So, this week in the Anduwin Chronicles….
The party begins the long journey, from two locations southward. With 428, Brant, Granuaile and Magnus travelling towards the druids that the group think may be powerful enough to help them transport across the world, to reach Bukká Mortain. As the group leave the open plains and re-enter the forest, 428 feels a warning prickle on the back of his neck. His barbarian alertness warns him of a feeling, almost as though someone or something is watching the party. The giantkin starts to pay attention to his gut feeling, and tries looking around for possible onlookers. At the same time, Brant shares the stories he has heard about the druids. They are rumoured to be tree people, or Ents and their culture, includes their dislike of fire and axes, due to them being living tree folk, if the rumours are to be believed. After keeping an eye out, 428 spots a creature in a tree, and baits it down with some of his traveling rations. A humanoid bird creature drops from a branch and takes up some of the dried fruit that is laid out as bait.
He appears different to the birdfolk the party had met previously. He has does not have wings on his back as the birdfolk do, but instead his wings are in the place of his arms. Fingers formed of collections of feathers. The bird man appears to have intelligence, and is able to mimic sounds of the woodland, of weapons, or even voices. This makes communication difficult initially, until the party is able to figure out phrases that the birdman can mimic if he agrees, or reuse previously given phrases, from a variety of different voices to be able to express himself. There’s a brief exchange where half of the party learns this is an Immortal being, named Toe Beak. He is covered in feather, with a cracked beak, and his wings ending in feathery hands. Toe Beak informs the party that he speaks for the Grove, and can lead them to the Ents, but that without being invited, the Ents will likely not meet with the party. He also tells the group that there is a magikal barrier which will wipe memories if crossed without permission to help keep the Ents safe. He warns of the Ents dislike of fire, and axes, and so 428 hands over his weapon, to be stored in a safe place out of sight of the Ent’s threat perception. Toe Beak extends a feathered hand, and a faint green energy spreads out from the feathers to the axe 428 presents. The weapon magikally shrinks in moments, enough to be stored in a bag or pouch out of sight. 428 worries that this shrinking may have weakened his prized weapon, and so he tests its effectiveness on Brant. Although shrunk, it appears to still have the same weight and damage dealing capabilities, as the tiny blade cuts Brant as deeply as is it were at full size, severely injuring the bard, and causing him to start to cast healing magik over himself.
Meanwhile, Sivaras has managed to return to the dwarf Journ’ee, who is packing up the camp, and preparing to continue with the mission alone. He resists, after seeing Magnus’ foolishness last night and the whole party chasing after him. The two appear to have a cold hearted and fiery eyed standoff. The morning high noon silloquettes cast long shadows across the clearing before the cave. She subtly flicks her wrist and liquid from her water skin and the nearby stream begins to rise up to her side, whirling in mid-air. At the same time, the dwarf ignites himself, as his flame familiar reappears. The allies stand in a duality stalemate of fire and water whilst Sivaras tries to get her point across. She is about to magikally manipulate him, with her serpentine magiks over the mind, when he lets his fire die down, and relaxes his posture into a less threating one. She does the same, allowing the water to stop swirling, and either returning to her water skin, or simply dropping onto the forest floor. She discusses with him the importance of strength in numbers, and eventually is able to convince the dwarf to come with her, and rejoin the party. The converstation over and the threats dealt with, Journ’ee asks if Sivaras will be turning into a mountable animal, so he can ride her. She gives him a look, coldly, insulted by his thinly masked pick-up line, and commands him to walk with her, this time using her snake magik to influence his mind. The dwarf suddenly thinks that walking would be better, but slower than asking the blue woman to transform again.
The advanced party has reached a magikal barrier, with the help of Toe Beak, and Magnus starts to use detect the magik of the barrier, feeling a powerful combination of illusions, and protective magik over this grove. Toe Beak passes through the barrier to ask for permission for the strangers to enter the Ent’s dwelling, and tells the party in his own way, he will be back. The wizard then begins to investigate a new magikal theory of finding people using his means to magikally send messages long distances. He believes that as the spell is able to always find people, to deliver the message, that the same magik may be able to be used to help locate people. As the group waits for their adventuring friends, a short term camp is established – without a fire. Brant retells the story of how he became the hero of Vespard, and that he should be respected as such. During this story, Magnus continues to work on his spell book, sketching and erasing runes and sigils for his new magikal theory, whilst 428 begins to play with a stormy stone he found after killing the cephalopod. He gets angry at the stone not doing anything, and in his rage, sparks begin to leap from his bony protrusions. The electric energy jumps faster from bone to bone, seemingly emanating from 428, before some of the lightning is able to work its way down his arms and into the stone itself. When the lightning hits the stone, it is somehow amplified and the energy blasts outwards, unfortunately hitting the bard who is midway through his story. The air carries an ozone after burn as the bard’s clothing is singed, and the bard is injured by 428 for the second time in as many hours. Fortunately the party is able to rest at the camp, and lick their respective wounds while waiting for Journ’ee and Sivaras to arrive. Around a day after they had separated, the fire dwarf and the blue druid reunite with the rest of the party, ready to continue their onward journey. Granuaile tends to her horse, Julio, inspecting for signs of injury from the battle, but are there are no signs of scars or even a bruise. The horse appears stronger than ever, and ready for any further battle ahead.
While Magnus and Brant complete their stories and research, or as much as they can whilst in the woodlands and start to discuss the growing global threat the greyborn pose, with their use of the warships they have- the Andromeda and the Orion. On hearing the discussion, the newest member of the group, Sivaras, joins the conversation and begins to explain that the greyborn did not actually build these warships, but that they were in fact built by her people eons ago, as a means to escape an ancient and terrible threat. Journ’ee, still annoyed at the apparent shift in priorities away from the greyborn threat and towards Magnus’ personal crisis, does not want to talk, but does start to learn to play his horn.
Toe Beak returns, and has been allowed to grant the group safe passage through the barrier. As Brant passes through the force field, he touches it, and casts a spell to identify the magik held within, learning that it would likely erase the mind of anyone who wandered through without permission. The barrier is cleared and all have crossed successfully, with the exception of Julio, who is nowhere to be seen. Lady Granuaile keeps an eye out for him, but Toe Beak urges the group to continue to move on, as the audience with the Ents has only been granted for a short time. Sivaras also worries about the horse, after seeing and feeling what her magik or the ring did to Julio, and so she speaks with a large python who is draped over a smaller tree’s branch. The python behaves oddly, as though high from being around forest mushrooms for so long, but eventually, he slithers away, following Sivaras’ request. Though there is some worry that the python is searching for Julio, not to find, but to eat. Toe Beak leads the party up through another clearing, with a series of grand trees in the centre distance. Around the group immediately are smaller trees, and large mushrooms, which Sivaras inspects from a distance, looking for druidic and sharmanistic symbols or a hidden language in the nature of the place, and at the same time, Brant inspects the local flora and is pleased to see so many herbalism reagents but dismayed that he cannot pick or cut any due to the potential disrespect this may cause the Ents which the party seeks help from. As the party reaches the central trees, Toe Beak warns that the Ent leader will answer only three questions. Finally they approach an enormous tree on top of a hill. Brant speaks to the tree with Sivaras translating into a lost druidic language, out of respect and to try to gather more support for the party, by showing they have knowledge of the natural world, rather than out of any necessity. The tree screams and a tree humanoid, nearly two hundred feet tall becomes more visible leaning from the bark, but still part of the tree. The party uses their first question to ask if the tree mage can get them across the world, to Bukká Mortainé. In response, the Ent says he will try to send the party to Magnus’ home country. The Ent then instructs Sivaras to return her ring to its rightful owner, which she reacts to by pulling a hand over her ring, to hide if from the party, if it were possible. She promises she will when the owner returns, which the Ent warns will be sooner than she thinks. The party stands silently, unsure what to ask next, and in the quiet, Lady Granuaile asks if she can have her horse returned. The Ent says he does not normally allow such dark creatures into his grove, but as this is a request, he grants it, and so Julio returns to Granuaile. The third and final question is asked by Magnus, who still worries for the safety of his sons. He asks for aid in protecting his children from the war, and whatever terror may befall them. The Ent gifts Magnus with a magikal leaf to protect the children where they sleep.
The branches of the trees twist and shake leaves free. The foliage falls around the party and as it does the ground appears to come up to meet them. More leaves fall and the ground pulses, two times, three times and then on the forth, the ground pushes and the party including Julio are thrust into the air higher and higher, spinning in a maelstrom of magik, until the party appear to be spinning down again, the ground beneath them no longer grassy and alive, but frosted or burnt. However, before they fall into the snowy ground Granuaile, Sivaras and Julio bounce off of a magikal barrier none of the party sees. The barrier seems to be over the whole country as the group are pushed through it by the sheer power of the Ent’s teleport.
A bumpy landing into the snowy ground later and some party members are lying, recovering from injuries, looking upwards. Floating in the skies over the capital city, Quel Ce La Mon, is the Orion, filling the blanket of snowing blue. Plumes of dark smoke the reminants of battles and burning towers rise upwards from the city, as the Orion fires warning shots from an energy weapon towards a temple in the distance where the city’s refuges are most likely to be hiding. The Temple of Vollabuke. Magnus sends messages to family members using his folded paper boats again, and eventually learns that his two sons have died in the initial attack of the Orion. Horrified by this news and his loss, he charges off, running on his wounded leg. Granuaile mounts her steed and rides after him on Julio. 428 picks up Brant, thinking the halfling can not run as fast as the others and runs after them. Sivaras transforms her body from its blue female shape into a doe, or deer and this time she allows Journ’ee to ride her as the pairing also give chase.
On route, it is agreed to stop in the nearest village, to get horses, supplies and information about what is happening, and how long the Orion has been here, threatening the country and her people. The village appears to have been completely destroyed by energy fired from the Orion, and there are signs of smaller firearms having battled the homesteads, and burning embers upon thatched roofs. The party find no survivors. However, even if there were, they would perhaps be safer in this ruined village, rather than coming with the party on an adventure, or a mission to investigate the battle ship and the greyborn presence. Between them the party finds a small fishing boat, and a cart, which is attached to Julio. Whilst the group are fixing the cart in place, 428 disappears and runs away westward, towards the Temple of Vollabuke, rather than the capital city to the north. Brant calls out and shouts after the barbarian, and laces his shouts with his vocal magik, encouraging the giantkin to stop and to return to the group.
And that’s where we left off…