Friday, March 16, 2018

Innovative Immorality - Crossroads Campaign - Session 10

Our investigations into what's going on in Calliopeela was a little bit interrupted by the realization that we were being followed and watched by someone. They looked like a wolf, but the behavior didn't fit a basic animal. It was a very tricky creature, darting this way and that and making it hard for even Kelmar to keep track off. There was an attempt by Medi to dart forward on Alwyn to cut off the wolf's path, but the creature simply darted aside and seemed to change into a squirrel before vanishing up into the tree line. 

I say seem because we didn't actually see the transformation. The wolf vanished and the squirrel appeared. The tracks Kelmar was able to find supported our assumption, but we weren't able to follow the shapeshifter up into the canopy, so whoever it was got easily clear of us at that point. 

After the chase, it felt more appropriate to look into the grove the druid told us about than to go looking for Nyktox just yet. We'd have to bring him over to witness anyway, but as we were out here, it was better to see what we were going to find first. What we found was a bit...odd and disturbing but I'll get to that later.

The grove was closer along to winter than it really should have been. The animals looked hungry and thin as if they had been lacking food for awhile. Wendelly did a look at the magic while we were there, but most of us were engaged in conversation with an old man sitting at the pond in the center. He was the caretaker of the grove apparently and confirmed some of the things we'd heard and seen. More than that, he offered us the services of a guide by the name of Astra.

Astra turned out to be a pixie with something of a steampunk flair. She didn't particularly have the best handle on the idea of stealth, glittering like a golden dragonfly with all sorts adornments on her tiny body. She was also the most well-armed pixies I've ever encountered. Usually from my memory a pixie that armed itself so much would eventually become a sprite. Though she had the hyperactive friendliness of a pixie rather than the aggressive and abrasive energy of a sprite. She resisted a bit at the idea of guiding us to the bad patch deeper into the forest, but eventually did so.
The bad patch was indeed a terrible sight. Nothing was so much rotting or blighted, but it looked like it as preparing for winter, rather, it seemed deep into winter. This was not what I was expecting and again, Wendelly, Nezerhi, and I took the chance to look at the magic around us. That stream of necromantic energies was back but it didn't seem to be draining the trees as we had expected. It was Wendelly that noticed that this ritual seemed to be attacking the sunlight itself.

One explanation of photosynthesis and Bilbo Baggins later and Astra was darting up to the top of the trees to take in what the size of this browning patch was. Incidentally, apparently Astra knows a person by the name of Bilbo Baggins. He is unfortunately not an intrepid adventurer but apparently an overweight banker with a tendency toward corruption.

Reality is cruel.

Regardless, Astra came back with reports of a vast expanse of afflicted trees, enough so that it would take us two days to cross it all. This seemed enough to turn about to go look for Nyktox to bring him out here and see what is happening, but then Astra asked if we wanted to see the shining thing in the middle of it all. So on we went. We didn't get too far before we decided to camp down for the night.

Our night's rest was interrupted by unexpected and unwanted guests. A lizard, a bear, two wolves, all unnaturally large and appearing blighted by some terrible disease. It was a bit of a pitched battle with a number of us getting terribly torn up by the fight though Medi and Astra both proved to be worthy comrades in the fight.

This attack apparently was facilitated by a horrible abomination that looked vaguely like a worg or wolf. It attacked with a number of supernatural powers and died with a fear of something else clutching its heart. It wasn't afraid of death, but of the fact that it had failed to achieve its mission. Presumably it had been sent to stop us, but I didn't have time to get any more information from its mind before it simply died.
This is where we stand now, and I think it is definitely time to return to the town and grab a few witnesses to show them what it is their rituals are really doing. The druids in the grove are blunting the impact there, but it will eventually overwhelm them. Between the aberrant wolf and the nature of the assault, I'd say it's fairly clear that there's a cult to the outsiders or something similar at work here.

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