(Noticed we haven’t kept up with our adventure log. Mostly just copy and paste from the forum)
The the soft music was enticing to Cecil in particular, he thought it was the idea of the mass army of Trolls that made his more inclined to head off in the direction of the melody. But there was some other force that drew him in.
Curious as well, Mordo sent the Owl George to investigate the sound while the group continued to argue over their current predicament. On silent wings George disappeared through the milky fog towards the direction of the music.
Through owl eyes, Mordo broke from the argument to focus on what George would find. His physical body not moving staring off into to fog with blind eyes that saw far away.
““To feed the soil is to feed our tree-mothers and tree-fathers. Trees are life and we honour them with our passing…” Mordo muttered.
As Mordo spoke these words, a shiver quakes down the backs of Relik and Dirk. This phrase was one that was often used to mark Elven crypts.
Mordo gives a sharp gasp with a quick shake of his head. His emotionless gaze turned into a furrowed brow of disappointment. “Blasted owl. Oran get your things, I’ve lost contact with George at some sort of crypt. I know you have difficulty sleeping without his constant cooling at night. The crypt is about half an hour by foot so we best get a move on now.”
Though Orans path was already predetermined by his vow to protect and stand by his brother, it probably did not take much more convincing for Oran to go with his brother to find the owl. One direction had row after row of Trolls the other an owl in a tree.
Cecil jumped up at the opportunity, “I will go to!” a little too excited at the chance to find the source of the music. The mysterious music was not the only thing pulling Cecil from the plan to take on the Trolls. He remembered the last handful of Trolls they fought, and how much trouble they were worth. With Kelly and Watomb on the verge of clearing out Faerun for plans of a demon utopia, Cecil felt he would be no help sitting in the stomach of a Troll.
Once their things were gathered Mordo, Oran and Cecil headed out towards Georges last know location.
Cecil gave a quick apologetic look back to Flint, where he caught Flint looking back at him shaking his head with disappointment. Cecil clenched his teeth together, feeling ashamed that he turned his back on Flint and the others. As he turned around to catch up to the brothers he heard Flint give out a large guffaw, no doubt making a joke about an elf going of to investigate a queefing tree or something.
The path was overgrown with roots criss crossed here while stones littered path there as if to cover the heavy tracks made long ago. The skeletal branches of the surrounding trees would often catch on an article of clothing and give a yank as if the trees were attempting to keep them from going any farther. every few sets a muttered curse from Mordo would signal Oran or Cecil to unhook Mordo’s robes from a branches hold.
The fog was think and icy making it difficult for Mordo to navigate through on his memory alone, so they trusted more on the strength of the music. The closer they got the clearer the sound became, and eventually the music began to sound more like a voice singing.
“Blasted annoying stones! I am half ready to conjure up a Fireball spell and rid the world of these damned woods.”
Looking down at the rock laying in the middle of the path, the trio realize this is no rock but rather a skull. Clearing the fog around them they realize a third of the ‘rocks’ they were traversing where indeed humanoid skulls.
Oran, frustrated with how far they’ve come began having second thoughts about leaving the rest of the group. he turned to address his brother and half elf companion.
“We’ve been on this trail for an hour now, perhaps it is time to turn around.”
Confused Mordo and Cecil shoot a sideways glance to one another then back to Oran.
“Why?” Cecil asked puzzled, pointing behind Oran “it’s right there.”
Turning around Oran notices a massive ancient oak tree looming over him. Knotted and twisting of the wood gave the tree the appearance of a withered old woman. It looked like something out of a fairy tale villagers told children to keep them out of the woods. Icy Fog rolled about the base of the tree, hiding the ground making it larger and ominous. How Oran overlooked the monster tree was beyond Mordo and Cecil.
A man-sized gaping hole descending into the base of the tree, the icy fog rolled about the ground and seems to alternate between getting pulled in and pushed out of the hole as though the tree were breathing – the music too seems to pulsated out of the same hole.
Mordo let out a sharp snort, “This tree has been enchanted against evil.” Looking up, George is stilling on a branch just about the Elven words Mordo mutter earlier.
“George!” Mordo scorned.
“Who!” replied the owl
“Yes you! get down here now!”
“I don’t have time to play this silly game with you now.”
“With you! Damn it bird, you know damn well I’m talking to you!”
George dived down as if to perch on Mordo’s shoulder, but at the last second glided past him and down into the mouth of the tree.
“WHOOooo ooo ooo ooo” The Owl’s call echoed out as it were beckoning Cecil and Oran and mocking Mordo to follow.
The maw of the tree descended downward into natural darkness, with roots making up a spiraling staircase. Mordo reached in his robes and pulled out his magical stone. The green light emitting from it gave them the ability to see where they were walking, but provided a spooky atmosphere as light gleamed off the sides of the crypt. The air was heavy and warm and the smell from the inside was wet and musty like a ships hull. Cecil lead the way down followed by Mordo and Oran taking up the rear muttering curses to the Owl. it was then they realized they the singing had stopped. There was no sound but a intermittent dripping from above and an occasional whoosh from the wind entering and leaving the cave as it pleased.
Pulling out the Dagger given to him by the old merchant man for saving his daughter from the viscous mauling of an Owl Bear, Cecil began to descend the staircase.
The trio came to a sudden stop when they thought they heard Relik’s voice.
“I will be just to the left of the log pile hiding out of distance for the barricade bomb but close enough to re-enforce flint if needed”
Continuing on the stair finally opened into a large irregularly shaped room, several tunnels shooting off in various directions. A females voice echoes down the path to the right.
“Who are you and why have you come?”
“We are travelers on a mission to Dragonspear. We were chased off the road by an army of trolls being controlled by a Lizard Wizard. When we heard music coming from this Crypt I sent my owl to investigate to see if it was friends or foe. However, my owl did not return to me and I have not been able to communicate with him. Our mission is to stop an evil force corrupting the lands. We do not mean any disrespect or to cause any harm.”
The air was still, longer than a standard heartbeat.
“You speak the truth…” the female voice says as a beautiful woman in her mid twenties appears behind Mordo. Her hair was long with a greenish hue to it. A diaphanous gown was draped across her shoulders. Behind her, a set of dragonfly-like wings sprout from her back.
“I am Willa. And I have food and drink down the passage. Your friend is there.” She gestures in the direction from which her voice was coming a moment ago.
“Why thank you for your hospitality. I am Mordo a student of imagery, this handsome fellow is my dearest little brother Oran. And this is our friend…Cecil! Pick your jaw up from the floor..it’s like you have never seen a pretty lady before.” Mordo scones Cecil who is un-phased by Mordo’s voice
Turning back to Willa, Mordo continues.
“M’lady have you heard of, or been troubled by the darkness that is spreading throughout the lands? We are looking for safe and quick passage to Dragonspear to hopefully put this to an end. I do not mean to speak out of turn…as you have already been so kind. But, is there anything you can help us with? Sharing or spells, information, safe passage through your tunnels?”
“These tunnels are not mine” she sang, “but rather the resting place of Elves from the old kingdom of Illefarn.”
She looks at Cecil appreciatively and leads the group to a “room” about 20 feet in size. Along the path that the walls are lined with the skeletons of long dead elves, woven into the tapestry of roots. Gnarled roots entering one eye socket and jutting out the other of some elven skulls. some bodies had roots covering the empty space in between the bones like an oaken flesh making bodies seem more alive than dead.
“The elves entombed their folk in amongst the roots of the trees in order to become one with the nature in which they lived attuned. In many of the older woods, elves are still able to hear the trees speak but sadly, most of the old trees in this wood did not survive a great battle that was once waged here. Sadly” her voice takes on the tone of a lament “some were bent and twisted by the evil magics used during the battle and still walk the deepest parts of the wood. Entreat with them at your peril.”
“Your friend…” George hoots at you and rests upon a root sticking out of the wall… behind him the skull of an elf in fine though dusty and dirty vestments.
“Food and drink…” she gestures with her hand to a sack of dried fruits and a wooden bowl of water.
Cecil sits down next to her and gladly starts to eat some of the dried fruit – It tastes delicious.
Oran – asks for aid for his friends from this obviously mystical creature and Cecil drops down on his knees, all doe-eyed pleading with her to aid his friends.
Mordo indulges in his food and drink and before he can ask her his questions… she rises…
“Trolls in the wood? Where?” Before anyone else can say anything… Cecil blurts, “On the road due West I believe.” Her eyes quickly turn from light green to black…"
With a quick gesture a gust of wind swirls at your feet into the form of a mini-tornado… dust and debris is stirred up and your clothes are whipped about you. A disembodied, vaguely humanoid form appears before her… “Kill the Trolls! On the human road to the West!”
“As you desire.” An airy voices whispers and whooshes out of the chamber…
“Your friends will be helped by my servant. That is the best that we can do for now.” Her eyes return to their light green colour as she sits heavily back on the root.
“I wish this place to remain hidden from prying eyes and so I have put it under my protection by preventing certain ensorcerelments. If you communicate with your friend any other way than the mundane… that is by my design. I cannot lift my protection for fear of the dread one. Please… eat… and ask your questions.”
“M’lady that was truly fascinating….I thank thee for aiding our companions….but I am truly thankful for being able to witness such beautiful magic. Who is this dark one that you are hiding from?”
“I was soaring above this wood on my way to my home when a dark, evil shape came upon me. I know not it’s name but it was unnatural; like a storm cloud on a sunny day. A creature of blackness and evil. I took refuge here not knowing if the beast had gone. It was formed of the most foul darkness… two horns and a razor filled mouth.” She appears legitimately distressed and that’s when Cecil notices that one of her thin fragile looking wings is damaged.
Cecil looks longingly into her eyes… “Sweetness, you are hurt! Was it this beast that did this to you? Of course it was… I will slay it and bring you it’s black heart!"
She smiles at Cecil again and giggles… “Silly Drahkahl…” Then her tone turns somber again… “This beast must be banished from the lands or truly it will have dominion. But, alas, I do not know where it is though I am hopeful that it is no longer lurking in the woods given you have come through them. Perhaps it is gone, but I had to heal first before I could risk leaving this refuge. Unfortunately I may never soar again.”
“You mentioned Dragonspear… I may have a way to speed you to your destination. There is an river that flows through the lowest levels of this crypt. My servant found it and thought that I might flee the beast that way… it leads to Dragonspear. I refused, knowing that Dragonspear is the home of dark evils, not unlike the beast that attacked me. If you go there you may not return.”