Session 12: Kuthona 2 through Kuthona 15, 4710 AR
You all decided to explore the last un-mapped bits of the southern Narlmarches as you proceeded back to town. On Kuthona 2, the party stumbled across the lair of an exceptionally large Forest Drake. Richard and Dorian survived its acid cloud attack in the process of dispatching the creature. You all surmised that this was the rumored “green dragon” that had been haunting the area.
Kuthona 4 brought the party to a forest clearing where the sweet stench of decay hung thick in the air. Knotted branches of sickly trees lined the perimeter, creating a thick canopy that blocked most of the sunlight and cloaked the hollow in shadow. Withered vegetation struggled to grow in ragged clumps among the multitude of bones strewn across the forest floor. Vidarr immediately spotted across the clearing a dark brown oak tree, 20 feet tall, with dark, twisted roots, and a few reddish-brown leaves hanging from its gnarled limbs; what looked like a long scar was etched in the center of the tree’s trunk. Even as the ranger warned the party that this was an evil woodland predator known as a Quickwood, roots erupted from the ground, seizing Afdrif and pulling the horse towards the creature. As Vidarr and Alinza struggled to save the horse, Richard and Dorian charged the plant while Solden assaulted it with ice magic. As he got close to the tree, Dorian was horrified when the scar became a gaping maw that swallowed him whole. The roots also crushed poor Yorasai. Dorian called on the arcane energy of his sword and cut his way out the tree, killing the foul creature in the process.
On Kuthona 5, a heavy snowstorm blanketed the region. Towards the end of the day, you all entered into a peaceful forest glade where a small pond lay placidly at the roots of an enormous oak tree with a scattering of leaves floating upon its curiously unfrozen surface. Emerging from behind the tree was a strange, beautiful woman whose flesh seemed made of wood and whose vibrant hair resembled leaves and blossoms. Accompanying her was a handsome, grinning man who had the furry legs of a goat, a set of curling ram horns extending from his temples, and a set of pan pipes. Dorian and Solden identified these creatures as a Dryad and a Satyr. The woman introduced herself as Tiressia and named the Satyr as her consort Falchos. She was overjoyed that the party had rid the woodlands of the Quickwood and in her gratitude offered you all several magical items, including a set of tokens that would magically grow into trees. She offered to ally with your new kingdom and serve as an agent reporting activity in her region of the Narlmarches. She also warned that there was a powerful Nymph who was trying to corrupt the Stolen Lands for unknown purposes. You all accepted Tiressia and Falchos’ offer of hospitality and spent a pleasant evening in festivities with the friendly fey.
The next day (Kuthona 6), the party came to a section of the Skunk River where it makes a sharp bend, widening into a deep pool dotted with lily pads and fringed with waving reeds. Several freshly felled trees lie beside their stumps on the shore of the pool, their crowns dangling in the water among fading tendrils of mist. This serene scene is only broken by the seven angry loggers standing near the felled trees, about 30 feet from the pool. Two more loggers stand facing them, right at the water’s edge. It looks as if a fight could break out at any moment. Floating in the center of the pool with only her head above water, about 20 feet from the shore, is a green-skinned woman with webbed hands and feet. Her hair is the color of green algae and is decorated with lily pads. Vidarr recognized the loggers as locals from Highpoint led by a notorious ruffian by the name of Corax, while the elves identified the woman as a type of fey known as a Nixie. Corax recognized Richard and asked for the baron’s help. He claimed that the Nixie attacked his men unprovoked. He then went off on a diatribe about how hard it is for “a decent man to make a living with all of these damnable fairies in the woods.” The Nixie introduced herself as Melianse and responded that she politely asked the loggers to leave at first but was forced to charm two of them after Corax threatened to hang her from the nearest tree “to drip dry.” She adds that the coachwood trees felled by the loggers had been growing next to the pool for over 200 years and deserved a far better fate than serving as “some grubby peasant’s slop table.” Richard, Vidarr, and Dorian then attempted to defuse the situation. Corax wanted his lumber and demanded that Melianse free his two charmed men freed from her influence, while Melianse wanted the loggers to leave her glade and provide reparation for the trees they’ve already felled. Vidarr recalled that there was an untouched grove of coachwood trees 10 miles to the north, near his old village, which the lumberjacks could freely harvest. Corax was willing to leave this grove alone, but Melianse refused to releases the two charmed loggers until you all replaced the five trees the loggers had cut down. Dorian suggested that you all use five of Tiressia’s feather tokens to regrow the five trees. This was acceptable to all parties involved. Once the trees sprouted, Melianse released the loggers and Corax and his men went on their way. Melianse was so impressed with the way the group handled things that she offered to serve as a liaison between Highpoint and the Nixie community that lived in the Greenbelt’s rivers and lakes. They would keep an eye out for unusual happenings and report them if the kingdom leaders made a public proclamation that there was to me no lumbering near or defilement of the waterways. Richard agreed to this proposal and you all spent a pleasant evening near the cove.
As you all were about a day from the town on Kuthona 7, you all came across a camp of 6 armed men. In the course of your parlay, they demanded that you leave all your gear and mounts and they would let you go. Realizing you all were up against bandits, you attacked and made relatively short work of them, although the leader was more powerful than you would have thought and severely wounded Dorian.
Upon arriving back in town on the afternoon of Kuthona 8, it was apparent that Grigori had not ceased stirring up trouble. You all called a council meeting and determined to publicly confront the bard. Going to the inn, you all displayed the troll heads and the drake head as proof of your effectiveness as town leaders. Solden, Richard, and Vidarr made convincing speeches to the populace and Richard passed a sentence of exile on the bard. As he was escorted out of tow, Dorian stepped in and prevented the guards from assaulting him at the urging of Vidarr. Grigori warned that you all had powerful enemies who would stop at nothing to see your burgeoning kingdom destroyed.
With the threat of the bard, the trolls, and the drake taken care of, you all spent a week dealing with domestic issues. You all learned that Antau had failed in his mission to work out a compromise with the Temple of the Elk in Restov and that this influential temple of Erastil was spreading the word that you all were heretics. Richard proposed that the kingdom attempt to secure relations with other Brevic temples of Erastil, most notably in the city of Silverhall. Given the disappointing results of Antau’s efforts, it was decided to replace him with Ingrit as the kingdom’s chief diplomat. The council was also split over whether to build a mill or a garrison for troops. By a narrow vote, the mill won out and its construction got underway. In addition, you all sent out work crews to begin work on re-opening the old gold mine that you all had found in your explorations. It seemed as if things were finally calming down as you celebrated Alinza’s birthday on Kuthona 10. Richard continued to train as a holy warrior of Erastil and Vidarr and Ingrit grew closer in their relationship as she introduced him to the teachings of Milani, goddess of hope, devotion, and uprisings. Solden spent this time crafting useful magical gear for his comrades and furthering his arcane spells. Finally, Dorian worked with Zander to see if he could track down information on the party’s two recent bardic enemies. On the 15th, however, you all received grim news—there had been a murder in town.