Evening, the 3rd of Davor, 1331 Avard.
The new chief of the Immedhya Sholin was a young man named Omiamaru – the sole remaining son of the former chief. Omiamaru spent the 4th of Davor performing the last rites for his father and all the other Sholin that had perished the day before. The walking olive tree and the little twig men had killed nearly 150 of the Immedhya Sholin. Those that had died at the limbs of the evil trees, were taken out to sea and laid to rest in Olorin's embrace.
The task of burying the dead at sea took all of the 4th, and the aid of one of the Dellistar's longboats.
The next day, the 5th, Omiamaru sent a fast catamaran west to the nearest Sholin village, Aanauyano. Omiamaru hoped that their Sholin kin would take them in, though their numbers were not so great as even the reduced numbers of Immedhya.
Hadarai, feeling guilty and wanting to spread that guilt, sent an animal messenger to Ilinaranee, the Green Woman, the sylvan druidess that had 'loved' the village for many centuries. There was no reply.
On the morning of the 6th, Omiamaru and the party received word from the tomanth Killik that the sahuagin were amassing. As many as fifty sahuagin raiders had been spotted in the shoals, only two days east of the village. With their numbers reduced and half their warriors dead because of the evil trees…
Chief Omiamaru had no choice but to move his people west, and hope that the Aanuyano would accept them. Begging aid of the Dellistar to help move his people, Omiamaru sought to take everyone and flee as quickly as possible. Captain Nallya of the Dellistar was willing, especially given how many pearls Omiamaru was offering, but the final decision came down to the party, and Dolon and Hadarai.
The group decided to do what needed doing. The Dellistar would push west with the villagers, and the group would go east, back to the mount known as Kamatoree – and find the dagger Horbe sought. Dolon vowed to punch Horbe's face for all that the simple 'grab and go' had turned into a humanitarian effort.
Moving all of the remaining villagers onto the Dellistar took half the day. The group decided to wait until dawn, and rest, before moving back east to Kamatoree. Rather than follow the coast, they felt that moving overland through the thick forests would be wiser, to keep the sahuagin from ambushing them along the shore.
At dawn the next morning, the sahuagin came marching up out of the surf, nearly fifty strong. A group of ten were led by a four-armed sahuagin monster, and as the party rapidly left one of the Sholin houses, the sahuagin group rushed to meet them in battle. The party fled deep into the jungle, losing their pursuers, after the briefest of useless ranged exchanges.
The next three days of travel brought them to the same ruins that Dolon and Hadarai had faced before. They had seen tracks that other evil olive trees had come down from the plateau – and they had been watched by the little twig men, though not attacked.
Hadarai and Dolon were nervous, remembering all that had happened to them the last time they had been there. Only Cephus' star pact had saved the others, though where they were was anyone's guess. No one was eager for more battle – but Hadarai and Dolon had an idea.
Kambator's courtyard had been ringed with enchanted stones that kept even weeds from growing within it. Hadarai showed that the stones could be loosened from their mortar without damaging them – and found that they had a range of nearly five feet, into which no plant would willingly move, and no plant could survive for long.
Having arrived in the afternoon, they cautiously slept within the courtyard's stones that night. A shambling olive tree, replete with little twig men, came towards them in the night, and then left, without attacking.
Come the dawn, armed with the stones – and with the sword given them by the druidess Ilinaranee, they advanced into the manor where the man-sized tree had so savaged them and attacked them, and nearly killed the dwarf Garet. Several twig men attacked them, and when Hadarai's magics were unleashed, the man-sized tree erupted from a pool of water in the overgrown inner garden, and attacked.
The party quickly found itself in trouble, until enough of the enchanted stones could be brought to bear. Hadarai and Liffey and Dolon picked off the twig men in the trees, while Sunalor carefully maneuvered the man-sized moving tree into the pool. A hallucinogenic flower nearly got Dolon a second time, but he stopped just in time, and Hadarai burned the flower away.
Ringing the man-sized moving tree into the pool, and overlapping the enchanted stones such that the thing could not attack them, Hadarai was able to use his arcane powers to burn the creature to death, even under water.
Judicious use of the stones allowed them to explore the ruins, though they found nothing. The manor was empty, save for a gallon of olive oil still left in an old pot.
They also found that the man-sized tree had been attacking a stone fountain into the pool, spending centuries gouging into the fountain, as though attacking it. Careful inspection revealed that the fountain was part of a mechanism – a mechanism that had long-since rusted stuck. Hadarai's dumping of olive oil over the stone and into the mechanism fixed that – and with a lot of elbow grease and a click, the pool drained, revealing a mud-covered hatch.
Beneath the pool, they found a ladder and another hatch, that moved more easily. Hadarai's magics provided light, while they searched – and found a small laboratory – smashed. A golden dagger with a leaf-patterned motif was clutched in the left hand of a mummified man. He had slit his own throat. And the laboratory itself was in ruins; none of the expensive glass apparatuses were salvageable. There was also a small log book, written in the old Karatikan tongue. The book was written by a left-handed man, and there was no date on the last entry – but the other entries dated from the 400s Avard.
The corpse also had exactly 100 gold coins in its purse. Dozens of other gold and silver coins were scattered about the smashed lab.
And nothing else was there.
The golden dagger radiated a powerful magic, of a type never before seen by Hadarai. It was obviously ceremonial, being made of dagger, and dull enough that it must have hurt, for the man to have used it to cut his own throat.
They used the rest of that day to burn away all the evil they could find, using Hadarai's magic and judicious use of the stones to burn the few evil olive trees left, and what hallucinogenic flowers they could find, and the corrupted grape vines and poisonous creeping vines and all the twig men there. They burned it all, purifying the plateau in fire.
The party spent the night in the little garden, after clearing it out to something manageable. The next day, they left, taking a number of the enchanted anti-plant stones with them. They traveled back the way they had gone, though they crossed no other paths and found no other evils. After two and a half days of travel, they made it back to the ruins of Immedhya.
There was no sign of the sahuagin, and rather than continue on, they made camp again in one of the abandoned houses of the Sholin.
Hadarai sent another animal messenger for the druidess Ilinaranee, though he doubted he would get a response.
In the late night hours, he was surprised to see the Green Woman in Sholin garb, her bare breasts heavy in the dark red light of Maroth overhead.
Ilinaranee spoke with them for a time, giving them a full translation of what was written on the monolith of stone in the village. The man known as Kambator had been a good man, once, and his death saddened her. She had known him, all those many centuries ago. She was unable to touch Kambator's journal, for it burned her. Even the presence of the stones pained her, and she could not stay long. But she was pleased that they had wiped out what they could of the evil that had been atop the plateau.
The dagger, she confirmed, was the source of the evil that had changed those plants in the manor. It had taken centuries, and it was a slow, subtle process. But it was a corrupting influence; the dagger was too powerful, by far, though how, she knew not.
She mourned the passing of the villagers, and the death of the village itself, but she would endure, and she would be there when the Sholin returned.
Ilinaranee left them, then, having answered their questions as best she could, yet seemingly leaving other questions unanswered.
On the morn, they set out in heavy rains for the west, and the village of Aanuyano. Three days later, moving fast along the shore and mounted, they finally made out the masts of the Dellistar in the falling rain.
The chief of the Aanuyano, Amanarianu, had made Omiamaru his deputy – and accepted the Immedhya Sholin into his own tribe, despite their past differences. Having the Dellistar and its ballistae and armed men had probably helped convince the Aanuyano Sholin to take in their cousins in no small part.
The Sholin listened to the party's tale, and applauded them for the good they had done. The Immedhya Sholin felt that, perhaps, they could return to Immedhya, and even bring the Aanuyano with them. Whatever their decision, the party knew it was time for them to leave.
Gifts were exchanged, and it was time to put to sea again aboard the Dellistar.
The maps were checked and rechecked, and the party decided to follow their original plans – to go after the circlet, next. The voyage would take some 50 days, but it would give them time to rest, to practice with one another, and to study.
A week into the voyage, Dolon realized from his slow translations of the Kambator journal that it was Ilinaranee that had given Kambator the first orchid – an orchid that had later become corrupted into the hallucinogenic flower.
Morning, the 10th of Trivor, 1331 Avard.
Each player received 400 experience points for role-play. Hadarai and Dolon now have 1495 experience points each, and Sunalor and Liffey have 1050 apiece.
The following notes represent the 'behind the scenes' and 'post op' actions of the players and the Dungeon Master.
We met on February the 6th at my place, again. Ross and Danny were a lil late, but it didn't hold us up very much. The gang got into the swing of things fairly quickly, and made quick work of the night's adventures. Dinner was steaks and veggies; there was a sale a Kroger's the night before. :) Tiffanee took quite a few pictures with her new camera lens, the zoom lens being bigger than the camera itself! Hopefully she'll post a few of those up here in the recap.
The gaming board was completed and worked quite well, though there were several lessons learned: 1) Oak is nice, but it's so tough that even nails bent in it; pine would have been smarter. 2) Brass screws break pretty easy in oak, especially if you haven't drilled out the holes well enough. 3) I have no idea how to use the traditional folding-leg fixtures, and made a hash of even trying. 4) The holes drilled into the plexiglass have to be wallowed out and of a size slightly smaller than the washers but much larger than the screw heads – else you either shatter the plexiglass near the screw or bow it in crazy directions. 5) A true hardware store – and not Lowe's or Home Depot – is going to have the parts I need for a custom project.
Nothin to say, yet.