The exit from the tower was uneventful, but the party was not fully aware that with every step from the chamber they were leaving something behind – the memories associated with the artifact that they had destroyed. Once they had stepped foot back out into the grounds of the tower they only knew that they had destroyed… something. No memories of what it was, or how they acquired it, or what it did remained. The implications were meditated on, but it was decided that they would continue out west and see if they could locate the other missing piece of the ritual chamber.
An encounter at a pond stopped them in their tracks. A nixie had run in with a group of loggers from Stone Hill. She claimed that the Coachwood trees that shaded her glade had been cut down, despite her protests. The logger claimed that it was free land, and that they had a living to make – Coachwood is phenomenal for ale barrels. The nixie had since charmed two of the loggers, and the party has stepped in right before the stalemate would have broken.
Through diplomatic means, an agreement was made: if the party could replace the trees with similarly sized specimens, the nixie would release her thralls, and direct the loggers to another Coachwood grove further to the south. She even directed the party towards a dryad friend who might be able to help. The loggers insisted on having their men freed, but were only able to secure one of them until the party had completed their side of the bargain. The loggers left, in search of the trees the nixie promised.
Moving further west in search of the dryad, the party happened upon her tree. Clearly distraught, the dryad offered up a solution to their problem – as long as they would solve hers, and quickly! A Scythe Tree has been terrorizing the area. This malevolent plant destroys everything in it’s path, and finds the taste of dryad and their host trees to be most delicious. The dryad, named Tiressia, is understandably worried. With a promise to destroy the evil plant, the party veers south in search of the Scythe Tree.
After tracking the tree to where it was currently hunting, the party manages to destroy it – primarily with fire! Once defeated, they found remains of creatures and items it had devoured – including some amber and a magical robe as well as some more mundane items and trinkets. They quickly returned to the dryad, who had already heard of the news through the forest itself, and presented the party with 5 feather tokens that would grow immense trees for the nixie. She also pledged to be their watch to the west of their kingdom, sending her Satyr lover out with reports of anything amiss.
Returning to the nixie, the party was able to replant the trees using the magic tokens. Impressed, the nixie released the man, who had spent far too much time in the water with her. He was in no shape to get home alone, so the party intended to escort him to Stone Hill. Before parting the nixie made a similar promise – she would watch the water ways and inform the kingdom of anything she saw. This gave the party two effective informants in the wild western reaches of their kingdom.
The return to Stone Hill was uneventful, until the party realized that some sort of rally was being held at the castle gates. A rotund man with deep purple hair was riling up the townsmen with claims that while not untrue, were twisted enough to incense the people against the rulers. Azrael attempted to counter these arguments, but was entirely shut down. The crowd dispersed, and the party along with Harik discussed this turn of events. The man was named Grigori, and had been holding public rallies against the rulers for the past week. Initially he had only small clusters of followers, but now his crowds had grown immensely, and unrest had begun to settle in the kingdom. Harik also apprised the party about the squatters in Olegton. Many alternatives – including removing Grigori permanently – were discussed. It was finally decided that Azrael would have a verbal spar with the man the next morning. As for the squatters, additional housing was recommended as well as other means of providing for the country over the next month were decided.
The next day, using his wits and oratory skills, Azrael was able to defeat Grigori to the point where the crowds turned against him. Afterwards Grigori retired to his inn, but when the party attempted to make contact with him they found only a letter he had left. It claimed that they had ruined his life, and that he would be back. It was signed with only the letter ‘T’.
With this threat neutralized, Harik felt confident that normalcy would return to the capital. The party once again set off to the west in search of the Dwarven Fortress. After several days of searching, they came across it. A large circular fortress – similar in design to the one on Candlemere, but much larger – was located. However, they quickly determined that it was not abandoned. A small, fast, and nearly invisible fey as well as the plants themselves seemed to resist the party, and a fierce battle ensued. Within a short time, victory was theirs, and the exploration could continue.