Table of Contents:
The Value of Honor
The Inn at Tree Top
Square Pegs and Round Holes
Choose a Side
Your Final Warning
The Value of Honor
Following the slaughter of the gnolls, the ease of the night’s sleep is disturbing. The light of the next day inspires new questions.
While the ArcaKnights and the adventurers travel to Lothlorien, Kailen asks Captain Daris of reports from Ustalav.
“The country, as most any would, occasionally employs non-traditional forces. It seems that all, regardless of size, may sometimes get away with whatever they can get away.”
The ArcaKnights, jovial from a great share of spoils, eventually reach Lothlorien alongside the young squad of battlestriders. The large group wanders into the forest, hesitant to progress further – as there is no sign of civilization, nor welcome, nor threat of danger.
The verdant forest teems with plant and animal life. Just within the first rings of trees, giant & magically-worked stone towers appear to suspend themselves just above the ground. Obscured between large trees; their purpose mysterious and silent.
And then – without warning – as they head deeper into the forest, the appearance of larger and then larger trees, now bearing hewn dwellings, and nearby edifices.
As such, the visitor’s gaze is drawn upward and becomes less likely to see a fellow humanoid astride their own, ground level.
After a warm reception from Consul Urtar, Cammadon introduces his traveling companions and relays a brief tale of dangers withstood, and dangers overcome. Uliana highlights the possibility that more danger, and deeper danger, will likely present itself in the future. Consul Urtar accepts these dark tidings with grace and reminds the gathered listeners and wilderness folk that their paradise is, in fact, part of a large and real world.
Snapped from their respite, Osar, the elder merchant asks – in front the modest crowd – “Did you find our gold?” To which Kailen nimbly responds, hoisting a sack of coins, for all to see, before handing it over.
“Men of your word!” Osar cries out, overcome with joy; whilst most of the smiling faces in the crowd recognize that half of his benefactors are, in fact, women.
The Inn at Tree Top
Consul Urtar joins the band for an evening upon the forest canopy. The group ascends worked, magically-created stone stairs to the top levels of the tree; where a worked, magically-created stone inn awaits them.
Drinking and gambling ensues. Urtar is pleased to help arrange for the adventurers to turn their gems into a wedding gift and gold coins. Many coins are gambled away, and then won back, while Cammadon studies his companions, not quite sure whether he should check in with his local family.
As Cam is about to take his leave, satisfied that these companions will not make a scene, Nilch puts a lot out on the table.
“Where’s the whore house?” He calls out, glowing with elven honeywine.
“There are those who would sleep with you, but you will probably have to find them.”
- begin retcon – (fingers crossed)
Knowing that Cammadon has a reputation for reserve, the Innsmaid Hadia mentions that there is a musical performance, every night (day), in Summerland.
“How will we get back up the stairs?” Cammadon asks.
“There’s a bridge now, a very easy walk.”
Anyone looking for a different pleasure joins the short trek between trees. It becomes apparent that space has a different meaning inside this magical forest.
The group begins to fathom the magical power of the local ley line as they see more and more of the intricately designed and crafted magical stone that is used for all non-wood construction.
At this elevation and hour, light from the moon begins to introduce itself. Luckily it is not yet late enough in the day to be upsetting, to step from evening into summer.
The group approaches a tree that is somehow both huge and young, another product of magic and care. The bridge exits to a platform, wrapping around to a welt-shaped arch – and then to a reception area, which is totally empty save for a portal.
Nilch is the first to pass through the magical gate:
(All players visiting Summerland are encouraged to watch The Entirety of this video. Special emphasis on psychedelic moon juice (which in Summerland is probably more like a sun tea spiked with special plants and herbs), making out, animals playing percussion – and the implication that Ralga is the inspiration for the song)
The visitors disperse into the revelry of the plane of Summer and regroup the next day, albeit late – late the next day.
- end retcon -
Square Pegs and Round Holes
A tour is offered and the hungover, somewhat-dazzled group politely accepts the invitation. It turns into one of those days where you end up trying to do too much (i.e. perhaps crossing into and out of, too many planes).
For example: when you find yourself, after all that, later that same day, in another city – Mivon (10,000 GP market) – looking for fancy clothes and the best place to take a giant shit.
All the while – disoriented by the surrounding swamp stank, canal-like streets, and the imposing majesty of a huge nearby monolith. The prominent local Castle Keep of Rastlin Selline and Rozalia Turathiel presents itself as higher than the surrounding city, and will be the location of their private wedding ceremony the following day.
The relatively quiet in-between hours afford views of seemingly impossible non-lethal dueling. Several of the group wish to participate but decide it would be wiser to avoid fights with the wedding coming up.
Kailen puts a lot of effort into picking out suitable dress clothes for the occasion, Cam purchases a Book of War Prayers and heads to the castle to observe and assist with the wedding. Different conversations unfold with different locals.
Those with a longer perspective on history recall a time when forces from then-smaller Arcadia intervened against incursions from the Embreth Forest. Those folks proclaim that it was the first international cooperation they’d seen in…ever. Though, in private, the oldsters would tell you it was the bravery of Arcadia that turned the tide.
Perhaps in spite of all of this – the Creeperwood remains untamed.
Who’s who and what’s what. Let me tell you:
- King Lucian and Queen Orzata of Ustalav. She remembers that Uliana spent time in her land, and that it was not fun for Uliana. And the people who harshed on Uliana have been dealt with.
- Scyleia Kul, daughter of Kevoth Kul
- Clavius Mora, has-been noble
- Niles, head of staff
- Chezaray Malvadoza, drunken brat and potential douche
-other nobles who struggled with the transition of the society from wealth and class divisions toward a meritocracy
- Primarch Sellara (sp), voice in Cam’s head
- Bad Cake the Red Mantis Assassin
- giant ass rift in space-time with a giant ass sycthe blade
- various nefarious henchmen
From the bardic summary of the show: “The stage play of mortal enemies unwinds for the historical-cultural enjoyment of the wedding guests. Guffaw at the drunken duelists just trying to keep their swords sheathed. Drop your jaws for the intra-dimensional onslaught that sends Rozalia, Cammadon, and Ralga Turathiel to the ground. Stay to see Cammadon blinded, their compatriots stunned and their fortitude damaged – until the member of the legendary Knallhart herself anchors the souls of the slain, forbids the incursion, and eventually restores all to full health*”
*behind the scenes featurette (for the actors only): the blinded Cammadon is whisked away by Ralga, to a sanctum beyond the breadth of reality, and returned with dire tidings, and a directive to seek out General Malgos. Also with Star Elf eyeballs of shining steel.
As they say, “That’s gotta hurt.”
Choose a Side
As the adventurers travelled south, along the east side of the Sellen River, Kailen warns every passer-by to be on their guard.
Meanwhile the group is occasionally distracted as small boats pass by, beyond earshot, but perhaps suggesting that horses are not the only way to travel.
Suddenly, Nilch hears a horse’s scream in the distance, and his gallant companions follow his advance. Now unable to see more than 30’ in any direction, Cammadon sticks close to fellow Exemplar Uliana, and approaches a situation he can only hear and smell.
The travelers have now spent more time together and realize that many of them know Arcadian Sign Language. Luckily for Cammadon, they are willing to repeat or relay basic information.
3 wagons have been disabled, their horses killed, and are surrounded by a swarm of snarling, shadowy wolves with midnight black hair.
Kailen reacts instantly, while Nilch questions the scene. His celestial horse having a faster gallop, Kailen charges through and over one of the wolves, killing him instantly.
Nilch rushes the wolf ahead of him, knocking him backward but not harming him – and bellows at the wolves to retreat.
Sensing an advantage, the armed men standing amidst the disabled wagons fire bolts and arrows at the retreating animals. Which enrages Nilch and affords an opportunity for Shae to get a closer look at the contents of a wagon.
Suspected to be poachers, the brigade of adventurers slowly advance on foot – making their way within striking distance of the armed men on carts.
Your Final Warning
As more members of the honorable team advance, Shae determines that there is evil present amongst them.
After many threats and a brief stand off, one of the “rescuers” draws first blood. Both sides trade opening strikes before a pitched battle sees every member of our fair team at different points surrounded. Shae and Nilch hold their ground across several attacks, Kailen falls to the ground, after which Cammadon and Uliana attempt to decide which of them will help Kailen. Cam weaves between the overturned carts, dodging enemy blades along the way, in order for a chance to strike at the leader of the suspected poachers.
With the situation tense, and the ranged attackers now wielding spears rather bows, Mai advances closer into the fray. The magical energy of her attacks sizzling through the air and striking her targets without fail.
Uliana pours a healing potion into Kailen’s mouth. The swashbuckler comes into consciousness with a surprising degree of force – and he acrobatically leaps from the ground, rushing the enemy leader and delivering a devastating strike into the man’s torso. The leader cries out in pain as he barely manages to consume a potion of invisibility.
Cam watches Kailen attack again into thin air (where his quarry appeared just a moment ago) but he is hungry for the leader’s death; having pledged to smite him but now having no chance to attack.
Tony 13 springs into the lead and sniffs out the invisible leader. With a single bite, the leader suddenly appears, and suddenly dies.