|Road Marshal Elmang|
Our character’s awaken on day 159, roused from sleep by the gathering of Road Marshals outside the Grumblebelly. Rydin, on the last watch, led the characters outside where our characters find Road Marshal Elmang who is concerned about the events of yesterday. Rydin puts up a comment about how the common folk seemed not out of sorts, but Elmang wishes to play it cautious.
Elmang introduces the characters to the gathered Road Marshals saving the best for last, indicating Syrendross as an 'okay' individual. Elmang further states his intentions for the Road Marshals to be a visible presence over the next few days leading up to the League Summit. Syrendross expresses his willingness to help but was kindly deflected as Elmang has everything under control.
As soon as Elmang exited, a pair rider Halflings; Garbel and Bycol, obviously injured; halted at the door of the Grumblebelly looking for Baron Zarl. Visibly distraught, and largely ignored by the Road Marshals, it was Syrendross who broke the tension with the Halflings and commented ‘a hard ride?’ This led to our characters to a story of the troubles at Hickory Point. Kyras offer and then dispensed with the Green healing and offered them a place in his room until Baron Zarl can see them.
Inside our characters arrange a morning meal and listen to Garbel and Bycol explain as best as they can the horrors that have descended upon the Zarl company town of Hickory Point. A short time later Baron Zarl joins them to a story of rain, lightening and a berserk tree that largely destroyed the mill and adjacent building.
Garbel and Bycol are given a reprieve as Baron Zarl confers with the Heroes of Virtue. In this our characters learn there are mostly Halflings in Hickory Point and that the Baron owns the mill. After some hard questions Baron Zarl admits there are regional problems around Hickory Point and that he is concerned for his employees. Baron Zarl fears these are more guerrilla tactics from the Duchy of Jeshal Macrear. After the sundering the King of the Isles drew the Duchy lines and Tier Ne Somenhiem benefited, but the Baron has no clue as to the ‘lightening tree’ the Halflings spoke about.
Our characters immediately hesitate in regarding moving against any duchy, especially when our characters will have to earn their endorsement for Bouvaldia. However Baron Zarl eases our character's concern that with Jeshal Macrear, it depends on what Warlord is currently position of power.
Baron Zarl laments it is hard to offer compensation to our characters for this mysterious foray to Hickory Point but does offer a parcel of land and a building to act as a Bouvaldian Embassy in exchange for our best efforts. After offering Garbel and Bycol, who are anxious to return to loved ones, as guides our characters agree to Baron Zarl’s request to investigate.
Hickory Point is five miles north in the uplands where the terrain gets rough and rocky and is populated by one to three hundred individuals; a land rich in the Green Faith thrives with the people living off the land. It was a good place for Kyras to use Tongue of the Land to commune with nature learning that an old local druid had died here three days ago.
Travel to Hickory Point is up and down hills filled with difficult terrain, taking our characters three hours of overland travel before Garbel gives our characters a choice of paths, the Bark River where the majority of the destruction wrought by the lightening tree remains, or the lake close to the mill. Our characters elect to follow the deep Bark River along a ridge spotting the barges and wood workings along the way. About a quarter mile away, altitude sets in and our characters begin to see the path of destruction.
When our characters arrive many of the people of Hickory Point are still in a haze and exhausted from the previous nights attack. As Dolgrin and Kyras work miracles of healing the masses, Lapis and Barit begin readying a burial ground; Dramen looks to the mill for clues noticing a direct route the tree took through the mill and machinery, doing damage to itself in the carnage; Rydin and Kotri begin patrolling the area; and Syrendross uses his dimensional ability to transport himself five hundred feet above Hickory Point to locate the origin of the berserk tree.
Kyras presides over the victims last rights before they are buried then asked about the dead druid. A Halfling by the name of Swiaket tells Kyras about the old druid Rakil, a half-elf with a grove south of here. She also asks if Kyras is from above. It becomes known that our characters are here on the Baron’s behalf and again using the tongue of the land, Kyras discovers the attacking tree’s vanishing point.
5pm. Our characters decide to investigate the source of the tree where Syrendross identified earlier. A half hour of travel brings the heroes to lightening blasted area where ash and scorched trees surrounded a hole in the ground (to find out later this is where the druid Rakil lived). Dolgrin heals some trees with a burst of positive energy. Kyras also learns the other trees surrounding the blast sight describe this tree as polluted by a creature of bluster, skin and bones.
7pm Our characters return to Hickory Point for food and rest and to formulate a plan for tonight. Rydin and Kotri volunteer to patrol the bridge and boathouses; Kyras initiates his own solitary patrol of Hickory Point; while Dramen, Syrendross, Dolgrin and the other followers rest in the remains of the mill.
During a restless sleep Dolgrin is alerted to the presence of evil nearby that breaks out into combat with the blistered skin and bones hag and the reanimated spirit of the druid in a perverse abomination called a dread wraith.
After the battle a storm rolls in, some of the heroes drained of precious constitution attempt to rest again but are harried throughout the night with repeated nightmares and howls from the unseen fabled windego. Dolgrin dreams of a carnivorous stag creature with a taste for humanoid blood.
The next day, when our characters awake they find most of Hickory Point deserted after the panic wrought by the howls of the windego. The heroes decide to seek out the druid’s grove on the way back to Naper’s Dawn and find a well maintained area of the Green Faith expressed with flowers, plentiful crops, and animals who seem comfortable with the presence of people.
Kyras decides to cast a hollow spell on the druids home (*not the grove) for the next twenty-four hours while the rest of our characters return to Naper’s Dawn where we pickup with our characters on the day of the League Summit at the Summit Breakfast (Day 165). We are awarded 8,000 xp. Leaving us with less than 10k needed for 11th level.