The Waystone and Wayward
After taking the suggested extended rest, the caravan gets ready to leave the Feywild. As they do so, however, they notice that someone has stolen the Waystone’s Keystone! (Complicated stuff, this elvish magic!) At that moment, Bryan comes rushing up to Calsar exclaiming,
“She’s gone! I can’t find her!”
“Ciara…” the young man tries to catch his breath, “I searched all over for her but couldn’t find her.”
The party quickly puts two and two together:
- Anae thought that Ciara might have had a serious crush on Calsar
- Unrequited love can sometimes cause people to do drastic things
- She might have tried to use the Keystone to make a bargain with someone
- The only one around with that much power… is the Dragon.
The party at first tries tracking Ciara’s footsteps, but they soon become lost in the Feywild. Since they need to navigate the Feywild by natural landmark, and not something temporal like footprints, they decide the best bet is to go to the Dragon’s Rock.
The Dragon’s Cave
They do so, and when they arrive they hear voices coming from within a cave. Moving to intercept whatever bargain might be going on, they rush towards the cave entrance. As they arrive, they hear the last snippets of a conversation…
“Yes.” The Dragon says. “She can make him love me?” replies a young girl’s voice. “Yes, she will give you that power” “Then I accept!” “Good” the dragon agrees as he speaks the closing phrase of a ritual: [Arcana] Shadow Walk. “Cailleach Bheur is her name. When you reach the gates, tell them Kallikantzari sent you.” “Thank you!” “No need to thank me, just go now.”
And with that the cavern is silent, save for the chuckle of a dragon.
Calsar rushes in (where angels fear to tread) and screams, “Nooo! Ciara! Wait!”
At this the dragon laughs, “You’re too late!” Raises his clawed hand, and smashes the giant mirror behind him. Darkness leaps from the shards as they fall, and begins to flood the cavern. The Dragon charges the party.
The fight is brutal, with the Dragon not only using his draconic powers and might, but also powers granted to him by his unseelie pact. Aided by the shadows that leapt from the mirror, he puts the fight to the party, but they are able to overcome. Using their tactics and cooperation, they compromise the dragon turn after turn and soon the beast lies dead at Calidore’s feet.
Rushing to the Mirror, Calsar is told by Na’Yumi and Calidore that the gate is now useless. When traveling in the Shadowfell, you use mirrors the same way that the Waystones are used in the Feywild. Since they are not in the Shadowfell nor do they possess the Shadow Walk ritual… they cannot follow Ciara wherever it is that she has gone.
Calidore tells Calsar not to worry, as house Bheur is one of the great houses and there is likely only one place that she could have gone. Once they get to Durein, Calidore says, they can likely get to the Shadowfell.
The party doesn’t return empty-handed to the caravan, as the Dragon’s treasure and the Keystone are found. With heavy hearts, Mabbymeh casts the ritual and teleports them to a Waystone on the southern most end of the Norwood. Before them stretches the Plains of Durein.
Traversing through the Feywild has put the caravan two (2) weeks ahead of schedule
Traversing the Plains
The journey across the plains is non-eventful. Too non-eventful, Dierdre muses, as the land is dryer than normal this season. They cross several dry riverbeds, and the stink of dead fish is a poignant reminder of their need of supplies.
A fear all to realized when one morning, it is discovered that one of the wagon’s food stores has been spoiled! The cause is unknown, but it is most certainly negligence and not foul play on someone’s part. Calsar is quick to hunt to replace the lost supplies, but in the dry plains, he finds little quarry. Fortunately, their supplies are just enough to cover the rest of the trip (as they made some time during the Feywild)… but they are just enough.
Not long after the food incident, a young girl from one of the families is bitten by a snake one evening! Dierdre applies a poultice, and saves the girl. Marid gets very suspicious of the snake being in one of the wagons, but it looks like negligence is to blame once again. Barbarians… no common sense whatsoever
With each passing incident
Centaurs, Centaurs everywhere, and not a drop to drink
Soon, the caravan comes to a larger river bed, and as they are in the middle of crossing Dierdre hears a heard of horses about to come over the hill. It is not horses, however, but centaurs that come charging over the hill.
About 50 armed warriors stand on the other side of the muddy bank. The chieftain steps forward and speaks in broken Farlanthian.
“In exchange for passage through our lands, we demand your water.”
The party is quick to deny the chieftain his request. “We will die without the water.” And after several failed attempts at bargaining and diplomacy, Anae realizes the chief doesn’t really want to fight the caravan, but they need water to survive. Anae says a prayer to Elohim, and at that very moment, she receives a vision of a natural cave nearby with a spring in it!
She and Dierdre lead the Centaurs to the cave and the Chief response in awe: “Truly, your God is a great God – my clan has lived in these hills for many years and not once have we found this cave with the well in it. We shall call this place, Bethesda.” In gratitude, he gives the pair four (4) healing potions to aid them on the rest of their journey.
The rest of the journey passes without incident and the caravan safely reaches the city of Durein! Before Duncan passed away, he had purchased a plot of land within the City for the pilgrims to stay. The PCs are included in this purchase, and they lead the caravan to it’s final destination.
When they get there, however, they sense that their journey is not yet over. The estate is in a very old and bad part of town. As they approach the gates, the streets empty and people close their shutters and doors. For a moment the only sound to be heard is the wind howling through the gates and barren trees of the estate stretched out before them.
Wyk manages to get one of the locals to speak up about the estate – “It’s haunted! Nobody’s lived in it as long as I’ve been alive!”
The PCs find no immediate evidence of haunting, and move in to investigate. They circle the estate and come to a graveyard. The tombstones are all weathered away, but Na’Yumi uses a mending ritual to find a name on the tombstone. She finds the name, Galea Durein and a date which puts her birth and death two ages ago, during the Age of Man.
It is at that point that Wyk notices the movement amidst the bushes. It’s a Trap!
Cultists contending with cadavers
“We will teach fear to those who dare disturb these grounds.” Says a deep, evil man voiced by Tim Burton. A man dressed in black robes, surrounded by gravehounds and skeletons leers at the party. “Kill them” he commands to his followers, scattered around the graveyard.
The fight is brutal, but through cooperation and some new learned powers, the party manages to survive several near-death experiences. The gravehounds are put down quickly, as their poison bite leaves several of the party gasping for hitpoints. Anae unleashes the holy might of Elohim as she Turns the Dead, blasting the skeletons and zombies.
Calidore, Dierdre, and Marid perform an intricate dance of death upon the cultist leader, killing him quickly before he had a chance to summon more of his minions.
The party then cleans up the mess, burning the cultists and their trappings, and beginning to find a place for everyone to live on the estate. Inside, they find a few items in the chapel that were not tainted by the cult, including a holy symbol to elohim.
The biggest discovery, perhaps, is the Coat of Arms above the mantle in the entrance: it is the same as Calidore’s!