The Tower

Journey to Ashton

Edward seems rallied in the morning and three of you receive a +1 IronWood bow. The wood is so strong that should the bow break, you will be incapable of restringing it. The path forward is altered substantially since Edward last visited here and he will no longer be of much use to you. Al senses spider venom in the trees as the towering rotted trunks close in around you and the sounds of the forest vanish. 

You find yourself at a split in the path. The path left was dark and dry, the center improved but overgrown, and the right moist and verdant. Democracy plays out in an unfortunate roll of the dice and the bright lights you cast awaken a handful of spiders. A short skirmish breaks out and only stops because of Alazander the whispering spider whisperer steps forward. His lies placate the spiders long enough for you to find a sacrifice and pass through unscathed. 

The relief is short lived. A massive maze of web and poisoned ironwood trees blocks your path and you have no choice but to enter. The party is sharp and avoids the first few poorly laid traps. Ciaran is volunteered as a scout forward, and while he manages to avoid most of the traps, he is ambushed by a nesting spider. The party sprints forward at the sound of his bow loosing, but as they turn the corner with weapons draw, they find an impaled spider pinned to the ground by an arrow and harpoon. 

A few close calls and the party manages to escape with all of their equipment. The darkness clears and the flora changes drastically. Short mountain flowers and soft brush cover the ground. It stands less than a foot tall and the beautiful flowers are harshly juxtaposed by the towering trees. As you walk, Meredith notices a small rabbit wearing red petal epaulets bouncing towards you.

He delivers a quick notice and an invitation to meet Califur and the Coalition of small creatures not wanting to be eaten by larger creatures. Califur extends her hospitality to you and explains the plight of the creatures of Ashton. The beings of the forest are being awoken and the magic jaguar Crooks attempts to control every living being. His consumption of magic is a vile search for power. You all volunteer to infiltrate Ashton and attempt to remove Crooks from power so Califur creates an incredible potion for you each. You meet some creatures, eat, and rest. And, when you wake up, Califur presents you each with a vile. 

Al becomes the symbol of Tellerius – a sheep

Ciaran becomes the dark panther

Meredith becomes the far traveler of the woods – a squirrel 

Rei becomes the misunderstood hunter – a wolf

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Journey to the Outpost
The dangers of untamed magic

Edwards back on your side after some light hearted capers in the capital. He leads the way forward and makes light conversation with everyone. He spends time helping Al search for alchemic ingredients, climbing trees and sharing fruit with Meredith, discussing the world below with Ciaran, and giving Rei her mandated 10 feet of space.

The route is easy to pass but after some time a few small creatures show up attempting to lift things off of Al's person. Ciaran and Meredith clock it immediately and Al spends the rest of the afternoon furiously spinning around at any strange look or noise that any of the party make. You find a clear resting spot and sleep well.

Your parties travel was more difficult the next day. Overgrown paths and strange behaviour from the creatures in the forest. Thousands of fluttering wings fill the air and then block out the soft glowing lights in the trees. Safety first as you tie a rope to each party member and continue beneath Al's magnificent light source. You're swarmed by small creatures, but being tied together ensures that none of you lose the group. An uneasy rest before your final day of marching. 

It's the worst day any of you have had in some time, and it seems to affect Edward the worst. The darkness returns amidst the thousands of flying creatures but now it's accompanied by whispers in the undergrowth. Voices tell you to turn back or call out for help along the path and the rope tied tightly around you all keeps you from straying too far.

You make it to the outpost and Edward climbs into a bunk and falls asleep.

 

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Cleaning up Spectre
Exploring the rings

After unnecessarily killing over a dozen wolves, it takes you some time to gain Edwards favour. He agrees to continue on with you as there is absolutely nothing else he has going on. You easily infiltrate Spectre keep and claim the golden ticket from the Royal Crypts. There's evidence of Spectres dark past beneath the keep and it's an uneasy return for Edward. Exploring some newly found powers, Meredith makes some new animal friends while exploring the Royal Chambers. After a short disappearance, the rest of the party is forced to come and remove a partially transformed monkey Meredith from an animated desk. It's not in vain though as you discover the diary of Adaman Kiehl and his scroll of reincarnation. You escape quietly and begin your exploration of the rings.

Old Rebellion Eighth – a seudo monkey and raven war begins with some success. Ciaran is gifted a potion of invisibility and aided by Meredith's spell casting. At the peak of the tree he subsequently climbs, he finds a crown with 4 priceless gems inset into the silver peaks.

Entertainment Eight – the rot has taken all but the iron wood theater at the center of this area. It looks almost impassable except for Al's clever use of misty step. He peers through cracks in the door and apparates behind the locked door allowing everyone entry. They all experience a facefull of poison spores as someone attempts to play the large organ. Meredith grabs a longhorn crafted instrument filled with rot.

The baths – Rei is attacked after attempting a peaceful meditation atop the rocks. She is left to her own devices as the party attempts to debilitate the water weird from a distance.  In the warm end of the pool, cuphead gets to work reclaiming a greater potion of purify food and water.

They make for the outpost after a well deserved rest.

 

 

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Edward Carlyle of Spectre Cont

Edward agrees to travel with your party and his excitement to interact with other living beings is noticeable. He tells you all about the city and leads you to the temple where we run into Gord and Tellerous again. Gord's got some interest in the world above and seems to care less and less about what Meredith is doing. Meredith, Alazander, and Rei are offered gifts and this temple and Ciaran makes an offering to replace the destruction the gods have again caused. Rei feels at home in this world and their beliefs align closely with Alazander's as well.  Though the guardians are upset with your squad they're happy enough to see another offering of peace made. Edwards confused and a little wary and this is only amplified as Meredith walks into a hunting trap in the market in search of this magical vegetable growth. Her incredible defensive skills allow her to survive but many of the wolves are not as lucky. Edward's completely dismayed by your actions and can't understand why you felt the need to interrupt the predator and prey balance here. He feels this could have been easily avoided and has gone silent.

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Edward Carlyle of Spectre
The history of Spectre

The group emerged magically restored into the enchanted forest. From the edge of this overgrown world, they see a large ringed city at the center of the world. As they begin to make their way towards it, they hear a soft interruption from the trees above. A tall elderly elf slides down one of the tall trees and asks why you would enter the city. 
After some confusion, the elf introduces himself as Edward Carlyle. He's the last living creature in this world and explains the history of this world to you. 

The redwoods that grew near the base swelled with light, and after some years, this world’s inhabitants emerged from within the trees. At the center of this world they met and founded a great city. Born with immense knowledge of their world, these elves dedicated their lives to the practice of magic. An easy hierarchy formed and the people worked hard to support their pursuits and to avoid causing harm to any they encountered. Some explored, some studied, some worked at everyday jobs to support this world and all enjoyed this paradise.

After some years, the realization that they could not hope to continue this world alone dawned on them and the leaders drew up a plan to maintain the population. A small town would be developed away from the city where new elves could be conceived and educated. Ashton was formed high in the forests and the population was normalized. Children were bred infrequently and though their education was strict, this new generation brought an unusual element of chaos to the world. They lacked the overwhelming understanding of their purpose and rebelled against the long-established systems. The easy hierarchy now had to deal with new ideas, crime, and pursuits that caused imbalance in this world.

700 years ago something terrible happened in spectre. Though some of the young elves caused chaos for this place, there were others who fit happily enough into the world. Edward Carlyle was one of them. He grew up and made great friends, studied hard and explored the forest freely. He studied magic and herbalism with an old woman high in the forest.

The magic in Spectre was gone.

The Kiehl family held meetings with many people and after years they emerged from the castle walls. “Our purpose has ended and to survive we must abuse this world. Even then we may last only a few more generations and our numbers must be greatly reduced. We will not live at the expense of any creature. Our people will no longer procreate. Ashton will now be dedicated to the study of this phenomenon in the hopes that we may one day return to our pursuit of the mastery of magic.”

It never happened though. Magic never returned and the people toiled their lives away pointlessly. Many of the younger generation died chained in the dungeons of Kielhs Kastle. The people fought amongst themselves and some hid in the forest hunting to excess until they were caught and executed. The population dwindled and stability was restored at great cost. Many became historians and some catalogued the plants of this world but these were pursuits that were mastered quickly in such a limited space.

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Ascent

The group makes a beeline for the halved mountain after clearing the unusual tree and obtaining the glittering planks. It doesn't take long to clear this dungeon. Ciaran finds an unusual harpoon and the group avoids taking any serious damage. Upon reaching the end of this dungeon above the world, Al realizes that they had such an easy time of it because it was designed to prevent creatures moving in the other direction. The submerged staircase gives way to verdant overgrowth and the group looks up into a spiralling forest. 

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A Most Unusual Tree

The group got an early start and a refreshing breakfast at the bar-ley sandwich. They made their way to the Newwood without any hesitation and after exploring for a short time found their books shaking. The ink from the library's history book poured from the pages and singed back the overgrown wood revealing a shimmering moving path. Meredith followed the bright light winding through the brush and the rest of the party followed closely behind realising that the brush had begun to regrow behind Meredith. The path singed back and forth before finally revealing a massive wide tree barely 8 feet tall. A glowing knot protruded from the bark and after some exploration (and some fine acrobatics from Rei), they find that it grows and expands into a large archway. Entering a small antechamber, a mouth forms in the wood and speaks to you all.

“I must begin with an apology. I am truly sorry that my actions have brought you here. As far as I know, there is no way for you to return. Many years ago, I made a profound mistake that I knew I would never live to rectify. The boy was right and though his decisive action should have saved your world, I used what power I had to tether our doomed kingdom to the world I once cherished. I could never have imagined the hunger that this creature possessed. This world will never be enough and one day it surely would return to where it was created. Though I am unable to break this connection, I knew that it could be destroyed at its origin.

There is no way for me to know how many answered my call, but to those of you here today I thank you and lament your fortune. It is not hopeless and there is life worth preserving here. The creature's power is unimaginable and there are worlds above that might know of magic I don’t possess. You may see your homes again. I cannot risk you breaking the seal if you are not prepared so the key to the gate above lives at the center of this tree. No more lamentations, you answered the call and I know you’ll find what you seek here.” 

The mouth closed and a path to your right opened. A pile of dirt sat in the middle of a large room and a slow drip of water began to transform the newly formed mud. Meredith's quick thinking and another stroke of luck set the stage for a quick combat. As the water cleared and the mud dispersed, another passage opened onto a winding hallway. The voice of a small girl can be heard screaming. Alazander rushes forward and is trapped in a hole that is slowly filling with water. Ciaran wastes what's left from his keg while Alazander misty steps to safety. 

This room contains a small glowing bead that eludes the adventurers for some time as they hear the sounds of the girl's screams grow quiet and finally disappear altogether.  They figure out the simple illusion and direct the beam of light into the correct coloured dish and the passage opens. It's quiet now and the group stands at the entrance to this narrow hall. 

 

 

 

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The Wanderers Camp
or Unseen Servants with Plump Rumps

The crew followed Ciaran's lead and discovered a small path into the thick forest. An open and heated debate about where and when to camp came up, and after some deliberation, Rei decided to just explore the rest of the path. Rei quickly found a ring dug into a large clearing with a cold firepit in the center. It had strange prints along the edge of this low earthen ring. A thorough investigation revealed some sort of large cheeked creature that must practice a strange ritual here. The next few hours were spent preparing hiding places and waiting for the sun to go down. Meredith's blind turned out beautifully and Rei made her way far up into the trees. Ciaran and Al didn't manage as well but the trees were thick enough to keep them hidden. A robed figure shows up after nightfall and lights the fire. More people show up and eventually, the robed figure begins a story. The group reveal themselves when they are comfortable but Rei continues to heckle from the treeline. Meredith and Al tell the group a story and Samuel the leader of the Wanderers answers some questions about the organiztion.

  1. Founded by Cindy to help people escape the restricted world
  2. Samuel leads the Wanderers and learned stories about magic and religion from Cindy
  3. Cindy never got along with the historians

Meredith slips off and speaks with Gord about some difficult topics and gets a vague invitation to visit. After the evening wraps up, the group heads back towards the rivers fork and decide to check on Gord. The tree has grown quickly and stands 15 feet high. Meredith communes with her patron and reaffirms that Tellerius and Gord don't have any beef. The group then heads back to Kotanai to rest after a long trek.

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A Myriad of Minor Assistances
Housekeeping

Returning from the new wood the group left their goop with Lildebrat. Another visit to the library and some intense divination from Rei discovers some new books. Alazander discovers a book outlining the nature of magical trees and finds an entry for the ironwood. The tree subsists on magic and its hard nature manifests from the magical energy it retains. It's incredibly vulnerable to fire and causes disproportionate energy releases when it comes in contact with intense heat sources. Meredith takes her new book and storms the stage at the bored goat. She tells a story of a dwarf the digs too deep and discovers the underdark. A war between the elves and dwarves has intensified so he must abandon his exploration. The last of the enemy are entombed in this new cavern to be forgotten. The party is lively and for the first time in years Gora is absent from the bar. Aurelia sits in his place drinking with Jomana. Alazander questions the ladies only to discover that they are both rubes and don't know anything about what's going on. He heads to bed and Ciaran the human whisperer takes over. Aurelia and Jomana spill the gossip about her crush and Ciaran offers some sage advice. After informing Gora that the Ironwood lives, Ciaran and Meredith follow the drunken armorer to the new wood and watches as he pulls fresh wood from the patches being reinvigorated by Meredith's spellcraft. He drops his take out cask and heads straight back to Clearwater where he begins to chop down trees. He lights the forge and then works to build the fire until he passes out against the stone work. Over the next 24 hrs he can be seen hard at work while trying to ignore the orphans who haven't left his side since he got back to work. The forge produces enough heat that the bar patrons who leave late that night are met by a warm breeze. Meredith's quick money making ploy goes poorly as her commission runs dry on the first night of her new contract. Ciaran's assistance and Rei's reluctance led to the creation of 3 lucky hilts for his new blades. The group learned why Mayor Crenshaw resists the race festival. They search the castle for artwork and any hints about the origins of Clearwater. The secret remains but the Historian still remains at large. 

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From Clearwater to the Oldwood Nest
A Taste of Tylenol with Codeine

The group wakes up in the Bored Goat (a few of them nursing hangovers) and gets to exploring this new place. They brush past Jomana and discover the Agriculture hall and a young woman inside. She openly answers every question you ask even as Rei's interrogation becomes increasingly personal. The four of you learn that this is mayor Crenshaw's daughter Aurelia. She lost her father, dreams of singing, helps around town how ever she can and has no intention to follow her family into politics. Ciaran stays behind and gets to investigate the intricate carving or a field of wheat being harvested. Below the soil are radiant lines extending up to the crops and above are roughly hewn storm clouds. Aurelia recovers during this time and explains her mother gave her explicit instructions to answer every question and to not hold back anything.

Rei visits the forge where the town used to cremate their dead and performs a meditative rite. Meanwhile, Meredith and Alazandar return to the castle and speak with the Mayor. They make a quick stop at the library to make sure the Historian is gone and return to discuss the plight of Clearwater with the Mayor. The two keep their new found knowledge to themselves and hear about the shop simple solutions and of Lildebrat. A quick raid of the library finds two magically imbued books that the two grab.

Ciaran and Rei have become more comfortable together and decide to explore the wooded area in the center of town and meet Mike, Chris, and Jackie on the well worn raceway. The kids talk about some sort of race festival and their friendship with the townsfolk and their current orphan status. (Rei asks some questions) The kids race beneath the watchful eye of a perched Ciaran and Chris claims the coveted pork bun which he shares with his horse. The results are in question as usual but the kids promise to keep their eyes out for anything strange if you help them get the race festival started again.

As they clear the line of trees at the center of Clearwater, they see Al and Meredith leaving the castle. The four investigate this tiny stone building and Ciaran mine sweeps the area between the fence and the hut without setting anything off. They have a quick conversation with this annoyed woman before Al casts zone of truth and grills her to find out very little she was unwilling to share. Lildebrat shows you her books and asks you to collect this potential ingredient from the new creatures that appeared in the old wood recently.

The group leaves immediately and heads south directly towards the nest. Ciaran volunteers as tribute and is quickly isolated and identified by a massive wasp. His quick wits allow him to set himself before the wasp attempts anything and the group begins a short battle. Al plays his role perfectly by supporting the group while relying on the talents of an unusually adept unseen servant. The wasps seem to only defend the nest but Meredith is blasting of huge swathes of web into the tree. Ciaran and Rei manage to destroy one of the wasps but the queen emerges from the web and devours the smaller wasps. The queen ascends into the smoke above them after taking some damage and the unseen servant continues his slow ascent towards the nest. They lose sight of the creature but can hear an increasingly loud hum. Ciaran attempts to clear the smoke but can't get rid of enough of it to make a difference. A silence spell from Al creates an eerie atmosphere, and sensing an urgent need to destroy this creature, Meredith calls on her bow for aid attempting to target the queen. Her crossbow goes off but the string remains drawn and a moment after there is a quick POP and a unicorn appears next to Meredith. Ciaran wastes no time and in true Marty McFly fashion asks no questions and jumps atop the unicorn using it's horn as leverage to fire an arrow into the smoke that narrowly misses. Tylenol with Codeine slides between you all and can clearly see the massive creature about to dive bomb you. His horn begins to glow and a bubble forms around you all as another 100 feet of forest is burnt away by the remains of the kamikaze queen. The unicorn seems to be pretty excited about this new sweet world but as he asks what's next, begins to disappear sadly. You collect some of the purple goop and prepare to make the walk back to Clearwater.

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