Wherein the heroes finally make their way to the Elder Tree and find it occupied.
We leave from the river area and veer more easterly. After walking hours, we come across some boulders, glowing underneath. Frog carefully gathers some more glow mold. He gathered enough to serve as a light source. It glows as brightly as a torch.
Making good progress, by noon ToughBark hones in on landmarks around the old man tree. The group approaches the biggest tree they’ve ever seen. The trees in the forest give way to the massive tree in a clearing. The ancient tree has arms larger than giants and man-sized roots that trust into the ground. Lichens and mosses pepper the tree with multi-colored bark that goes to black. The tree is less a tree and more like a cathedral of bows and branches, with many low, easy to climb branches that extend tens of yards in every direction.
The group approached the tree. Frog told the group that elder moss would be bright green cottony moss that is soft to the touch. After a short search, ToughBark, Meander and Frog had each found a clump of elder moss. Broken was hanging back a few yards away from the tree. He shrieked in pain and collapsed to the ground. The group whirled around to see a dragon munching on his head.
The dragon had jumped from the tree and landed on Broken, piercing his chest and biting his skull. It was a man sized beast, with a long serpentine tail. Each of its four legs ended in dagger sharp claws. It had a big, lizard-like head with a maw full of pointy teeth.
Frog springs first to action and begins chanting a healing spell. Meander braces his dagger at his side. He unleashes a primal yell, grimaces and charges at the dragon. He streaks by the dragon at blinding speed, ripping through the dragons tail and midsection, running several more steps to come to a stop. He spins around to face the dragon and seems to deflate, before bracing himself for another attack.
ToughBark readies the goblin short bow and nocks an arrow. He fires at the dragon’s chest but the arrow is repelled by the dragon’s thick scaly hide. The dragon turns to Meander and charges at him, but misses wildly. Frog finishes casting his healing spell. Broken’s wounds stop bleeding, but he is still unconscious.
Meander starts running again, circling around in a loop. He sweeps by the dragon, slashing the dragon’s chest, and continues running past the Stone Man before coming to a stop. The dragon starts writhing like a coiled injured snake.
Frog strikes out at the dragon with his spirit lash spell. He sends waves of hostile spiritual energy at the dragon, but it spiritually winces and shrugs it off.
Meander make another run by the dragon, slashing one of it’s limbs as he passes by. ToughBark shoots an another arrow and strikes him in the chest. Frog lashes out again and this time the dragon stops moving .. and begins leaking all over.
Meander starts talking about skinning the dragon to get more scaly hide to make into armor. ToughBark steps in and makes decent work of the dragon’s hide.
While ToughBark works on the dragon hide, Frog and Meander talk about what to do about Broken. He is stable for the moment, but still unconscious and near death. Meander suggests that they go back into the woods to take shelter. ToughBark convinces the group to stay at the tree. They have good shelter under this massive tree. The denizens of the forest know that a nasty predator hunts here, and they should stay away.
The group takes shelter in the tree and Frog prepares his best healing juju. While waiting for Frog, ToughBark and Meander climb back down to start slicing up the dragon meat and cooking dragon jerky. After Frog communed with the spirits and readied his spells, he unleashes a massive healing spell on Broken and brings him back to consciousness.
Frog goes to each member of the group and erases their hurt and ailments. Meander is left with only a scratch on his chest where the cauldron munched on him. Frog healed himself last, completely removing any trace of the arrow wound on his chest.
The group decides it is too late to try to leave the forest and make ready to spend the night by the massive tree. Once Broken steadies himself, he spends the evening instructing the Stone man on how to defend Broken should he go unconscious again. He also tinkers with the golems eyes.
Meander goes exploring in the tree. As he climbs into the upper branches, he discovers three bodies hanging from the branches. They appeared to be hunters and their equipment still hung from their half eaten carcasses. He manages to salvage two crossbows, two short swords, a suit of hide armor, a masterwork short bow, a signet ring with a flaming hawk, eight days of rations and a small collection of coins (9 silver, 12 copper).
Frog performs a ritual, going into a trance for a vision quest. After chanting for an hour, he finds himself standing by the huge tree. Streams of power leak from the tree like mists. The spirit of the tree is very powerful and could squash him like a bug.
Looking around, Frog sees a fast red flame, darting from bush to bush. The glow emerges from the surrounding thicket and reveals a fox. The fox is bright red like coals. Its coat streams out like fire. Frog approaches the fox and begins to talk to it. He reminds the fox that we freed it from the trap, and that we are trying to heal the village. He asks for the spirit’s help.
The fox asks what Frog wants in return. Frog asks for the fox to lend it’s power to help on our tasks. The fox says that the full moon is 8 days away, and it will lend aid until out of power, or the full moon, whichever happens first.
The two return to Frog’s body. His fetch stops guarding his body and slithers away as Frog’s spirit settles back home. The fetch wraps around the fox spirit like a boa constrictor. The fox doesn’t struggle as the snakelike spirit’s coils wrap tightly about it, as it is helping willingly.
The group divides up the watches and night passes uneventfully. In the morning, Frog takes another look at Broken’s wounds. He spends time tending to them and performs more healing rituals, returning him to a condition good enough for travel.
Before heading out into the forest, Meander dons the grim goblin armor. Frog decides that the hide armor has more benefits than another arrow to the chest and puts on the hide armor. ToughBark insists that the easiest way out is due south. He estimates that by travelling all day, the group could get out by before daylight is up. The group decides to travel double-time, since they don’t have to watch for trails or landmarks.
About an hour after leaving the safety of the old tree, sounds of howling start approaching the group. A group of wolves seem to be trailing the party. Meander dumps the cooked dragon meat and the group keeps going. Soon, sounds of snarling and fighting can be heard as the wolves fight over the food. The group keeps going.
The group passes several more clumps of glow mold, but Frog is unable to harvest the mold. The group is in too much of a hurry and harvesting the mold requires careful attention.
Hours pass and the group continues through the woods. Broken notices a rabbit hanging from a loop on a tree. He tells the group and they start to move towards the rabbit to set it free. ToughBark is the closest to the rabbit and notices the edge of a deadfall as he almost falls in. Frog pushes in the deadfall. At the bottom of the pit are nasty sharpened blood covered spikes. A rotten nasty smell rises up from the pit. ToughBark tells the group that this is no normal hunter trap. Too much meat would be wasted and it is crude and cruel. This looks like a goblin trap.
The group hurries away from the area by the deadfall. They soon reach the edge of the forest. The trees thin and a broad expanse of grassland opens before them. ToughBark tells the group they are east of the logging camp. They stop and talk about the groups next actions. They give ToughBark one of the short swords and the goblin bow as payment for guiding them through the forests. He doesn’t know much about the mountains, nor does he know of anyone who would go up there. He will, however, travel with the group back to Boar’s End and possibly go further with the group if they need a bowman.
The group goes back to Boar’s End. They stop, as usual, just out of sight of the town gates. Frog and Meander take off their armor. Broken drops off the Stone Man outside town. The group makes a stop at the [[Sitting Duck | inn] just through the gates. Broken asks the innkeeper about purchasing a wagon. He is told to go to the high market. The rest of the group look for places to sell their other finds.
As they go about town, they notice many more guards with long spears and armor. Each is wearing a breastplate, a shiny helm that cover their face, ring mail and a blue cloak.
Meander, Frog and ToughBark walk across town to the blacksmith. At the shop they do a bit of haggling and manage to sell some of the weapons they had collected. The blacksmith gives them 70 silver for the two crossbows. He won’t buy the shortbow, as it is a piece of art and can’t pay but a fraction of what it is worth. He also gives them 5 silver for the cleaver. Meander buys a normal spear at the shop.
Next the group heads to the local skinner. Meander shows him the dragon and wyvern hides and requests that he make a suit of armor from them. The skinner can make it for 20 silver. Meander shows him the goblin armor too, and the skinner can use parts of it as well to reduce the cost to 10 silver. Meander tells him the group needs it quickly, as they are trying to help gather a cure for the black scour taint. The skinner agrees to bump this job to the top of the list because they are trying to save the town.
Broken left the inn with Grung Knifetongue’s head in a sack. He went to see the sheriff at the Hollow Tribunal on the way to the High Quarters. Inside he spoke to Sheriff Baleson. He asked the sheriff about Grung Knifetongue. The sheriff told him he was a fierce hunter, wanted for murder, theft and rape. Broken shows the sheriff the head and tells him about meeting the goblin like creature. The sheriff seems a bit hesitant. Broken says that the creature’s cleaver is being sold at the blacksmith if he needs more proof. The sheriff is convinced as gives Broken 5 gold crowns in reward. Broken also asks the sheriff about the signet ring, but no one is familiar with the signet.
Broken moves along to the gates. The guards stop him and ask his business. They insist that he must wait for a few minutes if he wishes to enter. Broken protests, but the guards remain firm. Broken tries to wait. He stares at the guards. The guards stare at him. After a few minutes, one of the guards speaks up, “Ok, I haven’t heard you coughing, What do you want?” Broken tells the guards about wanting to buy a wagon, and the guards let him through.
Broken went to the wainwright. The wainwright had many nice carriages. He tried to see Broken a custom built carriage with pillows and silk curtains. However, the 10 gold crown price tag was too much for Broken. After much searching and haggling, Broken buys an uncovered wagon with connects for one horse for 35 silver. Broken leaves happy with the deal and takes the wagon outside of town to start enchanting it.
After the other sales, Meander, Frog and ToughBark head back to the inn to gather up the other items. They head over to the low market to sell the statues and stones. They found a merchant there that bought the whole lot for 20 silver. Afterwards, they went to Laurel’s shop. Laurel was interested in the wyvern poison for making a poison antidote. She was also interested in the other herbs. She paid 20 silver total for tail and herbs. She wasn’t interested in the glow mold, and wasn’t willing to buy the salts or shrunken head.
Afterwards, everyone meets back at the Sitting Duck. They meet a guy there who has been asking about the mountains as well. RedEarth is a traveller looking for Dwarven ruins. He’s a scholar of sorts, but only fits the role by his scribe robes. He isn’t particularly tall, but he is stout and wide. His thick muscles are easily visible under his robes. He doesn’t carry any armor, but he has a smith’s hammer at his side. From his scars, he doesn’t not look unfamiliar to combat. After some brief introductions, he asks to join the group up to the mountains.