The DDC picked up this week with an expedition to find the Auntie in the Fields, and were pulled towards the northern farms currently lying fallow under the winter snows. Thorin declared his presence through the iron token, and was told to approach the blasted oak on the edge of the forest – where they were met by an ogre-half breed called Kher. With visible restraint, he told them to follow the path into the woods, not to stray, and it would lead to his mother. He would wait for them here, and look after their mounts.
Behind the tree was a winding but relatively short trail to another hollow oak which had space to fit everyone in at a squeeze. The group gathered inside it but saw no way forward – it was only when they looked back outside that they realised things had changed. The previously overcast sky was bright blue without a cloud in it. Things flitted just out of the corner of their eyes. The snow on the ground had started falling up into the sky. They had entered a fold or layer of Thelanis – also known as the Feywild.
The path they had previously travelled was still visible, so they made their way back along it until they got to the halfway point. There they could see a wicker basket with brightly coloured packages in it that were vaguely egg shaped. Caeluma stepped over to inspect it – and that triggered a series of deadfall traps set by fey bandits led by a harengon with a long blue scarf.
Harengons appear to be humanoid rabbits – and this one was armed with a rapier and a hot branding iron. Accompanying him was a hobgoblin mage, a korred (who looked like a stoneskinned dwarven satyr with huge bushy hair), a malicious redcap, and a small host of darklings who promptly rushed out of the bushes to harass the adventurers.
Only minor injuries were inflicted by the darklings in their first rush, while a fireball erupted in the middle of the group – cast by the hobgoblin. His control of his magics was sufficient to spare his allies while harming the DDC. Caeluma was felled by a large rock thrown by the korred, while Thorin engaged the redcap in a furious exchange of blows.
The harengon sped through the melee, branding Caeluma and Valenia on the way. To their eyes he promptly faded from view although everyone else could see him. Kerne intimidated the darklings into fleeing by claiming the group was under the protection of the Winter’s Knight, and Valenia quickly felled the hobgoblin with her bow. Arwan was able to rush to stabilise Caeluma – who then discovered that their paired magical daggers had been stolen by the harengon as they lay stunned on the ground. Thorin quickly finished the redcap – whose corpse turned into a spread of red mushrooms – and the korred saw the harengon and darklings fleeing and followed suit, melding with the stones below to escape. The harengon narrowly escaped back through the hollowed oak and the battle was done.
The erstwhile bandits’ stash of loot was at least nearby in a chest, but that was small comfort to Caeluma. Arwan loaned them their magical boomerang for the time being, and Caeluma told everyone that the bunny was theirs to kill next time. Meanwhile, the path ahead awaited.
We’ll find out where that leads next week…