Sorcerers on a Plane: the Teryx Experience
Keeping watch the night before we leave, Teryx sees an unnatural creature scuttling around the room—like a grey, horny-toad-like man, except the way it moves is just WRONG. Every few minutes it snickers & disappears. Nothing like that on my watch!
After the rest of us are gone, Teryx wakes up to find he’s not alone. In bed, that is. Instead, he’s staring right at a sparkly, elf-like creature with 8” long ears. Teryx, a dream come true? Maybe not—the fellow seems absolutely SHOCKED that Teryx can see him, and also a little drunk, hurling a wineglass at one of the spiny monsters (which dissipates) and yelling “stupid skraeling!” Getting over his shock somewhat, he introduces himself as Pel. Pel has been watching yoooooou…well, watching us all apparently. Pel is a changeling Fae, in the Court of Order in Avalon. He’s to help us, but there are rules…
Anyway, this situation is totally weird. Teryx shouldn’t be able to see him or the skraelings; he (Teryx) must not be on our normal plane. (I’M NOT ON YOUR PLANE interlude, extended version.) Also, Teryx seems to be full of spikes…there’s a skraeling inside him, Pel says. This is a problem. Skraelings live between planes (WAIT WHO IS ON THE PLANE). Teryx needs to stay focused (GET OFF MY PLANE) and ignore the skraelings (THEY’RE NOT ON YOUR PLANE) so Pel rifles through a stack of papers which seems to contain some of Paragon’s parchment and pages from our book, covered in gold writing, which he claims to have found in the road. He leaves Teryx with the silver & gold, draconic rune-covered book pages (my doing) to decode: Prophecy 4. Pel leaves, saying Teryx owes him.
I Hate Plants Forever
The rest of us travel through the forest until the trees suddenly stop and we enter Giant Mushroom Valley. In the middle of the path, three treants (Fae!) are waiting to give us a message: Lord Pelgram Silverleaf, Duke of the Five Kingdoms, wishes your assistance in Avalon. Hum? He wants passage into our realm, for which we need to regrow the circle in the Cave of Origins, which has been desecrated.
We continue into the mushroom forest. The fungi seem to react as we approach, and while Eleazar’s spell allows us to move through them, only about half of the undergrowth is parted—the rest are plant creatures and resist his magic. Following the winding path to the cave we come across several clearings filled with strange fungi; we fight some mushrooms (sometimes whether they are attacking us or not), I get partially consumed but escape, and we find three of the brown mushrooms we’re looking for. Fighting plants & fungi with a rapier is FTL. Oh, and we find the cave too.
Cave of Origins
Thousands of mushrooms cover the floor, walls and ceiling of the central chamber. Two large, swaying caps have birchbark scrolls resting on their tops: instructions & a spell for regrowing the circle. In an inner chamber, faint markings of a circle can be seen in the dust. MUSHROOM PUZZLE. After the circle is replanted a portal starts to form, but then tentacles erupt from the lake in the outer chamber! The water turns black & bubbles. (P.S. really don’t come to a forest without a slashing weapon.) Eleazar summons his typical menagerie, but they seem confused, unable to see what he wants them to attack! We eventually sever all the tentacles, but not before one steals my rapier (and, briefly, Muffin). Yet I seem to be able to slash it with my bare hand…?
The portal opens, showing a cave of worked stone on the other side. Two satyr guards and a red-cloaked figure step through—he stumbles and as we help him up his skin changes color from white to brown.
What we learn from Pel (yes, it’s Pel):
—he’s a changeling, highly ranked in court
—watching us for his brother, Piphaneus Silverleaf, Duke of the Crystal Glade (because of our “importance to this realm”)
—easy to watch from Avalon, but can’t participate in events
—scarred druid closed the portal (but why?)
Pel investigates the underwater source of the tentacles and tells us the creature is part of the Heart of the Wood, a huge tree rumored to be the center of the Wyldwood. The tentacles were some kind of infected root—like the rest of the tree, immune to divine magic (but arcane okay?) and woken by the portal energies. Also, this mushroom forest is new…
Despite our PRESSING TIME NEEDS we decide to dawdle and pick fights with more mushrooms. We find a boot, uncover a corpse (more dreamboxes), and spend a lovely interval wandering around a cave the skraelings lured us to (Eleazer/we can see them now), but at least we find another few mushrooms.
On the path back to Stargrave, Yorel accosts Pel, saying the roots are sick. Pel blames Yorel, saying that a demon the druid brought back with his plants from Aaridon escaped from where it had been held by the Court of Order. Yorel says the roots are affected by a growing darkness present for many years (i.e. not his fault); there’s a prophecy that the Reaver will come to stop it—druids and priests can’t see it. Yorel tried to create a boundary between the Wyldwood and the Empire, to protect the wood. Likewise, in Aaridon he apparently kept to the mandrake woods while the humans fought.