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4. A duel with Madness.

So it was that the Seekers led by Mallack once again made their way through the Silverwood.
  First thing was to check the burners. They made their way back to the burned tower they had slept in two nights ago. Now completely overgrown Donal saw to his offerings he had left, alas untouched! Proceeding up the path they came to the encampment. It was here they met a "Tim," clearly an imposter the Seekers fought them claiming victory and rescuing the only true survivor of the Burners Theren. Theren recounted how the hooded figures had enticed the bandits to attack taking several prisoner towards the Great Eladroth, the center of the Silverwood. So each of the Seekers grabbed a sparkstone, the rune inscribed magical stones used by the Burners to keep the Silverwood at bay and made for the tree.
  Burning through the tangled overgrowth the Seekers eventually made it to the Tree. Shadowed by filtered light of the grand canopy a clearing had been made before the great tree where hooded figures performed some kind of ritual. Spotted one of the hooded figures made for a subterranean tunnel beneath the tree. Calliope quickly shot a bolt of eldritch energy wounding the figure, however, staggering they retreated. The other two seeing this unfold began chanting. Crumpling to the ground, their bodies forfeit for some greater magic. The trees behind the Seekers began to awaken, as two great pines came to life swinging their barked clubs. Deft swordsmanship by Benson, and Calliope's eldritch visage managed to halt these beings.
  The path now was clear. Into the tree, they must go. Alram scouted the way, hearing chanting from a room deep underground in Elder. Leading the others they all came to the door, passing on their way the corpses of the victims of the burner unit now entangled in the roots of this great tree. They charged into the room, the remaining hooded figures glancing over briefly to see the intrusion. Their chants became more manic as one by one they crumpled to the ground, magic pouring into the root structure holding this rocky platform aloft. A moment of silence. An explosion of light. Darkness....
  Gradually. Light returned to the room lit by the thousands of glow-worms stuck to the ceiling. It was gone, the gem destroyed. "NO!" Mallack screamed. The room brightened up slightly. "NOOOOOO!" A crack. Purple lightning licked the roof. The worms gradually transforming into caustically filled bombs. They dropped forcing half the group to jump forward onto the arena. The lightning welled in the ceiling, before finding its mark. Mallack was struck. He stopped slumped slightly forward looking at his hands. Slowly raising his head he pulled out his longsword and began making forward. "Please Mallack be reasonable..." Donal started before being interrupted by Alram shouting "Heretic!" as he shot Mallack in the shoulder. Mallack slouched over his wound, clasping for the gem socketed into his pauldron he touched it with Necrotic energy muttering "Die!" Each member of the Seekers holding a small shard of greenish gold felt it burn into their skin. They quickly discarded the shards. So the fight continued as more and more of the ring broke away. Victorious they stood over their opponent as bark began to cover every inch of his body. Two swords of pure Eladroth grew from each of his hands. Mallack was completely overtaken. The fight lasted another minute or two, but for the contenders it felt like eternity. Blows were struck each combatant on their last legs as Mallack eventually collapsed. The bark receded. His corpse remained.
  The Seekers were on their own.

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