A Long Strange Trip

The party awoke in front of cave entrance once again surrounded by the party of elves from the previous day. During their travels to the cave, they had briefly passed through the forest, which they had promised not to do. In order to explain the situation, Arannis and Enna went with the elven party and the rest of the group, feeling short of time, pressed on.

Arannis and Enna’s trip northward with the elves was perilous, as they passed thorugh the battles between the goblins and orcs. Arannis heroically held off an orcish war party as the rest of the group escaped. His last stand allowed the others to escape.

The others, consisting of Thadwick, No-Merit, and Olivine, tenuously headed into the cave from their treasure map. As they entered the dark cave, bats streamed out over them. After the stream of regular bats, they were accosted by two large fire bats and a shadowhunter bat. The bats swooped and dived at the party, but were dispatched in a short time, when Olivine decided it would be fun to start collecting teeth and extracted a few from the bats.

Heading further into the cave, No-Merit lit a sunrod and the group cautiously entered the cave. The cave immediately split left and right, and after Olivine considered the wind currents, headed left, where they saw a pile of gold. Suspecting the worst, the party searched all arond for any signs of traps before Thadwick rushed over and checked the pile. It was mostly just gold, but there was a Star of Corellon in the pile.

After stuffing their pouches, the group investigated further into the cave. They discovered that what had appeared to be a branching path was merely a side passage that rejoined the cave. Rounding the corner, Olivine noticed a tripwire, while the other two noticed the shiny, metallic humanoid standing in front of the far wall. Carefully stepping over the tripwire, the party attempted to sneak past the humanoid, whom No-Merit managed to identify as an ancient warforged. Their plans were thwarted when they heard horrific disembodied screams, and two phantom warriors rose from the floor of the cave and attacked them. Their concentrated attacks harried the party, but the party fought back, splitting their foes apart and picking them off individually. Searching the warforged, the party found that he was wearing magical scale armor that resists thunder. No-Merit also collected some ectoplasm from the phantom warriors in an old potion bottle.

Rounding another corner in the cave, Thadwick was slightly hesitant, so Olivine snuck ahead, ending up face to side with a gelatinous cube flanked by two wights. The wights charged forward, rushing past Olivine, who was absorbed by gelatinous cube. Thinking quickly, Olivine teleported to safety with the rest of the party while No-Merit cunningly commanded one of the wights to enter the cube. The wight tried to resist, but was compelled to do so. The party managed to force the cube back down the hallway and dispatched the wights before making a tactical retreat and blasting the cube into oblivion. Investigating the remains of the wight, the party found that one was wearing a skull mask over his own ghastly visage.

Rounding the corner, the party found a recessed alcove where they could rest (which they gladly did) and a large room with a pool of water lit from below. After some rest, No-Merit realized that the pool was likely a planar portal. Reluctantly, the party decided that entering the portal was probably worthwhile, and entered the water. Nothing happened. When they decided to go under the water, they found that the surface had become solid, and they could no longer leave the way they had come. Swimming downward towards the light, they reached a point where their equilibrium seemed to shift, and they began floating in the direction that used to be down. Reaching the new surface, they found they were able to pass through normally.

Coming to the surface of the water, the party were surrounded by a great hall with columns on either side of them. There was also a flaming brazier behind them that Thadwick went to investigate and by which he became entranced. While Thadwick was pulled in and wished to investigate the mysterious fire, which was unlike any fire he had seen before, the rest of the party was trying to hear what was happening in their mysterious surroundings. Olivine noticed a strange patch of wall that appeared to be a secret door. The party approached the door and knocked. The door slid open to the sides, and a gnome came to greet them. He was suspicious of why they had come to their domain, and was insistent that they shouldn’t be there. When the party tried to explain their side of the story, another gnome head appeared above the other, and asked how they got here. When the party tried to explain that they had accidentally come through the portal, a third, elven head appeared above the two gnome heads and said that the party had to come with them.

The party was led through a mysterious woods unlike any they had seen before, vibrant, lush, and deep. The party was led to a fortification where they were rushed into a great hall. There, they met a Seated Satyr on a Seat of Cedar. The party explained how they had gotten to the domain of Prince Callithay, the Seated Satyr’s Lord. The party pleaded with the Seated Satyr on a Seat of Cedar to help them find their way home, but the Seated Saty’r seemed reluctant. The party persisted, though, and the Seated Satyr said, “Very well, then, a challenge!”

The great hall disappeared, replaced by a colloseum. The party was surrounded by the two gnomes and the elf who had escorted them to the hall. Getting past the gnomes cunning illusions and deceptions and the elf’s bad day at archery, the party proved themselves victorious, and the colloseum faded back to the great hall. The Seated Satyr on a Seat of Cedar agreed to provide them with directions to the portal, as well as the key, a large amethyst shard. The vanquished gnome arcanist also gave them an amulet of protection. The directions were as follows:

Head north on the Path of Rowan,

Then turn east at the Lake of Sorrows.

There, you will find the Temple of Pthaelis.

The party headed north on the Path of Rowan, a path mysteriously lit by twilight from beneath and were constantly surrounded by mysterious scrambling, and were trapped by several wild creatures. They were attacked from the rear by a dire wolf, and from the sides by two fey panthers, but were most frightened by the vine horror to the front, one of which had recently pressed them sorely in battle. The party fought them back furiously, and No-Merit knocked one panther out with his magical mace, and Olivine took several others out with a Contagion spell while Thadwick finished off some others.

The party then reached the Lake of Sorrows, which they knew because of the mournful keening and weeping as the waves lapped upon the shore. The party was on edge, and noticed the pair of deathjump spiders following them, when the air was pierced by the cry of “Shiny!” by a rapidly descending harpy. No-Merit thought quickly and commanded the harpy into the water, where she landed awkwardly. She soon took to the sky again, and drew the party out into the lake with her song, where they struggled to stay on the surface. The party focused on the harpy, and took her out, but were quite weakened and only barely managed to take out the spiders before making camp for the night. The sounds from the lake gave them strange, frightening dreams, but they felt much better in the morning, and moved East towards the Temple of Pthaelis.

When the party came into sight of the temple, they were accosted by two Eladrin knights and a griffon, the one shouting, “For Lady Iria!” The one knight was then revealed to be a howling hag, and the party were driven back and nearly defeated when Alistair and Marius showed up to help them out. With their timely arrival, the party rallied and defeated their formidable foes. The party, badly shaken, spoke with Alistair and Marius. Marius had wondered why the party was so long in returning, for, while the pary felt they were only gone for a couple of days, they had been gone from the world for two weeks. Marius had gone to Alistair to help find them, and when he saw the trouble they were in, he rushed to their aid.

The party then entered the Temple of Pthaelis, and saw the giant, horn-headed guardian standing hunched over, inanimate. No-Merit, Olivine, and Alistair decided that they way to activate the guardian was to insert the key into a hole in his forehead. Fearful that the guardian might awake and attack them, they inserted the shard key into his head, and the guardian awoke, but was quite civil, helping them open the portal and return to the normal world somewhat near the elven settlement, Syndaril.

The party got to the Syndaril and met up with Enna, had tearful memories of Arannis at a stately funeral, and took some time to recuperate from their adventure. Alistair helped smooth out relations due to his good reputation with the elven community, but then took his leave, having other important matters to attend to. Marius stayed with the party to try to arrange another trade caravan from Syndaril, hopefully with the party as guards…



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