Virgil, rogue of no particular importance
Allfray, Cleric of Lady Quanna
Phlannel, the Lumberjack, killer of trees and planty type stuff
You've been on the path for more than a hundred days, stopping in or passing by many spires, your mundane duty of drover though has been slowing down, as you are reaching the end of the spirelands and fewer settled towns. For a few days you hit the swarming cold and ice, and you know fear...true fear, as the deep cold affects you, affects your movement and even your spells.
But then you pass thru, and see a magnificent forest, with huge beaming trees, almost glowing green. You can see the vigor of the animals scurrying and avians flying everywhere – a place with a different feel than the stoic distant spires. The team have been told to search out the Knight's Grove, from here you will meet Savvo, a contact for your next mission.
Allfray's holy symbol starts to glow yellow and then orange as you near the forest; yellow, like gold is associated with Quanna, but it is a calmer reflective purpose, not as passionate as Gold. Orange is most associated with the God of Courage, Japeth. Phlannel, the Lumberjack searches around and finds a trail going both directions, staying just abreast of the forest; they take the busier route.
Within two hours they find a fairly significant wood and stone bridge that stretches into the forest. Each side has three flags - the middle one of Japeth, Paladin Lord; the lessers being local political figures. At the end of the bridge is a knight-like figure, though they call out to him, there is no response. They cross, slowly, carefully but once clear pick up their pace.
Less than 30 minutes from the bridge, they notice a heavy vine growth crossing the pathway, they slow down to investigate. Phlannel, the lumberjack moves up to take the lead and as he does he notices the wagon just off the road, demolished, as he moves in to get a better look, four vines are scrawling across the forest ground, BATTLE!
Phlannel plants his foot down, rooting himself then swings his heavy axe, dissecting the first vine, then with a swing back around, connecting and tearing apart the next one, certainly living up to his reputation as a lumberjack! Virgil not having surprise, reaches out with but fails to connect with the vine and the plant is unable to wrap around him. Much the same with the cleric, as Allfray hesitates with a spell, but tries to bash down with his mace, he misses, but fortunately so does the vine. The Lumberjack, moves over, flipping his large axe into the third vine, tearing it apart; he sees the last vine slinking away, he rushes forward, his axe ripping through it!
Virgil looks over to the beat up wagon, and already the heavy vines are starting to recede. He looks it over...and sees a part of the axle undamaged, approaching he gets under it, and sees a small hidden cache. The wagon wasn't here for too long, maybe a day, no more than three, there is certainly a lot of damage but this area could be reached. He opens the area, and removes a small metallic box, three small linked silver chains, one is broken. The rogue, carefully with exquisite timing, breaks the chains at the same time, then opens the box, revealing a small anthril (magical silver) dagger and a coin purse. He shares the coins with his teammates, 33 crowns each....but moments later, it fills itself, and as before they each get 33 more crowns. An ever-filling coin-purse!
About forty minutes away from the vines, they see two knights standing at attention, as per military positioning rules. They copy the formation then move up to greet the primary officers. The group meets Left Hand Vankre of House Melland, an officer to the Knightly Guard, but the group is unsure of what military or nation. A Left Hand, as they understand it, is usually a non-commissioned officer, a non-soldier hired to do specialized tasks, but as far as they see it, this patrol duty is exactly what a soldier should be doing. He welcomes them to the Varre Forest, a fey homeland, just as they are guests here, so too are the soldiers. When the team asks about the Knight's Grove, where their contact is, Vankre tells them it is their home around two hours north of here.
The characters tell them about the vines and the wagons, which elicits a question about the markings on the wagon, did they see signs of the High Families...(this causes a huge discussion among the players, did they check the wagon, did they steal something, some out-of-character discussion as the DM leaves the room to let them discuss it among themselves.) Ultimately the the trio does not confirm anything as they do not remember seeing any obvious signs, the knights look at each other, remind them of the bounty on bogards or other evil dangerous fey, then head off.
The party continues forward and in a few hours see a 15 ft high white-golden fence, surrounding an alabaster obelisk and a few other tall buildings. There are a few small vendors outside the gates, selling their wares. There are no soldiers outside, something unexpected. They head inside and see the beautiful and intricate obelisk, dominating everything around it. When they ask for Savvo, but he doesn't seem to be around.
The group and their merchant allies settle in, after a meal they join perhaps 500 people, almost the entire village around the town obelisk for evening prayers. The group sees five priestesses leading the service, four young hairless maidens and an elderly matron. The evening service is lead by the humble acolytes, singing wonderful peaceful harmony. At the end of the service, the matron is kind and patient, in her accepting of pleas for prayers and solace from the many parishioners, she helps put them at ease, and each walks away with a blessing, and a golden glow within them, showing their state of peace.
Allfray greets the Cleric, introducing himself and lets her know that he is in a party that has come to town, being sought to complete a challenge, indirectly hired by Savvo. She is Vessi, humble cleric of the High Paladin, she tells him that she does not trust Savvo, he doesn't hire local soldiers, which could help them, financially but she believes he doesn't want the soldiers to know his business. When Allfray asks why the Japeth's obelisk is here, Vessi asks if she can see his hand, then casts a spell onto him, then looks down and says no, she cannot answer that query. Moments later, she then asks him to inform her if Savro's requests border on treason or unhealthy activity, to remember their vows – and Allfray solemnly promises to relay any information, any break to her. When they talk about connections, Vessi turns her holy symbol over, revealing a second holy symbol, this one to Mathai, Lord of the Hunt – their number is weakened, Vessi reveals, this is why Japeth took over the care of the obelisk, in time they will happily turn the fortress back to the followers of the forest.
At the same prayer-time, Virgil approaches a somewhat inebriated fey, a typical faun having small horns on his head, goat legs, and a very short tail. While respectful, he is not paying much attention, and is drinking swill as the service goes on. He asks if the faun knows who Savvo is – who then points at himself, then asks if they want to go for a drink after the service. The two head over and immediately down a stinking bottle and introduce themselves better.
The faun explains that he needs help, getting something removed from a nearby crypt, an item of value, but something that he doesn't want the paladins to know about. He has heard from the feyvine that the group may have connections that would be useful for a task. The challenge is that there are roaming undead inside a nearby tomb complex as it's little known so the knights don't actually patrol it, Savro believes something will awaken once the item, a liquid sword, is removed. The paladins may not stop them, but they won't like it, and he especially doesn't want to be fingered. He will pay well. He needs the job done in 10 days – 3 days travel each way, and no more than four days in the charnel pits, there will be undead, which is why he needed a team with a good cleric, one that doesn't have overt loyalties to either Japeth or Mathai.
Virgil says his team is open to the task, but is looking for a magical expert, someone that could identify an item without letting the knights know about it. Savvo says he will have an expert here in 10 days, the cost will be approximately 250 crowns, but only if his job is completed.
To be continued...