Episode 81: Into The Feywild, Part V
Peaseblossom, the Fey Giant the party had encountered on Uman’s 7th looking for his hat – the titular Hat of True Frog – greeted the party warmly. A circuitous conversation followed, and from him the heroes learned that this fortress was not in the Feywild at all, though the giant was unable just where precisely they were. Sirlius asked Peaseblossom if he knew anything of the fate of the missing tieflings; he did not. Magnus asked him if he knew anything of the Fey courts and their politics; he did not. Sirlius then asked if Peaseblossom knew anyone else they could talk to. Peaseblossom cheerfully led them into the fortress, through a large assembly hall and across an octagonal courtyard in which a market filled with a menagerie of fey folk was on full display. At the far end of the courtyard, the giant descended a stair to a labyrinthine series of passages deep inside the side of the mountain on which the fortress stood. Finally, they arrived at an apartment of sorts: the dwelling of Peaseblossom’s friend, Obie.
Obie was a tiny gnomish figure with immense ram’s horns living in a large, richly-decorated abode. Peaseblossom explained Obie was really quite clever and could answer their questions. For his part, Obie seemed unimpressed in the party and barely tolerant of the large fey, whom he dismissed. With reluctance, Obie invited the party in. As Keen took in the opulent furnishings with a hungry eye, Yuna explained their quest to rescue the Outpost’s tieflings, what they knew of Enigma of the Absolute and the resurgence of the Wild Hunt. Obie was openly dismissive until she reluctantly revealed the details of their search for the shards of the Heart of Bahamut. At this, Obie became very interested indeed. He told them the summer court believed that Mab was indeed suffering some new madness, and warned them they were entirely ignorant of the dangers they faced in opposing the Unseelie Court.
Ara, in a low, confident tone that none in the party had ever heard before, countered that it was not ignorance but determination to do what is necessary that drove their actions. Obie allowed that this might be true, but to prove his point, cast Hold Person on the entirety of the group with nonchalance and with such force that none could resist. Though he released them after a moment, the party realized this small man was clearly more than he seemed. Taking a guess, Magnus named him Oberon, consort of Titania, Queen of Summer. Oberon – for this was he – was irritated, and warned Magnus not to invoke the name of any arch-fey whose attention you should wish to avoid.
His identity revealed, Oberon explained that he and Titania had had a falling out over how to deal with Mab’s recent madness: Oberon was of a mind to intercede in the affairs of the Winter Court, but Titania would have none of it, instead closing the borders to the heart of Summer and casting Oberon out. He took up with the Freelings in an effort to go unnoticed and, it seemed, to sulk. He declined to become further involved, worried as he was of further displeasing the Summer Queen. But, convinced that the party was resolute in their intent, he declared he would recommend a Conclave of the Assembly, so that they may petition the Seer for the knowledge they would need to meet the entire Winter Court head on.
Unsure what this meant, the party nevertheless thanked Oberon. They were met in the passageway outside Oberon’s apartment by a quickling messenger, who escorted them to the great assembly hall. As the great hall filled with thousands of the free folk, a Conclave of the Assembly of the Freelings was called, and Yuna found her self addressing none other than Azam the Seer a great sphinx in whose fortress they stood.
As her companions and the entire assembly listened, Yuna engaged Azam in a debate on the justness of action and the wisdom of opposing all reality’s inevitable bend towards entropy. Yuna declared that it was both just and necessary to oppose those who would disturb the balance of the natural order whether or no such an action had any hope of success. Her argument swayed the audience, and the Seer acknowledged the truth of the young aasimar’s position.
The petition made, Azam announced the party worthy of the knowledge they sought, but worthiness alone was insufficient. The great beast declared they would be put to trial, to determine whether they had the wisdom to use what knowledge they already possessed. The party were to descend into a dungeon deep beneath the fortress and locate three jewelled skulls; for each skull they recovered, Azam the Seer would answer one question. With some reluctance and a hint of irritation at yet more tests, the party agreed; they descended the long, winding stair leading to the tunnels beneath the hall.
As the entrance sealed behind them, Yuna, whose composure had been absolute during the Conclave, shook violently with nerves and vomited over the side.
For several hours the party wandered the maze before finally arriving at a passageway that forked into three. As they considered which way to go, Ara realized that their circumstance was oddly familiar. The party selected the left-most fork, and with Magnus and Ara in the lead, made their way through the narrow passage.
As the party approached a large chamber, they were surprised by a sudden crash and grinding of stone as a wall sprung up behind Magnus, separating him and Ara from the others. Ara realized then why things felt so familiar: they were reenacting an Elven fairy tale about Gofa the Mighty, a fictional hero. In the tale, Gofa was challenged by a sphinx to recover three jewelled skulls, and had to use his wits to survive three deadly puzzle rooms.
Unable to rejoin the party, Magnus and Ara continued forward and found the passage ended in a huge chamber. The platform on which they stood overlooked a whirlpool of sand dotted with collapsed pillars. At the centre of the whirlpool, a raised wall surrounded a pit; high above it hung an earthenware jug suspended from a rope. Another platform was just visible at the far end of the chamber; a large brass valve was set into it. Ara noted this chamber seemed to match the description of the first puzzle room in Gofa’s trials, and described the other two chambers to the party via their telepathic link, so they could decide how to approach them.
Ara Intelligence Level: Disturbing
Trial By Story Rating: Inevitable?
Yuna Elocution Status: Exceeding
RP Rating: Awesome!