Ranza (Changeling 4)
Gnarl (Wood Gnome 5)
Hobbs (Hedgefey 5)
Hobbs (Hedgefey 5)
Thrax (Fighter 4)
Standing over their fallen foes, the party's first thoughts turned to loot. Unfortunately, neither Shangrat nor the spriggan had anything of value on them. So everyone headed back up to the upper floor of the tower to look for loot in the lair. Hobbs examined the fireplace out of which the spriggan had sprung, but to no avail. Everyone else headed for the giants room to look around there. First order of business was the struggling figure in the burlap sack. Thrax opened it up and out popped a mountain tribesman. They questioned him a bit, but didn't really get much information and simply let him go. Gnarl then used the greenstone of earthseeing to scan the room, and discovered a hidden space behind one of the massive stones that made up the outer wall. Setting up the block and tackle, they were able to shift the stone enough for Hobbs to squeeze in. The hedgefey passed out bags of coin, a pair of potions and a curious black figurine that looked something like a horse. Thrax claimed this, and seeing the work 'trigger' on the bottom, read this out loud. Immediately, the object transformed into a massive black horse, breathing smoke and fire bursting from it's hooves as it stamped on the flagstones. Thrax jumped on, and the beast flew off the top of the tower and circled the Fortress, allowing the fighter to inventory the tops of all the towers.
Mightily impressed, Thrax returned to pick up the rest of the crew one by one, and transported them all to the top of the next square tower. The mysterious one of which they could learn little. Thrax turned the horse back into figurine form, and everyone turned their attention to the stairs. While the way seemed open, there was a sign and sense of a strange shimmering translucency blocking both staircases. They first consulted the quilt, which suggested passing through this 'curtain' would cause no physical harm. They then experimented by lowering various objects through it; Thrax's troll head on the whip, his old sword on a rope, and a rock on a rope. The troll head (and part of the whip) simply disappeared, while the sword instanting returned to the scabbard from which had been drawn, and the rock simply came back with no change. Gnarl also hunted down a rat and used charm and speak with animals to question it about the tower. The rodent could only confirm what they already knew; things and creatures went in sometimes and never come back out. It did describe some of the beasts that it had seen emerge, including one that matched the description of Eya from the rearguard tower.
There was obviously something off about this tower, but in the end the party decided to risk it and cross the threshold. And at once found themselves in a brooding dark forest, under a deep twilight sky filled with strange stars. Behind them was a stone door standing in the midst of the forest (which when open revealed the staircase which they'd descended), which ahead of them in the distance a pair of stone staircases rose into the sky to meet high above the treetops. The party started to move towards the stairs, but then noticed just a short distance away a small girl playing in the dirt. She had long blond hair and wore a simple linen shift. When hailed, she responded with a mix of precise response and vague wonderings. Sometimes before answering she would also creepily twist her head 180 degrees, and flip her hair over to reveal a second face hidden under her tresses. She referred to herself simply as Girl, and answered no questions about who she was and where she came from. Probed about where 'here' was, she told them it was the faerie domain of the Lord of Nightmares. Asked about the missing flower seal which they sought, she quickly said the old hermit to the east had it. Asked what she was doing here, she said simply she was 'waiting for the one who would die', then walked over the Thrax and handed him a stone painted with a demonic eye. And turned to wander off into the forest.
No one was sad to see her leave, and next planned to go track down the hermit. But first went looking for Thrax's troll. It proved easy to track a troll pulling itself along the ground by its lips, but the path soon showed signs of the beast regenerating its body and limbs very quickly. The trail ended in a swamp, and everyone decided it was not in their interest to go hunting what could now be a fully grown troll. So turning back, they followed the path leading to the hermit. The faint trail eventually disappeared under the boughs of a large pine tree. A small patch of cobbles pressed into the turf marked the entrance under the bows. Ranza stepped forward to check the patch for traps, but suddenly the cobbles pulled out of the ground to assemble into a humanoid form. In attacked Ranza, and the rest of the party rushed to help, soon knocking the thing back into a formless pile of stones.
Passing now under the boughs, the party found themselves in a shaded clearing. At the base of the pine was a hollow that led under the roots. When Hobbs called out, an old man emerged from the hole and gestered them forward. He seemed happy to talk, but instantly disappointed the party by telling them he didn't have the flower seal. He confirmed they were in the domain of Eya Lord of Nightmares, whose manse stood at the top of the stairs they could see rising above the forest. The man also cautioned them to not eat or drink anything they found here, as that would trap them in Fairie forever, just like him. He also warned them that time did not move the same here in Faerie. If they avoided food or drink, they could pass back through the door at anytime, but there was no way to know how much time would have passed on the other side in their absence. Asked if there was anything that could be done to avoid this time trap, the hermit told them a magical pool in Eya's manse would allow them to reset time by resetting the reflection of the stars to that which existed at the moment they entered Faerie. The party also inquired about others in the area, and the old man indicated there was a small camp of others who were trapped here. He wasn't sure who was there now; they changed frequently as some found ways to escape, wandered off, or are carried off the the fey. Asked if he would guide them there, he agreed to do so if they would return him to his tree safe and sound. As they left, there were some apologies from the party for killing is guardian at the entrance, but the hermit waved it off saying the cobbleman would be back.
The old hermit led them back past the door and in the same general direction they'd followed the troll trail. After some time he stopped and pointed, and in a clearing ahead they could see a small collection of hovels and lean-to's ...
Potion of Speed
Potion of Clairaudience