With the deadly Scythe Tree menace defeated for good, our group continued following their treasure map created from the deceased Big Bad Wolf. It was still leading to someplace around here…after traveling around a bit they finally came upon the end of the treasure map – a ring of mushrooms in a perfect circle.
Alanea and Boudreaux realized what this was. A fairy circle. These kinds of things happen on occasion but are almost never permanent…this one however seemed to be. Occasionally the plane of Thelanis and the plane of Eberron have a physical overlap that manifests in the form of a fairy ring or a fairy mound. The mushrooms in this sense have grown in the exact same position in the exact same pattern on both Eberron and Thelanis which has resulted in a stable portal. If you walk into the circle you’ll travel to Thelanis and vice versa. This particular portal since it was stable would grow back even if you chopped the mushrooms down. It would take burning down the local area to destroy this portal.
As the group was discussing what to do about this discovery a small sized critter with a pickaxe and a red cap came wandering out of the portal, paused as it realized it was not alone and slowly stepped back inside the portal…
Boudreaux, Ogg, Lucius, and Dox decided to travel through the portal. Alanea didn’t want to chance getting lost in the realm of the Fae so opted to stay on the other side just in case…besides, the animals in the group refused to enter the portal. Somethin about it just wasn’t right to them. So someone should stay behind to tend to them. Ogg stepped forward first and spotted a huge tree growing into the twilight sky off in the distance with glowing lights on the inside…was that a wooden door on the outside too?
Finding the door open the group made their way inside to discover a bar room made of the inside of the tree. Stairs leading higher into the tree led to rooms for rent, and there was even a bathroom. Walking up to the bar they met the owner and bartender of the establishment, a talking Raven. It flittered back and forth picking out bottles and pouring drinks for the varied customers of the fae speakeasy while a dryad waitress named Doris did most of the delivering of the drinks.
Thelanis, being a realm of the fae dealt with different ideas of currency than on Eberron. Eating food or drink didn’t bind you to the land or curse you in some way, however everything still had to be ‘paid’ for through some kind of barter or trade. This usually took the form of giving some kind of banter as the currency but other items are possible as well. Emotional responses, memories, even parts of a soul are up for grabs if the price is right. A couple jokes were given to get some drinks while the group tried to find out some information out the original Big Bad Wolf…unfortunately though the Raven could only say that if the original had been around these parts his Inn wouldn’t be. Makes it hard to run a business if a primal force of nature would be eating round these parts. You could ask the monkeys, they might know more…after all they like to gossip a lot.
At some point the red capped small creature stepped out of a nearby room labeled “W.C” once again pausing after realizing the large people were not only here again but in the bar…slowly stepping back inside the bathroom and closing the door behind him.
The group seemed satisfied with that answer for now and didn’t want to spend too much time exploring Thelanis…after all every day spent here would be equal to a week’s time back on Eberron. Bidding the Raven good night they headed back to the portal, once again the red capped creature froze in place having apparently gotten stuck in the window trying to escape the bathroom, frantically pushing itself back inside the bathroom after being spotted. The group then met back up with Alanea.
Deciding to continue exploring, after all according to the map locations they traded with Jubilost Narthropple there’s some kind of abandoned keep near here. Following the signs on their map the group could see the top of a large white tower off in the distance…but as they continued trying to make their ways there something strange was happening. Everytime they stopped to gain their bearings the tower always seemed off in the distance. Boudreaux was the group’s tracker and guide through the forest, but Lucius is no slouch in that department either. Checking after Boudreaux’s directions Lucius began noticing something strange. Where signs seemed a bit obvious regarding what direction to take to get to the tower, Boudreaux’s sight seemed to glaze over the bits of evidence and focus on something misleading instead. Lucius began pointing this out periodically and finally the group became oriented once more. Whatever this tower was…there seemed to be some natural defense against finding this place as if the very surrounding area didn’t want it to be found. Having figured out that there was a defense of some kind allowed the group to finally reach the abandoned keep.
The clearing within the forest was a strange area. That much was evident even just from arriving. The ‘abandoned keep’ appeared to be a giant tower approximately 140 feet tall made of spiraling white marble that led to a single point at the top. To the left of the tower was a great chasm in the earth as if two mighty hands had torn out a part of the land itself…even stranger this appeared to be the beginning of the expansive river that led to their own kingdom – and it was flowing backwards out of the chasm as if gravity had decided to say “fuck it” and let the river do its own thing.
To the right of the tower was a well that still contained crystal clear water. Lucius sidled on up and took a drink…and immediately dropped to the ground asleep.
MEANWHILE…Somewhere in Khorvaire…
One of the Vadalis family heirs, a younger cousin to Lucius was traveling across the vast ranch on a beast that had never been seen before. It was a prized beast and would be the talk of the year, if not the decade among the Vadalis heirs. It was here that Lucius found himself. “Lucius? What are you doing here? A might strange to find you on the ranch…but I’m headin towards a chocolate waterfall full of strawberries. Wanna come along?”
“WOULD I!” But everything went white before he made it there…
Lucius’ eyes opened up. He was on the floor…apparently out cold for a good ten minutes or so. The others were gathered around him. Dox had already changed into a prince and laid a smacker onto the sleeping ranger to try the ol “Prince kissing the sleeping Princess” thing. Apparently the water in this well has some lingering potent magical properties in it. Dox immediately tried a dose as well, slumped to the ground for a few minutes and then woke up. Apparently she didn’t have an experience like Lucius did. Weird.
Anyways, on to the tower!
The white spiral of the tower was about twenty feet across at the base and slowly narrowed all the way up to the top until it was only about ten feet across. Ogg decided to leave his horse at the bottom since it would make turning around a little awkward…and horses don’t really do backwards walking that well. The entire building was smooth leading up to a single point at the top. A metal grate about the size of a manhole cover rested atop the tower. As they inspected it they unwittingly set off a defensive trap! A Fire Trap to be specific! Fire exploded out from the cover as a voice bellowed out in the Giant language “Beware! Leave this place!” and other general threats and warnings about the tower. A little bit of fire was not enough to dissuade our heroes from attempting to unlock whatever this thing was.
Lucius gathered his thieves tools, steeled himself against the flames, received some magical Guidance from Boudreaux and some Heroism from Alanea (along with two Plot Twist Cards to provide a total +10 bonus to his Disable Device checks – Epiphany and All in the Details respectively). After being burned multiple times he finally managed to succeed at raising the cover from the top of the tower.
Peeking into the hole they had uncovered the group could see a blue light somewhere down in the utter darkness of the inside of the tower. Whatever the light was coming from had a slow hum coming from it and seemed to grow and fade in a timed pattern, but nothing else seemed visible. Lucius and Dox volunteered to take a closer look inside the tower…but even with the combined rope of the party reaching an impressive 250 feet, it was still not enough to reach the glowy blue thing below them. That distance alone proved to our heroes that not only was this place incredibly big – the building actually continued underground of its current location. Whether this was by design or some accident buried this place was uncertain. Using the rope they had as a hand hold Lucius and Dox (with the help of some spider climb spells from Boudreaux) quickly went down to the end of the rope to try and get a better look at their surroundings. While Dox had no method of increased vision in the dark, Lucius was able to concentrate and call upon the various animals he had studied over his years of training with House Vadalis to grant himself Sight Beyond Sight! (Thundercats theme cue) to gain Low-Light Vision temporarily.
Reaching the bottom of the rope they figured out a few more things about this place. The thing that was glowing below was a column of solid silver covered in arcane writing at least 30 feet across. They still couldn’t see the bottom floor of this place. The two paused in the darkness, dangling from the thin rope…was that…skittering? Was something moving out there in the darkness? Yeah time to climb back up. After reporting the new information Boudreaux decided to take one last look through this place, transforming into a hawk and scoping the place out. The Silver Cylinder they discovered was about another 200 feet tall and finally reached the bottom floor of this place, making the entire height of the tower a staggering 530 feet tall (approximately) and well below ground level. Boudreaux did indeed spot a large metallic scorpion that was scampering across the marble walls but thanks to his speed and size could outmaneuver it enough that as long as he was flying it was unlikely to be a problem. On the bottom level there was the outline of damaged massive double-doors that probably served as the main entrance to whatever originally built this place, as well as human-sized alcoves built into the walls covered by an opaque covering to hide whatever was inside.
Flying back outside the group made the consensus that they currently do not have the means to properly analyze or excavate whatever the hell this place is…and if they sealed the top of the tower again they’d have to go through the effort to unlock it again…but if they leave it unlocked and something else comes along they’d be able to get in. Deciding to leave it unlocked for the time being the group camped over by the fountain before continuing their exploration in the morning….but not before trying out the magical well water just one more time.
Dox took a drink and once again passed out, finding herself backstage at a lavish theater. Exploring the actors area she discovered the once other person in this area – none other than artist, actor, writer, and pop-star extraordinaire Basilia Baxton! Attempting to contain her inevitable fan-girl outburst Dox introduced herself and bantered for a while with her idol.
“Oh you’re Dox! I’ve gotten your letters. I was actually just working on my reply you know. I’ll be heading to an airship port soon to meet up with House Cannith representatives to head towards Xen’drik.”
Basilia for her part was surprised there was another behind the curtain. She was usually alone at her makeup table before making her appearance on stage but…hey since you’re here anyway, why not pick out an outfit and we can do a duet together? About halfway through their duet everything went white once again and Dox woke up…