006 - To Hillvon
The forest is lit by the remaining candles. There is a cool breeze. Mayor Seebo watches the group from a distance.
Tegan, grieving, wants to be numb so the group heads to the tavern. The atmosphere inside is depressing and quiet after the disappointing festival ending. A few groups of people scattered around drinking silently. Wazo decides to order for the group while Tegan and Aaron get a table near the corner.
Wazo says, "We need something strong." Galen brings out a clear jug of a strong fruit spirit, his private reserve from below the bar. It is a bright aquamarine color. Wazo, wanting the whole thing and realizing it's special to him, slaps 10 gold on the counter. He hands it over, saying "You must need this more than I do."
The group toasts to Sophinia. The liquor tastes of intense, sweey, burning blueberries. They all take a shot. It produces an immediate buzz. Tegan, hesitant at first, eventually drinks whatever is in front of him. Aaron drinks too, less carelessly, but Wazo stops after the first round, and shepherds the others back to the inn once they are at their limits.
In their room at the inn. Tegan, obstinate, leaves a clumsy note reminding himself to show Nipos the note from Soliana. Aaron helps him get a messy pictogram down, then Tegan allows Wazo to move him to the bed and he sleeps deeply.
Wazo asks drunk Aaron, "Who did you want to see? With the fruit."
What happened to them?
How did it happen?
I don't know
How long ago?
Maybe two or three years?
Somebody killed them
Do you know who?
No. I think they're evil though.
No, the ones that killed them.
W: You've been on your own about two years? how old are you?
A: There was mean lady, and there was mean guy with her
What did they look like?
What did they do?
They were mean. At me. They threw me out.
Were these your parents?
Where did they throw you out of?
Into the city
What city was it?
Liegard? Leggy? Leggy.
Who's your patron?
I don't know, it's just this voice. He's just there
Did he give you the sprite?
Yes. Flit's a sprite
Wazo after getting cryptic answers from Aaron, she puts him in the bed with Tegan and tucks them in. Then she makes herself comfortable on the floor. Everyone sleeps soundly.
Next morning, the sun stabs into the room. Wazo explains the note to Tegan, who is trying to decipher its meaning from the night before. They go downstairs for breakfast. Wazo feels fine, but Aaron and Tegan are suffering from vicious hangovers.
Wazo, hungry and tired from dilating up late, asks for bacon. Odessa makes a show of being offended, "No meat! We have fruit." Apparently, Odessa is a staunch vegetarian. Tegan wants lots of water to quench his cotton mouth. .
Starting to feel better, Tegan decides to talk to Nipos about the note. Nipos, in black cat form, is laying on the front desk in a patch of sunlight. Before he can stand up, Wazo gets up, scruffs Nipos off the counter and carries him over to the table. Partway there he transforms back into a human. "Hey, hey, let go of me! What are you doing, you big bird??" "We just have a few questions."
Tegan tries to smooth things over. Nipos says he was at the tree for the festival, but he didn't hear the conversation the party had with Mayor Seebo. He was friends with Soliana, and he respected her. Tegan explains some of what happened. Aaron produces the note and hands it to Nipos to inspect. He struggles to make sense of it, since it's so unlike her. She was always willing to help Feldmar and tend to their multitude of fruit orchards.
Tegan mentions the Dawn's March, says they keep coming up, and the note does mention a "dawn". Nipos, startled, explains that a year or so ago, the Dawn's March intercepted some merchants that were coming through town, left bodies strewn across the road to Feldmar. Some of them were good friends of his. He saddens.
He wishes the group good luck and heads out of the inn in cat form.
Tegan and Aaron pay 1g each to cover the room costs to Odessa. On the way out, still mad about the "no meat," Wazo hollers to Odessa that Nipos eats mice. Nipos, as a cat again, coming in, u-turns and quickly leaves again. Odessa screams after her husband to get back here but Nipos has already scurried down the alleyway.
The party collects the horse and cart. Tegan gets a couple bags of feed for 3 silver and they head east on the road.
Heading east to Hillvon
Tegan starts talking about cool places in Hillvon, especially restaurants and the food. Tegan and Aaron are still kind of hungover. Wazo is driving carefully to avoid the bumps and rough patches of the road.
The group sees a merchant's wine cart on the side of the road. A short halfling man with brown hair and a long brown cloak is trying to flag them down. The group is wary, but the surroundings are open grassland and it doesn't appear to be a ambush trap. Tegan jumps down to investigate and greet the man.
His cart appears to have a broken front wheel. It's hanging on by a small margin, but it's cracked enough that if it saw much more use it would be destroyed.
The merchant introduces himself as Lindon Maewise. He explains that he was on his way from Hillvon to Feldmar to sell his wine at the festival. Tegan uses Mending to fix it.
In gratitude, Lindon gives Tegan a bottle of wine, says it's a very special stock. Tegan studies the label and it says, "Heart's Fruit Wine: Drink to your heart's content". He explains that heart's fruit wine, one of the finest wines anywhere, only grows in a certain part of Liegard, which is located in the Solam region of Eska. It heighten's the user's emotions depending on the emotional state you are in when you drink it. It is very rare. He says he would normally sell that bottle for 50 gold. Tegan passes the bottle to Wazo, who gives it to Aaron. Aaron studies the label.
Wazo asks the merchant what it's like in Liegard. He says that it's a pretty sizeable city.
"I keep my head down, and keep to my business. The orchard where this is made is built on what's said to be a magical stream. That's what makes the fruit so special. They say that after the pestilence and the war with the gods, a lot of the magic was imbued in the land."
He explains that he needs to continue his journey to Feldmar. "The first one's free!" he calls as he resumes his trip.
The party gets back on the road. Tegan gets bored, and makes a Minor Illusion of a crow-call to the right of Wazo. Hearing the sound and not being able to recognize dialect, she drives the cart off the road towards the sound! Tegan immediately explains what he did and apologizes. Wazo, not amused, takes the bumpy route back to the road in order to punish the hungover males in the back.
Werewolf Skirmish at Dusk
After a while it's dusk, and they make camp. The two moons, Lunax and Lunaz, are both waning full moons high in the sky. There is thunder from the west, and lightning. They hear heavy rain, and soon it's falling on the camp drenching the party and their supplies. After a moment there is a growl from the shrubs, then a long howl.
- Tegan: minor illusions a loud, fierce growl. A half-wolf half-human creature stands up out of the bushes. It is muscular, with patches of brown fur, large claws, large canine teeth, and bright yellow eyes. It's growling and saliva drips from its mouth.
- Aaron: speaks to it mentally, but it has no effect
- Werewolf (WW): Lunges at Aaron, biting him in the arm, then it claws at him, grazing him.
- Wazo: slices into the creature, but it seems resistant to the damage. She hits it again with the butt of the glaive, but it seems really tough.
- Aaron: Invisibility!
- Tegan casts Spiritual Weapon, a shimmering magical sword, and uses it to hit and cuts the creature's left shoulder and neck
- WW: bites Tegan, who resists the saliva. Claws at him, Tegan reacts with Shield and the claws glance off the magical shield
- Wazo: chop hits, frenzy and hits it a second time
- Aaron: Drops concentration on Invisibility and casts Mind Spike and hits
- Tegan: Spiritual Weapon slashes across the WW chest, dagger misses
- WW: bites at Tegan misses, claws at Tegan misses too
- Wazo: hits with rage, a brutal slice with the glaive, and a frenzied follow-up. But it still clings to life
- Aaron: Unleashes an eldritch blast, knocking it back 10 feet and it falls limply to the ground splayed out immovable.
Tegan uses Prayer of Healing and Aaron and Tegan sleep while Wazo stays up all night. She wants to make sure the others don't turn into wolf-men. Wazo nods off during the night but wakes up before the others due to a passing raccoon.
The Large Pine Tree
They pack up the camp and continue on their soggy way. The rain has subsided and the sun has come out with a few clouds. Aaron is driving. It is a smooth ride, and the horse is happy with things.
Eventually in the distance they see an extremely tall pine tree growing in the middle of the trampled dirt road, which parts closely around the tree's base.
Wazo is staring in horror. She sees a vision of aarakocra, their broken bodies and blood scattered on the ground under the tree. Destroyed nests are scattered around. She is frozen with horror, her feathers standing on end.
Tegan tries to get Wazo's attention, but she is fully focused on the tree. He tells Aaron to stop the cart. Aaron uses Detect Thoughts on her, and feels the horror and trauma.
Aaron turns the cart around, and once they are facing away Wazo shakes out of the trance. They talk about options, but as Aaron and Tegan talk, Wazo flies up to the tree, perching in an upper branch. This time she is able to ignore the vision/memory. She doesn't see the bodies or nests any more.
She comes back to the cart. Explains what she saw and what she sees now.
They turn the cart around again, back towards Hillvon, and as they get closer Wazo braces for the vision. When they are close enough, Aaron uses Detect Magic. He sees something in a lower branch of the tree, so he grabs it with Mage Hand, and picks out of the tree a black feather. He brings it down into the cart.
Wazo can tell it's an Aarakocra feather, her same species. She takes the feather. As she holds it, the visions subside. She feels a sense of sadness. She senses that the feather has some kind of energy to it. She sits in the far corner of the cart, away from Tegan and Aaron, as they approach Hillvon.