After returning home and receiving the generous reward for recovering the Sun Chalice, the group each went their separate ways for a time.
Izan returned to his duties on the Watch, and while patrolling noticed a peculiar incident. A swarm of bees, with stingy intent racing after a fleeing lad. Izan froze the boy in time to save him from the tiny buzzing menace and pondered how to deal with bees. A strange nature-y dressed man ran up and simple “shoo’d” the bugs away, explaining he was the caretaker of the apiary outside of the city. The man offered a poultice to the boy which seemed to relive the stinging welts, and Izan spent the afternoon with the strange fellow.
Termach scheduled an appointment with the Sun Clerics, revealing that a crazed splinter cult who also happens to follow the Sun God wanted to sacrifice him. Termach wanted to wrangle his new found leverage with the temple to assist getting the crazies off his back. The Sun Temple “master at arms”, a stern and battle worn middle age woman, assured him that they were working on it, implying that some kind of trap was being laid for the cultists. Termach was a bit incensed by the slow pace, but agreed, at least for now, to let them do their thing.
Valefar returned to his home, now littered about with bags of alembics and beakers. Musing that he may need slightly larger accomodations, he went to work unlocking the faerie trapped within the crystal orb. Aided by his strange new ability to understand the Snakey Tongue, he released the little 3in. tall sprite who gave her name as Kayssid. She seemed agreeable and genuinely happy to be realeased, trading a decade and a day of service in return, as well as Valefar’s true name. She also wanted to see the orb smashed, so they climbed up onto the roof where she pushed her prison off, and they watched it satisfyingly shatter.
Workin’ for a livin’
The next day, Valefar traveled to the Emporium, a large block in Daggerford where much of the city’s magical and scientific research and trade took place. Seeking an audience with the alchemists to help get his new stuff set up and gain some training, he met with a mister Behring, a large and outspoken fellow who was the master of the emporium. Behring seemed interested and asked to see the equipment to which Valefar agreed. Valefar also told Behring that his buddies and he ransacked an old Yuan’ti temple. Behring seemed impressed and also had a job in mind as an entrance fee. Valefar agreed and gathered his companions from the last mission to assist.
The Job was to escort a small group through the nearby Black Swamps to gather materials for the potion makers. They explained that this was the time of the year when many otherwise rare ingredients were ready for harvesting. A shokoro shaman, named Sheethen, would accompany the group and lead them down the correct paths throughout his peoples’ homeland. Sheethen seemed like a nice, if scaly, fellow. Izan and Termach agreed to assist as well. The reward for them would be potions and preferred customer status with the Alchemists, while Valefar would get access to lore and training.
The group set off the next morning, Sheethan and some alchemy apprentices in tow. Sheethan guided them through the marshlands by way of the ancient pathways used by his people. He explained that the paths were placed long ago, possibly as some type of seal for the area. Valefar chatted him up as they wandered, interested in the magical ramifications of the area.
The first stop were some bushes, ripe with strange berries plump for the picking. As the labor approached, some big mosquito looking insects burst forth out of the shrubbery. Valefar cast his sleep spell knocking out many of the bugs, while Izan and Termach finished up the few stragglers. Berries were picked and the group moved on.
Another stop, this time at a large and ancient tree, blooming with clumps of incandescent white and silver flowers. Once again as the pickers approached, some creatures, perhaps snakes, seemed to writhe angrily among the roots. Using that handy sleep spell once again, Valefar knocked out the snakes allowing the group to pick away. Great success!
As they moved through the swamp, the ambiance began to turn darker and drearier. Maintaining the path seemed to tax Sheethan more as they continued along. On the left was a surreal sight: a wrecked and battered sailing ship appeared to be stuck in the swamp. More surprising were the angry and confused ghostly sailors that began flooding out with malicious intent. Izan and Termach formed up, ready to battle the spooky tide. Valefar, caught unaware was briefly dropped as a spectral arrow tore its way through his left shoulder. Before the ghastly host could fully commit, Sheethan pulled out some kind of shamany impliment and banished the ghosts back to their slumber. He explained that they kept the ship there to deter unwelcomed visitors, but he also appeared troubled since the ghosts shouldn’t have attacked them in his presence at all. Termach healed Valefar up and they warily continued.
As they approached the last location, the path began sharply ascending. Yet another strange thing that shouldn’t have been happening. As the alchemists collected the final ingredients: some silky bug cocoons, the group noticed the path ascended to the ruins of a small ancient fort. Sheethan was greatly troubled by this and implored the group to investigate so he could determine if this strange new devilry posed a threat to his people. They ascended up towards the mysterious keep, seeking to reveal it’s secrets.
Opening the doors, the main hall was overgrown with vines and other flora. Ancient ruined heraldry dotted the walls, although the symbols didn’t seem to mean anything to the group and didn’t appear to represent any current Daggerford nobility. The exit to the left contained a moth breeding ground. Littered with cocoons and a few mummified people, perhaps the ancient residents or unfortunate adventurers. Swarms of moths fluttered towards the group, perhaps not openly hostile, but certainly dangerous. They seemed to be made or covered with sharp crystal! Valefar tried to eradicate them with elemental magic, but the swarms were numerous so they shut the door. Termach formed a simple but effective plan where he would open the door, and Valefar would shoot magic into the room trying to clear them out. He first tried fire, but being more aligned with water and wind, it didn’t work so well. He tried a few more times with success using ice and wind and they managed to clear out enough bugs to not pose a threat.
Izan went through and checked some of the mummified corpses, some of which still sat at the dining room table. He found a ring and pendant with a griffon heraldry inset upon them. Taking the trinkets, Izan began forming a plan to masquerade as a noble. The group continued on to a strange art gallery. Valefar realized the room was a strange trap, trying to keep them in that place and time for perhaps eternity. He identified the enchanted painting and managed, with difficulty, to reverse the effect.
The group came to a long hallway, the end of which had a strange etherial guardian who challenged their progress. Thinking quickly, Izan flahed the griffon ring at the guardian who surprisingly recognized it and decided to let them pass. Valefar mused that the previous owners of the ring must have had some magical talent. Another room ahead was webbed with strange, steely, and dangerous threads. Luckily Termach was quite hardy and just plowed his way through the strands. Whatever creature laid its trap here wisely decided to stay hidden.
The final room had a broken ceiling, sporting a damaged and sick looking tree in the center. Some oily, bubbly, corruptiony looking substance seethed around the poor flora, probably the cause of this whole mess. The tree was no doubt once healthy and glorious. The clerics, wizard, and shaman all recognized that this was the cause of the strange, out of time, castle. Termach and Izan channeled divine power, seeking to both heal the tree and banish the murky corruption respectively. They were successful. A short green woman appeared, hey a dryad! Termach healed the poor girl yet again, and Valefar’s faerie companion assisted in communicating. They had released the strange curse, and received the blessing of the forest. Success!