It's A Long Way To The Bottom (If You Wanna Hack And Slash)

Session 3: Nature Walk Part I

Wonderful first impressions all around...

1124, E.R. (Elven Reckoning), 13th day of Spring

I awoke at the Salty Mermaid feeling only marginally better than the night before. Our foray into that other realm proved to be more than I can handle. It seems that my amulet closed my wounds as I fell unconscious, saving me from dying away from my home plane. I shudder to think what death brings in my own world, let alone in the outer planes. After I made my way downstairs to the crowded tavern and had taken a seat with my already roused companions, we found ourselves joined by an unfamiliar face.

He introduced himself as Vicmorn Falcon, a Half-Elven man who has been trained in the martial arts. I was not at first inclined to welcome him to our group, I already had two of his ilk to grace me with their comments, but he and I shared similar goals. He mentioned that he was in search of new experience, that he wanted to see the world. I’m familiar enough with this statement to understand it means you seek treasure beyond mortal value. Perhaps he knows more than I on the matter.

Throughout the next few days I remained at the inn while Vicmorn joined the others in restocking our supplies here in Trollington. When I had come to, I heard from Tal that he had received yet another lead from our halfling friend, Oma. She had given him a map to a cave of ancient treasure in a cave known as the Silver Hole of Endless Wailing. Even more unnerving was the strip of “leather” she handed him next. When he showed it to me I did not recognize the writing, so I immediately concentrated my language cantrip that master had taught me. Suddenly it became apparent to me that this was a name from the Infernal language, ‘Bujardo’ is roughly how it would be phonetically spelled in the common tongue. After I was finished focusing my magic on the lettering, I quickly realized that this was quite an odd piece of leather. Our new companion, Vicmorn immediately recognized it as flayed human flesh and I could see he was reconsidering his decision to follow us. Oma seems an honest enough sort that we decided it could wait until we see her next. After all, we had a treasure horde to find.

We packed up and made our way out to the Fey Forest, by the Elle the druid woman’s reckoning we were to reach the cavern within 4 hours. We did not. We encountered a crude hunter’s trap en route to the cave, the druid fell in. After hauling her out and a little more time spent walking, I heard a sound behind us that startled me. I alerted Vicmorn and Tre, who effectively scared the creature still with some quick, sharp scolding. Tre recognized it as a small Fey called a Brownie and Vicmorn immediately began to speak some Fey-ish speak to it. The creature said that his Fey brother was trapped in a similar fashion to the way in which Elle fell. He implored us to help him and assured that it wasn’t too far from where we were. I figured that a magical creature’s favor could prove useful while delving into unknown depths, so we decided to go along.

A long story short, Tal and I entered the cave where the Fey said his brother was being held. We were quickly trapped inside by a dropped portcullis. Calistria sting me, ALWAYS double check the doors, Haldir! It was a small matter, the cave was devoid of anything other than trapped Fey in cages and some small trinkets. Quick thinking Tre blasted the portcullis with a cone of flame, weakening it enough to be kicked apart. I unlocked the cages holding the Fey while Tal investigated the sleeping corner of whatever creature had lived here. He handed me a letter written in Draconic that indicated that these Fey were being captures to serve as slaves for someone who went by the title of Velana the Death Whisperer. The letter was in draconic, and made my heart heavy. Hunters may trap prey for food or even sport, but I cannot bear the idea of slavery. But these lands are unknown to me, perhaps it is practiced here and if I am to remain unobtrusive and faceless I best learn to abide it.

Before allowing them to leave, Vicmorn was able to get the names of the Brownie Brothers. He laughed a bit and explained that Fey names can be odd to translate, but their names roughly meant “Mighty Feisty” and “Open Smiles” in the common tongue. I understood what Vicmorn meant, there are beautiful sounding elven names with rather silly translations for common folk. Common folk would have to call me “Intelligent Tall One”, the joke is not lost on me when my height is compared to most humanoids, but assure you I am quite tall for an elf.

A few more hours of walking and we came upon it. There was a pool of still, misty water that emerged from a cave opening. The sounds that came from within indicated that this was indeed a hole of endless wailing. We walked slowly and carefully through the water. Clumsily tripping and crunching over twigs that seemed all too rigid for having been under water, I stopped to reach in and pulled out what was unmistakably a bone. I was certain this water was full of them, but before we could decide to turn back we were “welcomed” by a booming voice. “Oh so you have finally returned!” I was not bold enough to respond, nor was anyone else among the company save for Tal. That creature surprises me with every journey we have, I think I admire it, but that’s probably because it hasn’t gotten me killed yet.

I cannot remember Tal’s exact response to the disembodied voice that seemed to speak my doom with every syllable, but there was a swift response. “Oh, someone new then? Come closer, so that I might see your face”. I cannot explain why, but I listened. The group and I approached a large chamber to see a gigantic troll with height to rival a hill giant. Luckily for us, she was bound to the walls of the cavern by some druidic magic. Bruta was her name and she explained to us that she has been here for 500 years ever since an adventurer came seeking her troll family’s treasure. The troll clan was slaughtered by the warrior and his druid accomplice bound the troll to the wall until she would reveal the location of her treasure. Her regenerative powers allowed her to sustain herself for 500 years by living off her own body for nourishment.

Degan‘s idea was my favorite, though the Troll made it clear that she was not inclined to accept our mercy killing of her as a deed worthy of her family’s treasure. She made it very plain to us that she would accept no other tribute as barter for her treasure than to release her from her magical bonds. Dreading the wrath of a druid who may not take kindly to a group trying to free her troll captive, I agreed with Tal’s decision to begin hacking at the brambles. It was no use, we would have to travel to the grove Bruta told us about.

On our way to the grove, we encountered a halfling who was able to speak with Elle in a language none of us could recognize. Elle told us that this halfling, Apple was in fact a druid residing in the grove we were in search of. Apple took us there to meet Sofia, the elven druid who had imprisoned Bruta. We had decided to accept their hospitality of meat, bedding and sanctuary before getting into this “Free the Troll” business; however, a misstep by my part had brought it up earlier than expected. I could not bare the silence, and I suppose Sofia’s beauty had me in a rare form, but I wanted to see what she would say when the cavern had come to mind. Her elven intuition proved too much for my feeble fib, and she was onto us- onto me I suppose. But my fear had come too soon, she had taken it much better than I had expected. She had nearly forgotten about the troll until we mentioned it and agreed to free her in interest of the treasure on the condition that we helped Sofia.

She told us that a friend of hers, a spirit of the forest had become ill with malice and violence. She had made a special elixir for us to forcibly pour down the throat of the creature (I believe Elle referred to her as a Dryad). She warned us that if the elixir did not cure her, it was the duty of the druid to end the Dryad’s life. Since this was a difficult task for the druid who had found the creature to be a close friend of hers and since we were about to place ourselves in a great deal of debt to her, Sofia transferred this duty to us. She warned that the Dryad’s magic would render our mortal weapons useless and gave us a pack of leaves that when rubbed against our blades would temporarily make them able to harm her friend. I think we plan on setting out tomorrow.

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