After rescuing Gareth and Suchet from the half-death of the Ankou demons, the party spent the night in the town of Tomalin, just by the cemetery where they found their friends. Early the next morning, they were awaken by a townsman who burst into the inn announcing fire and smoke to the east, toward the shadow lands. While the party gathered, onlookers also reported a black dragon, which turned out to be a silver dragon, somewhat shadowed in the dawn. Blondie saw him ripping a demon apart on a nearby roof top before hopping down and turning into a tall, muscled human.
The dragon, Mataran, claimed to have lived in the north fighting demons until those lands were overrun. A troop of paladins, including Trina, the paladin the party earlier learned was a silver driver, road up. Trina and Mataran recognized each other as brother and sister, though they aren’t very friendly with each other. Mataran was surprised to find his sister as large as he was- when he left him he was quite a bit larger but now she seems about his size and age. Mataran chalked it up to manipulations of their father, claiming he could change the flow of time in his lands.
Trina informed the party they were requested back in the city: the captain of the paladins had determined that the king was really a demon in disguise. The palace is tool well guarded for a frontal approach. The captain wants the party to help go beneath the palace and collapse the tower, killing all within, including the false-king.
The party was skeptical that the king was actually a demon and even if he was, destroying the entire palace and royal family was an appropriate response. After some back and forth, they refused to help the captain but did send Gareth and Suchet back with Avondale and Dagda.
Mataran reported that he say groups of demons, in their normal disorganized formation that seemed to break up as quickly as they formed, to the east. The townsfolk panicked and begged the party to help. The party told the townsfolk that while they could not destroy all the demons, they could provide time for the townsfolk to escape to the city.
Just at the edge of town, the party killed seven of the same demons that the false Suchet & Gareth had used to try to ambush the party. Mataran revealed that he had a potent breath attack, using a gas to paralyze some of the demons, as well as a ferocity in combat with fang and claw.
The Faerie Woods
The dryad Lala they met on the road to Ubeck led the party to her tree, an ancient oak. One by one, she melded them into the trunk then passed them out again into the faerie woods, a forest of ancient trees with a thick canopy that kept the forest floor in shadow and undergrowth so tangled swift movement was a challenge.
Not far from Lala’s tree, the party heard something huge crashing through the forest. Spreading out, some caught a glimpse of a colossus composed from the writhing forms of hundreds of demons chained together. Angel Eyes ran to it and was nearly killed by its powerful blow. Fortunately, the demons it was composed of ripped the colossus into 4 smaller groups, still formidable, but more amenable to destruction, and the party soon had the creature destroyed.
After an overnight rest in Lala’s tree, the dryad led them to the lodge, pausing only to refresh the still somewhat wounded of the group at a healing water fall near the river.
The Faerie Queen
The lodge was a great stone-walled hall, over a hundred paces long and forty wide. It’s stone were so moss covered that from the outside it looked more like nature cliff. Inside, the place was a mess- long disused tables and benches lay scattered about. The rafters high above were home to all manner of vermin- from rats to bats to spiders and more. At the far end of the hall, a great stone hearth rose high up. A small fire flickered in the hearth. Before a beautiful, elven-like woman in torn clothing and matted hair lay in a stupor against the flank of an immense wolf. Above the mantle a magnificent compound bow was mounted on the stones.
Marselene informed the party that the woman was not an elf but a sidhe, an elf-like race of the faerie realm. Lala said her name was Leonora and that when the king ruled the forest, the queen was made. The queen only ruled when the king’s severed head was mounted on the hearth. The king was not sidhe but a huge elk with an antler rack over 10 feet wide. As an elk roaming the forest, he was magnificent and very fleet, but he was only animal like, with little understanding. As a mounted head, he could speak.
Blondie tried moving the bow but it was immovable. Lala said the bow could only be claimed in the reign of the queen.
Blondie brushed the queen’s hair under the watchful gaze of the wolf. She seemed to like it but remained as mad as ever, babbling and unfocused.
The party decided to restore the queen to sanity, and free the bow, by mounting the elk-king’s head on the hearth. Blondie asked the wolf to help, who signaled her agreement by nodding. After some discussion, they settled on a plan where Blondie and the wolf would find and drive the elk toward the rest of the group and Maria would create a magical pit beneath him. The elk was swifter even than a flying dragon but after 2 days of failed attempts on the third day, the elk fell into the pit, where dangled over the void by his antlers. Mataran then severed the head with his great sword.
Once mounted on the hearth, the king spoke to them, sounding not the least put out by his fate. In fact, the king, now freed from the mentality of an animal seemed happy enough to preside over the festivities of the restored court from his place above the fire.
Blondie claimed his bow.
Within a day, the hall was tidied up by mushroom-men servants and sprites, the queen was in regal garb, the tables and benches were restored, music and light filled the hall. A throne carved from the trunk of an oak was rolled into the hall and the queen took her place upon it, insisting that Blondie take a place at her side.
Once the hall was filled with her court, she bestowed gifts on the party. Blondie’s gift was the bow but to the others, she granted a gift of their choice.
The party spent a full month in the faerie woods, in the company of the sidhe and all the exotic folk of creatures of the land of faerie- from butterfly-winged talking giant frogs, to sprites and sylph, to the unearthly sidhe themselves.
Now that the queen is sane and the worst of the demon depredations (the demon colossus) was destroyed, she feels her people can keep the demons at bay for now and asks that her new friends, and her champion Blondie, destroyed the scourge in the world at large, as that would best protect her own land. She does bestow her kiss, a special bond, on Blondie before you leave. She warns you that time does not run as it does in the outside world. Due to the threats all face, she has seen to it that for at least for this visit, time flowed more swiftly in the forest. When you return, only 2 days will have passed in the larger world.
Leaving the Faerie Forest
In addition to the magic item gift, Maria, Blondie and Angel Eyes gain a free mythic fey ability. If they want something that requires tier 3 or higher, they can defer taking the ability until they are higher level.
From your time in the woods, every has 20 temporary hit points. These last indefinitely but cannot be restored once used. They will leave you a bit stronger in your first few battles.
Party members can spend their time as they like in the woods. Let me know if there is anything in particular you would like to do. If you take the leadership feat, it is possible to recruit a faerie follower here (you can take the feat on loan if you are not eligible, i.e., take it at the next opportunity for a feat.) If anyone is interested in that, let me know and we will work up the details. We will probably also tweak the level rules to make sure the follower is actually of a useful level.
While in the Fey domain, Marselene finds that here she is not troubled by the ghosts and poltergeists that follow her in the large world. Several times she voiced the desire to return here once the demon threat is dealt with.