005 - Hollowrest

Breakfast

Overnight, Sr. Bridie tried to attune to the Mask of Mischief. She was unsuccessful, but she did discover that only a goblin can benefit from its powers.
Over breakfast, Rafael makes an announcement. "Guys, I have a confession. You've saved my life twice now, maybe more? and I owe you this.
I am walking around with a curse. When I was a teenager I was with a bad crowd. I ended up drinking something, I think it was blood, and now I have this curse. Sometimes I need to drink fresh blood. If I go long enough without, which I have learned how to do, I look pretty ghoulish. And the craving gets pretty bad."
Elysia asks, "Does it have to be from a person?"
Rafael, "No. It just has to be fresh. I have had human blood, a long time ago. But I have a feeling that getting used to thinking about people as food would be bad for me. I only get it from animals now. That's what my little hunting trips in the evening have been about."
Sr. Bridie asks, "Do you want to be cured?"
Rafael thinks about it for a bit. "I'm not sure? It has its benefits. For instance, I can do this..."
He walks up the side of a tree, standing straight out sideways. "And after I've had blood, there is this surge of power, I feel like I can do anything for a moment. If I ever needed to shoot an arrow a mile or something impossible like that, I'd want to have a rabbit or something handy to drain first. Or I can use it to heal myself." He walks back down to the ground.
Sr. Bridie asks, "Do you have to kill to do it?"
Rafael looks like he hadn't considered that. "No actually, it just has to be fresh."
Elysia asks, "How did you end up with a pet goose? Are they tasty?"
"I went to a dojo to learn how to control this curse, and as part of my training, when they thought I was ready they had me raise a goose up from an egg without having any blood. As a kind of test."
Goosifer gets suspicious, sensing that Rafael is leaving something out. But he ignores him and continues, "Anyway, that's my confession. I was thinking a lot last night about lying. And I think actually this curse can make me really good at lying. But I decided I don't want to lie to my friends." The words are bitter as he speaks them, knowing he just lied to his oldest friend Goosifer.
Sr. Bridie is calming Goosifer. She says, "Well, you've saved our lives a few times too. I'm glad you told us."
Goosifer gives Rafael a glare. But they finish breakfast and break camp.

Hollowrest

The town of Hollowrest is part of the forest. The trees here are ancient, and many of them are hollowed out at the base, but still living. Packed-earth paths wind through the area, forming roomy, open streets. In the evening light, glowing fungus lights the path with a cool blue-green glow. Stalls and awnings, doors and patios are visible at different levels of the tree canopy.
Ahead is a large tree with a sign, "Empty Oak Tavern". An older purple goblin leans against the tree. He eyes the group and asks, "Why are you here, feldspawn?"
Rafael, ignoring the apparent insult, says, "We're looking for a fellow named Olx."
"What business do you have with him?"
"He might think this is a private matter, I shouldn't just explain it to whoever I meet."
"Well, I shouldn't go telling where townsfolk are to strangers who wander into town, either. Unless you want to make it worth my while?"
Elysia takes a serious tone, "Look here—"
Sr. Bridie uses Thaumaturgy to make Elysia's eyes glow as she tries to intimidate him. "I don't think Olx would appreciate it if you delayed us from getting some important information to him." But the goblin feels secure here in his home town and laughs it off.
Rafael butts back in, "The man just wants someone to drink with, let's cut him in on our tab." The goblin turns from Elysia to Rafael, saying, "Now this guy is speaking my language!"
They head into the tavern with their new friend. Sr. Bridie sees Elysia's dejection at her approach being so easily brushed off and reassures her. As they pull up chairs at the bar the group does introductions. Their new friend is named Mudslinger.

Drinks with Mudslinger

Mudslinger recommends the honey ale and the elderberry wine. Rafael pays for drinks, and Goosifer enjoys the elderberry wine—his first time having alcohol. Rafael says, "We are looking for Olx to warn him about a shady guy we ran into in Eltro. He's looking for an artifact and thinks Olx has it. He's desperate and might do something rash."
Mudslinger seems to believe him. He explains that Olx is usually at his home, or at the meeting tree. He explains how to find the tree.
Elysia asks, "What is a feldspawn?"
He explains that it's a term for someone who isn't from Hollowrest. An outsider.
Sr. Bridie tries to connect with him. She says, "I know what it's like to deal with outsiders." She gives a light version of her history, of how her people were displaced by the Shashnac.
Mudslinger opens up to her about the history of the rivalry between the purple and green goblins, how they have fought over resources, land, artifacts, anything. And how it adds up to generations of conflict between the two tribes.
Sr. Bridie says it comes down to forgiveness. The way out of the conflict is to forgive them. But she hasn't figured it out yet with her people. Maybe Mudslinger will figure it out first?
The group takes their leave, bringing the wine-sleepy goose. As they emerge, they see that the sun has set, and the roads are now only lit by the cool glow of moss. They head to the meeting tree.

Lodging

Down the path a short way the group sees an enormous cypress tree. Its bark is carved with glyphs depicting goblin history. Many of the vignettes glow with inlaid mosses. From the tree hangs a sign, "The Guardian Tree". The double doors of the tree are closed.
On the way there the group noticed a sign for "Burrow Lodge", a cozy-looking under-tree inn. They decide to stay the night there.
As they enter, they see tables built into the exposed tree roots. The atmosphere is cozy, and things are not very busy.
The barmaid says the nightly rate is 1 silver per room. Sr. Bridie pays for three rooms. Goosifer stays with her.
In the morning they have a simple breakfast, then head straight to the guardian tree.
Once they retrace their steps to the tree, they see the doors are open. In the daylight they can see the intricate carvings in more detail. The
group heads inside.

The Guardian Tree

Inside the tree the atmosphere is reverent. Sunlight filters through high openings, and the floor is carpeted with soft moss. The inner walls, like the outer, are covered with runes and carved scenes. Opposite the door there is a wall with gnarled roots and what seem like offerings: little bundles, bright forest fruits, and other things. A purple goblin in long, shiny purple robes stands near the wall, facing it.
The group makes their way around, examining the wall until they are close. The goblin greets them, but also insists that the there are no pets allowed. The goose will have to wait outside. Goosifer is indignant, but Rafael asks him nicely, and he goes and waits outside.
The goblin asks, "What brings you to Hollowrest?"
Rafael says, "We're looking for Olx."
"Ah, Olx! He's not here, you should check the house with the red door."
Rafael asks what the offerings are for.
"They are for the local forest goddess, Meilikki. Over here are our artifacts. Powerful items collected over generations."
There is a spear, an acorn shaped shield with a crack, and several other items.
Rafael says, "These look very special."
He answers, "They all have stories and meaning."
Elysia racks her brain trying to think if she has heard of any of these, but none of them seem familiar.
Rafael thanks the goblin for the conversation. "We should go look for Olx. But some time soon we'd love to hear more about these."
The group meets Goosifer outside and starts looking for the tree with a red door.

Getting The Story Straight

Sr. Bridie wonders if they are being given the run-around. Rafael isn't suspicious, yet. Elysia isn't sure. The group wanders past the house a few times before they finally spot the red door.
image/jpeg
Olx's house
They are ready to knock, but decide to take a moment and figure out what they will and won't reveal. They find a little privacy off the path to talk it through.
After some discussion they decide they won't reveal their possession of the mask. They might try to burn it later, depending on their impression of Olx.
They head back to the door and use the knocker.
From inside a voice calls out, "Aww, you know it's open, come on in!" They enter.
The interior has a cool mossy glow. Stout wooden furniture is arranged in a small one-room home inside the hollow tree. To one side is a woven leaf mattress beneath a colorful tapestry of a forest, and on another there are shelves with jars of preserved herbs, bugs, and a small hearth.
At a desk near the hearth sits a purple goblin. He looks up, and realizing the visitors are not locals he asks sharply, "Who are you?"
"I'm Rafael, this is Goosifer. And these are my friends Elysia and Sister Bridie."
"Why are you here?"
Rafael explains that they were hired by a green goblin named Rag, who lost a magic artifact, a mask, when purple goblins stole it from his circus. Rag claims Olx is his brother, and he believes Olx took the mask. Since Rag's circus is failing without the mask he seems desperate and maybe dangerous. He hired the group to recover the mask, but the group became suspicious. He sent the group to Olx to steal the mask back, but instead they decided to warn him. (The group makes some excellent Deception rolls agains Olx's not-great Insight.)
Olx accepts the story. He explains that his brother "Rag"—a pseudonym—became a follower of Zarn, and just went off the rails. He uses the circus to attract people and hypnotize them to worship Zarn. He thanks the group for their information, and says that he has to make preparations for when his commander Grub returns with the mask.
The constant lying gets to Sr. Bridie and she takes that opportunity to rush outside.
After a pause Elysia asks, "How far would Zarn go to get this mask?"
"Ever since the double eclipse, Zarn has been collecting artifacts, followers, resources. He wants to rule Finmyre with an iron fist."
"What is your brothers actual name?"
"It's Olz."
Rafael asks, "Is it common for goblin siblings to have different color skin?"
Olx says, "Goblin skin can can change color based on who we worship."
Olx asks the rest of the group to please move on, since he has business to attend to. They step outside, where Sr. Bridie is still hyperventilating.

Coming Clean

After a short conference the group decides they trust Olx. They decide to give him the mask and tell him the truth.
Sr. Bridie is still reeling, with this on top of the events of the past two days. Still, she digs the mask out of the bag of holding and hands it to Rafael.
Rafael knocks on the door. Olx pulls it open. "You again!"
"There's more to the story. We didn't tell you everything."
"I had a feeling. Come on in."
Inside, Rafael gives him the mask and with the group he explains what happened, this time leaving out nothing.
He sits there, stunned for a moment. Relieved, hopeful, and sad.
"Thank you. You all are the light that Finmyre needs.
I'm sorry my brothers died. But they knew to retrieve this at any cost.
Ultimately good has come of this.
I believe you have told me everything now. Thank you for being honest.
I bless you in the name of the forest goddess. You're going to need it!
It wouldn't be wise to return to Olz—'Rag'.
I have to prepare the town for a raid."
Rafael asks, "How can we help?"
"You should investigate the strange events happening in Pedarox."
He takes a moment to look over the group. "I sense you all will do great things in this realm."
The group wishes him good luck with the preparations. Rafael asks, "Where can we get supplies before heading out?"
"Go to Leaf and Timber Craftworks." He tells them where it is.
Elysia asks, "Should we be on the lookout for followers of Zarn? Do you have any advice for us on our travels?"
With a serious look, Olx says, "They will do anything to accomplish their goal for their master. Zarn is a tricky fellow. He likes to sow discord in many different forms and ways. Be on the lookout for things that seem out of place.
Goblinspeed! May the forest goddess Meilikki protect you."

End of session
Players will prepare their shopping lists between sessions.

Category: 📝 Adventure Logs

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