Wrenaldo woke in the very early morning after everyone had returned to Raven's Bay. He was feeling itchy and unsettled, like something was poking him in the back of his brain. Slowly waking, he recognized the feeling as the one he gets when the Morrigon (the Faerie he has sworn his oath to) is trying to tell him something.
Calling on the power of his Oath, he was able to identify the stale lingering "smell" of fey creatures somewhere inside the pallisade of the town. Worried about the potential contents of the house, and what the repercussions of entering unbidden would be, he woke everyone else. The group decided to talk to the town leaders. Apparently, a family of four lives in that house, and the group should just enter.
Inspection of the house revealed a by-now-familiar coppery scent, and the expected dead bodies. Three bodies revealed themselves, the mother and father in one room and a young boy in the other. Merrick (now going by Myron) decided to apply some of his new knowledge and summoned the father's spirit back for a chat.
The father didn't know much: he had heard a noise in the night, opened his eyes and was immediately set upon by creatures with glowing eyes. Then he died. He pleaded with the crew to retrieve his daughter whose body hadn't been found. Who can argue with the spirit of a dead father? (or, really, who wants to be haunted by a vengeful spririt when you say "nah, don't feel like it".)
Declining to enter a halfling-sized tunnel reeking of strange creatures, the party made its way outside the pallisade and found the other side of the tunnel used to abduct the girl. Footprints were quickly found by several folks who, by now, have become adept at this sort of thing. Tracking was pretty easy until the terrain slowly turns into a swamp, whereupon the little non-human prints simply vanished, as if a spell had been cast. After some time — and frankly, a little luck — the indentation of the heel of a girl's foot was found, and proved to be enough to track the girl to a cave near enough to the ocean to hear the waves over the whine of biting insects.
The mouth of the cave was surrounded by impenetrable and injurious thorn bushes, which were used for cover as the party snuck up for a better look. Shade, though wearing a breastplate and hauling a large sword, surprised everyone by tiptoeing so delicately that he was effectively invisible. Myron looked quite pleased about that.
Staying wide of the cave mouth, Arnik was quite startled as six smallish creatures emerge from their hiding places just below the surface of the dirt. Morwen had been on edge, and managed to spring a spell on them just as their heads cleared the dirt. Sadly, her favoured vines merely slid from the creatures' arms, apparently unwilling to ensnare old friends.
One of the critters, larger and more painted than the rest, recognized magic for what it was, and rushed at Morwen and raked her across the stomach before she could retreat. Morwen screeched in pain as she felt shards of the creature's claws embed themselves in her flesh, continuing to tear at her whenever she moved.
Flush with new knowledge, and facing five unknown but angry-looking creatures, Arnik retreated to a safe distance taking a small wound as he did so. At a safe distance, with a bit of a wild look in his eye, Arnik mutterd and pointed at the creatures. Even he seemed surprised by the results: a streak of light followed by a roar as a large ball of fire erupts. When the ball was gone, so were the small beings which had recently been standing there. Wrenaldo and Shade proceeded to chivalrously turn the nasty brute menacing poor defenceless Morwen into a corpse.
Arnik, a small grin lingering on his face, crossed the glade to talk with someone and stepped right on the head of another of the creatures lying in wait under the earth. A pitched battle ensued, during which the fighers got to show off their prowess. Wrenaldo, full of insights from his time spent training, was a blur, eliminating three critters in his first round. Shade weighed in, taking one out and drawing their attention, and the rest fell quickly. Several got to (momentarily) experience flight at the hands of a well-placed thunderwave spell on Varis' part, unfortunately they didn't survive the landing.
Into the cave went they, and several more small groups of beasts fell to sword and spell. But then a bramble hedge appeared, and enemies emerged from the walls and the hedge in all directions. Our heroes were surrounded. Myron remembered a spell, and brought forth a circle of ravens which dealt death to all who approached. The hedge was quickly breached with no enemies to worry about.
The sound of chanting made itself known, and our heroes quickly moved to investigate. Myron made sure to visit all of the branching paths with his circle of ravens, causing many shrieks of pain.
At last, the main chamber was breached, just as the ravens vanished in a puff of black smoke. Bereft of their protection, our crazed heroes pressed onwards towards the sounds of frenzied chanting. The head priest, upon seeing the groups of invaders, plunged his wooden dagger into the chest of the abducted girl and turned, snarl upon his face, to face the new threat.
There, however, the priest stopped, held as he was by a spell from Morwen. Shade bravely charged into a room full of enemies, delivering a solid blow to the priest. As a reward for his bravery, a room full of painted defenders surrounded shade and started clawing at his armour. Several found gaps, but Shade shrugged and threw them off. Wrenaldo jumped into the
Myron reached deep into his reserves of strength, and summoned forth another flock of ravens. The defenders quickly fell to the Morrigon's minions, and our party set about rescuing the presumably dead girl on the altar.
Luck had it that she wasn't quite dead, just very stabbed. Application of healing at just the right moment as the dagger was removed kept her breathing, and she was carried from the alter to rest in Morwen's care.
On the floor of a sunken area in the cavern, near the altar, was a tangle of roots surrounding a fey portal. After some debate, and some clairvoyance on Myron's part, all except Morwen entered the portal. As far as the eye could see, a thorny forest stretched to the horizon. Utter blackness curved up and overhead, making the place feel very alien: a quick return was decided upon. Speculation ensued about whether this was part of the demense of the Queen of Thorns, who lies ensnared in magical traps in her fortress on the east side of Lake Ebonheart.
The girl was re-united with the community without memory of the incident, and a work party was organized to bring back the roots of the tree from then central chamber, which will help consecrate the temple to the Morrigon which Myron is building in Raven's Bay.