Saturday, 12 February 2011

Chapter Six: Netheril - Session 40 - The Green Shadow part 1 of 3

Connal Ragnirsson - Jarecki
Jarod - Jacek
Ren Howl - Adrian

Cetus - Paweł (absent)

Heroes decided to rest and search burial mound next day. They made camp in woods and slept night in peace. Next morning Connal cast spells restoring their strength and all three went back to tree and began inspecting entrance to tomb. Stone that was blocking it was round and heavy but heroes quickly removed it. Behind it there was a tunnel slightly overgrown with roots and bushes. It lead to chamber well below tree and burial mound. In the middle upon short pillar an old root was placed along with some treasures. What was particularly strange, treasures gathered in chamber were like fitted for heroes: dwarven armor and bane mace against undead, monk weapons or lucky sword for rogue. It almost looked as Isandrea had defeated similar group o adventurers before.

Characters gathered loot and made way back to exit but this time corridor was heavily overgrown with roots. When they finally returned to the surface, heroes soon realized that their surroundings completely changed. Meadow was gone, replaced by thick forest. Mountains on the horizon seemed more massive, tall and majestic. there were a strange sweetness in the air, stars shone brighter and sky was clearer. Even the themselves looked more regal, noble and resembled archetype of their race or class.

Soon a man, a ranger, approached them. It was obvious he is some kind of ghost, but not malevolent or wicked, but a serene apparition. He greeted them to a Green Shadow, a plane where nature rules, civilization is like a new born infant and where rules of legend or fairytale precede customs of physics or logic. His name was Kivander and he explained that whole demiplane is suffering from curse brought by Isandrea actions. Not only Green Shadow suffered, but Prime Material World too. It was perhaps heroes who were destined to lift off a curse. He himself couldn't take action, as he was part of tragedy, a human husband dryad queen.

Spirit explained that more information can be found at Gnome's Bazaar, only permanent settlement at crossroads of two roads running through whole realm. Heroes moved in direction ranger provided. First day was tough: journey through dense, thick and verdant forest resembled trek across Goro-Goro's jungles. But soon Connal turned heroes into wind and the flew over the hills, forest, rivers, lakes and mountains to find Gonme's Bazaar.

Town was relatively small but bursting with an activity. Two roads that crossed in the middle were lighted by the same magical lanterns, as those near Falcon's Hollow. Heroes arrived shortly before twilight. there were gnomes haggling, unicorns reading fortune, eladrin exchanging legendary tales, people going on with their lives. While Jarod and Connal were booking places at inn, Ren sneaked out to bazaar. But with sun setting a strange change took place. Unicorns were replaced by gypsies, eladrin by creatures of the night. Where love-potions seller sat, a poisoner was offering his wares. Ren decided to read his fortune and met an elderly gypsy woman. She knew him well, despite the didn't met yet. She explained that heroes should seek twin brothers and their Tree. In exchange for help and as a payment, Ren drawn a card from the gypsy's deck. Card was blanc.

Next day heroes looked out two brothers and Tree. The found them quickly. One of them was in shiny armor, with sprite hovering at his hand, with blond hair and smile upon face. The other one was clad in armor of thorns, with jet black hair and dog eating rotting flesh at his feet. Marak, a bright one, explained that fate of Green Shadow and Darkening Moon Vale rests in Isandrea hands. There are four key moments in her life that transformed her into Winterqueen of Hate that declared war against humans and feyfolk who opposed her. If wrong can be repaired, perhaps peace and serenity will reign. One happened in Spring, second during pleasant Summer, third one when Autumn leaves covered forest floor and Isandrea fate was sealed in Winter's cold embrace. Marak was guarding paths to first two happenings, while his twin brother Karam to later two.

Heroes decided to start with Spring and  set out road along with directions from Marak. soon they found out themselves in thick forest. Along with them many faries traveled, all in need to participate in Enstarement Ceremony. Characters learned that it was annual festival, where noble fae offered their secret dreams and sent them out in the sky, to form a new stars, named after them. It was necessary to be included in High Court, an honor each fae aspires to. Marak have told them, that Isandrea's dream had been stolen just before sending in sky, resulting with shame and disgrace that fell upon shoulder of young and fragile fae. Heroes decided to explore Star Castle and temple before looking for Isandrea.

They spent two days exploring city, temple, place and district, where noble fae lived. Jarod and Ren performed scouting missions, while Connal looked for potential thieves and Isandrea herself. They learned, that each fae instinctively knew when it was her turn to go to temple and offer her dreams. So heroes had to wait. Ren turned to treant and watched her from garden, while Jarod sneaked streets. Connal decided to prowl in dark corners of temple, preparing to strike against enemies.

Finally the night came. Without warning, Isandrea left her house and shielding light of her dreams with bare hands, she began pilgrimage to the Temle. Ren and Jarod Shadowed her from distance, closely watching for enemies. Unhindered the arrived at temple and made contact with Connal. When Isandrea was about to enter room, where dreams were sent into sky, a shadowy figure appeared before her. Clouded in fear and darkness, it was tall and gaunt, with mane of raven black hair and eyes full of nightmares. Ren immediately recognized it as a creature like one he fought atop of Andru's tower: a Night Hag!

Jarod and Ren attacked, with Connal supporting them and taking care of Isandrea. Creature was not prepared to fight sneaky rouge and valiant monk. Hag tried to put them to sleep but her spell failed (actually it was only Isandrea, that fell asleep). Blows and chops fell upon creature of night, which fought back fiercely but ultimately was killed and disappeared like a bad dream...

After Isandrea had been awaken and comforted, heroes escorted her to chamber, where she sent her secret dreams to sky and new star began to shine. Later that night heroes left off and after short journey the arrived at the Tree, greeted with stares of amazement and amusement.