Another D&D update!
Our adventurers wake in the morning, bodies of the spiders pungent in the heavy air. The smell isn’t carried, no breeze rustling through the forest. Cyrus is nowhere to be seen; despite their calls out to him, only silence answers back.
They continue walking towards the center of the forest. After about 15 minutes of walking, mist once again fills the forest, hanging heavy on the ground. Gantar yells into the mist, trying to provoke some sort of response, but silence fills the forest, the mist heavy on the ground.
Our adventurers press forward, walking for another couple hours. Ahead, they see a break in the mist. Looking closer, they see it’s a small clearing. A pond sits in the middle, large rocks on its bank. Sunlight breaks through the canopy, lighting up the bright water. The mist circles around the clearing, not entering as if there is some sort of barrier keeping it out. Cyrus is sitting on a rock by the pond, playing a lute.
“Hello, heroes. Enjoying the mist?”
“Where is the witch who makes the mist?” Elzeni asks.
“Oh, not too far from here. I suppose I could take you there, but you’re not going to like it.”
Cyrus leans toward her, the lute vanishing from his hands. “There’s creepy crawlies.”
He stands up, stretching in the sun. “I haven’t felt the sun for years. It’s a warm glow on your skin, isn’t it?”
The group exchanges a glance. Gantar, looking closely, notices that Cyrus casts no shadow, the sun reaching the ground through his shimmering form.
“Fairies used to roam the forest, playing their little tricks and making the trees sing,” Cyrus says, heading toward the edge of the clearing. “Off to find Neamhain, I suppose. This way, heroes.”
Cyrus merrily leads them through the mist, passing through it as if he isn’t really there. As they walk, he slips back to talk to Constance.
“You’re a paladin, right?”
“Yes,” she says, looking at him curtly.
“I knew it. I love paladins. They’re always so righteous. It’s endearing.”
She scoffs and walks faster, cutting him off from more conversation.
After walking for about an hour, he stops at a strange entrance. Webbing hangs from the branches, covering the floor of the forest.
“Well, there you have it. If you make it through, Neamhain will be waiting.”
“Through there?” Gantar asks.
“This is the entrance, yes. I don’t quite know what you’ll encounter in there. She has many pets and I haven’t visited in at least a few hundred years. NOT THAT I’D WANT TO,” he yells into the entrance.
They walk through the webbing for an eerie half an hour, the sticky ropes clinging to their armor. Gantar, concerned given the difficulty of dealing with spiders the night before, tries to burn away some of the webbing, accidentally lighting a bush on fire. Panicked, he quickly counters his fire spell with a blast of ice, keeping the entire nest from lighting up.
A pensive moment later, the spiders attack, clearly unhappy at their nest being singed. Halfway through the fight, a strange purple creature appears, hissing at them in a language they don’t understand. It attacks them, defending the spiders they’ve been killing, almost sending Gantar and Aymer to early graves.
The party manages to fight off the creature, Constance beheading it, black ichorous blood splashing on the party. They find a small pouch of strange mushrooms on its body, which Gantar tucks into his pack. After catching their breath, they keep moving toward Neamhain’s cave. Our adventurers continue down the path warily, walking for a couple minutes more before the entrance to the cave looms ahead.
Inside, the cave has warm light, its floor obscured by half a foot of mist that slowly swirls around their boots. Ahead there is hanging moss, and as they step through it, they see a small room. In the far corner is a bed with a nightstand. Shelves line the walls, filled with drooping jars and musty books. In the center of the room is a marble pedestal with a matching bowl, filled to the brim with a clear liquid. On the other side of the pedestal sits a woman in a wooden chair.
Se has pale skin and dark hair, revealing fine elven features when she looks up. She wears simple gray robes, tied with a black sash.
“I don’t suppose you left any of my pets alive.”
“Are you Neamhain?” Elzeni asks.
“Naturally. May I ask why you’ve slaughtered my pets and interrupted my day?”
“We’ve come to ask about the wizard.”
“Information is never free. Have you brought souls to bargain?”
“Souls?” they ask.
“Yes, heroes, I deal in souls for my god.”
At this point, they notice that the mist seems to be coming from beneath her robes as if she is the conduit for its entry to this dimension.
The party debates giving her Gantar’s soul (much to his chagrin), not sure if offering a soul to her god Nyog’sothep would be considered an evil act.
“If you’re unwilling to trade in souls, I can trade you one question. I’ll answer yours if you answer mine.”
They agree, pensive.
“Did Cyrus send you?”
“Yes,” Elzeni tells her.
“I see. Quid pro quo; what is your question?”
After a little debate, the party asks her where the wizard’s tower is.
“Ah, yes. From the entrance to my spiders’ lair, take a right. Continue for a few hours before taking a slight left. After another hour or two of walking, you should be able to spot his tower from the treetops. If you have a map, I can mark it for you.”
Mapless, Elzeni jots down the directions.
“As a helpful note, if you reach a mistless clearing after taking the right, you’ve gone too far and should immediately turn left.”
“Thank you,” Elzeni says.
“A trade, nothing more. Unless you are offering souls, I believe that concludes our business.”
Gantar takes out the bag of mushrooms. “In here, there’s a soul I’m willing to trade you.”
Neamhain raises an eyebrow. “You murder my pet and offer me his food as if it were a soul? I think not, sorcerer. I don’t take kindly to lies.”
Gantar retreats slowly, the rest of the group following him after apologizing for his behavior.
“Well, if you change your mind about souls,” she replies, extending her hand as a bit of mist flies forward and disappears into Gantar’s pack, “you can reach me through that.”
They nod, more than a little weirded out, before walking back out into the spiders’ nest. The spiders above shift angrily, held in check by their mistress. Another purple creature moves between them, petting and soothing the large arachnids. The party passes without incident.
Cyrus is waiting at the entrance, leaning against a tree and strumming his lute.
“So? How’d it go? Get what you needed?”
They nod sullenly, wishing more information had been garnered. Tired, sore, and still hurting from their fight with Neamhain’s pets, they follow Cyrus back to the clearing they met him in earlier. After setting a hasty watch schedule, they settle in for the night.
Wish them luck on Thursday as they head toward the wizard’s tower 🙂