Definitely some new characters...
Ben, "What seperates a lich from a demilich? A demilich stops while he's a head."
Lauren, "Aawh. Boo."
Sean, "Shut up, dad!"
A night at The Khul TavernEdit
The group stays at Lacey's The Khul Tavern for the night, having agreed to look after the small village's hag problem the following day. While Raquel chats with the barkeep and eventually closes out the bar, Throden checks on his zombie to recast Animate Dead. He also notices that his tarp was disturbed. Purple, blood-like ichor is on the Drow zombie's hand and short sword, and on the cart. There is also a pattern of distinctive bite marks on him, one which the druid has seen often, but is completely unknown to him. An ichor trail leads him into a barn and up into the hayloft, where the trail vanishes and a pool of purple ichor remains. Throden cannot find anyone hiding in the hay, and returns to the inn.
During the night, Irpaks sneaks out of the tavern and takes a stroll through the woods, where he disguises himself. He returns as a Tiefling gentleman in deep red robes and asks Lacey if she has a message for him, giving her the name Votek, a.k.a Dragonfly. She indeed has a paper for him. He leaves a message with her, simply stating that he has arrived and will return in six fortnights. He then returns to the woods to read the message:
A small sketch shows the banner: a mask with two different faces; one Elven, the other an ambiguous dark face. Irpaks then drops his disguise and returns to the inn.
In the morning it remains dark outside, but Lacey serves bacon and eggs with vegetarian options. The group discusses Irulan history and Colin's many labors over breakfast, as well as the nature of the ultimate sacrifice; and once more, thanks to Fanel, the health drawbacks of alcohol consumption. Clover at least admits that he drank too much the night before and that he needs to know his limits better, then promptly orders a Bloody Alenia from Lacey, which sounds great to Raquel also.
In the Hag ForestEdit
Lacey nudges the group so they start taking care of the hags, so they prepare the cart and leave town, once again picking up the Drow horseman's trail in the woods. They follow it for hours and eventually start seeing illusions of familiar scenes behind the trees. They suspect they have reached the Hag Forest, and Irpaks has to grap Clover by his collar to stop him from running to what he thinks are his unconscious parents. Throden's zombie finally reveals the illuison to everybody, and they venture on, staying in the cart, ignoring whatever they see in the distance.
Eventually they find a clearing. In the middle is an old, run down house, perched atop two giant chicken legs. A staircase leads from a porch down to the ground, where a small garden with a hog pen is. There's also a saddled horse in the garden. A young girl comes out to feed the hogs, and gets scared when Fanel talks to her, running back inside as fast as she can. Irpaks wants to keep traveling, but the others want to confront the people in the house, seeing the horse and the fact that the Drow's trail seems to end here.
At the top of the staircase, they notice a delectable smell from behind the door. Raquel wants to eavesdrop and peek in, but Clover loudly insists they properly introduce themselves. This makes the door open, and they meet an elderly lady who asks if they came for some pie and invites them inside. Two women introduce themselves as Granny Zella and Auntie Milldread, who live in what looks like a hoarders den.
The two ladies seem to lie about having seen a Drow earlier in the day. Raquel wants to search the place inconspicuously, and asks Clover to distract everybody with a long story. He agrees, but also suggests they all sit down and eat pie, which is a horrible idea to Raquel. Throden tries a bite, his eyes dilate, and he goes relaxed and motionless. Clover is now very suspicios and tries casting Hold Person on their hosts.
The spell has no effect on the hags other than making them mad, and a fight breaks out. Fanel and Raquel do well against them with their gauntlets and rapier, and Clover catapults their own junk after them, while Irpaks hits them with his walking stick. Polymorph and Counterspell are thrown around, but then a lightning bolt hits into Fanel and the defenseless Throden, waking the druid from his trance. Jerry and Chubbs also join the fray and the hags seem to get pummeled, so they cast darkness and silence, which lasts for several minutes.
When the conditions have worn off, the group find themselves alone. Throden checks the outside of the hut, but the hags are nowhere to be found, only a murder of crows has started pecking away at his zombie. He wants to learn what was in the pie, but only finds a large chest containing Drow clothes, utensils and weapons.
Raquel immediately starts ransacking the hut, and retrieves her stone. She knows it was cracked already, which is now worse. She also feels a strong connection to it, which suggests good fortune to her. With her stone found again, she has three artifacts now.
Meanwhile Clover, his giant badger friend Jerry, his regular badger friend Henry and his giant boar friend Chubbs have searched upstairs for the young girl who fled inside the hut when they first found it. They find the hags' cots, and under a pile of animal hides, the girl hides, scared that they might eat her. She calls the hags her mothers and asks if they are dead. Clover honestly does not know what happened to them, and the girl starts crying.
When Fanel tries to cheer her up she starts ugly crying. The others think this is a good time to bring up the concept of mortality with her. She and Clover do not not take this well. The mousefolk wanders off, slowly going into shock. Out of earshot, Irpaks wonders if the girl is included in their quest to kill the hags. Throden is against taking her back to the hamlet, suspecting this might lead to an attack by the hags.
Nearby, Clover starts coming to terms with his own mortality and those whom he holds dearest, slowly loosing his temper. Irpaks then grips him by the shoulders, gives him a hard glare and says:
Clover is shaken up, but slowly gets a hold of himself.
Upstairs, Fanel tries to calm the wailing girl by telling more stories about dying, which disturbes the poor child even more. Irpaks deals with her too, snapping his fingers in front of her face and charming her. He then tells her to stop crying, and tries to learn where the hags might have gone to, but she has no idea. Irpaks then tells her to go to sleep and that things will be fine once she wakes up.
Clover searches the hut and uncovers an arcane silver disc and a thick grimoire in a language he doesn't understand. He proceeds to cast an identifying ritual on the disc.
Irpaks, "Here in these parts, folks pay extra to get knocked out like that."