Day 2 in the Feywild, continued?:
Concerned about the warning of the Curse of Black Annis, we set off back to the site of Dappledown at as fast a pace as we can manage. Unfortunately this means a lot of stumbling into funghi (releasing debilitating spores), tripping over branches (taking damage) and disturbing clouds of biting insects (hindering healing). We also become aware towards the end of this leg of our travels that the noises have attracted predators and we’re being stalked, before a trio of sabre-tooth tigers attacks us (Encounter 1) just before we reach our destination.
Shortly after we arrive at the site of Dappledown, though we can no longer find it, with about 7 hours until night fall. Three obvious paths begin from here, each looking oddly inviting. They show:
Path 1. Tree branches showing signs of different seasons
Path 2. Elegant sweeping branches, sweet smelling flowers and so forth
Path 3. A rock path leading up to birds, high winds and steep drops
We look to Théorn, our tracker, for advice. After a brief communing with his senses and his god, he feels a pull towards the Path of Seasons. We duly set off down this path. No sooner have we gone a few paces than we find ourselves separated somehow and confronted by animate trees that talk to us.
- Théorn is told by a snow-covered pine that he is a child of winter, and that we must walk each season as though through the seasons of life.
- Pieter is greeted by an elm and given the “blessing of summer”.
- Pennyworth chats with a willow, who calls him a child of spring because of the life within him.
- Max is visited by an ???, named a child of autumn and told of the glories between summer and winter.
- Hollan, talking to an elm split by lightning, is asked if he is the danger or the shelter of summer. He replies that he is both, and the split tree merges back together.
- Napoleon is found by an acorn, he is the seed of potential. Other have a path, where he has a map and can choose his path. Napoleon chooses spring: capricious, full of life and helping others grow.
The group then reappears back together upon the path, surrounded by signs of spring. We continue walking, but after an hour we seem to be treading the same ground over and over again. We adjust our marching order to match the order of the seasons. All that changes is that Napoleon and Pennyworth feel happy whilst the rest of the party feels discontented. After an hour of this we try a different tactic, with the summer people in front and fixing summer in our minds (as the next season after spring). This too fails to work.
Finally we try crawling like children (the springtime of life), and the path changes to summer. We stride through summer and arrive in autumn with sunset approaching fast. We gather branches for walking sticks to walk through autumn, and notice movement out of the corners of our eyes while doing so.
Pennyworth has a sudden memory flashback, of him and four other “iron-born” as a group called ‘The Iron Fist of Kezrak Azad’, reaping a harvest of eladrin while armed with glaives.
The sun sets on the autumn path as we move in to winter. We hear a howling on the wind and cackling at the edges of our perception. A shadow flits across the face of the moon, and suddenly the nieces of Black Annis, Selenis and Glump, joined by her sister Thistlewhite, attack us along with their eladrin bodyguards (Encounter 2).
After defeating the attack we take the bodies of our fallen foes to enact a makeshift funeral procession. Thus winter turns once again to spring and the paths ends in sight of the large, gleaming city of Titrian. It is surrounded by walls, with caravans going in and out of the gates. Fey residents are visible all around, and a large fair is present around the entrance. The city itself is dominated by a huge tower, surrounded by eight smaller towers. We light a funeral pyre at a distance to complete the process and approach the fair, with Pennyworth and Théorn disguised by heavy cloaks (Quest Complete).
First we make our way to the wine tent, where the barkeep appears to be part tree. Napoleon buys a drink, whilst Pieter retires to a table with a bottle of wine and two glasses to watch a half-elven bard performing. A human woman joins him and introduces herself as Alyssa Withers. Her family were the protectors of Orm, one of the countries of the Hundred Kingdoms. Pieter asks if Alyssa knows of the Temple of the Clear Springs. She has, but only as a lost temple, and begins to get confused over timings from Pieter’s choice of words and begins to worry that she may be too late for her quest. She is searching for her sister Cassandra, a princess of Orm. The last person to see Cassandra was an elf called Lucan who has taken refuge with House Fallael. Alyssa wants someone to gain access to him to ask questions. If we can help her finding Lucan then she will help us as best she can. She will be back here in X days to meet us, if we have anything to help her.
She also explains a little of the politics of Titrian to Pieter. The city is run by eight noble houses:
|House Miheil (“Hunters”)||House Spring|
|House Yirrian (“Artisans”)||House Summer|
|House Dejarin (“Who Remain”)||House Autumn|
|House Fallael (“Accepting”)||House Winter|
along with the Lady of the Seasons. She mentions that House Fallael, lead by Blissit, has a dislike of the hunting of sentient creatures which causes them to quarrel with House Miheil, and that she is a guest of House Yirrian.
Pieter presses Alyssa for more information on our searches. She’s heard a lot of Kalashnakash since arriving in the feywild, mostly as stories to scare children. She says some of the stories don’t make sense, and some even suggest that Kalashnakash is still alive. She has also heard of some sort bargain between him and the Lady of the Seasons. The stories say he sacked Titrian, killing all the children and all but one of House Dejarin. He also struck the Lady of the Seasons a terrible blow, which lead to a truce whereby shifters wouldn’t be taken as slaves. As we’ve seen, they are again being taken as slaves now but Kalashnakash has not returned. His sword was known as “Elf Sorrow”, apparently.
Hollan goes looking for weaponsmiths to try find someone to make him some javelins using the sabretooth tiger teeth. He finds that Elthien, a master weaponsmith, is currently a guest of House Yirrian and looking for something interesting for his next commission.
Théorn finds another bar, with shifter kids that look like foxes and hares serving the drinks. Asking around he’s told of rumours that someone is breeding shifters as servants, specifically trying for pale fur and violet eyes, and to speak to a shifter called Old Gerret for information. Gerret is suspicious of uncollared shifters but once won over he directs Théorn to another shifter in the tent called Bobbit. Théorn goes to find him. Bobbit tells Théorn that the breeding shifters are owned by Lyril Miheil and that uncollared shifters that are caught get sent to House Miheil’s mines. Every month one of them is given to the cyclops tribe as tribute.
Pieter talks to another bard and invites him to a private tent he’s hired for the group to sleep in (40gp/night). The party regroups and shares what they have learned before being joined by the bard. We learn that the Lady of the Seasons holds court in one of the houses of the four seasons every three days, with no discernible pattern to the selection. Invitation into the city grants you guest status, which means that any slight you cause is a matter between you and the target. Without this guest status, any insult means that the whole city turns on you. Apparently Kalashnakash got an invitation into the city, meaning that each house had to fight him separately, though Houses Spring and Fallael each had few casualties apparently.
The bard arrives and negotiates a price for the information we want. Once paid, he adds a little more information about the legends. Kalashnakash brought 12 tribes of shifters into the feywild with him (presumably most of these are extinct on the normal plane) and may be sleeping until the 12 tribes need him. A ‘traitor’ invited him into the city and the Lady of the Seasons hasn’t spoken since the truce. There are several rumours of what might have happened to his blade but Lady Carpathia of House Summer knows some facts, and will grant a boon for a price. The various rumours are as follows:
- The Lady of the Seasons has the blade
- The blade was stolen by Black Annis
- Fereal of House Winter, the only survivor of the battle by all the House champions against Kalashnakash, may have the sword.
The group then sets about seeking more information on how to gain an invitation into the city. We’re told that they are often given in return for rare items or services rendered. Napoleon talks to a fur trader to see about being put in touch with someone who might offer an invitation in return for the displacer beast packlord skin, but becomes suspicious about the details and notices he is followed when leaving the stall. He loses the tail and returns to the group.
Pennyworth overhears some half-elves discussing methods of procuring invitations, and learns that House Fallael often prefers services rendered in the form of dangerous activities due to a lack of their own brave warriors. Pieter learns that Lady Carpathia has been interacting a lot more in recent times, attending House Yirrian often but granting the truth boons less often.
Pieter goes to talk to Meklel, a representative for House Fallael. He is a little more squat and swarthy than most eladrin (we suspect part elf). He seems curious about our party, as he there is a group of harpies troubling a silk farm to the south and he wants someone to deal with them. He seems uncomfortable when referring to the workers on the farm, though. Pieter agrees to the mission and gets directions to the farm. Meklel says to return to him here, or to one of his brothers (his uncle has many siblings), with six harpy tail feathers once we’ve completed this task. We return to the tent for an extended rest for the night, as it is getting late.
Day 3 in the Feywild:
First thing in the morning we set off for the silk farms, using the map provided. The journey seems much easier than our earlier travels in the feywild. We reach the farms after a few hours. At first we hear only silence, then … ??
Shifters work along ivy-clad walls with large worms on them. The shifters are shaved and iron-collared, to Théorn’s disgust. Théorn tries to talk to the workers but they are not very responsive, seemingly from a life in captivity. They talk of the “angels” who come from the skies and take away their tormentors. Two armoured eladrin approach us and we make our introductions. They tell us that the harpies destroy and foul things, abduct and attack eladrin guards but leave the docile workers alone. They attack at dawn and dusk, and seemingly often in reply to cries from the workers. Napoleon suspects that negotiation might even be possible, if we explain to the harpies that we’re working to liberate the shifters, but the rest of the party thinks it’s too risky and decides to do battle to be sure of getting the invitation into the city that we need.
With dusk some time away we search around for an open area to entrap the harpies and set up some campfires to provide enough light for battle. Napoleon ‘chastises’ Théorn with a whip to ensure authentic cries, until we hear the sounds of harpies approaching. Most of the group stuffs wax in their ears to block out the dangerous sounds of harpies’ cries, though Napoleon and Hollan only follow suit after suffering the effects. The harpies are defeated (Encounter 3) and 6 feathers are gathered. Napoleon spares the life of the one he defeats, knocking it unconscious instead and hoping to send back a message somehow…
Character status at end of session:
|Character||Hit Points||Healing Surges||Daily Powers used||Experience Points|
|Hollan||26||7 remaining||Blade bolt, Bahamut’s Protective Ward, Dimensional Thunder||22,819 (10)|
|Max||70||9 remaining||-||22,652 (10)|
|Napoleon||45||6 remaining||All except Elemental Cube||23,963 (10)|
|Pennyworth||48||10 remaining||Vile Brand, Belt of Fitness||23,708 (10)|
|Pieter||85?||10 remaining?||Medic’s Longsword, Hallowed Circle?||23,137 (10)|
|Théorn||62||9 remaining||Torc of Fortune||23,844 (10)|