Peli’s Post #4 – Who knew toothpicks could be so vicious?
Pelorday, Aprantus 30, 1017 A.G. (Continued)
After taking a deep breath upon completion of this exciting battle with the Hyena Men, we prepare to collect our usual payment (otherwise known as looting the bodies). While we are in the process of searching, we notice that Laurence is wandering off. Ungus yells at him but gets no response but a wave of the hand. NICE! So we all shrug and continue our search. Our effort was rewarded with a really nice Garnet that we estimate is worth about 50GP and we find 77GP on one of the Hyena Men.
Kuiperia notices an “S” like marking on the horned half-helm of one of the Hyena Men and through her vast memory, recalls it being the symbol for the Black Fang Gnolls. Kuiperia then tells us all about these Gnolls. Ungus and Itzehl meanwhile have a little verbal banter regarding her warning us of danger ahead. That settled, they also talk about “her” forest and growing up there and how it has changed. Not one for being left out of the conversation, I tell the newcomers about the baby White Dragon Farralax and how he promised to help us one day if we need him. Kuiperia also tells us stories about Twig Blights and how to kill them and how they reproduce. At one point I start to fall into a trance, the stories were soooo exciting!
We find a campsite and spend the night. Not having any more of the “special” soup, we each scrounge up our own food from our rations and set up watches.
Erathday, Mayantus 1, 1017 A.G.
During breakfast I remark to the group that today mark’s one month since I started out adventuring with others. My time traveling alone doesn’t count as I traveled quietly and incognito. I also remark how I actually started out with an entirely different set of companions. Some only lasted a day or so, others a few weeks. I am grateful for all of them and the many adventures we had, but hope that the present set of companions will stick together for a longer time.
After breaking camp, we proceed west towards Itzehl’s forest. We ask her what the name of the forest is but she just mystically says she will tell us later. As we start out, Itzehl has her companion owl named Basil scout out ahead and uses him to “see” the lay of the land and any dangers ahead. Basil suddenly became flustered and upset and Itzehl can “see” flashes of something chasing & following him. She identifies it as a 2-headed black crow and perceives that it is not attacking Basil, but merely following him. Itzehl tells me this in Elven and Kuiperia overhears. I neglect to tell Ungus this. As the party approaches closer to the woods we can see the unnatural crow and hear it screeching. As it perches 50 feet away and 15 feet up in a tree branch, it speaks in Elven “Lucen wants to see you, Lucen wants to see you, Lucen wants to see you.” This I do translate to poor Ungus who is the only one who doesn’t understand the beautiful, superior language of Elven.
Upon hearing the name Lucen, Itzehl explains that he is a Satyr that she is familiar with and tells us that he is a loner opportunist, a big blow-hard who is always looking out for himself and what he can get out of any situation – in other words – a real pain in the ass. But she does say that if he wants to see us, we shouldn’t ignore him, as he probably has some good intel for us. She says that she knows how to get to him, but he is a long way off. He usually hangs out at an ancient Eladrin fey circle. I don’t know how I feel about that! Anyway, as she told us yesterday, there are quite a few fey circles in “her” forest and she proposes we go to one and use it to teleport to him. I tell her that I just happen to have a vial of Green Dragon blood that we can use and take it out of my pack and hand it to her. With just a few turns along a thickly wooded path, we come to a fey circle. While walking she tells us that the crow was a conjuration of Lucen’s – that it was his way of showing off. As we approach the fey circle we all feel the forest getting quiet, too quiet – and getting chillier too. Much too cold for Mayantus 1st, we think.
We all step into the fey circle and Itzehl utilizes the dragon blood and a simple enchantment and we immediately teleport to a deeper, darker part of the forest. As we step out of the circle we hear someone exclaim “Milady, welcome. It’s been too long since we last spoke.” Lucen then steps out from behind a bush and approaches Itzehl. She doesn’t look at all pleased as she barely acknowledges his presence. He tries to be courtly and patronly but only comes across as sniveling and slimy. He says that rumor has it she has been away several days. He says that new developments have occurred. Would she like to hear about them? We tell him to speak his mind and inform us of the situation. At that point he starts to bargain with us, asking for money or shiny baubles and such. I tell him we can offer him something but he has to give us the info first. He keeps insisting on the reward first and so as to not prolong this I suggest that Itzehl give him 5 GP as pre-payment with more later. He takes the gold but only needles Itzehl saying she is losing her control of the forest, and that Klaatu is taking over. I tantalize him with the prospect of giving him a Garnet and show it to him. He wants me to hand it to him but I don’t want to fall for that old trick. At this point Itzehl tells us we are not going to get anywhere with him without paying him first. She says that as slimy as he is, his word is good and he will tell us what we need to know. So I hand him the Garnet we recently “found” and tell him it is worth 100GP. So now he starts talking. He tells us a long story about a bear who took up residence in a cave near a waterfall and how the unseasonably cold weather came at the same time. He tells us that a contingent of Twig Blights guard the entrance to the cave. He also tells us that this Klaatu character is a Centaur over in the western part of the forest and he is starting to call himself “King of the Forest”. After completing his story he then proceeds to whine to us looking for more treasure! Some of us try to reason with him and some of us start to threaten him, so ultimately he decides it’s best to leave while he is still ahead of the game. Kuiperia follows him a short way just to see if he is going to meet anyone as she highly distrusts him. We all wait for her to come back and she reports that he just stopped at a cluster of rocks in a nearby clearing and is counting his loot and talking to his “precious” gemstone! We just shake our heads and start on our way.
Itzehl knows the way and says the best way to approach is by circling around and come in from the west, which we do. Kuiperia scouts out in advance and causes Twig Blights to appear. At first we don’t know how many there are as they are blending in with the forest. Ungus take off after Kuiperia leaving us fey creatures at the edge of the clearing. A long, drawn-out battle ensued with the nasty things. Ungus pushed one of the Twig Blights away with Divine force. Then the little shit jumped into the stream and swam under the waterfall and into the cave. Then we hear a loud growl coming from the cave. We don’t have time to ponder that much, as the Twig Blights keep pounding us. I wish I could tell you that it was an easy victory for us but in truth it came at great effort. All of us with the exception of Kuiperia were bloodied. I came close to losing consciousness but managed to hold up. Itzehl was out most of the battle and at risk of dying. Ultimately we were able to overcome the vicious little toothpicks! At final tally we killed all six of them, two being of a vine type nature and the other four being shrub-like. We think this is a good time to make a retreat and rest for a short while. I mumble to myself that we sure could have used Grommel’s help this day – or even that strange new guy, Laurence. As we walk away, licking our wounds, we hear another loud growl come from the cave. . . . .