Ascendancy

Session 10 - The Road
An unexpected stop

After meeting with Devarre, Aripha, Maligorn and Vinroot, the characters use the Trust of the Bloduwedd and transition themselves along Foresthawk rangers Merrick and Tess’ara as close as they can to the location of the second wardstones. The rangers then lead the group ever south towards the road from Bellis further west into the forest.

The beginning of the journey was uneventful, until the group ran afoul of a Tendriculos, a corrupted plant creature that appears when the borders of the First World and the material plane grow thin. With a might bite, the creature grasped Jeriel and poised to swallow him, but a sustained attack from the others brought the creature low before any true harm befell the inqusitior.

Futher south, the characters found the road and turned west, following it until they encountered a family of four fleeing Bellis, afraid of the mist and horrible creatures waiting to pounce on the town. Their wagon was stuck in a patch of mud on the road, but thanks to the assistance of the good-hearted adventurers, the wagon was freed and the family was convinced to return to Bellis for their own safety. Jana asked them to tell Mayor Tell and Elyin Usage that they were alive and working on the problem of the Fellnight Fey.

The group continued west on the road and blundered into a crude barricade set up by ogres and a harpy of the Greenfire Covenant. It quickly became clear the monsters were ambushing weary travelers on the road and consuming them. With anger and justification, the group decended upon the small road blockade and after a small battle, eliminated the ogres and managed to capture their harpy leader as she flew off, thanks to Nessa riding her giant wasp and the help of an unexpected ally.

Bluebell, a nude, blue-haired and blue-winged pixie appeared and introducted herself to the group, informing them that the harpy was put to sleep with a special sleep arrow. Upon investigation of the barricade, the body of a recently-slain Blackbark Orc and a Foresthawk Ranger from Bellis were found, the latter partially consumed by the vicious harpy. A note was found in his pocket that indicated he was carrying a message to the Andoran Military:

Legionnaire-Commander Karin,

The author of this letter is Mayor Brigrim Tell of Bellis, and I urgently request your help. Bellis is currently facing an unknown threat from the depths of the Verduran. A strange mist has blanketed the town and much of the north western forest. With it came a small attack on a wedding one of our people were having. A gnome, a former resident of Bellis named Tenzenkil Braybittle brought forth strange, plant-like gnome creatures that could grow thorns from their body and use them at deadly range or as whip-like appendages. We were fortunate the wedding guests included a group of capable adventurers who defeated the attack. Tenzenkil escaped and issued a proclamation of death upon Bellis, indicating the “Fellnight Queen” will descend upon the town and destroy us all.

We sent the group of adventurers that helped us at the wedding into the forest at the behest of Elyin Ursage, a retired ranger of the Foresthawks. He believed that a reclusive druid of the Wildwood Lodge, a man named Devarre, could shed some light on what the “Fellnight Queen” was and how to stop her. I know Andoran and Lodge relations are not very high at this time, but we needed all the help we could get.

Unfortunately, that group of adventurers has not returned nor have they given any indication that they will. I can only assume they have perished with whatever terrors are awaiting us in the woods.

To make matters worse, a representative of Taldor has docked at Bellis, demanding to know why the mist that’s growing over the forest is originating in Andoran territory and has commented several times on an “Andoran plot”, and my reassurances that we are not involved have not calmed his questioning.

We are preparing a defense for whatever foes await us, but it may not be enough. I would request a contingent of men from your posting to reinforce Bellis as soon as possible. I have sent additional messages down the Sellen, but you are the closest force available. Should Bellis fall, thousands of good souls will be lost, and I don’t have to tell you how far behind the shipyards would be without our wood.

Yours with respect,

Mayor Brigrim Tell.

The group then began digging graves for the slain orc and ranger, while deciding how to handle the interrogation of the harpy.

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Session 9 - Memories
Remember...

After a quiet, but creepy night within an abandoned wooden cottage, the group awakes to an eerie, ruined Lumber Consortium logging camp. A detailed investigation of the location revealed an intense struggle between Fellight creatures and the local loggers. A total of four bodies were found rotting and decomposing, but about twenty bunks were found in all, leaving approximately sixteen lumberjacks unaccounted for.

Most disturbing was the effect the site had on Thomas. He received many random, jumbled images…memories, when investigating the camp. Sights, smells, laughs and sorrow all overwhelmed him, but the oracle did remember one thing for certain; he once lived here.

After burying the bodies and aquiring anything of value, the group returned to the Conclave and reported on their success at Dead Man’s Drop. The wardstones were given to the care of Aripha and the characters rested for several hours before the Conclave leaders met in their second meeting.

Thanks to the instance of the group in the last meeting, Merrick and his sister Tess’ara were present reprenting the Foresthawks. The discussions that began were varied and not very diplomatic. Comments by several characters almost had them ejected from the Conclave leaders, but it became quite obvious that Oreius Dawnsprinter was hiding his true motifs, especially in regards to his people’s “assistance” in the war effort.

Soon, Devarre revealed to all that his divinations with nature revealed the location of the second group of wardstones; deep underground. Through the minor details presented by the druid, Merrick identified the site as the former lair of Dark Folk that he and his sister fought when rescuing Elyin Ursage during Bellis’ annual honey-harvesting competition two years ago. The two Foresthawk rangers volunteered to guide the group on their next task.

With half a day remaining before their next ley-line use, the characters adjurned from the meeting and began their preperations.

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Session 8 - Return to the Drop
Circles and Stones

A refreshing rest was well received after the extensive and exhausting meeting with the Conclave leaders. In the morning, the group was ready to face new challenges ahead and met with Devarre once again. He confirmed that Conclave scouts at returned from Dead Man’s Drop and reported an army was present there…but no longer so. It was very quiet at the falls, but the most concerning fact was that the basin the twin falls empty into was much lower than it should be, as if the falls were filling it up once again. Devarre commented such a thing should not be possible; such a large volume of water does not simply disappear, literally overnight. Extremely concerned but undaunted with the task ahead, Devarre confirmed the group needed to return to the falls and obtain the wardstones, even if it was certainly a trap. Unforunately, Devarre’s divinations revealed that some of the wardstones had been moved since the characters were last present there, but some still remained in the waterfall’s basin.

Since time was of the essence, Devarre took them to the faerie circle in which they spoke with the Conclave leaders the previous day. There, he explained they were to receieve a very precious gift. Maligorn and Aripha of the Fey Court were waiting there, along with a strangely beautiful woman made up of vines, grass and flowers. She was introduced as Keeper Corsei, a Bloduwedd fey, a new guardian of the faengard that has imprisoned the Fellnight Queen. It was explained that the current guardian, Corsei’s mother Helia, had recently been corrupted by Rhoswen and has had a hand in her freedom. The fey lamented her condition, but also realize nothing can be done about it until all the wardstones are reclaimed. To further this goal, Corsei gifted the group with a vine taken from her body, which she named “Trust of the Bloduwedd.” T

Normally, non-fey, especially those who are not in touch with nature, would never be gifted with such a powerful item. It is woven and created using the Blodeuwedd’s own vines that make up her body.

The Trust of the Blodeuwedd can allow anyone who uses it, including multiple people, to to travel the ley lines that cross the world. In this instance, the Fey have limited their use to the Verduran Forest.

Users must all stand in the centre of a faerie ring and each hold the vine. Once done, they will feel the locations of all ley lines around them. Once the destination is chosen, one of the group simply wills themself there and they shall appear in the centre of the destination faerie ring instantly. After this is complete, one flower will fall from the vine. Once all six fall, the vine’s power is expended.

Devarre and Corsei explained how potent this gift was, and the history behind it. Shockingly, they learned these “ley lines” are the foundation of the world. They are a personficiation of the world’s natural energy and flow in tandium with that in the First World. They keep the world alive, beginning and ending at thousands of faerie rings throughout Golarion.

With their potent and precious item in hand, the group used it to transition from the Conclave faerie ring to the nearest one to Dead Man’s Drop, a half-day hike through the forest. Once they arrived, they heard a scraggly call for help. Not far away was a strange, halfling-sized turtle-like creature with a head in the shape of an open bowl. After determining there was no trap, the group assisted the creature, who’s name was Dakka. It turned out Dakka was a Kappa, a rare being that inhabit streams and rivers. He encountered a group of Fellnight Spriggans who riddled him with thorns and emptied his headbowl, which must always contain water for him to move. The cruel creatures then left him to suffer before they departed.

Thomas used his create water orison to fill the headbowl again and was thanked perfusely with a turtle hug and given a gold nugget as a tribute, before the creature went on its way.

The group journied to Dead Man’s Drop and found the situation just as Devarre explained. The mist was still presaent, but the basin was much lower with water then it should be. As they climbed down, a trio of green-brambled poisonous gargoyles swooped down and attacked. Soon after, the beguiling song of the nixie almost caused several of them to longingly jump off the waterfall, but they were sparred that fate thanks to the skillfull countersong of Nessa’s music. The gargoyles sowed temporary confusion as the breathed a magical poison upon the heroes, causing them fight one another.

After a lightly-pitched battle, the characters destroyed the plant-gargoyles and a water elemental beneath the waves of the basin. Lissi saw the foresight to cast fireballs into the water, which destroyed it. The nixie surfaced from time to time to let loose accurate arrows at Thomas, but withdrew for a time.

Thanks to Nevarr’s amphibian nature, he swam into the water to retrieve the stones. After a time of unresponsiveness, Gina and Jana went to find him, using air bubble spells cast by Thomas.

They found him in an underwater cave with the wardstones and an iron lock box, bloodied but alive. He shouted out a warning to his friends when the Nixie stabbed Gina, then quickly withdrew with a hateful sneer.

The characters gathered the wardstones; 6 in all, and the lock box before returning to the surface. As they did so, they saw the mist around the falls began to disepate, allbeit slowly. Then, with haste, they began the long trek back to the faerie ring.

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Session 7 - The Conclave
Leaders...

The interpid heroes were settling down for a relaxing evening when a mischevious harpy flew past the group with a swarm of sprites angrily flowing, lead by a green-skinned pixie-like creature known as an Atomie. Concerned, Nevarr followed the flying creatures through the trees, finding the harpy had a small wooden cage containing two diminutive sprites. Cackling with glee at their capture, the harpy known as Kira Screamfeather was taunting the fey with their imprisoned comrades. Nevarr used a throwing star to break the cage and free the thankful Fey. The harpy then taunted the group before departing for her own camp.

The sprites gathered and thanked Nevarr, asking the group as a whole if they could “take care of” the meddlesome harpy, since Maligorn had forbidden any fey to harm anyone present. The group did not accept the task, but nor did they deny it.

A short time later, much to your surprise, Devarre and Vinroot approached the group and informed them that they were to be brought before the Conclave and allowed to speak. The druid and the treant briefed them on the various factions, warning them that the Greenfire Covenant was not to be trusted, the Riders of the Verduran unfriendly and the Foreswatcher’s as resistant to change. The adventurers were asked to elect one amongst them to speak for their diverse lot, and it was Jana the Red who was chosen for the honor.

Devarre escorted them to a beautiful glade near the Conclave clearing, in idyllic place with a sparkling pool and an ancient stone faerie ring. Awaiting in the ring were all the representatives of the Conclave. Jana took her place amongst the other leaders and a long, heated series of debates and conversations began.

Much of the initial banter was as negative as it was different. The creatures of the forest are strange in their dealings with other, switching topics and pointing fingers faster than noble circles in large metropolis’ would. Some of the factions greeted the group as friends, others politely, while still others were outright hostile and insulting. As could be expected, the latter reactions were from the forwarned Greenfire Covenant and the Riders of the Verduran.

Matters spiraled out of control for a time when Nessa replied to an insult from Celilia Greenfire, the mistress of the Greenfire Covenant with a scathing one of her own. The group did a collective facepalm and apologized perfusely for Nessa’s behaviour. This did not sit well with anyone of the Conclave, and it was only Jana’s quick thinking that averted disaster. Showing the representatives of the fey the broken cage that contained their sprites, Celilia was put on the defensive and begrudgingly let the matter with Nessa slide as long as the Court would look the other way regarding Kira Screamfeather’s actions.

Talks regained their footing after a long series of debates. With much back-and-forth fencing and reasoning, it was decided that the characters could be trusted to find the remaining wardstones at Dead Man’s Drop and return them to the Conclave. The leaders themselves then entered a tentative agreement; they would support the fight against the Fellnight fey. However, the Greenfire Covenant and the Riders of the Verduran will only send a “token” force, until the Conclave can convince or force the Blackbark Orc tribe, a nearby faction, to join in the attack. It was easily noticed during the meeting that the Rider leader Oreius takes his direction from Celilia.

Tasked with returning the wardstones, the group was given time to rest as Conclave scouts were returning from Dead Man’s Drop to report on the army encamped there.

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Session 6 - Follow the River

The morning after spending the night at Devarre’s retreat, the party is given some supplies by the druid, along with spells to aid in fast movement and stealth before they begin heading north to Dead Man’s Drop. While making this journey, they find a surprising sight; an armored man face down in the dirt near hte river’s edge. By Desna’s grace he still lives and he’s slowly nursed to responsivenss. When he awakens, he reveals he knows nothing of what happened to him or how he got into the forest, let alone the river. A small arrow was found piercing his neck, and after some thought, it’s concluded he was hit by a pixie memory loss arrow. The man’s name turned out to be Thomas Uristal and the symbol of the Logging Consortium was emblazoned on his armor. The group offered shelter to Thomas and set up camp for the night, despite the disapproval of Nevarr and Werion. A patch of rare spirit moss was found at their campsite, but the attempt at harveting the fickle plant proved to kill it instead.

After a night’s rest, the party continued north to Dead Man’s Drop where they saw a tripple waterfall and found the source of the mist; the centre of the waterfall pool was pouring it into the sky every half minute or so. As the characters approached the shore, they were ambushed by a pair of Fellnight Spriggan’s lead by a Fellnight Redcap. During the battle, they were shocked to have found Werion turned on them and attacked, savagely ripping into Jeriel. The Fellnight creatures were dispatched, and through a combination of enchantment magic, taunts, intimidation and frustration, the barbarian fell unconcious. It was unclear exactly what happened to him, but it was assumed that he became possessed by the malevolant will-o’-wisp Gossamere, who was recently driven out of Devarre.

The group proceeded to the water’s edge with a bound and unconcious ally when they found a grey-skinned Nixie in the pool they were investigating. She seemed friendly at first, but Thomas felt she was hiding something. When the next gust of mist flew out of the water and obscured sight, the nixie disappeared and used a chilling enchanting song to draw Nessa, Nevarr, Gina and Thomas into the cold liquid. Gina and Thomas were swept away by a strangely-moving vortex until they fell of a 30 foot high waterfall.

As the characters attempted to get their barings, the voice of Tenzekil Braybittle announced itself, along with a virtual army of Fellnight creatures. The party was forced to flee against such numbers, and to their amazement, Palomier and four of his unicorns arrived and carried the group away from the battle, teleporting them to a gathering of good fey creatures and woodland denziens, preparing to battle the encroaching Fellnight army.

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Session 5 - The Introduction
New Introductions

After recovering from the Shadow Mastiff attack in the woods, the party finally arrives at the location described to them by Fira. There, they found an interesting sight – a grippli druid named Nevarr, who was also looking for the reclusive druid. Jana used a charge of the Lotus of Purple Fey to reveal a small cabin and three large monoliths rising high into the air.

Inside the cabin, Devarre was found sitting idly in a chair, and he bid the party a strange welcome. While introductions were taking place, Jeriel and Nevarr found the druid’s heaviour to be quite odd and countering. When they demanded answers, Devarre assaulted Nevarr, but was quickly knocked down and pinned by the others.

Without warning, a purple/blue ball of light emerged from the druid’s body, taking several hits by the startled characters before escaping into the air, disappearing from sight. Shocked and bewildered, the party then spoke to the real Devarre who revealed much information regarding the Fellnight Fey.

The possessing creature was a will-o’-wisp named Gossamere who forced him to dig traps near his home to capture animals and torture them, as well as to destroy the monoliths, but Devarre lacked the power to achieve this last feat. Devarre informed the party that the monoliths are pillars that serve as a collective anchoring point created by the First World fey to separate Rhoswen’s Fellnight Realm into its own demiplane. Each stone corresponds to one of the three planes involved in the process; the material plane, the First World, and the Shadow Plane. A sister site also exists in the First World and together, they project the Fellnight Realm into closer proximity with the Shadow Plane and away from the other two. Additionally, he related a legend told to him by First World Fey regarding Queen Rhoswen:

Queen Rhoswen was a young fey queen of the First World that sought to expand her power by blending shadow magic with fey sorcery. Her efforts lead to a gloom-shrouded valley with trees as tall as mountains. Rhoswen named this the Fellnight Realm and made it her lair, twisting every living creature with her shadow-sorcery. In disgust, other beings of the First World severed her lands from their own, trapping her in her own demiplane where she has languished ever since, seething at the insult.

Devarre also took time to commune with nature and find the location of the mysterious mist plaguing the forest; “Dead Man’s Drop”, from the upper pool near one of the twin waterfalls. Several stones within a cave under water are the cause of the mist. The druid directed them to follow the river from his home north.

The party convinced the druid-hermit to allow them to stay for the night, to guard him from a possible counter attack from the escaping Gossamere. Although relcutant to do so, Devarre agreed. In the morning, the party will head to Dead Man’s Drop, while Devarre will go in search of the First World Fey.

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Session 4 - The Unexpected

After spending the night guarding Fira and her tree, Palomier returns with promised reinforcements, Serin a surly Wood Giant, Talltail the blink dog and two of his pack mates. Once a tense introduction is completed and questions raised about a momentarily invisible flutter, these new arrivals and friends of Fira take over the guardianship of her tree and the party moves further west to find the elusive Devarre.

A half day into their travels, Jana finds a fairly obvious pit trap that is bated with a honey-covered shoe on an old, overgrown cobble path. The trap is quickly rendered inert and the party continues on, curious as to who would place such a trap in the middle of nowhere.

Towards the end of the day, the group is almost run over; quite literally, but an unexpected falling tree, which turns out to be an extremely inebriated treant called Vinroot. The forest warden staggered and stumbled, alternating between apologetic and hostile, attacking the heroes and holding his anger before falling unconcious from his alcholoic consumption. Jeriel is able to deduce the cause of his drunkeness is a treant alchoholic creation called nodrim. After sobering the treant, the characters learn a little more of the mysterious Fellnight fey, ascertaining that their leader is a sorceress named Rhoswen, and she was bound to her prison by the faengard, a ward placed by other fey creatures of the world. The only way for the Fellnight creatures to plague the world is if the faengard was somehow breached.

After leaving the company of Vinroot, the party continues west until its time to rest for the night. During the first few hours of rest, three shadow mastiff’s charged out of the mist, their frightful howls splitting the party, almost causing Gina’s demise as the pack closed in on her. Like experienced adventurers, the group rallied and slayed the shadow mastiffs to a hound, tossing their bodies over a nearby cliff, bewildered by the attack. Were they the intended targets of the beasts, or where they just simply in the way of something else?

They didn’t have an answer.

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Session 3 - Into the Mist

After accepting a plea from Elyin and the council of Bellis, you agreed to venture out into the mist and find the druid Devarre of the Wildwood Lodge. Elyin knows he would have a good idea who the “Fellnight” fey would be and where the plant-gnomes and mist were originating from. Unforunately, finding the reclusive hermit in the mist would not be easy.

After gathering needed supplies and gaining a night’s rest, you meet Elyin and the mayor in the Hall of the Foresters before you set on your journey. Elyin provides you a generalized map of the area for approximately 120 miles and you head out to the forest via the west road out of town.

A day of traveling brought you into contact with a surly dire bear that apparently recently fed on some honey at a giant bee hive. True to his ability, Werion engaged the large bear in a grapple and bested the creature, while Jeriel scarred it off with a dazzling display with his morningstar.

After settling down for the night, you were were awoken from your slumber by an injured dryad who appeared from a nearby oak tree. She begged for your help in saving her sisters who’s tree’s were being destroyed by spriggans. As she delievered this message, she perished before your eyes, her own tree having being chopped to splinters.

Following the dying dryad’s directions, you made it to the grove she shared with her sisters and found a huge bonfire lighting the sky and buring away the mist. Three spriggans and three fey creatures were busy mocking and injuring a bound unicorn and surviving dryad. The leader of the group, a redcap fey with a shadowy countance, threatned the life of the helpless unicorn and demanded surrender. You feined this long enough to get close before Nessa unleashed her wasp figurine on the enemy.

A deadly battle ensued but the fey and their spriggans were no match for you. The redcap, a strange twig-like fey and a spriggan fell before your assault but the rest wisely retreated. You released the unicorn and dryad from their bonds, the forest creatures staring at you with thanks and wonder.

It was time to camp and learn.

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Session 2 - A Wedding to Remember (Part 2)

Shortly after the ceremony began, the pleasent union was interrupted by a swarm of vicious bees. The guests scattered in all directions, assaulted by vermin with the ability to cause more damage than their mindlessness would suggest. Using quick action and clearing commoners from the area, you made short work of the killer bees.

Only a few moments were available for respite, as Tezenkil Braybrittle declared a threat of death and destruction from somewhere in the nearby forest. Three strange, gnome-like plant creatures sprang forth and attacked the Foresthawks, Elyin and even you before swiftly being put down by the vengeful guests.

A dread mist then crept up over Bellis, making the words of the Bleaching gnome come true. The council deliberated and needed people to find out more of what was out there.

They turned to those who helped defend the ceremony.

They turned to you.

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Session 1 - A Wedding to Remember (Part 1)
Session 1 Part 1: A Wedding to Remember

The frontier town of Bellis stands within the quiet shade of the Verduran Forest, nestled along the western banks of the slow-moving Sellen River. The town is was celebrating the wedding between retired ranger Elyin Ursage and his new bride, Kailah Winmede. Festivities for the wedding stretched from the stone chapel and rose gardens of Shelyn, past a large open-air tent and down to the sun-drenched, tree-lined banks of Stillwater Creek. Music and laughter filled the air, with partygoers calling out for attendees to join their games and merrymaking.

Nessa arrived in Bellis to witness her half-brother’s marriage, Weiron, a longtime friend of the ranger made a rare appearance in town for it, Lissi to deliver a gift from her employer to the happy couple, while Jana was a party crasher simply enjoying what’s offered during the celebration. Telnarn had come for completely different reasons; to see one of Iomede’s followers while Jeriel was simply passing through. Fortunately for the wedding crashers, several signs show that the wedding was an open invitation to all.

Each of the unique travelers met for the first time while giving their well-wishes to the marrying couple. Some flirtatious conversations ensued between Nessa, Lissi and Jana, and Nessa saved the gnome bridesmaid Lumi Reasonknot from the attentions of another gnome named Tenzekil who was suffering the bleaching. A long-standing tradition in Bellis states the bridesmaids of a wedding party create unique and tasty desserts, which are then auctioned off to create a dowry for the upcoming bride. The winners of such auctions then have the company of the lovely woman for the rest of the day. Tenzekil attempt to bid on Lumi’s, but Nessa saved her by outbidding the white gnome. With the angry stomping of feet, Tenzekil left the party and entered the woods. Concerned for the gnome’s safety and Elyin’s, Telnarn and Werion attempted to follow the gnome, but no trace of him was found in the forest.

The party continued with many people dancing, eating and being merry. Halak, the half-orc blacksmith, attempted to organize a horseshoe tournament, but many were relcutant to participate thanks to his grim visage and orcish face paint. However, the soothing and inspirational words from Jeriel and Telnarn gathered enough participants that the tournament was indeed held. Werion one the tournament and its prize; 25 gold pieces and a potion of cure light wounds.

Soon it was announced that the ceremony was about to begin. All the guests gathered infront of the gazebo and awaited the bride and groom.

It was a good day for a wedding.

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