July 18-22, 213 Tyr
The party continues it’s journey in the Roivelle Forrest. Having rescued Sir Reed from the kobold tribe the group agrees to help the stranded knight find the rest of his men. Sir Reed tells of how he and his men were ambushed by giant bats while making camp, and that many of his men perished in the fight. He guides the party to the site of the battle where the group finds the still-fresh corpses of the Knott regiment scattered across a clearing in the woods.
As the group goes about gathering the bodies to give them a proper burial they find that one of the men, Sir Reed’s squire, is still alive. Some quick healing magic gets the wounded man back on his feet and the party continues to gather the corpses. Sir Reed is about to offer some works in memorial to the fallen men when a giant beast burrows its way out of one of the fallen soldiers. This tentacled monstrosity paralyzes Sir Reed with a venomous bite, however the rest of the party is able to put down the creature and Sir Reed recovers after a short while. As a precaution the rest of the bodies are burned to destroy any other such creatures that may be incubating in the fallen soldiers.
With the battle field finally cleaned, Sir Reed reveals to the party his true reason for venturing into the Roivelle. He tells of numerous reports of viscous forrest animals attacking the towns and villages neighboring the great forrest, and he had led a company of men into the woods to find the Claws of the Wild, a group of mages rumored to have some manner of control over the forest creatures. He reveals a sheet of parchment that is his only clue to the Claw’s whereabouts. To most of the party the parchment contains nonsense, strange scribles and weblike scratches, however Arden is able to decipher a poem of sorts:
At the bank of the Eternal Mirror,
stone that sparkles,
water that chills,
the sweetness of the fresh kill,
Hear the crackle and the smoke soothes.
The group suspects that this poem is some sort of clue as to how to find the claws, and suspecting that the “Eternal Mirror” is a lake, they follow Sir Reed to a large lake he remembered passing with his company. Here they find a strangely still patch of water near a waterfall, and after some searching they discover a stone with ceremonial markings on it. Following the lines of the poems they present sparking stones (diamonds form the kobold camp), cold water (in the lake), a fresh kill (a deer caught by Mazz), and soothing smoke (forrest herbs burned over a fire). As they do so a cave emerges behind the waterfall, which the party explores finding a strange and magical path through the woods. Sid finds himself overwhelmed by the magical forces at work when he tries to sense the source of the enchantments surrounding the strange glade, however Arden discovers that his own arcane powers are elevated by the mystical surroundings.
As the party ventures along the path they find they passage blocked by a large stone. Suddenly they discover the surround trees are closing in around them, threatening to crush them, however through a combination of might and magic the group is able to move the stone out of the way and proceeds along the trail once more.
The path leads them to the edge of a canyon, a river rushing bellow them, and a path visible across the gap. Arden notices that the parchment now reads “Step as one”, and taking this to be further instructions, has the group step out into the open air suspecting that some magical force will provide a bridge across the canyon. For a moment it seems the plan has worked, their feet finding momentary purchase in the void, but then the hidden bridge evaporates and the party plunges into the rushing water below.
Sid and Gan are able to cling to the cliffside and escape the current, while the rest of the group gasps for air, nearly drowning in their heavy armor, as the rushing river pulls them along. Eventually the group washes ashore as the river flows into a sandy beach. They find a new path leading from the beach back into the forrest, and following this they come to an alter of sorts, bearing a large hunting horn. Arden checks the parchment and finds it now reads “Call on Jaroque (sp?)”. Joules recognizes this as an elvish name for a Giant Cat, and warns Arden not to listen to the parchment, but Arden stubbornly follows that instructions and sounds a great bellowing call from the ceremonial horn.
Moments later Jaroque appears, and Arden, sensing some strange connection with the giant beast, attempts to reason with it, however the cat is not pleased with Arden’s attempt and it pounces on the party. A fierce combat ensures. The adventures find that they cannot pierce the hide of the great cat, however they are finaly able to bring it down after numerous blugening blows and magical attacks.
They proceed once more down the forrest path, only to be assaulted by dozens of arrows flying out of the trees. Unable to see their attackers, the group retreats back to the clearing. After debating their options Joules has a sudden stroke of insight. He uses his magic to levitate the corpse of Jaroque, which with its impenetrable hide is impervious to arrows. The party takes refuge under the dead beast and is able to pass through the flights of arrows unscathed.
Finally the swarms of arrows abate and the party finds they have arrived in a grove of great beauty and tranquility. The spot seveal people gathered in the glade, one of whom introduces himself as Kyrenar (sp?), the leader of the Claws of the Wild. He is clearly impressed that the party was able to make it down the path to the glade, however when Sir Reed reveals the reason for their journey Kyrenar is not pleased. He asks why shouldn’t the forest creatures be able to hunt, as they naturally do? Arden enters the debate, arguing that there has long been peace between the forrest creatures and the people of the plains, and that the recent attacks threaten to break this uneasy coexistence, leading to a war that would be of no benefit to either side.
Kyrenar takes a special interest in Arden and Mazz, and recognizing the nature of Arden’s magic, asks the traveler to sign for him. Arden does so, evoking in song the sprits of the great worms of the desert sands and the spiders from the dark places beneath the earth. In the song’s final notes Kyrenar joins in harmony and for a moment the music achieves a deep and sublime power beyond mere sound and sensation.