Session 11 - Druids & Dryads
After waking from a long rest, Shinzu contacted Ceronde again telepathically via the Scrap of Ceronde's Mantle. Ceronde told Shinzu that she found Orchestra to be a tame forest in contrast to Lockbox. Ceronde feels that the high elves may have deliberately tamed their forest, but it has resulted in it becoming over tame. It is a nice enough place, but while there is noise from the animals, the forest itself is quiet. The party worry about whether they are making the right choice in persuading the dryad to leave.When asked why the Orchestra elves specifically wanted Fayrol, Ceronde said that they had asked some of the other Dryads, but they had all refused. The party wondered how they had contacted Fayrol, since the arcane-trained members of the group know that message spells require some knowledge of the recipient. This means that the sender must have been to Lockbox at some point. Shinzu asked if Ceronde felt like the high elves had been pressuring Fayrol, and Ceronde felt that the elves has been persistent but not really pressuring her into saying yes. Ceronde did notice that one of the elves isn't like the others. He has red hair and a beard, which is not common in full blood elves. Ceronde doesn't have their name. This person may be a half elf. After the conversation with Ceronde, Tera and Shinzu crossed the Tora camp to find Lauca as the party are becoming more confident that Fayrol does want to leave of her own choice. Lauca knows Fayrol, and feels that she wants to leave, but is frightened. Lauca agrees to take them to the dryad grove to help them speak to Fayrol directly. Before heading to the grove, the party ask Lauca about a clearing or space that could be safely used to leave the forest using the scroll of sending. Lauca says that there is a bear cave nearby and she will ask the bear to leave his cave for a few hours to enable us to leave the forest safely. Shinzu, Tera, Kyto and Lun, who are the quietest members of the group, follow Lauca to the dryad grove using their stealth abilities; Yunhu and Sekket, being inherently unstealthy, stay a short distance behind to keep the path clear to the cave should the worst happen and the forest goes berserk. Lauca then headed out to ask the bear to leave his cave. Back at the dryad grove, Shinzu spots Fayrol standing in a pod made of what appeared to be plant material. Tera uses her ability to communicate silently over a distance to speak to Fayrol without anyone else hearing. She manages to ascertain that Fayrol wants to leave the forest to help Orchestra, but that she is scared. Tera reassures Fayrol that the group are there to help her and only want to help her achieve her goal. She explains that if Orchestra becomes dangerous, the group will come and help her; they would keep her safe. The pod surrounding Fayrol opens and she steps out. The party, with Ceronde in tow, then run back towards Sekket and Yunhu and on to the bear cave. The forest predictably doesn't want Fayrol to leave and sends two dog like creatures with rose buds where the face would usually be. These creatures catch up to the party and attempt to bar their way. The party move to engage the creatures and Yunhu steps in front of Fayrol to protect her. During the fight, Shinzu utilises her bow to cast Druidcraft at one of the creatures, causing the rosebud to bloom. This freaks the creature out and he escapes back into the forest, hitting everything in his path. Kyto blinds the remaining creature and he also runs off into the forest. The party arrived at the cave and as promised the bear has left. The party decide that, as the most fragile member of the party, Tera should read the scroll while the rest defend the cave. Tera moves towards the back of the cave for safety. The casting takes a long time, so the rest of the party, excluding Yunhu who stays back to protect Tera, form up at the mouth of the cave with Lauca to attempt to stop anything from disrupting the spell. Just as Tera starts the spell, a Forest Guardian arrives at the mouth of the cave, along with two more rose face creatures. The parties weapons were not doing much damage to the creatures. Shinzu again used Druidcraft to open a rose-face and again it retreated back into the forest. One of the rose-creatures was killed in the battle and Lun managed to harmlessly subdue the Forest Guardian using Tasha's Hideous Laughter. Only the Forest Guardian is left and once he recovers from Lun's spell, Fayrol walks over to him and speaks to him. She explains that she wants to go and why she needs to go to help wake up Orchestra and protect it. Rather than becoming angry, the Forest Guardian seems to reluctantly accept that it is her desire to leave. The spell opens the portal back to Green Spires and Fayrol heads towards. The Forest Guardian reaches out to her, but drops his hand at the last minute, allowing her to leave. The party get ready to step though the portal, sending Fayrol through first for safety. Lauca says goodbye to the party as her responsibilities remain in and to Lockbox. Shinzu asks her to tell the clan that she sends her love and that she will not give up looking for the Rekishi. The party safely step through the portal back to Green Spires and are met by Gisita and the head of House Zhao, Anastra. Gisita and Anastra provide the team with their reward and allow them to keep the unused scroll. During the conversation, Tera and Shinzu speak to Fayrol, resasuring her that she will be safe in Orchestra and telling her to seek out Ceronde. That way Fayrol will always have a friend nearby and they can contact Shinzu if ever they need anything and we will come to help them. As part of the thank you, Shinzu is given an outfit for the ball at the end of the month with the Blue Orchids. It is blue and green; beautiful, but still practical should the need arise to fight (House Zhao is a mercenary house after all). Gisita, asking whether Shinzu is attending the ball, confirms that he will also be attending and they arrange to meet there. The party then leave Green Spires and head to the Emporium. Tera collects her dress from Hosun: it is blue and covered with tiny shimmering silver stars. This just leave Yunhu, Sekket and Kyto to find suitable attire for the ball. Nishigi appears unexpectedly as they leave; she comments that they are difficult to find. She's tracked the party down to pass them information gleaned from the book that Shinzu stole from Mai Mai. She has discovered that the "C" in the ATAC scales recorded in the scale count stands for Crematorium and suggests that we visit House Haru Hol, the dragon hunters, as they have been known to capture lesser dragons. Nishigi states that something is changing the laws of magic to make the spells in the transmutation/necromancy book found at the burned-down lab work. The spells that are in the book shouldn't work at all. Lun reminds the group that they have all been invited to see his circus troupe's play, The Madness of the Moon and so the team set off to visit the circus. Lun arrives first and decided to play a trick on his rival Toma and convince the man that Professor Nebuchadnezzar wants to give him a raise! After going to see the professor, Lun realises that something isn't right with him, and convinces the professor to show the party what is wrong. In a cage in a tent at the rear of the camp is a cage. Inside this cage is a large, wild wolf. The professor has been trying to tame the animal, as he has successfully done in the past, but nothing is working. The wolf isn't even eating. Shinzu uses Speak With Animals to speak to the wolf and learns that the wolf used to be a human, but so long ago that they cannot remember anything about being human, and that they are always hungry, only wanting to eat live, screaming people. The party realise that this is a form of werewolf, but a lesser werewolf who is unable to change back into human form. It is clear that someone did this to him, and the wolf says that there are others. somehow stuck in wolf form, and the professor reveals that he got too close to wolf and it bit him on the arm leaving a nasty wound. Shinzu recounts to the party everything that the wolf has said, and in explaining how dangerous werewolves are, she reveals that a whole clan of wood elves were slaughtered because they became infected by werewolves. This leaves the party wary about leaving the professor as he could also transform at the next full moon and be unable to transform back. Lun suggests caging the professor as no other circus members will enter this tent on the professors strict instructions. Sekket uses cages in the tent and silver to create a strong enough cage to hold a strong, healthy werewolf. Tera considers using her celestial magic, on the basis that it's relatively close to radiant magic, but Lun and the Professor refuse to let her damage the wolf even to see if the protection will work. There is a discussion (and a huge row) about how best to cure the professor and the wild wolf, and it seems there are two options. Find a cleric willing to try, so seek out Setsuna again. The party are significantly split on how to best approach the problem. Sekket and Yunhu feel that a cleric is the only way; Lun is worried about whether help can be found in time, and wants to have an insurance policy because the Professor has already been rejected by clerics in the city. Tera, burned by Sekket's distrust of her and his threat to kill the possessed child that they met earlier, feels that if they tell the clerics about the problem they will hurt the Professor. Tera, Lun and Shinzu travel across the city to find Setsuna and ask what the price of her help this time would be. In order to help the professor, Setsuna wants to meet the member of the Blue Orchid who when under the influence of Glittering Satsuma, dreamt of nothing, and desires to return to nothing. Her fee is a meeting. The three head back to the others to discuss the situation further.
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