Malice requested we deliver a longsword of some quality to YarTar. The path to the North will take us through Red Larch, where Daryll believes his mentor has left a message at the Bath House. I am so tired from the travel, and so I stick my face in a bowl of soup and slip off to rest.
Kayla Irckle says there is a Fire Witch haggling some Halflings to the North just east of Westbridge. That sounds like a side-quest. We take note, knowing that side-quests remain in stasis until the party decides to activate it.
Daryll’s letter indicates his mentor has continued into the High Forest far to the East. However, he was waylaid by orcs raiding the eastern Desserin Valley.
The Druids: They are awaiting the Right of the Wicker Giant. The Great Druid in the tower has called followers from the surrounding the area to serve the druids and nature in Dessarin Valley in the Circle of the Sacred Moon. We meet Varigo, Mahoone, Iniri and Fariya, draped in robes and awaiting the ritual this evening.
Storol and Wiglaf are in the next camp north. They are warriors, gruff in character and short on words.
We continue on to the central black tower where the Wicker Giant stands ready to be burned. Two druids pray nearby, and one of them is clearly marked with the Fire Cult tattoos. Elezar is in charge (High Druid) and Baern casts a spell upon the druids to make them more friendly to us. They like us. But they don’t like us, like us. That frustrates Baern a bit and so he decides to just lightning bolt them. Sergor is in the middle of negotiating an opportunity for us to work as armed guards for the Sacred Moon, only to be interrupted by the smell of ozone.
Turns out the Fire Cult can cast fireballs. That is a little bit of trouble for us, as we tend to run into battle grouped up. Rawrly takes an initial wacking, but the tide of battle recovers quickly. The Wicker Giant is called to fiery life by the nearest priest, and presents an all new challenge. Rawrly has to go toe-to-toe, which would not be a problem except for the incidental damage caused by its burning exterior.
Baern shatters the thing’s leg and places it off balance long enough that Rawrly is able to quench its flame. It is not long after that the guards and the priest fall to our onslaught.
In the midst of battle I called down to the camps, saying that we were deceived by the Druids of the Sacred Moon. My hope is for help from the good campers surrounding the Black Tower.
That does not work. They toss off their robes and reveal themselves to be more Fire Cultists of the Eternal Flame! Maybe it’s not all of the campers, but it is enough. Now they charge the top of the hill to trade their lives for the protection of their tower.
When the dust settles across the camps (or the smokey haze of several pounds of roasting vegetation) the campers who believed they were supporting the local lands have found themselves duped. We send them on their way, with the Black Tower still uninvestigated. Now that the locals are safe (not that it seems that important an action to me), we turn our attention to the Tower!