Jonesomon (Specialist 5)
Ranza (Changeling 4)
Gnarl (Wood Gnome 5)
Hobbs (Hedgefey 5)
Hobbs (Hedgefey 5)
Thrax (Fighter 4)
Vegarious (Changeling 3)
The party moved into the clearing and at once noticed a group clustered around one of the lean-tos. Getting closer, they could see the crowd included a tall women in black leather; obviously the missing Ravenguard. There were also three clearly inebriated men and a scrawny albino boy. The group turned as the party approached, and they could see the reason for their interest; inside the hovel lay a woman who'd just given birth, the baby balanced on her breast. The Ravenguard and the men eyed the party warily, but the woman in the hovel as ecstatic the see them. She pleaded and begged for them to take her and the baby with them to safety, for she feared the lords of Faerie will come to take the newborn to raise him as a changeling slave. Discussion with the greater group revealed that this was not unknown; people who got stuck here did from time to time disappear. Asked about why they were all still here, the party was told each had taken of the food or wine of Faerie and could not leave.
At this point, as the women Erthis continued to plead, everyone heard the sound of something approaching through the woods. "It's them" Erthis screamed, and everyone drew weapons and stood on guard. Moments later, a great shadowy creature rose above the treetops, glowering down on them with eyes of cinder. It did not approach closer, but held everyone's rapt attention as it stood there. Everyone except Ranza, who out of the corner of her eye noted movement, and turned to see the albino boy trying to snatch the baby from Erthis. Ranza tackled and pinned the boy to the ground, and moments later the shadow creature disappeared. Questioned, the boy admitted to being a servant of a fey lord, sent to kidnap the baby. The boy (Laskeris) took advantage of the party's arrival to cause a distraction (the shadow monster) and try to get away with the baby. Further questioning revealed nothing of interest, so the boy was released and driven away into the forest.
Feeling there was nothing new to learn here, the party prepared to go. They tried convincing the Ravenguard to join them, but she declined, believing herself trapped here in Faerie and saw no need to put herself in danger on the party's behalf. Parting on somewhat bad terms, the party did take Erthis and baby with them, feeding the newborn off milk from Thrax's robe of refreshment in case the mother's milk counted as Faerie-tainted at this point. Leaving the clearing, the party backtracked to return the old hermit to his tree, and then headed for the closest staircase so they could get into Eya's Manse and reset time with the pool.
They found the staircase rising largely unsupported above a grove of dead trees. The second staircase rose from the west and the two met high above the forest. But nothing else could be seen at the terminus of the stairs. In spite of this, Hobbs, Thrax, and Ranza, plus Erthis and the baby, ascended the stairs while Vegarious, Jonesomon and Gnarl kept watch below. But not for long, for as the party above passed the treetops, the party below noted the trees starting to move and block the stairs. So rather than get separated, the three raced up to rejoin their companions just as the trees were barring the way .
At the top, there was still nothing visible. Gnarl, reaching into his now dwindling flour supply, tossed a handful forward, which revealed a portcullis. After having it checked by Jonesomon, Thrax threw the gate open and stepped through. He found himself in a room, open to the sky above and with stone walls lined with flower planters. Everyone else just saw Thrax standing in mid air, but once he gestured them forward into the walled garden, they could see the same. Directly ahead was a door, and to one side another gate. Going to the gate, the party observed this area too was open to the twilight sky above. Much of the space was filled with supports for a platform high above, and covering these supports looked to be a giant bee hive. And at this point, a flight of giant bees appeared and flew towards the party. Arrows took down a few, while Ranza used her wand of bees to initiate some bee on bee action, and before long the remaining attackers retreated back into the hive.
Deciding to avoid fiurther bee attacks, the party headed through the door, entering a foyer with a blue and sliver rug on the floor. A corridor covered in the same rug extended ahead of them, and to the side was a door. Proceeding through the door, they found themselves in a banquet hall. There was a table set with silver candelabra, three bottles of wine and a bowl of dried fruit and nuts. As Hobbs swiped the candelabra, and others grabbed the wine (golden for Ranza, black for Hobbs), Thrax examined some markings on the floor. These looked like footprints, laid out to show the steps of a dance. No one felt like dancing, so they headed through another door instead. Once more, Jonesomon checked for traps and Thrax opened the door. And found himself blinded as the light from Gnarl's light spear was somehow amplified into a shacking blaze in the room. The wood gnome cover most of the spear to block the light, which let him safely look inside. And he found the room was full of mirrors, lining all the walls. Now able to see again, Thrax stepped in to look. When he looked in one of the mirrors though, he suddenly found himself transported inside it and trapped. Being careful not to look directly in any mirrors, Ganrl stepped into the room to help. He found that in addition to seeing Thrax trapped in one mirror, he could see the fighters reflection in another on the opposite wall. He also found the mirror could pivot a bit, and was able to turn the one with the 'reflected' Thrax so that the image disappeared. And then the real Thrax popped out of his prison!
Carefully prodding around the rest of the room, Ranza discovered a door hidden behind one mirror. Thrax opened it a crack, just to take a quick look. In the part of the room visible to the fighter, he could see a spiral staircase winding upwards. Standing next to it were two buggleburrs, tall slender goblins with yellow-green leathery skin, huge eyes and bat-like ears. These were dressed in blue and silver livery, and each held a crank or a lever attached to the staircase in their hands. The pair did not acknowledge Thrax, who pulled his head back and closed the door. Rather than try the stairs right now, the party decided to check the rest of this floor first.
The party backtracked to the foyer and headed down the corridor, stopping at a door halfway down. Just as they did, Thrax felt the carpet give way below his feet, and only quick action by Ranza grabbing his collar stopped the fighter from plummeting to the forest floor (and his likely death) 200' below. And just as they were recovering from that, from the area of the foyer appeared two more buggleburrs. These were armed with large bardiches, and drove at the party swinging their weapons. Unfortunately, Erthis had gotten shuffled to the rear and she was felled by a terrible blow. The baby was luckily unharmed, and while most turned to fight the foe, Gnarl crawled under everyones feet to reach forward and drag the newborn to safety. The two buggleburrs were cut down in short order, and once stripped of a bit of silver coin, were unceremoniously dumped down the hole to the forest below...
2 silver candelabras (300sp each)
1 bottle of Pale Gold Cider
1 bottle of Black Wine
3 Giant Bees