As our quest continues, we have left our new kingdom behind in order to find and eliminate a forest drake that has been causing trouble in the area. We know from our prior conversation with Old Ted that the creature was headed south and west, but tailing it proves difficult. Our exploration is uneventful at first and we are able to map another hex without incident. The day after, however, we hear a commotion nearby. Hearing voices mentioning “stringing up the bitch” in common, we decide that we need to investigate.
We follow the sounds, leading us to a pool and a strange sight. A group of lumberjacks stand back from the pool, two at the banks looking transfixed by a strange female creature over the water. Further investigation makes us realize that this is a nixie, a fey creature known for charming men. We learn from speaking with the leader of the lumberjacks that the nixie didn’t take kindly to them chopping down the trees near her pool. Their plan is to kill her before she can transfix them all. We decide to hear the nixie’s side of the story, and understand that she is simply defending her forest. Samba is sympathetic to her wanting to defend the forest, and Layanos recalls that the lumberjacks could find the same kind of wood ten miles north at the tatzylwyrm’s den. We decide that the lumberjacks ought to leave, but Samba insists on attempting a diplomatic solution and not unnecessarily shedding blood. The lumberjack boss isn’t open to such negotiation, however, and we’re forced tofight the men.
Layanos gives us the early advantage by blinding the boss. Hayley darts over to one and kills him before he can react. The others swarm her, but luckily she is able to react quickly to their attacks and ensure that none of them can land a killing stroke. The nixie lends some assistance as well, freezing one of the men solid. In spite of their advantage in numbers, our group wins convincingly and forces the boss to surrender when all of his men are dead.
We approach the grateful nixie, who introduces herself as Melianse. At our request, she releases the two charmed lumberjacks, and urges them to grab their boss and leave immediately. They are happy to oblige, and we doubt we’ll see them again any time soon. Melianse requests that we help replace the trees the lumberjacks cut down, advising that we speak to a druid woman named Tirisia to the west.
We camp out that night, exploring the next day until we encounter the tall and beautiful woman. This is Tirisia, and she is accompanied by a severely injured satyr companion named Falcos. Layanos heals some of Falcos’ grievous wounds, hoping to keep us on the druid’s good side. She wants us to help rid the area of a pernicious plant called a scythe-tree that injured the satyr. In spite of our hesitance to fight against another fearful fauna, we know that this is the easiest way to obtain tree feather tokens and replace the nixie’s trees. Plus, Samba is quite attracted to Tirisia. We are allowed to camp out with our new acquaintances that night, and it’s unclear exactly what activities occurred after the scene faded to black.
The next day, some exploration to the southeast leads us to the scythe-tree. Standing 15-20 feet tall, the tree poses a serious threat. Samba attempts to burn the tree down with a flaming sphere. It is effective, but the tree doesn’t go down without a fight. Harahsh hacks at the tree in the meantime, doing some damage but taking more. The others attempt to dodge the tree while waiting for the fire to eventually run its course and turn the tree into a charred set of sticks. We break one off and start to make our way back to Tirisia.
That night, our camp is unfortunately invaded during Hayley’s watch. Likely fatigued from the battle with the tree, Hayley doesn’t realize that a group of dredges is coming our way until they arrive at the camp. She yells to wake up the others just as the nasty creatures attack. Layanos emerges from his tent and tries to draw some of them away from Hayley by taunting them. These dredges aren’t easily intimidated, however, and simply launch a noxious cloud over the camp that instantly nauseates Harahsh.
We try at first to fight back against the dredges, Hayley finding the cold-iron ax she took off the lumberjack boss useful. They seem to realize she is the biggest threat to them, however, and they all focus on taking her out. Barely able to stand, Hayley summons the last of her energy to acrobatically dodge around the dredges and make her way to Layanos. He heals some of her injuries, and they lead the retreat. Samba, Dalton, and Harahsh follow, and the group manages to escape the foul enemies.
We return to camp the next morning to find Hayley’s dropped sword broken and our tents defiled. Layanos is able to mend the sword, but nothing can be done about the desecrated tents. We return to Tirisia, letting her know that we destroyed the scythe-tree. True to her word, the druid gives us the tree feather tokens and promises to keep an eye on the forest for us. We thank her and return to the nixie’s pond. Melianse is also grateful for our help after we replace her trees, and she promises to keep an eye on the river near our kingdom.
Rather than return to Corinth after being gone for seven days, however, we set off for the west to continue our search for the forest drake. The first day is uneventful, but our second day leads us to a ruined elven castle. We see an open gate on the east side, and our curiosity gets the best of us. Harahsh leads the way through the gate, tripping a trap and slamming the portcullis shut behind him. With us blinking confusedly on the other side, Harahsh is ambushed by an astonishingly-quick green fellow.
Hayley uses her rope to scale the castle wall while the others try to reach our companion’s side by reaching the rubble on the south side. The green fellow continues to attack Harahsh with an annoying but effective strategy of turning invisible and hitting Harahsh before retreating. Once the rest of us reach the courtyard, however, we’re able to turn the tides against the fellow. Samba summons lightning and nails the fellow with a bolt after Layanos blinds him. Dalton also lands a tiger bite on the fellow before he decides he’s had enough. The creature’s speed allows it to escape us, and we know it’s too fast to pursue.
Hayley turns her attention to investigating the area. She is beside herself when she finds a hidden urn full of gold and rubies in one of the turrets. When she reaches the third tower, however, she finds more than she bargained for. Samba calls out a warning too late, and an assassin vine attacks and grapples the rogue. The others hurry over to help as a fey-like creature emerges and joins the fight. We surround him, Layanos slumbering him so that Hayley can finish him off with a coup de grace. We then turn our full attention to the assassin vine, which manages to grapple Dalton before the tiger bites it to death.
We find more loot afterward, and Hayley opens the door to the fourth tower. She immediately slams the door shut after spotting two swarms of rats ready to make her their dinner. One more tower in the center of the castle awaits us, but our session is drawing to a close. Will we continue to explore this dangerous castle and find whatever else is waiting for us? Will our kingdom hold up in our absence? Will we ever locate the forest drake? At least some of the answers await in the next installment of our Kingmaker Quest.