We find our adventurers on the way to the bakery to get some delicious noms. The bakery has blueberry pie, and Nabila eagerly hands over some silver to get some of that pie. Meanwhile, Sindra identifies the arrows from the satyr: two +1 arrows and two +1 elfbane arrows, which do extra damage to surface elves or half elves.
We follow the paw prints into the forest towards a grove of ash and oak trees. The trees look odd, like their limbs have been contorted, and they make rasping noises. The trees are sick as yellow sap gushes out. Sindra collects some of the tree sap in an empty vial. Nabila performs a herbalism check and says the trees only ooze the sap when they are under extreme duress. Basically, the trees are shitting themselves. Jeb inspects a tree and then pats it in a “bless your heart” gesture. We keep going. As we walk towards the giant oak tree, we hear animalistic gnawing and grunting and see the hyena again, laughing at us. Jeb tries to speak to it, but it runs away. He says the hyena isn’t normal; he can talk to animals but not this one. (Because it’s Whoopi Goldberg, and no one can talk to her.)
As we follow the tracks the hyena left we approach the great oak tree. Giant limbs, dark clouds, and rumbling thunder try to overwhelm us. We hear a buzzing sound and large shapes fly out from the branches and attack us. They’re man-sized giant wasps, with stingers. Sindra’s fireball kills three of them automatically, and Nabila slaughters the last one. We salvage a couple stingers to use as weapons.
A strange mist appears as we go farther into the grove. More trees seem to be upset. Jeb smells blood. We don’t want to walk into the fog because we don’t know if it’s poisonous or if something will jump out of it, so Nabila lights a torch and throws it in. Nothing. Then Jeb shoots an arrow in the mist and we hear it plunk into a branch. Sindra has a few rounds left on her blur spell so she walks into the fog. The giant oak is in front of her, 25 feet wide, 120 feet high. She can’t see the top of the tree. Four men — three humans and one dwarf — stand in front of the tree, Phinneas the shepherd, Arvik the smith, Ambrose and Kelvin the Wickworth boys. They stare at Sindra. Lucia the sylvan elf stands facing the tree, and a white unicorn looks passively at Sindra. Lucia has a ruby studded wooden baton with a whip extension in her hand. The oak tree has been ravaged, its bark burned by fire, and tree sap dripping. Black shadows float like smoke from the roots. The injured dryad Nabila saw in her vision is chained to the tree, blood seeping from a bandage on its wounded leg.
Nabila deduces that the men are under a charm spell, and she attempts to cast Dispel Magic. She misses, while Phinneas says that things aren’t what they seem. Lucia is a good druid and she’s trying to stop the evil dryad from casting foul magic on the town. Naturally, we don’t believe them. Evil is as evil does. Lucia turns and casts a spell, while Phinneas casts magic missles at Sindra. Jeb steps in front of Sindra to protect her. Lucia’s spell conjures up a giant eagle. Nabila throws another Dispel Magic on the men and it works. The men look around, confused, and wondering what was happening. Arvik is smart enough to get back, and Kelvin joins us to attack the giant eagle.
Lucia calls down lighting and gives Nabila a nasty shock. Nabila and lightning don’t mix. Ambrose Wickworth tries to flee the scene and the lightning forks off and instantly kills him. Phinneas goes after Sindra. As Sindra tries to cast a spell, she wild surges. This wild surge has no effect, but the next wild surge will have two effects. Great. Nabila casts Hold Person on Lucia, while the two mages duel. Nabila asks Sindra for her ceremonial dagger because Lucia’s pretty little throat needs slitting. Sindra complies, and Nabila runs towards Lucia to slit her throat. As Lucia bleeds out, angry winged fae creatures carrying scythes appear from the shadows of the trees and drag out a hyena spirt from Lucia’s body. Then Lucia’s corpse falls to the ground, dead.
The dryad wakes up and asks us to release her. Jeb goes to do it, and the dryad leans on him for support. He asks Nabila to heal the dryad, but Nabila is too busy sawing off Lucia’s head to heal anyone. Nabila asks Jeb to do the honors, and then Nabila treats the dryad. The dryad says the men were innocent and she isn’t so sure she wants healing from people who could slaughter innocent men who happened to be under charm spells. Nabila has terse words with the dryad who won’t allow Nabila to touch her. The dryad says she wants nothing to do with crude mercenaries and then hobbles to the tree, disappearing into the bark. Sindra tries to talk to the tree, but it’s too late. We’ll never know what exactly happened there.
Arvik and Kelvin tell us that the dryad supposedly killed Orson the herbalist. Sindra tells them they were under the thrall of some very poweful charm magic but they’re not really sure what to believe. Men could be charmed by a woman? Oh, perish the thought! We loot Phinneas and Lucia’s bodies because we like stuff. And then we eat some pie.
Sindra notices Nabila’s putting on some weight. That whole been-dead-for-seven-years-I’m-hungry is catching up with Nabila. Sindra asks Jeb why he tried to protect her. He offers her wine and says that back in his village, they had witches and the men used to protect the witches. Then he asks why Sindra makes everyone walk across the street when she casts spells. Sindra tells him she’s a wild mage. Oh. And then he shies away.
Lucia’s armor is +1, so we give it to Jeb, who does not want to change out of his handmade armor. He does, reluctantly, but moves all his pebbles and fringe and porcupine quills to his new set. Sindra asks him to make her some gloves, and he sews her some fantastic, super high quality luxe gloves made from snow wolf pelts. He asks Sindra about herself, hands her his wineskin, and she tells him her story, whilst draining the wine. She says that Nabila is her only friend, she ran away from the Underdark after the wild magic killed a lot of people and her youngest sister, she tells him why she and Nabila are adventurers, about Professor Elias and her studies at The University in Amaranth. Sindra wants more to drink, so they go to the tavern so she can drink more. She asks Jeb about his life, his family. His grandpappy taught him everything he knows. He didn’t really know his parents. The biggest thing he killed was a Dark Young tree. Sindra asks him his age — he’s seen about 32 winters — and asks if he’s had any girlfriends. She’s wasted by this point and drunk babbles. She tells Jeb he’s “nice.”
Meanwhile Nabila is at the Wickworth farm trying to recruit Kelvin into the Aegecian order. Jeb leads Sindra there, and she eventually passes out with her head on his chest, drooling. Kelvin is a good, sturdy farm boy with strength out the wazoo, and Nabila successfully recruits him to be her henchperson. In fact, Kelvin is smitten with Nabila. She is going to teach him about Aegecia, and if he lives long enough, he will eventually become a plague-bringer just like her. Of course, Kelvin’s daddy isn’t too pleased by this because he’s already lost one son — Ambrose the coward — and now his other boy is leaving to be an adventurer. Well, hell, the farm will always be there.
We rest up, and during the night Nabila prays and finally has a vision from Aegecia. Aegecia says there’s some undead to kill on the way to Enkelhoffen, near the Sudendorf ruins. We’re up for killing undead. And we have plans to visit Hag’s Breath after we recruit Orlando Trimeste, the bard from Enkelhoffen. It’s all on the way. Let’s do it. Jeb also tells us about the lizard people at Hag’s Breath and the rumors that a dragon inhabits the swamp too. It’s just a rumor, of course.
By this time it’s the second week of Sturm, the beginning of spring. We travel for three days, and at dusk we reach Sudendorf. Ruined, wrecked, rubble. There is one new feature, red granite statues, the Heroes of Sudendorf. Sindra points out her statue to Jeb. Nabila shows Kelvin her statue, and the boy thinks she is so awesome. Then there’s Daven, Oleander, and Spud’s statues.
Dry, cackling laughter comes from behind us. A humanoid creature thing is walking towards us. It’s decaying, vaguely halfling looking, long sharp jaundiced fingernails. Its skin is kind of violet colored, with a large slash on the throat, and a gaping hole where the right eye should have been. Zombie Isabelle. Fantastic. Izzy says she’s waited a long time for Nabila. Sindra, shocked to see her former friend and flame in that shape, asked her who brought her back to life. Izzy says it was The Doombringer, Valdis. Valdis did not appreciate Izzy’s first resurrection because he was having fun doing all that raping, and Valdis hated her second resurrection, more rape. Valdis doesn’t want Nabila waking Aegecia. Nabila is so not cool with this information.
So we fight. Izzy has magical powers now and she makes the statues come to life and head towards us. As luck would have it during this fight, Sindra wild surges again. Not one, but two wild surges out of this spell. The first surge turns Nabila’s statue so cold that it reaches absolute zero. The second wild surge gives Sindra some XP and heals her for 1d8 points of damage. The fighting continues and those statues are pretty tough, being made out of rock and all. So helpful Sindra has another wild surge. Everyone, but Sindra, ends up naked.
Izzy calls out to Nabila before she dies. She tells Nabila that a corpse is a great incubator. Then Izzy’s body explodes, and Nabila is covered in a shower of lotus powder. Nabila is freaking out about the bugs and insects that are going to get us, and she desperately wants to go inside. Jeb doesn’t seem bothered by his nakedness, and Sindra gets a good look at him…nice package and all, and dear Kelvin puts on his pants but leaves his shirt off so Nabila can get a load of his muscled chest.
blueberry pie crumbs (Nabila’s cloak)
two +1 arrows (Jeb)
two +1 elfbane arrows (Jeb)
one vial of yellow tree sap (Sindra)
28 arrows (Kelvin)
empty vial (Sindra)
Scroll of Strength (2nd level) (Sindra)
leather armor +1 (Jeb)
enchantable snow wolf gloves (Sindra)
Switch of the Unseelie (Nabila)
8 charges left; blood-red leather handle studded with rubies and quartz; uses spells to toy with people’s minds: charm person, ventroquilism, suggestion, forget. does 1d6+1 staff damage
leather armor, shortbow & arrows, longsword +1, shield +1, ring of protection +1