Around the now dead corpse the area has completely decayed…. Not good at all. We must flee from here. Lady Rikkus had fainted. Her guard places her on one of the horses and we quickly flee to the north.
We head north for about 20mins when Ven says he’s going to scout. Yru is up ahead and the rest of us reach him and we see we are standing in a path that heads from the North-west towards the South-East. I turn to Yru and ask him where this path came from and he looks stunned.
He was preparing to take us to a field ahead but somehow hadn’t noticed this path…(really?!?!). He seems off. Something is giving him a bad feeling?? Ven returns and attempts to sort out Yru. He’s having a bad feeling about the book…. Bitch, please.
Ven seems to think his dagger (now green) is reacting to the book (that is certainly possible). We decide to keep our distance (especially at night – when the feeling seems to be ominous). Just in case I remove my ring as well.
Ven and Yru go forward and scout out the field (we need to rest and we don’t have many options). They eventually motion us forward and we discover the area looks like a logging camp. Recently departed but still decent. Three hovels remain and that will provide us decent shelter for the night. We start to prepare in the main hut when after several minutes Ven yells out ‘Vine beasts are here’.
We all race out to see 4 vine creatures leaving the forest, heading for us. We engage. It’s during the start of the combat when I feel a presence at the back of my mind – ‘I can help you; I can give you power; You cannot die here; Formoch will not allow it’. I sense the book wants to aid me, I can sense it wants to give me power. I worry about saying yes, and thankfully at the moment it doesn’t seem necessary.
Unfortunately, I speak too soon, and after the initial 4, 8 more vine creatures, this time more undead-like, appear. These are way more dangerous. Our group starts to wane and I realise that we will die. I put my hand on the book and shouting the works in Dark Elven cry out ‘FORMACH ASSIST ME’. I feel this power flow through me and suddenly I feel refreshed. I immediately cry out my ancestral chorus and I the area is flooded in green light. All the enemy vine creatures are engulfed in green flame and set alight.
My hymm turns the tide and we manage to slay all the creatures, but unfortunately Lady Rikkus’ remaining guard is killed in the final exchange. I reach towards him but unfortunately, he is gone. I get those less injured to wrap him and prepare him for the Ergothian death rites. I manage to heal but Fredrick and Druzet (who had been badly wounded) before I head back to the hovel and continue dinner.
It’s funny, even after taking my hand off the book I sense its satisfaction at what happened, but I’m worried.. worried for my soul and worried what my companions will think if they discover how far I have really come.
Upon returning to the hovel I walk in on Ven talking to Lady Rikkus, I’m not sure what is exchanged but it seems she was distressed, more than anticipated. He seems to think it is related to some kind of trauma. It seems her chamberlain had given her some type of sedative and she has fallen asleep.
We manage to make it through the night and in the morning, we prepare to leave. I serve breakfast and then intent to perform the Ergothian ritual for Jenkins who had died. It is finally me that must reveal the news of the fallen guard to the chamberlain (good work Ven!). He believes the rites (burning the body) would be too dangerous to their position. I am offended that they give themselves airs but why am I not surprised. I nod and move away but during a time when I am alone I set a candle in the 3rd hovel where the body is stored. Coated in oil the hovel will burn after several hours.
We proceed through the path to the North-east, hoping it will lead us towards the wayfarers inn. Once again though, it seems we are delayed. We proceed for 45mins when we come into a clearing where a massively large tree stump stands in the middle of a clearing. There is a human body dead tangled among the roots of the tree. The only clear markings are a red sash on his arm.
Ven and Yru get close enough to examine the body and Yru reports that it has been dead for about three days – bludgeoned to death – skull crushed (eerily familiar to what happened to Druzet, before I healed him).
It’s to the East that a figure appears from the tree. It’s a Dryad. It is a timid creature but after a while considers us before talking in Elvish. (Only Ven & I can understand it). She explains that she needs our help, a powerful evil entity has been unleashed from this tree. It takes some time but it seems that a great ceremonial axe was planted into this tree stump, trapping this evil entity here. He has been released by these red sashes. A group of three men (+ this corpse) had been here cutting down trees for the war, and they spotted the axe and took it before the Dryad could stop them. The being has infected those remaining three and they have fled to the south-west. There is also another group (their leaders – a group of 7) came yesterday searching for them. They are following them. If the entity reaches the army it will be able to feed on them all and will gain great power. The Dryad (Aserlay) offers us a deal – if we defeat and destroy the entity, and remove these people that would destroy her forest, she will escort us to the city.
It takes a while but we finally understand what has happened… well almost. I am curious about the body in front of us, and after a silent look to Ven, he nods, and I confront her, that those vine creatures are hers and they are the ones that killed this red sash. She is afraid and caught in her ‘lie of omission’, but finally admits that she did indeed kill him. She was worried we would be taken back, but indeed Ven & I have no problem with her actions.
We finally learn the name of the entity – ONNU. We consider our options next.