Episode 85: Into the Feywild, Part IX
Magnus stepped up beside Whisper to observe the shadows moving under the water, but could see nothing. With a shrug he turned his back to the water’s edge, and was promptly snatched up in the jaws of a reptilian horror – the Laughing Hydra, a multi-headed serpent that made its lair in the Laughing Swamps. Whisper quickly cast Water Walking so Magnus couldn’t immediately be dragged under water. As Magnus struggled Whisper and Ara attempted to slay the hydra’s head, but succeeded only in piercing Magnus with arrows and striking him across the face. Four more heads quickly emerged from the water, and in moments the whole party was engaged.
They quickly found their usual martial approach was problematic, as every time they struck down one head two more grew in its place. To make matters worse, the effects of the Laughing Swamp itself continued to plague the party and at various points several of them were overcome with laughter. Strangely, so too was the hydra. While the party struggled to find an effective strategy against the creature Yuna cast healing spells to try and help Magnus but was frustrated that her spell sickness limited its effects. Crying out that she missed Stella, her celestial guide, she was amazed to see a huge winged serpent streaking out of the sky towards her: Stella, her physical form altered by the environment of the Feywild.
Sirlius blasted the hydra with fire, preventing two of the heads from respawning. Yuna directed Stella to attack and with a shriek her bite felled the beast with a powerful toxin that rendered it unconscious. As the sleeping hydra’s heads slid back under water, the party realized that the small circle of land they were standing on was in fact a layer of soil and vegetation growing on the back of the hydra’s body. They quietly approached the blackberry bushes, and debated whether to picked the bushes clean or take only a handful. The quickling for whom they were gathering the berries was clear that he wanted berries only in groups of a dozen but Whisper thought they might stand to profit if they could deliver several such groups. She cast plant growth, and the whole of the hydra’s back was instantly covered in a bramble patch of blackberries. As the party eagerly started picking berries, Magnus popped one into his mouth. He found it was sweet, luscious, and a little tart: the best blackberry he had ever tasted. He wanted another, but the party recalled the warnings they had received about not eating food from the Feywild, and held him back. To their surprise, Magnus turned violent, threatening to attack Whisper for her basket of collected berries. Sirlius distracted him with an illusion of a huge berry harvest, and as he stormed off towards it Yuna directed Stella to cast Greater Restoration on him. The spell took hold and Magnus calmed, the madness fading from his eyes, but so too did every memory of their time in the Feywild.
Having had more than enough of the Laughing Swamps, the party journeyed back to the ruins of Amouradiath and through the portal to the realm of the Freeling Hideaway. The hastened to find the quickling potion merchant and deliver the berries - 72 in all. The fairy was delighted to receive them, and offered the party the sum of 5 gold pieces per dozen. Realizing they had not negotiated a price before embarking on their trip to the swamp, the incensed Whisper attempted to bargain with the merchant, but was rebuffed. Angry, frustrated and reeking of swamp the party determined to leave the market behind, but before they could leave, swarms of cranium rats closed in on all sides. The party stood surrounded at the edge of a rapidly emptying market and prepared for battle.
Laughing Swamp Status: Unfunny
Feywild Blackberry Economics Rating: Irritating
Rat Levels: High
RP Rating: Awesome!