious columns to set up camp. After settling in, they examined the three. Each was carved in a dense mass of images, each depicting a different age of the Forest. Jonesomon drew on his knowledge of history to examine them closely,  looking for clues to their current dilemma. He found hints that the Prince never took up the Crown when his father died due to interference from his mother. No surprise there. He also founds hints that the Prince was being held against his will, rather than safely under guard. Hobbs meanwhile poked around at all the fancy images of knights and Imperator on  the third column, and made a curious discovery. He found hints, when combined with what he already knew about to fall of the Imperator Vilorian II, that suggested the location of the Imperators long lost tomb in the Mountains of Twilight. 

After resting, the party decided to go back and try reasoning with She Who Wore the Crown of Stars once more; and so Ranza could cast detect illusion and detect magic to try confirming they were the 'real' thing. Reasoning didn't work, and She threatened them with the Guardian, whatever or whoever that might be. But Ranza's magic did confirm She and the Half Blood King were real, not illusions again, and the Crown itself radiated magic.  But the party still took their leave, moving back to the north end of the tomb and the great bronze doors that seemed to lead into the central garden. They still weren't convinced they'd found the true King and Crown, having expected to find his royal self laying in repose in a much nicer place than  a half finished alcove. 

Taking a drink from the healing fountain first (which unfortunately did not bring back Ranza's sight), the party threw open the doors. They passed down a wide series of steps into a garden lit dimly by glowing faerie bulbs. A few groves of trees surrounded a large pool, in the centre of which was a small island. And on that island  sat a grotesque figure; a huge. bloated and sickly pale batrachian beast. As the party descended the stairs, it turned and started to sniff the air. It appeared blind, but was able to identify them by smell. And challenged their presence. This they learned was the guardian of which She spoke; although it seemed a curious place for a tomb guardian. While not immediately hostile, the party knew they'd have to fight the grotesque creature eventually, and opted for a preemptive strike. Gnarl used a charge from his new ring of the stone  to successfully turn the creature to stone. Confident in their quick victory, the party moved forward, only to be surprised by a half dozen of the smaller but similar ranine that leap out of the tree cover and into their midst. Very quickly Jonesomon was paralyzed and the others were torn by claw and jaw.  They retreated up the stairs, and Thrax tossed his obsidian steed to Ranza so she and Jonesomon could fly safely above the fray. Meanwhile the changeling also used her wand of bees to summon help, while Slugs hauled out the pipe and magical tobacco to cast a hypnotic cloud about the creatures heads. All this turned the tide, and the remaining creatures were soon cut down. 

After taking a few minutes for first aid, they party spread out to search. Little was found, except a small hollow under the moss covered stone in the lake. From there Thrax hauled a velvet bag with a few gems, jewelry and coin, as well as a curious timepiece, the hourglass of fairy time. But there was no sign of a crown, or another king. 

TOTAL XP 
5237

GAINS
17 shell coins
169sp
Jeweled sword hilt [300sp]
4 gems (100sp, 10sp, 10sp, 50sp)
Bracelet (600sp)
Hourglass of Faerie Time [1500xp] 

KILLS/VICTORIES
3 Dark Fey Warriors
5 Ranine
Dumaris the Vigilant 

LOSSES
Ranza's Sight
Jonesomon's Mobility

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