Halls of the Great Feast Settlement in Erisdaire | World Anvil

Halls of the Great Feast

Welcome, please leave your weapons at the door as you won't need them here. We're all friends, even if we're not adverse to charging a small sum for our services tonight. Warm yourself by the fire, have a drink..
— Master of the Lodge
  The realms of the Faeweald are home to various places, endlessly shifting about and changing while remaining quite similar. Among the wild places there are few places where civilization persists, sometimes for good and sometimes for ill. Those who have traveled long inside the Faeweald have tales of a lodge which can sometimes be found when wandering the paths. And they also caution people to avoid it - at any cost. Denizens of the Faeweald who are willing to speak with outsiders range from reacting with outright horror at the mention of it, to slyly suggesting "it couldn't hurt, could it?".

All stories which speak of the place name it as the Halls of the Great Feast, with few having set foot within and returned. Those who did describe a wooden dwelling which is the size of a palace and provides a wide variety of amenities. Food, drink, music, dancing... and other pursuits are available. But trying to get further information from those who have been there is a fruitless task, as they often excuse themselves and leave the area completely.

Industry & Trade

According to natives of the Faeweald, the Halls of the Great Feast are a welcoming respite from the dangers of the realm. They often point out the place has an excellent stock of provisions and are willing to share to those who wander in. The lodge offers mead, ale, and wine of their own making to drink while keeping a constant availability of slow-roasted meats or baked sweet pastries. All needs can be met, so it is said, to allow guests to properly relax.

Entertainment is available in the forms of dancing, games of chance and skill, or simply to listen to someone playing music. The loft above has private areas for those who need rest, or wish privacy, and none dare intrude. No limitations are placed on the guests, save for instances where it would be detrimental to their health. The denizens of the Halls do not demand gold or other payments, and the Faeweald natives are quick to point out there is no harm in "having a little fun, or a lot of fun".

Due to the nature of the Faeweald, most of the supplies should be able to be collected anywhere the Halls of the Great Feast manifest. Thus they need not actually purchase anything, as they can make what isn't simply available out in nature, which means they need not charge guests anything for their comforts. Naturally, this has been seen as quite suspicious to visitors from Erisdaire - everything must have a price, certainly. Mustn't it?


There are no records about the Halls of the Great Feast, save for stories told by wanderers who have visited. What is known is very sparse, due to various reasons, but scholars who specialize in information about the Faeweald have managed to put together a decent picture of exactly what the unusual lodge is. Most of the ones who worked on the project have since died of natural causes, save for an elf who dwells at Virta Keep. She has vouched for the authenticity of the collected information, yet cautions there are ample reasons to avoid testing the data.

The first encounter with the Halls of the Great Feast, as far as those who returned from it, paint a picture out of old folk tales. An exploratory group was running low on supplies after their route needed to be altered. Nine members of the 'Black Road Brigade' discovered a stone wall along a hillside where lamps had been left lit on either side of a doorway. The doorway led through a forest with a canopy dozens of feet overhead, and had garlands hung on the trees as if a festival had just begun. This led to an old wood-and-stone building where music was heard outside, and the smell of fresh roasted meat was found. Once inside, they quietly turned over their equipment to the man at the door and found it to be a hospitable place.

The nine of them dispersed through the revelers, partaking of mead and ale and fresh bread to eat while the meat was smoking over a great firepit. Dancing was taking place to one side, and the people here were willing to teach the steps to the newcomers. A staircase led to a loft sectioned off with heavy velvet curtains, where there were more private areas to relax in, though from the occasional sounds cutting through the revels it seemed 'relaxation' was not entirely being embraced there. Any attempts to gather information were met with laughter and deflections, but no overtly sinister events happened.

That is, until one member tried to leave.

The Account of Theodore Runsell
Theodore Runell had been drinking heavily, switching from mead to wine, and then to something strong poured out of a bottle into a very small wooden cup. He staggered to one of the doors to the outside, but as soon as his hand fell on the handle a comely woman tried to guide him to dance. Begging off, claiming the need to "use a tree", she became aggressively persistent... and the account becomes rather murky. In his own words:  
I looked upon the room and saw none of my companions, only others who were caught up in the celebration. I still had no idea what they were celebrating, but it seemed harmless. When I looked back to the woman, I was almost afraid the drink had been spiked with terrible things. For what I saw were glossy black eyes not unlike those of a fish, and a mouth with needlelike teeth open wide. When I blinked, she was smiling and trying to guide me back to dance - but that moment had changed my mind entirely. I professed my choice to excuse myself, and promised to return. Her grip tightened, and sharp black nails left marks on the backs of my hands, but she eventually relented. I did indeed leave through the door... but I began to run, and never looked back. I was afraid of what I might see behind me.
  There are other accounts, some of which having the visitors leaving much earlier, or spotting their fellows among the crowd. Almost all of the accounts report a sudden unease preceding the decision to leave, as though the place had become unwelcoming.

The Account of Tharsus Kell
Of useful records, only one other remains which has been collected, and it was recounted by a dragonkin known as Tharsus Kell. According to Tharsus, his small group entered the lodge to find it hosting a celebration for the owner. The so-called 'Master of the Feast' was a tall humanoid which resembled an elf, only with more thickness to the body. He wore a velvet robe of an aquamarine hue and a crown of deer antlers and holly branches. Tharsus took great care to focus on how the Master had been absolutely cheerful and personable to everyone, pouring drinks from an amber decanter which never seemed to go empty and offering skewers of wild boar and apple chunks cooked over a bed of warm coals. He danced with all the members, except for Tharsus due to a twisted ankle received earlier that day. One by one, Tharsus noticed his companions taken to the loft in the company of the Master, but did not see them return to the party. When he asked about their whereabouts, he received vague assurances "they were being cared for". Fed up with the lack of answers, the dragonkin excused himself to enter the loft despite offers to join a game of cards.  
What I saw could not be real. My mind even now refuses to believe it, but it was so. I saw my companions sprawled out on a great bed in various disrobed states, blank expressions on their face. The smell of incense was strong in the air, and they would not acknowledge me. A hand fell on my shoulder and a voice said: "You were not invited, my friend." The Master of the Feast stood between me and the exit, and he was holding a bowl of ebony wood in one hand. I thought it a drinking bowl at first, until I saw the liquid inside was thick and dark. Thank the Gods the curtains could be set aflame, as I pulled them down onto him and sprinted for a window. I know not if any of my companions escaped, and I have not seen them since - except in my nightmares.
  After receiving the account of Tharsus Kell, the leadership of Virta Keep decided to define the Halls of the Great Feast as a hazardous location. However, the lack of concrete information about how to avoid encountering it on top of a seemingly powerful pull to approach when it is found conspire to keep many in the dark as to how to avoid it. Most elder guides prefer to simply fold warnings about the Halls into the usual caution: "Never trust what you see and hear in the Faeweald, always be on guard."


Nothing Promised. No Regrets.
  The Halls are a curious place, as it takes the form of a building at least three stories high and yet is mostly a single room within. The general layout is a five-pointed arrangement with one area being where the path leads to. A heavy oaken door with a motto carved into the upper doorframe is the entry, and once within the senses are easily overwhelmed with what can be seen. In the rough center of the building is a firepit which is kept warm and barred with thick black metal. Low tables are placed almost haphazardly around the place, and seating is in the form of soft hides which are laid out to sit on. One of the 'arms' of the building contains a kitchen where ovens and spits constantly make food available for the guests, and another is reserved for various casks to be tapped for their contents. Nobody has been reported to be keep an eye on guests to be sure they avoid excess consumption, or even to ask for payment.

A third arm of the building has a more secluded seating area with tables and chairs of a more proper height, as well as a loft overhead where beds and washbasins can be found. These are said to be for the comfort of revelers who "have a bit too much", or as private spaces for various desired interactions. Finally, the last section is devoted entirely to games of chance or skill. Here there are tables set up with dice, or cards, as well as a place where dart-throwing is practiced. Almost any game can be requested and guests will fill the seats to either participate or learn a new game. Most of these games seem to rely on "taking drinks" as the stakes, or other minor embarrassments as suits the people at the table.

The outside grounds are curiously empty of any other buildings, only having occasional posts where oil lamps have been set out to illuminate paths leading to any of the doors. The only other feature is a finger of natural rock thrusting out of the earth some twenty feet into the air, covered in dull-colored moss and lichen.


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