The Forest Elder
15 Fiann, 3032 PA
After a brief and fruitless search for an easy river crossing, the party opted to head east and skirt the lake they had camped beside. Several hours later they arrived at the site Milon had marked on their map – the oldest tree in the forest. This massive darkwood dwarfed the trees nearby, cloaking its clearing with huge branches, and leaves the size of a buckler.
This serene giant was not without danger, however. Cassie and Raina easily scaled the tree, finding a large patch of eldermoss and the remains of three hunters. It soon became evident what had killed them as a huge draconic serpent attacked from the upper branches. A second tatzlwyrm attempted to ambush Damian and Kiera on the ground.
Kiera dispatched the wyrm at ground level, plunging her sword through its head and pinning it to the ground. The tatzlwyrm in the trees, however, was not so easily killed. Cassie, fearing for her life, vainly attempted to flee by climbing back down. The serpent, using its coiled bulk as leverage, pounced on her. Cassie was killed by the massive bite and impact. Sonia killed the beast with a well-placed sling bullet, splattering Raina with ichor, bone shards, and brain matter.
Only Damain expressed concern at the death of their compatriot – she had rescued him from the dungeons of Tor Egan, after all – but the group at least took the time to bury her among the roots of the Elder Tree. The remains of the tatzlwyrms’ previous victims were looted and the patch of eldermoss harvested before the party set off towards their next destination.
The Hag-haunted Hollow
The spot Milon had marked for the witch’s hut was too far to make before nightfall, so the party did not arrive until mid-morning the next day. Once there, they found an eerily silent clearing inhabited only by scarecrow-like fetishes of sticks and bone. In the center of the clearing stood a ramshackle hut of mud and thatch.
The unsettling nature of the place convinced Sonia and Raina to remain outside, while Damian and Kiera searched the hut. Choked with shadows that seemed to swallow both light and sound, the interior appeared to have been abandoned a long time ago. Rank with mold and rot, the hut nevertheless contained many objects related to a witch’s craft. Of Ulizmilla herself, there was no sign.
Damian, believing the unnatural shadows to be an illusion, set about ransacking the shelves in search of the Rat’s Tail. As soon as he started, a large, rusty, iron cauldron lurched from its resting place and attacked the interlopers.
Kiera and Damian fled the hut, the cauldron in pursuit. Raina and Sonia used the distraction to enter the hut and grab the second ingredient for Laurel’s remedy. The cauldron was faster than expected and managed to catch up to the heroes outside. It savaged Damain’s leg with its gaping metal maw, very nearly killing him, until Kiera split the animated guardian in two with a heavy sword blow.
After doing what they could for Damain’s leg, the heroes headed north towards the foreboding bulk of Droskar’s Crag, and the dwarven ruins that lay at its feet. They arrived at dusk and set up camp at the forest’s edge.