The Harrowing

Bewitched, Bothered and Beheaded
Sofie's Journal

Moonday, 1 Arodus – Sunday, 6 Arodus, 4723

Finally, I am back in the Verduran Forest on Golarion! It is such a relief to be able to write this at a desk, after a good night's sleep in a real bed! But I am getting ahead of myself. When I last left off, we were poised on the doorstep of Rhoswen's audience chamber.

After making what I suspect was a rather cursory inspection for traps, Knives drunkenly threw the door open. Inside, the evil fairy queen was waiting for us in a chamber with four wooden pillars holding up its vaulted ceiling. Cages of songbirds were located in the corners. Rhoswen had this weird mirror with her, which she used to show us the battle taking place between her spriggans and the fey alliance. She made the usual villain threats, which are honestly just getting tiresome at this point.

But it was just a distraction while an air elementally of Rhoswen positioned itself to ambush Knives. After hitting her once, it swooped past us to take a position behind the group. 

I was not about to let some fairy witch ensorcel me, so I drank my potion of protection from evil and rushed to draw the air elemental into battle.  Tignus joined me in attacking it, which was a strange site to behold.

Knives and Kubo, meanwhile, pushed into the audience chamber. Rhoswen used her magic to strike fear in Knives' heart. Then the evil fey queen stepped up to one of the wooden pillars and vanished. A freezing mist erupted around the doorway to the chamber, cutting Tignus and I off from the others.

I used Wyrmsmite to cut the air elemental in half. The others did not seem to appreciate my joke about clearing the air, but I think it was pretty good. I charged into the mist and it was fucking cold. I may have spent a few years here in the south, but it was cold even by the standards of my fatherland. 

Tignus just bounded through the fog and then tried to talk to the plants. I think it was trying to question them about Queen Rhoswen's location.

Rhoswen then led us on a long chase through the room, as the freezing fog reposition itself, slowly sapping the heat from our bones. After a longer amount of time than I care to admit, we realized that the fairy queen was hiding inside the wooden pillars like a shy dryad. 

Tignus used his shape wood spell to split the pillars open so we could get to her. The big tiger-dwarf pounces on her and we all gang up on the witch. She managed to afflict me with a really foul curse, but that only stoked the rage in my heart. It was I who delivered the killing blow. That part I remember clearly.

Once the queen was dead, I slumped onto the throne to rest while Knives and Tagnus ransacked the room. Kubo severed Rhoswen's head and tied it to the Crook of Cildhureen. I am somewhat embarrassed to say that I accepted it as a worthy trophy.  

Knives released the songbirds, but Tagnus realizes they were not true birds but polymorphed people. Using some hidden reservoir of charisma, he persuaded the birds to land on him so that he could escort them from the palace.

First, though, we went upstairs to thoroughly plunder the queen's bedroom. Then we used her magical elevator to reach the highest chamber in the palace. There, Tagnus attempted to use the staff to restore the Faneguard spell that seals off the Fellnight Realm. It took him a couple of tries, but he was ultimately successful. After a moment of celebration, we realized that we had to trudge back to the distant mushroom circle in order to leave this place. As I was debilitated by the curse, Kubo insisted on lugging the weird mirror on his back. Knives got drunk on plundered wine, which at least made things entertaining.

After several days' travel, we finally reached the fungal ring and transported back to the Material Plane. The difference between realities was palpable. I'd forgotten how much I missed colors, actual vibrant colors.

The Verduran alliance and the good people of Bellis hailed us as heroes. I was not going to disagree with them. We made some sales in town, Kubo and I collected our pets, and we were put up in the nicest place in town.

After resting up, Kubo announced he was moving on. We wished him well on his journey back to his home and wife. Though we did not always see eye to eye, he was a brave and honorable man. I hope that those evil "oni" cease to trouble him. He has more than earned a bit of peace.

And so have we. The three of us are heading back to Belhaim tomorrow, and we've all sworn  to never accept a wedding invitation from strangers ever again.

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Commanding the Plants
Sofie's Journal

Moonday, 1 Arodus, 4723

Thankfully, no one discovered us while we slept in the pantry.  

Knives wanted to finish exploring the palace level we were on, so we checked the last door at the end of the hall. Peering through it, we saw that it opened onto a balcony garden. The plants, which were similar to but not quite the same as flora from the Verduran Forest. Unlike everywhere else in this wretched plane, the plants here were colorful and healthy. The most distinguishing feature was an apple tree with silver apples that literally glowed.

The whole place could not have shouted "trap" louder if we gave it a bullhorn.

But Knives would not be deterred. Using a throwing dagger and her whip, she managed to dislodge and retrieve one of the apples. She began cutting it into pieces to share. Bioluminescence is not a great marker of edibility in normal circumstances, so I urged her not to have any. But she went ahead and ate a piece, becoming rapidly intoxicated.

With Knives leading the way, we ventured up into a side tower. I did my best to be stealthy, but that's hard to do in metal winged boots. The noise drew the attention of a group of spriggans on the tower roof, and Knives decided to set a trap for them. She ignited a smoke stick, drawing their attention while creating a screen.

Two spriggans ventured down the ladder from the tower roof, right into the clutches of Knives and Tignus lurking in the smoke. As the vapors cleared, two more spriggans loosed their crossbows from the trapdoor in the ceiling. Kubo launched arrows back at them, but they slammed the door shut and deflect an arrow down into me. I was unlucky enough to have just charged up to strike one of the beleaguered spriggans on the ground. Knives and I finished it off, while Tignus bit off the head of the other.

The spriggans above reopened the trap door and I took the opportunity to leap up and attack them. Knives followed up the ladder after me, while Tignus leapt up overhead. We made short work of them.

We found ourselves on top of a tower looking over the rooftops of the palace. There was another guard tower across from us where the spriggans were on alert. But the high tower in which Queen Rhoswen presumably resides was only accessible by walk along a rooftop that was covered by a canopy of intertwined branches.

We steeled ourselves for a final confrontation with the fey queen, but we were ambushed by yet more spriggans hiding in the canopy. They tried to engage in hit and run tactics, attacking from cover and disappearing into the leaves. They also used the three dimensionality of the space against us, attacking from all sides and directly above. When we charged them on the ground, they would scamper up the branches out of reach.

I used my winged boots to chase after them, while Kubo kept having to switch between his sword and his bow. Knives had the hardest time of it pinning down an enemy. Tignus, even in his tiger form, was able to speak to the plants in the canopy and get them to stop providing cover for the spriggans. That made our job much easier, but it was still grueling work cutting the little gray bastard to shreds.

Now we've taken a breather to patch up our wounds before pressing on to what I hope will be the final fight with Rhoswen. I am so fucking sick of this place.

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Ire of the Tiger
Sofie's Journal

Sunday, 31 Erastus, 4723

I am writing this inside a fairy pantry, where we are packed cheek to jowl for some quick rest. The body odor situation is beginning reach dire proportions, especially in this confined space, but if we can kill  Rhoswen tomorrow I think I can manage. Now, where were we…

After barricading the door against those awful baying wargs, we set out to explore the rest of the ground floor of Rhoswen’s palace. Knives nearly fell into an awful pit trap in the entry hall that was hidden behind an illusion, but otherwise there was little of interest. We decided to return to the room with the figment of Rhoswen and take the stairs up to the next level.

We arrived in a room full of dancing fey creatures, cavorting in some sort of fairy ball. The moment we began to hear music, Knives stuck pieces of ham in her ears and Kubo used pieces of cloth. I was not convinced it would do any good against fey magic—and I was not going to jam greasy meat in my ears. It is both unsanitary and wasteful.

I tried to carefully lead the group around the edge of the party, but my feet began to act up against my will. I was drawn into the dance, dragging Knives along with me by the hand. That was when we began to notice the arrows that the fucking invisible pixies were firing at us.

We very quickly determined that the visible dancing fey were just illusions. Tignus, using his tiger senses, was able to find and dismember a pixie on ground level. But two more remained above us, out of reach, while I was busy forcibly kicking my heels up on the dance floor. It turns out that dancing in armor is both difficult and tiring.

Kubo tried to pinpoint the pixies and hit them with arrows, but they were resistant to his attacks.

Finally, I was able to break free of that embarrassing hex, but I was faced with the fact that damned pixies were out of reach. Since they would be resistant to the steel of my throwing axe, I decided to toss an alchemist’s fire at them. But I gave it too much heft and the bottle smashed against the ceiling, setting the wood aflame. That was an oopsie.

As smoke began to gather, I suggested that we exit the room, in order to draw the pixies closer. But Knives and Kubo had their damned ears blocked up, so it was hard to communicate with them. And conversation with Tignus really only goes one direction.

Once I had opened the door to the next room, they began to get the message. The door led to some sort of dining hall, with an attached kitchen around the corner in the back. We could hear melodious voices in the kitchen.

Tagnus used this opportunity to shift from tiger to bat. Meanwhile, we realized we needed to help our lumberjack friend across the chamber to safety. Kubo and I tried to escort him and draw the pixies’ attention as they continued to rain arrows down at us.

Then roots and branches began to sprout aggressively from the ceiling. It took me a moment to realize that Bat-Tagnus had cast an entangle spell to force the pixies to descend lower. He then fluttered up and nestled in my armor, which was most disconcerting.

It was during this time that Knives must have stowed away somewhere in the dining room.

With the pixies now closer to the ground, Kubo made a running leap into the air to try to slash at one of them with his katana. He really is quite graceful, even in all that armor. And he was rewarded with a cry of pain and a spatter of blood. With that example, I had to make my own attempt as well and likewise drew blood with my cold iron longsword. Then Bat-Tagnus stuck his little head out from under my armor and began spraying water up at the invisible pixies to make them more, well, visible.

Knives tells me that at this time the two satyrs in the kitchen came into the dining room to investigate the noise from the dance hall. She was able to get the drop on one of them and stuffed a tanglefoot bag in his mouth to keep him quiet while she knifed him in the kidneys.

Knives (who is reading over my shoulder as I write this) wants me to note that she “shanked him like a fucking punk.” This feels like unnecessary editorializing.

It was around this time that Bat-Tagnus fluttered out of my clothes and turned into a tiger again. Things began to go not so well for us in the dance hall. I leapt up to make another strike at a pixie but missed. Kubo jumped too high and got stuck in Tagnus’ entangle spell.

That’s when the other satyr, the one who was not busy getting stuck like a pig (thank you Knives), began to play this terrible dirge on his pipes. Knives and Tagnus were both shaken by the dire noise. Yes, Knives, you were shaken, I saw you.

Our lumberjack friend and I, unfortunately, succumbed to the full force of the spell and fled in sheer terror. He dashed back downstairs and I nearly plunged upstairs, but managed to get ahold of myself at the last instant. I spent the rest of the fight huddled on the stairs trying to work up my courage. It was very shameful, but a harsh reminder of the powers these fey spells can have over us.

Kubo was either unaffected, or simply too far away from the satyr for the spell to take hold. Instead, he continued to be stuck in the entangle spell, where he methodically took apart the two fucking pixies.

I could hear the satyrs complaining about the unsanitary intrusion into their cooking area, followed by screams and gargles. I believe Tignus tore up one of them and Knives slew the other. Knives is providing some very graphic details, some of which have to be false, and I am not writing them down because she made fun of me for being vulnerable to fairy magic. Which is a perfectly reasonable thing to be vulnerable to!

Once the battle was done, I managed to find and return with our lumberjack friend. The others had finished looting the area by then, and we’d all come to recognize that we lacked the stamina for another fight.

We decided to clean up the area as best we could, carving up and hiding the bodies the big cauldrons the satyrs were brewing. It was grisly work, made worse by how hungry I was getting. After that, we retreated into this cramped pantry to rest and recover. The lumberjack has first watch, so I had best pack up if I want to get some sleep I before my turn.

 

I have accepted Knives’ apology, but it is too late for me to go back and add the details she wanted. So instead, she gets to sleep in the spot next to Kubo. Which is what I think she really wanted anyway.

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Friggin' Spriggans
Sofie's Journal

Coming Soon!

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Satyr Slayer
Sofie's Journal

Coming Soon!

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Tenzekil's Last Stand
Sofie's Journal

Fireday, 28 Erastus, 4723

Today I was mind controlled, attacked by a giant bee, and walked into a nightmare realm of shadows, but I am pretty sure what will haunt me most is the image of Knives wringing pixie blood out Tagnus' beard.

After our battle with the invisible pixies, where I believe that my thoughts were compromised by fell magic, we set about repairing the wall of ward stones. I told the others that if they ever suspect me of having been charmed, they should of ask me to drink my potion of protection from evil

Our repair efforts were interrupted by the arrival of that evil bleached gnome Tenzekil, who was accompanied by a giant man-sized be and a swarm of regular-sized bees. Looking even more haggard than he had before, Tenzekil warned us that Rhoswen's magic is too strong to resist and that even he could not stand against it. Which honestly sounds pretty self-aggrandizing now that I think of it.

Naturally, we refused to back down. Tenzekil responded with a blast of magical lightning and battle was joined. Knives and I took on the giant bee, while Tagnus engaged with the bee swarm and Kubo went straight for the gnome. The surviving invisible pixie peppered us with magic arrows, but thankfully none of its spells took hold.

Knives got the killing blow on the bee, which distressed Tenzekil a great deal. I should feel sorry for the poor creature, but right now all I feel is numb. Tagnus naturally incinerated the bee swarm and all attention turned to the gnome. Tenzekil dropped to his knees, crying out "Curse you Rhoswen, you've cost me everything I've ever loved."

Kubo was poised behind him, ready to deliver the killing blow, when fGAFSgsDAFGfssgfgSgSGfFDHFAg

Apologies for the ink blot. I shall have to clean it up later.

Needless to say, with the Tenzekil situation resolved, our remaining concern was the damn invisible pixie. The druid transformed into a bat and managed to pinpoint the fairy's position with echolocation. He then ensnared the creature within a wall of wind. Knives, Tagnus and I all converged on the creature to turn it into a pulp. My friends then managed to disgust me by choosing to bathe in the red mist. 

Knives realized that pixie blood might be valuable, so she set about squeezing some of it from Tagnus' beard and into a bottle. It was truly disgusting. Afterwards, they discovered what I had realized days ago—without dear Aldern, we have no means of magically cleaning ourselves. And it turns out that pixie blood really starts to stink after a few hours.

Tagnus used his magics to consult with the grumpy local trees about a good place to camp, as well as directions to Rhoswen's palace. He led us to a clearing, where he has cast several spells to create a secure dwelling for us. I need to set my pen down now as the hour grows late.

Starday, 29 Erastus, 4723 

I didn't think my hatred of this place could grow any stronger. I was wrong.

After a cold, gloomy breakfast, we set out for a day of trudging towards Rhoswen's distant palace. Although there is a path through the dark forest, it is not well maintained and we encountered many obstacles. Knives and I were able shimmy our way through some thick vines. Tagnus just walked through them without issue, but Kubo had to cut his way.

Next, we encountered some very large spiderwebs. Naturally, we suspected a giant spider was nearby, and we glimpsed a shape moving high above in the canopy. Knives managed to deftly navigate the webs. I knew I couldn't match her gracefulness, so I tried to just charge through. That was a bad idea. I got stuck in place by an exceptionally large web.

Tagnus simply flew past with his damn bat cloak. I managed to wrench myself free and tore through the remaining webs, punching a hole that Kubo followed. I came out the other side in a foul mood, covered with sticky white spiderwebs. Knives snickered when I got stuck, but she is a good friend and tried to help me clean off. It didn't do much good—only a wizard could get the damn webs off me in any timely fashion.

Soon after, we paused to eat some more cold rations. Kubo managed to terrify us by relating how he'd heard that if one eats the food in a fairy realm, they are unable to leave it.

Our next fucking obstacle was a big bog. I started to scout the safest path, but Tagnus suggested that we just fly across. He used his cape of the bat to ferry Knives to the other side. I scooped up Kubo and carried him over with my winged boots.

After the bog, we passed by an area of noxious, rotten odors. The others managed to pass through it without incident, but I caught a whiff of it and puked my lunch out onto the trail. Knives is a good friend and held my hair back, but I still ended up with flecks of vomit stuck to my spiderwebs. I am a complete fucking mess and need a bath immediately, but we have another half of a fucking day to travel before we even reach the fey queen's palace.

But I am getting ahead of myself.

As we got closer to the palace, we tried to move with greater stealth. Kubo and I are terrible at this and we managed to get spotted by a pair of spriggans. The two little fairies didn't know what hit them.

Tagnus called down a swarm of fangs and then an entangle spell to harm the creatures and keep them from fleeing back to their masters. Kubo hung back a loosed arrows. I killed a fleeing spriggan with a toss of my hand axe Kasta to the back of their head. Knives managed to shank the last survivor as he his held is pinned Tagnus.

The dwarf then found a hidden cave where we can rest up for the evening. We buried the bodies within the stone. As I write this, I can see another patrol of spriggans passing on the road below, oblivious to the loss of their fellows.

Tomorrow, we reach Rhoswen's palace. I swear, if she has a bath house I will wade right into that fucking thing. I feel gross, and this gloomy oppressive plane magnifies every awful sensation and foul mood. I am trying to store up every grievance so as to unload them all on Rhoswen when we see her.

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Bee-lieve It or Not
Sofie's Journal

Fireday, 28 Erastus, 4723

This fucking place. It is driving me crazy. Crazier, I suppose. 

Where to begin. I think the trouble started right as we reached the gap in the ward stones that had sealed off the Fellnight Queen Rhoswen in her personal shadowy prison realm. Two enormous swarms of bees emerged from behind a low hill on the other side of the stone wall. The swarms, which did not look like any of the twelve species of bee with which I am familiar, began clogging the gap and barring our path forward.

It was at this moment that I was contacted by a friendly fairy. At least,I thought it was a friendly fairy. Now I'm not so sure.

The creature was invisible, but called out that this was all a trick and that we should turn back. I cannot tell you how relieved I was to finally find a friendly fey creature in this miserable plane of existence. It made a good point as well; Rhoswen's forces would likely concentrate their defenses on any weak point. But when I tried to persuade the others, they refused to listen!

Knives wandered off alone to investigate the voices, and Tagnus summoned that big ball of fire he likes to play with and sent it bouncing towards the bees. Naturally, the swarm responds by enveloping him in a cloud of stinging insects.

By this point, I was growing quite frustrated and tried to pull Tagnus away from the mess he was creating. Then Kubo tripped me! I fell face first into the dirty gray soil.

The dragon within me was pretty close to waking at this point. I just could not believe my friends would be so rude, disrespectful and even violent towards me! Even Knives just left me to fend for herself. I managed to keep my cool, barely, because after all they were my close companions. Well, I managed to keep from going completely berserk anyway. I did sort of shout threats at Kubo and then shove him to the ground.

When the Minkaian rose to his feet, he delivered threats of his own. Something about the soft way he spoke chilled me, and I left the two of them to the bees while I went looking for Knives. I thought that if I found my bestie, she could help persuade the others to escape this trap while we still could.

She was pretty easy to find, even in this gloomy shithole, because she was in the process of lighting the forest on fire with alchemist potions. Apparently there were several nasty little pixie's in the area that were harassing her. 

Behind me, I could hear Tagnus battling the bee swarms and telltale fwoom as he transformed into a fire elemental. 

As I drew near the treeline, I saw one of the pixies on fire. I threw my handaxe Kasta at it, but the weapon got stuck in the tree branches. Knives managed to get close enough to stab it though. Kubo also began loosing arrows at it, with better aim. By this point I was fed up with everything. I didn't know where my fairy friend had gotten off to and since the others were intent on stupidly fighting it out, I figured we had to see it through.

The bee swarms had recognized that attacking a being of living fire was not a winning strategy. So they came after Kubo and I. For my part, I outran the swarm and caught up to the pixie, slaying the filthy thing with the cold iron longsword I'd hung onto for this purpose.

Knives tossed a dart at the swarm I had escaped from and managed to kill several bees. Including the queen I suppose as the swarm broke apart and buzzed off. Tagnus burned the other swarm to a crisp. 

Then we heard a terrible thrumming noise from the hill that the bees had emerged from. Soaring up from behind the rise was the largest bee I have ever seen, the size of a horse if not larger. It glanced at us then, flew away, in the direction we are traveling. I told Knives that she's going to need a bigger dart.

We've been collecting our gear and cleaning up from the ambush. I am left wondering about that friendly fairy. The others found him unpersuasive, and Kubo thinks he was messing with my mind. 

I'm starting to believe him. To think I was manipulated so easily, that my reason—the core of who I am—could be twisted like that. For all my strength, and my intelligence, those fairies turned me into a plaything. I won't let it happen again. There is nothing in this cursed place that can be trusted, other than the friends I brought with me.

The dragon stirs within my heart. The next fairy I see had better watch out.

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The Dark Forest
Sofie's Journal

Fireday, 28 Erastus, 4723

I hate this place, I hate this place, I hate this place. It feels like the entire plane of existence is slowly smothering me.

As I mentioned in my previous entry, we have been tasked with venturing into the wretched Fellnight Realm, restoring the ward stones that keep the evil fey queen Rhoswen bound within, and then travel to the highest tower to conduct a ritual with the Crook of Seldurine to complete the binding.

After we bartered with our hosts for some additional supplies and left our animals in their care, Lord Palombier and his unicorns offered to teleport us directly to the portal to the Fellnight Realm. Knives called dibs on riding Lord Palombier, which felt kind of greedy, but I was able to find an equally beautiful creature to ride. Kubo took a distinguished older unicorn. Tagnus somehow ended up with the ugliest unicorn. I swear that it had humps and spat like a camel!

The unicorns transported us to a fairy circle in the deep forest. Lord Palombier told us that we simply had to enter the circle and will our way into the Fellnight Realm. Getting back might be more difficult.

As we stepped into the ring of mushrooms, Tagnus came to believe that they might grant him special powers and licked one of the toadstools. I don't think he was expecting it to transform him into a toad, and we were all surprised when toad kept his tangled beard. "Toadnas" perched on Kubo's shoulder and the two of them entered the Fellnight Realm.

I hung back for a moment and confided in Knives about how truly afraid I am to be traveling into the domain of evil fairies. These creatures are the stuff of nightmares in the Linnorm Kingdoms. Knives was very supportive, and I'm glad she's here with me.

The Fellnight Realm is a sickly, gloomy shadow of the Verduran Forest. The trees are much more sparse, and covered in thorns. Knives got scraped up climbing one of them to get a look at our surroundings. We began making our way through the forest towards the wall of stones that makes up the Faneguard. Our first task is to restore the stolen ward stones to their place in the wall.

Even with Toadnas and I navigating, it was slow going through the dark forest. We steered clear of anything unusual, like the eerily pristine pool of water or the abandoned elven village. We heard wargs howling to one another in the distance, and Toadnas used a bit of magic to allow us to pass without a trace so the beasts wouldn't pick up our scent. 

We started to see large clusters of torches through the trees. These were great camps of spriggans, hundreds of them, that we had to carefully wend our way between without being spotted by their patrols.

Unfortunately, even with the greatest care we still managed to walk into an ambush. A trio of spriggans mounted on wargs surrounded us, with two moving in to attack while the third circled around the battle. I remembered to activate my winged boots this time, but I mistakenly chose to charge the warg to my right rather than trying to close with the third warg. As the battle began, that third rider raced away from the battle, no doubt to alert the spriggan army. The other two riders and their beasts fell quickly before us, and we made haste towards our objective.

We've reached the wall now and have just reached the hole. There aren't any spriggans in sight, but I get the sense we aren't alone.

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The Verduran Conclave
Sofie's Journal

Oathday, 27 Erastus, 4723

Things have a taken a turn for the strange. 

After collecting the magic ward stones from beneath the waterfall, we found ourselves in a bad spot. Tenzekil and at least 40 spriggans had surrounded us and demanded that we surrender. Kubo was in no mood parlay or lay down arms. I was starting to think that I would would be joining my ancestors in Valenhal. I didn't even notice Knives taking the bag of holding from me.

Then the velvety voice of Lord Palombier the unicorn called out to us, asking that we leap from the cliff. Kubo made the jump first, and I did not hear a crunch when he landed. The spriggans loosed a volley of crossbow bolts at us and one slipped past my breastplate painfully. Knives jumped from the cliff next, and Tagnus followed but stumbled when he tried to jump. He toppled over the edge and turned into an earth elemental to merge with the stone when landing.

I was the last to make the leap of faith. When I dropped through the fading mists, I landed on a unicorn's back. Knives was riding Lord Palombier himself, that lucky girl, and Kubo had a unicorn as well. There was a whole herd of the beautiful creatures waiting here. Tagnus returned to his dwarf self and climbed aboard another one, at which point the unicorns teleported us away. 

We materialized in a hidden clearing beneath the thick forest canopy. We were not alone alone. Aside from the unicorn herd, there were also wood elves, centaurs, a wide variety of fey creatures, the treant Vinroot, and a green bear.

After healing our wounds, Lord Palombier explained to us that this was a conclave of different factions of inhabitants from the Verduran Forest. Unfortunately, there were significant divisions between the groups. Palombier hoped we might be able to convince them to unite against Rhoswen the Fellnight Queen.

To gather more information, Tagnus communed with the plants. He learned that the Centaurs run wild, ignoring the boundaries of the Elves and Fey, and many want to fight the humans who despoil the forest. The Elves and Fey have a border dispute. Some Fey also want to go after the Centaurs. 

We decided to split up and speak to each faction individually: I to the Elves, Kubo to the Fey, Tagnus to Vinroot, and Knives to the Centaurs.

I have never been especially well-spoken, but I am fluent in Elvish when probably counted for something. Their leader Lialera Shantru was a warrior, so we also found some shared respect on that front as well. In blunt language, she told me that the Centaurs have been running wild through the Elves' lands, ignoring the Elves' efforts to steer them onto particular paths. 

She also said that the "horse perverts" also overrun their crops and violate their "privacy." Though I am not the most worldly person, even I could read through the lines there.

Lialera also told me that the Elves have a dispute with the Fey: the river river marking the border between their realms had shifted, and the Elves felt the Fey are encroaching on the territory where they cultivate their recreational drugs. I suggested that they could reach a land sharing agreement with the Fey so that they can retain access to their "herbs." Lialera said she would only accept a solemn agreement with Arifa.

While I was speaking with the Elves, Kubo was negotiating with the Fey leaders, the satyr Malagorn and the nymph Arifa. They told him that the shifting of the river's course revealed ancient circles of magic rocks that the Fey want access to. But the Elves have sent warriors in that are keeping them from the rocks. Kubo, perhaps overhearing my conversation, suggested reaching a land-sharing agreement with the Elves.

The Fey also didn't like how the Centaurs would run through their territory, disrupting their merrymaking and bothering them. It was becoming clear that the Centaurs were major troublemakers.

Tagnus talked to the treant Vinroot and the bear, a wildshaped druid Devarre. The dwarf managed to obtain another gourd of nodrim, and learned that there was a barrier between the realms that needs to be restored. Tagnus asked if it would work on squirrels, but didn't get a firm answer.

After reporting back, Tagnus shared some nodrim with Knives. She took it about as well as I did, which meant she went to her meeting very inebriated.

Fortunately, the Centaurs had all the maturity of a gang of teenagers, so her bellicose drunkenness probably helped. Based on what I could gather from after the fact, the Centaurs wanted the Elves to judge their races, which is very culturally important to them. They also want the Fey to stop warping their tracks. Knives suggested they set a racing season, so they won't disrupt their neighbors.

After conferring with each other, we presented our findings to the conclave and urged them to unite against the Fellnight Queen. To my great surprise, we were successful!

The party is still going on and I should get back to it before it gets much later. 

Fireday, 28 Erastus, 4723 

It is growing serious.

Knives woke up in the middle of the night, fatigued and wounded. She had received a disturbing vision of Rhoswen's victory. 

The Conclave is concerned. They want to send us into the Fellnight Realm, to restore the seal and vanquish Rhoswen, while their forces battle her army of spriggans.

This is not exactly what I signed up for when Knives and I came here to attend a wedding. But I don't suppose we have any choice other than to confront this evil head on.

I need to write a letter to Aldern before we leave this plane of existence. 

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Dealing with Druids
Sofie's Journal

Toilday, 25 Erastus, 4723

We beat up an old man, helped him make soup, and then watched over him while he talked to the trees. It has been a day. 

We found Devarre in his hidden cabin. He is a wild looking fellow, his skin and hair tinged green. It did not take long to realize that there was something very off about him and his cabin, which had not been used for days. I used the "ubiquitous" code word to alert Knives (and realized we need to teach the code to Kubo). I confronted the druid over his strange behavior and he continued to lie to my face. This made me very angry.

After he was unconscious, bleeding on the ground, an eerie glowing shape emerged from his form—a wil-o'-wisp! Kubo swiftly eliminated the aberration and we realized that druid had been possessed by it. 

We tended to Devarre's wounds and carried him over to his bed to rest. Kubo stood guard outside, while Knives and I inspected his cabin. I convinced her that we couldn't take anything, since he was still alive.

When the druid woke, we had words. He is an ornery sort and far too obsessed with becoming a bear, but there is a strange charm to him. He told us about Rhoswen, this powerful fey being who was exiled from the First World and barred from the Material Plane by the magic of the standing stones, which binds her realm to the Plane of Shadow. Those bindings are weakening and her realm is leaking into our world. Devarre was trying to commune with the forest to learn about the strange mists when the wil-o'-wisp took him.

Before doing anything else, the strange old druid demanded that we help him make some soup. Knives seemed to be very excited about this. I don't know if she had ever had a grandfather figure growing up. Kubo and I, on the other hand, were less enthusiastic. The soup, however, was very tasty once it was done.

Once we had eaten, Devarre asked that we accompany him up to the hill with the standing stones and watch over him while he communed with the forest to identify the source of the mists. It was a lovely day out, if a bit hot, and thankfully we were not ambushed by spriggans. I did spy a young brown bear trying to cross the field and getting dangerously close to one of Devarre's pit traps. I was able to usher it back into the forest.

It was several hours before the druid's ritual was complete. He said that the forest showed him an albino gnome—Tenzekil—taking magic ward stones and dropping them into a pool by a waterfall at Dead Man's Drop. The stones appeared to be causing the mists to rise up from the waters. Devarre also noted that Tenzekil appeared to be burned by handling the stones.

The druid also gave us some history on dead man's drop, that it was the site of a smuggler's suicide. He was rumored to have hidden treasure in the area.

It is a two-day journey to the waterfall, so we have decided to spend the night in his cabin. Knives claimed the big bear rug, while Kubo and I have taken to our bed rolls. Even so, it is very pleasant to be sleeping indoors again.

Wealday, 26 Erastus, 4723  

When we awoke after a night in the druid's cabin, we decided to clean up since we've spent several days now in the wilds. Kubo went down to the river first to bathe, and Knives announced she was going to relieve herself outside shortly after.

I am ashamed to say that I suspected she was trying to spy on Kubo and actually went looking for her. But it turns out my suspicions were misplaced. I should try to give her the benefit of the doubt next time.

The river water was delightfully cold, just to my tastes, so I lingered there longer than I should have. When I returned to the cabin, I found that Kubo was cleaning up my armor. He also helped braid my hair and was surprisingly good at it. Once he was done, I painted myself again with woad and explained its significance to him.

As we were finishing our preparations, the emerald gem began to glow brightly again. Knives hastily tossed it to floor as Tagnus popped back out. I was very glad to see the dwarf again. We need his expertise and his ax in this quest.

I was less pleased when, after we caught the dwarf up on what had transpired, he and Knives began demanding to drink the rest of the treant's nodrim. Kubo and I dissuaded them, for now, on the grounds that the elixir's barkskin properties should be used only at an appropriate time.

We also informed Tagnus of our growing suspicion that he had done something to anger a fey creature known as the Emperor of Squirrels. The dwarf had no memory of what he could have done, but then again, his memory is far from perfect.

Finally, we set out for Dead Man's Drop with Tagnus leading the way. It started to rain in the afternoon, and our druid guide found us a heavy thicket where we could take shelter in a hollow. I think a bear must have carved it out of the thicket, but it is long abandoned. Kubo took out his stringed instrument, a shamisen I think he called it, to help pass the time. I also had the chance to show off the floating ioun torch I had picked up before we left Belhaim.

It is late enough in the day that we have decided to rest here for the night.

Oathday, 27 Erastus, 4723 

The rain has stopped, but it has been a very wet day. We awoke to a pair of squirrel's stealing a button from Tagnus' beard. The little creatures are becoming quite a menace, and I am starting to seriously consider the Emperor of Squirrels hypothesis.

We reached the waterfall, but ascending to it took a bit of effort. I remembered to make use of my winged boots, while Tagnus transformed into a giant vulture. The waterfall empties into a churning pool, and every few seconds a puff of mist would emerge from the water. 

I began tying a tether to a tree to prepare for a dive into the water, but Tagnus beat me to it, simply diving into the water in his giant vulture form. The pool churned even more furiously and suddenly his unconscious dwarven body, encased in darkwood armor, bobbed to the surface. There were two giant water elementals waiting to guard the pool, and Tagnus got the full force of their ire.

From there, it was bedlam. 

Knives and Kubo swam over to Tagnus to try to stabilize him. The water elementals rose up to face them. Kubo grabbed the tether and dove under the water, one of the elementals following him. After a few moments, I felt a tug on the tether and pulled him to the surface. He had one of the ward stones, which we removed from the pool. Since swords can be troublesome to swing under water, I drew my dagger. Then I made my own dive for a stone, stabbing at the elemental as I passed it by. I retrieved another stone, but there were too many for us to focus on them over the elementals.

Knives had brought Tagnus back to consciousness at this point, so we regrouped to focus our attacks on the elementals. Working together, we were able to quickly destroy them but at a heavy cost. While Tagnus recovered on shore, Kubo and I dove for the remaining ward stones, and we even found the smuggler's hidden treasure!

With the stones removed, the mist stopped emitting from the pool. I'm drying off now, and am wondering what we should do with the stones. 

We're not alone.

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