Episode 71: Fog Will Tear Us Apart
After a much-needed night of rest at the Temple of Mimir the party made haste to leave the city. As they traveled to the 7th tier they debated whether they should press forward with their quest to retrieve the shards of the Heart of Bahamut and seek passage into the Feywild or detour into the underdark beneath their manor home and attempt to locate the source of the curse that has plagued them since uncovering Solafein Margoleth’s hidden cache of platinum. In the end they decided the shards were of greater import, and it stood to reason there might be magic-users in the Feywild that might be convinced to assist them with the curse.
That decided, they reviewed what they knew of the Feywild – not much, as it turns out. While most of the party had accidentally stumbled into it more than a season ago in the forests outside of Whitebridge on the Thorimfel Plateau, the mechanics of intentionally moving between the planes were unknown to them. Whisper knew well the legends that spoke of all forests being in a sense one forest, connected to each other through the Feywild. Sirlius recalled stories from his youth about tribes of Tieflings living in forests, told in the manner of fairy stories. He even recounted a nursery rhyme about being lost in a forest.
The closest forest to Uman is the Forest of Stars. Lying just a few hours travel southeast of the city and abutting the edge of the farmlands that feed the great walled City, the Forest of Stars had a reputation for danger; local legend spoke of how the forest resisted all attempts to farm timber, and there were plenty of ghost stories about unwitting travelers meeting their doom in its unexplored vastness. Whisper her self had spent time only in the outskirts, never venturing inwards more than perhaps a mile or so from the edges, and so could not say what awaited them.
As their plan amounted to “wander around an uncharted and terrifying forest in the middle of winter with no guide or guess as to a destination,” the party decided to refresh their provisions for surviving in the wilderness. Not wanting to re-enter the city, they made their way to The Queues, a combination general store, tavern, and inn just off the Great Northern Road, one of a handful buildings sprung up outside the walls serving vistors, travelers, and itinerant caravanserai. They were met by Ziwo Zao, a middle-aged bald gnome with a beak-like hooked nose and an equally long, curved goatee, the Queues' proprietor. Zao’s disinterested, businesslike demeanor gave way to incredulity when the party explained their intent to go camping in the Forest of Stars, but he happily sold them furs, provisions, tents, whisky and tobacco anyway.
Thus prepared, the party set forth into the forest. The first day went without incident, though the weather turned rough and the adventurers spent several miserable hours trudging through freezing rain and sleet. Whisper’s long years of experience in the wilderness kept the party from danger, and despite the weather they made good progress.
As daylight faded, a thick fog enveloped them, and they decided to make camp for the night. Magnus went to collect firewood, and accidentally revealed one of the dangers of the Forest of Stars: the dull grey moss covering many of the trees, on which faintly luminescent silver berries grew, would realize a cloud of spores if disturbed. Magnus swooned, nearly losing consciousness, but resisted the effects. He hastened back to camp and warned the others. The party had a troubled, furtive sleep in the cold, wet night, and those who kept watch saw and heard nothing, but felt a cold lurking menace from the forest itself.
The second day was much like the first: grey, cold, and sleeting, and the fog persisted. While Whisper continued to lead, Keen asked Yuna if he could ride Stella; the snow was up past his knees and he found the travel hard-going. Yuna agreed, though Stella seemed hesitant.
A few hours late,r Ara noted that their tracks in the snow appeared to be disappearing behind them. They stopped, and Keen and Stella doubled back to investigate, disappearing into the fog. When minutes passed and they did not return, Ara, giving one end of rope to Magnus and tying the other about his waist, ventured in after them. He too disappeared, and after a moment the rope went slack. Magnus pulled it back to find its end severed.
Both Keen and Ara found themselves alone, surrounded by fog and cut off from their friends and each other. As they independently considered their predicament, they were set upon by glowing orbs of light appearing suddenly out of the fog. Keen was surprised, but Ara saw them coming and fended off the initial attack. Fights ensued, with the fast-moving balls of lightning zipping through the frightened heroes, disappearing as quickly as they appeared. Through the residium binding link, the others in the party knew what was happening, but could not find a way to help. Sirlius realized the fog had strange magical properties, and might be removed with a Dispel Magic spell, but did not know the spell himself. Neither Yuna or Magnus were capable of it either, and so they could do nothing but remain stuck in the fog, feeling each vicious attack of the glowing orbs upon their friends through the link.
Shopping Episode Level: Accidental
Encounters Avoided: 0/1
Will-o'-Wisp Status: Stalking
RP Rating: Awesome!