From the Journal of Tanner
With the three full moons approaching, the party set off towards the swamp with a planned stop at a couple more of the villages marked on our map. The first was completely burned to the ground, apparently by some sort of magical ritual as evidenced by arcane runes surrounding the circular burn pattern. With a few days remaining, we went north to yet another of the unknown villages. This one too had been hit by a shadowy evil that left massive clawed gouges in the earth. A water spirit living there helped with our wounds and told us of the attack and how at the end she was able to fight them off, but not before the village was deserted. Our conversation with the enchanted creature was stopped short when the gnome somehow managed to offend it. A strange cold black aura remains over some of the fallen timbers. A mine there resembled climbing in to a geode. It was beautiful! Our light resonated on the crystals creating the most harmonious sounds! It was extremely soothing. With time nearly out, we headed for the swamp proper.
At the swamp, we dared to enter the village of the children where we learned there were being taken care of by “Mother”. We would learn that Mother was the dryad of this area. Something was wrong with her though, for when she was angered she turned green and an evil red anger flared in her eyes. When she calmed, we offered to help her by riding the swamp of the bullywug invaders that were stealing her fruit. Suspect of her intentions, we met with the bullywugs and found them to be the displaced ones, and that something evil had befallen this area that had once been a great lake. We asked them to leave for their own safety, telling them we would take credit for defeating them in order to gain favor with the dryad. We returned to the children’s village, but the dryad was not there. After waiting a few hours with nothing, we decided to go investigate the tree that now loomed far above the swamp.
After being nearly wiped out by three more of the vine-lizard beasts, we found little option but to press on, despite losing our newest party member, Jon, who had fallen to the beasts vicious attacks. The massive tree nearly pulsed with evil that the pixie-fairie could feel. Its red hue was unnatural. Catching a glimpse of shiny about the trunk of the tree we approached cautiously. What looked like a silver chain had been wrapped about the tree apparently years ago, for it was now embedded in the bark. Seeking to free the tree from the evil and thinking the chain might be the source of the pain, we moved in closer as saw the face of a woman seemingly frozen in the wood. Magic was used to try melt the chain, but succeeded only in awakening the tree’s defenses. As the vines attacked us the pixe-fairy pointed out the pain seemed to come from the face in the wood. As we chipped away at the face, the dryad (in green scary evil mode) came out from the tree and summoned more of the giant lizards. It we could not solve this puzzle in the next minute or so those beasts would make short work of us. The face in the tree screamed in rage as the wood was broken away to reveal that of some sort of ghostly witch apparition. The screams sent a couple of us fleeing in terror, but a few well placed blows and sling bullets finished the task with seconds to spare. As the evil apparition was destroyed, the lizard-beasts reverted to what looked kind of like small alligators. More importantly, the dryad fell to the ground, the green tint leaving her. She thanked us for freeing her as she melted into the ground.
Back in the village, the children were confused, having no recollection of their time here. We took them to the water spirit and told her what had happened. She has offered to watch over them as she sees them as her charge while her cousin, the dryad, recovers. She told us of a Cult of the Blood that might be responsible for what happened in the swamp. We will have to seek them out and add them to the list with the were-rats of things to exterminate from this isle.
From the Journal of Coradwin
we started at the Port – shown in purple on the map on the coast in the gap in the mountains the and having decided that we needed to be in the swamp of Gorundy by the time all the moons where full at the same time we rode taking Relemir to hold the horses and act as camp servant.
We also decided we had time to check on the state of more of the villages in the north lands on on our way, this the Gnome moaned about as he was wanting to get it over with or just not liking so much time on pony back. As is traditional in the company now we ignored him.
We rode under overcast skies with the air full of acidic drizzle and the smell of burning low grade coal. Through untended crop fields slowly dying form neglect and the exposure to acid rain.
our first night out we camped not far form the lake in the dying crop lands where last time we had seen the shadows flying over head. This time the night passed without incident and we pressed on to the nearest village on the map we had taken from the bandit’s fort.
We found the first settlement a village as far as we could tell form the little that remained of it, the one marked with the group icon a backpack had been scorched to the foundations. Investigating this revealed that it had been done by ritual magic and the ritualists or some one had gone west and perhaps north from there but we lost the trail very quickly and where unable to follow.
After completing what investigations we could at the scorched village we had still day light and we reckoned we had the time to we should check out another settlement on the way choosing the nearest one marked within the boundaries of the woods in which the burned bandit fort stood.
This village proved to be more intact and we sent Faz the gnome in to scout it out with the aid of Coradwin’s magic which enhanced the gnomes considerable stealth skills by rendering him silent, this also had the hilarious side effect of rendering unable to speak and gave the company the first time free of gnomish banter since they had met up. Oddly Faz found this unfunny well gnomes have odd senses of humour don’t they
The gnome’s report suggested that the village was uninhabited but apart from one collapsed building, which radiated what the gnome felt to be evil, it was safe so it was decided that we could investigate more closely once the magic had worn off Faz.
The company approached the little settlement and found it not quite uninhabited but its one inhabitant a naiad was friendly and hospitable, sadly the Gnomes lack of any residue of tact offended her and she left. However before that we found out about the fate of the villagers here they had fled after a wraith attack which the naiad had driven off because they felt unsafe even so. More about the Dryad Gorundy and her habits including her buying children of the slavers which explained something which we had seen the first time on the way to the swamp and of a blood cult which had dwelt in and possibly built the bandits fort in the first place. We also learned who had put out the fire; it was the Naiad who did not want her woods burning if it spread.
After talking to the Naiad we investigated the rest of the village avoiding the collapsed building which Faz had reported as being in some way evil, however out new recruit was fascinated by the place and poked about in it regardless of instructions and Faz bodily dragging him away on one occasion. He appeared to stir up the lingering evil but escaped with out immediate ill effects.
The rest of us found a crystal grotto which radiated good peace and well being and even though Faz wanted to sample the crystal incase it might be of use powering one of the infernal contraptions he is always planning
Having partaken of the Naiads hospitality found we needed no rest but spent the night in a warded sanctuary possibly a temple of the wayfarer or on of the other faiths that worships in the open air.
In the Morning we rode directly to the swamp approaching from the north as we had learned that this was the easiest way in.
On arrival at the swamp we left Relamir in charge of the horses and continued on foot through the increasingly wet and difficult going as we headed for the village of the children which was at the centre of the swamp
On reaching the vicinity of the village the majority of the company took cover as best as they where able and sent Max forward to scout out the village as we considered that the children would find him the least threatening and did not want any stand up fights with the vine lizards which we knew to be in the village with the children if we could avoid them. Most especially not in front of the children who we knew treated them like pets
Max caused quite a stir on his arrival at the village but he didn’t scare the children and managed to report back with useful information and based on which we decided to risk all visiting the village
This produced more information about the swamp Gorundy and the children
In the centre of the swamp we took shelter at the warded stones and planed what to do next
end on 3/15/1044