The pcs returned from the Faewylde to find Sam missing. What happened could only be guess at? Did he get lost? Was he taken by some force? They could not tell. Perhaps they would find out more clues if they pressed on….
Of course that was not to be as a group of Ogres lay in wait for them attacking at the edge of the waterfall. The fight was bizarre and clumsy at times ,but the group prevailed.
Once they arrived in Dunharrow to check on the town , they discovered that time has passed differently since they had left…some 2 weeks had passed…however, they were welcomed as heroes. The town through a brilliant party in their honor and Nimbles took the most pleasure in it drinking well into midnight. Unfortunately, as things wound down a familiar stroke of white lightning hit some 200 yards away and a smell of ozone filled the air. The group hurried the villagers to their homes just in time to see a horrific beast crest the top of the tree line…a creature floating in the sky made apparently of an armored eyeball with 6+ tentacled eye stalks protruded from its "head" with a centered large eye gazing intently at Sir Damryn. The fight was fast and furious the creature hit the drunken sorcerer, Nimbles, with a wave of exhaustion that dropped him on the spot, and in short order both Damryn and Jacob were on the ground under a magically induced sleep. Though Kethra managed to inflict grievous wounds with her unerring bow, its eye rays kept her pinned down behind a building. As it approached Damryn's limp body, it turn him over and swallowed his backpack and carrying sack. In desperation, Kethra shot it and ran to kick Jacob which jarred him awake. The warrior quickly got to his feet and charged the creature before it could flee with Damryn's gear ( mainly the tome found some weeks back), and as the creature fled under a hail of arrows, Jacob's mighty sword hit home slaying the creature instantly. Within the gory mess, the book and and all his belongings splayed about ,but seemingly no worse for the wear.
The next morning Arimenes showed up to thank the group for their efforts and relayed to them the history of the oaken staff that Nimbles wielded. Apparently a group of druids created it to honor and protect nature and if Nimbles kept his heart true to the precepts of Nature then it would do the same for him. It had many powers ,but required the user to be a protector and champion of Nature. The shield however was under a curse by his mother, Queen Mab ( of the Unseelie court), the group decided to let him look at how they might overcome this curse while they traveled to pick up Sam and Dean at the Weary Pilgrim roadside inn. Taking their horses laden with food and drink for the road thanks to the grateful townsfolk, the group made their way to the inn and then on the road to Winecrest.
With a more luck than they had seen in a month, the group found themselves in the city within 2 days. They avoided having to wait through inspections thanks to Kethra's wealthy father , Elias Stonebridge, who had apparently recently become Guildmaster of the wagoneer and carvaner's guild. Taking a stagecoach to the house, Kethra was surprised to find her father had upgraded the old house into a shiny new mansion complete with servants. Clea, Kethra's daughter greeted each of the adventurers seeming to be infatuated with the two strapping warriors, Jacob and Damryn the most ,but finding Nimbles fascinating in his own way. While talking during dinner, the group learned of a Fall Carnivale scheduled to take place the next night. It was sponsored by the most well known noble family, the Astasia's and would be the premier social event of the year. Clea would not hear of a no from anyone and her grandfather had all ready made the arrangements for them to get outfitted properly. Clearly, there was tension between Kethra and her father ,but overall, the Stonebridge estate was a pleasant way to spend the night.
Sometime eartlier, Sir Damryn made his way to the Cathedral of the Rose in town and discovered it to be in somewhat disrepair and with a few clergy. After meeting with the high priest, Jasep Nicholas, he determined that the faith of Vanshar had suffered greatly in this town and the flock had dwindled as well. In fact, Kethra's father had openly had a major disagreement over tithing with the church and had officially left it. Leaving his own personal tithe to help the once impressive chapel, Damryn returned to join the others and the party that next evening.
The Fall Carnivale had all the accoutrements of a lavish soiree. LAdy Astasia did not disappoint and the place was alive with music , food , drinks, rides, games, and even a small zoo provided through a local hunter named Jarax Hammersworn. The group attempted many games including: The Perilous Climb to the Treasure of the Queen of Spiders ( eventually won by Jacob), The Giant's Mallet ( also won by Jacob), a Knife throwing contest, table game tent( won by Kethra for two tickets to "Winter Ice" an early winter musical to be put on by the Astasia Theater troupe), and even a Harrowing by Madame Hilde( halfling gypsy seer). In fact, Madam Hilde and her whole band of merry making halflings were hired as performers and entertainers by Lady Astasia.
Each individual had his own Harrowing and though not all was ominous, the following was foretold:
Jacob: a conspiracy surrounded the tome they protected, and if an ancient source of wisdom could be tapped, then a disaster linked to the tome could be avoided.
Damryn: his clarity of purpose and loyalty would hold him strong when he would soon face a dangerous and possibly overpowering threat and a powerful woman would need to be swayed to his way of thinking if in the end an acceptable solution were to be found in regards to this impending threat.
Kethra: something in her past was done to her that was ill advised to her or for her( Madame Hilde was not sure), she should be most attuned to the importance of a new arrival in her future( and as well as Damryn- the presence and power of the arcane was to be heightened in her life), and she should stay on her current path in life to avoid upsetting a delicate framework.
Nimbles: the reading was without doubt the darkest of the four as first to be seen was a card that unnerved , even Madame Hilde, as it showed a future showdown/encounter/face-off/decision against some force in which he could possibly bring ruin and pain to those closest to him.
Lastly, the game prizes were nice ,but the major prize was won by a less-than-impressed Jacob…the first dance of the Midnight Promenade with Lady Astasia. He discussed with his comrades what to do as he was not familiar with such frivolous pursuits such as dancing…especially with nobility. Kethra suggested he attempt to sell it to the highest bidder as she noticed the shades of green many of the more well-to-do party goers turned when Jacob drew out the lucky ticket…especially her father.