Adventure 16: Rites of Manhood

Having dealt with the elemental threat, the heroes return to Keros Marus to report success. As promised, the heroes are offered the opportunity to participate in the Lykaria and count themselves as men amongst the Ursus. The are told that they must hunt a Xelus, a great cat of the plains, and each must bring back a tooth from the kill.

Shir uses his survival skills to track on the open plain, eventually finding a partially eaten carcass of a wild pelanon (antelope-like creature). Deducing that the predator would likely return for another go at the meat, the heroes decide to stage an ambush. After Shir’s proposal to have Nacu or Kur-Dan hide in the carcass is quickly vetoed by the interested parties, the three decide to hide in some nearby shrubbery. After doing their best to hide, they settle in and wait for their prey.

An hour or so later, a large Xelus appears. Unfortunately for the heroes, the winds are against them and the Xelus catches their scent. With a blazing fast charge it engages them in a fierce battle. Just when Shir laments that they are beating up on this poor beast, it flies into a rage and cuts him down, leaving him bloody and unconscious. After realizing that the battle had just gotten serious, the heroes redouble their efforts and manage to bring down the mighty beast.

After returning to the clan, each of the three is given a necklace bearing the tooth they brought back and the status that brings. A feast is held to celebrate and competitions are held. Fermented derba milk drinks are served, though only Kur-Dan’s manages to drink the unusual concoction without gagging. The heroes participate in the wrestling matches, the pukaria (mock combat), mounted archery competitions, and the derba races.

Following the celebration, the heroes proceed to the tent of the Leotis, Oikilikos of the clan. Here they drink a special brew and are guided on a dreamquest to find their spirit animals. The three find themselves in the hazy world of dreams, standing on a path through a forest. As they walk along, Kur-Dan brushes up against a bush, which begins to verbally accost him. After a heated argument, the bush whacks him in the leg, at which point he falls over broken at the shins like a felled tree. After an effort of will, Kur-Dan manages to return to normal. Realizing that thought has power in the world of dreams, the heroes begin playing tricks on one another.

Eventually the novelty wears off and they proceed down the path, coming upon a farmhouse with a number of Khunna (bovine-like creatures) in a field. As Kur-Dan approaches the bull of the herd, it lowers it’s head allowing him to touch it. Kur-Dan disappears in a flash of light, returning to the waking world.

Nacu and Shir continue down the path, eventually coming upon a small creek with a thin bridge across it. As the approach, a small badger-like creature leaps out of the bushes and blocks their path. It shakes with rage, foaming at the mouth while growling and snarling. Shir reaches down and touches the creature, then vanishes like Kur-Dan.

Nacu, now alone travels through the forest eventually seeing a fung (ape-like creature) eating fruit in the trees. When he climbs to touch the creature, it scrambles to another branch and says it is not sure if it wants to bond with Nacu. It says that Nacu’s hate for the Vel has tainted his purpose. After a discussion in which the fung shows how others have suffered at the hands of the Haroon, much as Nacu suffered at the hands of the Black Vel, Nacu finally lets go of his genocidal hatred. Only then does the fung allow Nacu to touch him.

Having found their spirit animals, all three heroes are branded with a stylized symbol of that animal. The next morning the group packs their things and continues down the road to Morencia. A few days out the heroes see a flash of light to the north. Moving to investigate, they find that a small clan of Ursus have been turned to stone. Moving into the village they see a strange metal device floating in the air. The device lashes out at them with a beam of intense energy and the stone villagers start to animate. After an intense battle, the heroes manage to destroy the device and reluctantly destroy the ill-fated villagers. Rasha identifies the device as some sort of magical creation well beyond his knowledge.

Leaving the village and most of it’s goods behind for their kinfolk, the heroes return to the Legion’s Road.

Adventure 15: Plains of Senitas

The heroes return to the pass and travel three days, finally exiting the mountains and making their way to the Legion’s Road. Here they part ways with Bhagram, who gives them a parting gift from his collection of herbs and his best wishes. The heroes travel for ten days through the rolling steppes of the Malfax region, eventually encountering a large, haggard encampment along the road. As the approach, they are confronted by several Ursus riders who’s armor and flesh appear singed. After Rasha makes it clear that the group means no harm, they are allowed to enter the encampments.

Here the heroes meet Keros Marus, chieftain of clan Meristes (Keros means chief). He explains that fire rained from the sky, landing in the area of their winter camping grounds at a place called Talii Hollow. Creatures of fire erupted from the crater and the land was rent asunder, turning the area into broken earth and lava pools. These creatures attacked the clan and drove them from the area.

The heroes offer to attempt to cleanse the area and explain their mission, to which Marus responds that should they succeed he will name them clan-friend and they will have the opportunity to undertake the Lykaria (ritual hunt). If they pass the rite into manhood, they will earn the right to speak at Ursus meetings and have some status amongst the other clans. The Oikilikos (shaman) of the clan, Leotis, will also take those who become men on the dreamquest to find their spirit animals.

Having agreed to help, the heroes make their way north, eventually coming upon the crater and it’s surrounding molten terrain. Elementals of fire wander the area and the only safe path involves leaping across on the floating chunks of rock. Surveying the scene, Utog and Nacu determine that with some mystical effort that can stabilize and area around them, preventing the stone slabs from capsizing. The heroes fight their way across the lava field, staying close to Nacu or Utog who are stabilizing their areas. When they can, Nacu and Rasha use the essence siphon to collect elemental essence for use in enchanting later.

Having crossed the field, the heroes climb the crater and find an elemental lord in the center flanked by molten bodyguards. A fierce battle ensues, with the heroes eventually learning to spread out to avoid the blasts of fire. At several points things look bad as both Kur-Dan and Utog fall during the battle, but thankfully Nacu had achieved sufficient mastery of his water powers to bring them back into the fight. Eventually the fiery lord is defeated and the area instantly begins to cool and revert to it’s natural state, though the damage done to the terrain and the plants will likely take years to undo.

Adventure 14: Library at Dalath (Part 2)

After defeating the numerous entities presumably summoned up by the man calling himself the Librarian, the heroes settle in for a night of rest in the main hall. The Librarian begs and pleads for them to release him, describing the awful conditions he is suffering due to having been trapped for weeks in the Hall of Art, but the parties mistrust of the man leads to caution.

When they finally break the demon’s seal and open the doors to the Hall of Art, they are greeted by a horrifying vision. The Yadaran wizard has created for loci pulling energy from the four dimensions/planes that the creatures he originally summoned came from. A area is divided into four parts, each pulsing with the energy from their native realms and twisted accordingly, all flowing into the wizard at the center of the room.

Realizing the import of what they are witnessing, Kur-Dan moves to engage the wizards as his comrades attempt to disable the loci. The heroes suffer ill effects of a type related to the realm contaminating the area they occupy, but they fight through it and destroy the loci one-by-one. Meanwhile, Kur-Dan struggles against a buffeting wind pushing him away from the wizard, all the while attempting to keep the wizard’s focus on him.

When the last of the loci fall, the heroes descend as a group on the wizard. Once the wizard’s shield falls, Kaz hits strikes him in the throat to silence him and he is quickly dispatched by a series of blows. On his body the heroes find the key to the Hall of Memories. Not knowing what to expect, the heroes opt to rest another day in the main hall before heading to the lower level and the Hall of Memories.

The heroes open the door to the Hall of Memories the next morning and are greeting by a translucent image of a Trangyar women who introduces herself as the guardian. The hall of memories has several alcoves containing the same magical device and shelves holding thousands of crystals. She says the a Master Van Dorel has authorized their use of the facility and that he has prepared a memory crystal for them. They are also told that they may not access any of the other crystals.

The heroes gather in an alcove and view the memories collected by the crystal as if seeing it through their own eyes. They learn of the arrival of the Nezura from the West, the period when the ancient Sidd and Trangyar were conquered peoples, the Nezuran experiments in race creation, and finally the rebellion that led to the Nezurans being sealed behind the sentinels and the creation of the Wall of Storms. Through asking questions, the heroes also learn the details of the Trangyar decline and the last Trangyar war against the Dar-Guhal.

Having learned what they could, the heroes resolve to return to the Jurha Pass and continue on to the Ursus city of Morencia in the Malfax region.

Adventure 13: Library at Dalath

Making their way in the direction Jura indicated, the heroes eventually come upon a large stone structure appearing to largely be intact. Cautiously making their way into the greeting room, they notice immediately Ahuric runes painted on the wall. Shir reaches out to scratch off one of the runes, but is stopped short by his companions. Littered across the floor they find a few burned scraps of what appears to be journal pages. The fragments seem to indicate someone was here conducting magical experiments.

Proceeding into the main hall the heroes note the room is large and pentagon-shaped. There appear to be doors to five other halls, all save one closed, and there also appears to be a stairway down to the lower level. In the center of the room stands a strange magical device projecting a series of magical runes through crystal orbs onto three of the doors. A fourth orb lays shattered on the ground beside what was presumably it’s mount. The bookshelves and books in the room are decayed and crumble to the touch. The walls are covered in painted runes like the entry hall. The heroes find more burned journal pages which seem to be written by an increasingly unstable mind.

The three doors with rooms over them are labeled in Ahuric as the Hall of Science, the Hall of Philosophy, and the Hall of Literature. The fourth door which no longer has runes over it is labeled the hall of religion. The fifth door is labeled the hall of art and it has a symbol scorched into it resembling a circle divided in four, with four symbols in demonic script within them. The door to the lower level is labeled the hall of memories appears to be locked and requires a magical key. In addition, the journal fragments indicate a guardian of some sort prevented the writer from entering.

As the heroes study the symbol on the door to the Hall of Art, a voice from beyond the door calls to them and begs for help. He says he is sealed inside by magic and can only be released by disrupting the magical lock on the door. Working with the heroes, he reasons that touching abberant flesh, shadowdust, ectoplasm, and demonic ichor to the magical seal will deactivate it. For the moment, the heroes table the decision on what to do about the wizard.

Making their way to the open door to the Hall of Religion, the heroes hear a disembodied voice that offers them a deal. Scratch off the runes on the inner walls and he will not kill them. After negotiations which were used as a stall tactic fail, the creature manifests and a battle ensues. The creature, which the journal fragments name Adelzebub, is a demon from the dimension of Ihinas. Kaz is overcome by the terrifying appearance of the entity, and flees for most of the battle. A long and brutal fight in which the demon continually summons imps to his aid forces the heroes to deal with the small creatures or become overwhelmed. Eventually the demon is slain and some of it’s ichor is collected.

The heroes next decide to open the door to the Hall of Science. They opt to leave the rune at the door in place, figuring that they are warding runes, so that the creatures inside cannot leave that hall. When they open the door they find only mounds of dust five or six feet deep. While peering in from the door, two worm-like creatures burst from the dust and latch onto Shir and Kur-Dan with tentacle-like tongues, dragging the heroes deeper into the room. After a relatively short battle the worm-creatures lay dead. Nacu has Shir harvest the worms thick hide to be made into armor later and saves a portion of the aberrant flesh.

The heroes move on to the Hall of Philosophy. When they open the door they seen nothing but empty bookshelves and shadows. Having again left the rune in place at the door, a disembodied voice taunts them and indicates it will not show itself when there is no hope of escape. Lowering the rune to goad the creature out of hiding, they are confronted with a shadowlord that the journal fragments name Uriath. Uriath summons forth shadows to aid him and uses his power to create a shadow version of Kur-Dan. It is a difficult fight in which many of the group suffer grievous wounds, but Nacu manages to keep everyone alive through it all. The heroes collect the shadowdust and move on to the Hall of Literature.

The heroes again leave the rune in place and head into the hall as a group. Here they are confronted by ghosts who seemingly manifest from the air, led by a spirit of sorrow that the journal fragments name Telindria. The heroes later learn her tragic tale from the wizard behind the door, but in the meantime they must fight for their lives. Finding that there weapons have reduced effect on the incorporeal creatures, it is up the the magic users and divine practitioners to deal with the threat. Eventually the spirits are all banished and the heroes collect the ectoplasm.

To be continued…

Adventure 12: Kalikan and Jurha Pass

The heroes take a few days off in Kalikan to rest and resupply. A few hours outside the city the group finds a broken wagon just off the road. Amongst the wreckage Kur-Dan finds a fine bottle of Sidd Hu (wine) and he claims it for himself. After setting up camp for the evening, Dar-Guhal assassins attack the group. The assassins bring forth a demon to aid in the assault, but in the end the heroes manage to defeat them.

Another day of travel later, the heroes come across a small stage set-up along the road, looking much like a stage for puppets. Shir proclaims it must have been sent by Wendil, and promptly walks up to the stage and disappears. With reluctance, and more than a little annoyance, the others opt to follow him.

There is a flash of light and the heroes find themselves in a room, each having been transformed into a puppet version of themselves. Shir, out of curiosity, stabs Kur-Dan in the arm leave a small gash from which red yarn trickles. Kur-Dan cuffs Shir in response, nearly knocking Shir off his feet. Making their way deeper into the structure, each hero is transported to their own experience and are confronted with moral dilemmas. Most choose the path of sacrifice, if reluctantly, though there are no truly right choices.

After being reunited and sharing their experiences, the group is confronted by three doors. One is marked with a fishing hook, one with the symbol of the Sidd God Shir, and a third with a tree. Rasha, Nacu and Utog choose to walk through the tree door, while Kur-Dan pushes Shir through the fishhook door before walking into the door with the holy symbol. After another flash of light they find themselves outside and normal again and each receives a blessing from Wendil based on their choices.

The heroes continue on into the Jurha Pass and eventually encounter a Kalikan patrol under attack from a group of Hur. Utog, Nacu, and Rasha engage the Hur on the slopes while Kur-Dan and Shir help relieve the patrol on the road. After a quick skirmish the Hur are defeated and the heroes earn the thanks of the patrol.

After another few hours of travel through the pass, the heroes encounter Jura, who tells them that they must travel off the pass to the Library at Dalath, the ruins of an ancient Trangyar library. He tells them that there they will gain information they will need to known if they wish to defeat the Nezuran threat.

Adventure 11: Signs in the Sky

Having rescued the Svarda’s son, the heroes turn north and begin their journey towards Kalikan. Opting to conserve resources, the group decides to travel by land rather than taking a boat up the river. Soon they find themselves traveling behind Bhagram, though they keep a respectful distance so as to not bring their troubles down upon him. During an 18-day stretch of travel, the heroes enjoy a relatively uneventful time save for a brief skirmish with some bandits, who quickly realize they picked the wrong prey and flee.

The heroes find themselves in the town of Hani, where they spend the day resupplying. During their brief visit, Shir encounters some Vel traders and has an interesting discussion. Meanwhile, Kaz meets an odd creature while working at the local smithy, an annui of the Forge who calls itself Smoulder. In cryptic language, Smoulder suggests that together they will forge great things and shape the future with them.

In the town square, Rasha comes upon a scene of a Shezar-Ki in heavy armor holding down a Punjal prisoner. When Rasha inquires, he learns that the Shezar-Ki is a Sar-Kadam, a paladin of justice about to pass judgement on the criminal. Rasha considers the pleas of the criminal, but opts not to intervene as the Sar-Kadam executes the prisoner.

The heroes also receive a plea from a local women, who says her grandmother’s necklace has been stolen. After investigating, the heroes eventually discover that it was merely lost in her house and they return it to her.

The heroes then resume traveling north along the road and after 9 days Shir sees a holy symbol blazing above a village. Lead by Shir, the group finds that the village is being attacked by Ursus raiders. The heroes fight their way through the village streets to drive off the Ursus, eventually confronting and defeating Tarius Atathrax and his windriders. They claim his enchanted armor and they go about putting out fires and caring for villagers.

While recuperating in the village, Kur-Dan stumbles across a kaishan with a dragon motif laying in the town square. When he inquires, a local elder says that the sword fell from the sky many years ago and that no one has been able to lift it. When Kur-Dan tries, the sword comes up easily, as if it were meant for his hands. Shir recalls a story from Ran that said only a descendant of Sun can wield Sun’s kaishan, peacebringer.

The heroes move on the next day, and after eleven days of uneventful travel through the grasslands they come upon the fortified city of Kalikan.

Adventure 10: Fatal Assumptions

Having concluded their investigation, the heroes scout out Svarda Masrangdal’s estate and plan their next move. After some deliberation, Kaz is sent in to investigate the house. Avoiding patrols, Kaz makes his way into the house and eventually down into the cellar, but as he makes his way deeper he trips an alarm and a trap that he failed to detect. With armored creatures with a rodent-like appearance charge towards him, he uses the shadowshroud cloak in desperation to teleport straight up. Fortunately for Kaz, he was not too deep and he appeared some five feet in the air above the ground.

Regrouping just outside the estate, the group decides to have Kaz and Shir incapacitate the guards and then have the group follow-up. Use stealth and swift attacks, Kaz and Shir take down the guards/patrols and hide their unconscious bodies.

Moving into cellar again, the group follows a passage leading into a catacomb. The hall leads to a large room with locked doors to the left and right and a central path forward. The room contains an altar to the god of the dead and offerings to the ancestors. Zekezarin, rat-like creatures known to serve the Nezura storm from the right path and attack the party. A swift but intense battle follows, but the heroes emerge victorious. The group quickly checks the right path, finding a serious of stone sarcophagi set into the walls on two tiers in a circular room. Bedrolls and other basic camping material are arrayed around the area.

After investigating the central path and bypassing a poison gas trap, the heroes come to a room with a barred iron door. They can see a large, ape-like creature with a long maw prowling in the room, which Nacu identifies as a Skrull, a creature native to Heru-Ardesh. On the other side of the room is a small cell in which they can see Rajesh trapped.

The heroes double-back and investigate the left path. Kaz unlocks the door and they make their way down the hall, which opens up into a room containing Black Vel relaxing and consulting maps on a table. The Vel are initially surprised, a fact which the heroes use to fallback to the main room and create a choke point at the hall. The Vel recover quickly and press into their groups frontline, using their shields to push the heroes back and create a breach. Once they break through, a chaotic melee ensues. The battle is difficult, as the Black Vel are all wearing plate armor, but the heroes eventually prevail. During the melee, Shir is taunted by the leader who calls himself Fistleader Kargarak, but Shir ultimately prevails. On the fistleader’s body they find a magical key.

Kaz, in a moment of inspiration, feeds one of the bodies to the Skrull and uses the distraction to unlock Rajesh’s cell. As they make their way out of the catacombs, a group of Shezar-Ki teleport in from of them, wearing armor decorated in a thorn motif. The leader, introducing himself as Thornlord Walikh, calls for the groups surrender. A brutal melee ensues, with the Thornlord unleashing magic upon the heroes, but eventually the Black Ishnah are defeated and the Thornlord teleports away when the last of his men fall.

The heroes bring Rajesh back to Svarda Chandreshi, and per Jura’s advice ask for a boon rather than payment.

Adventure 9: First Opportunity

The heroes, forced to choose between defending their employer or handing him over to Svarda Namreshi, find themselves in a moral quandary. After some heated conversation, a battle ensues as the Svarda and his men descend on the wagons. The heroes are hard-pressed, but eventually break out and cut down the surrounding archers. The Svarda’s heavy armor and shield make him a much harder nut to crack, but eventually magic and brute force bring him down. Amongst his things they find an enchanted clockwork bird, which they will later put to good use.

Three days later they finally arrive and Jangir and receive their hard earned money. While Bhagram thanks them for their service, he suggests that too much trouble follows them to make them desirable guards. As the group takes a few days in the city, Utog encounters the Keeper of the Ways outside the city, who thanks him for his service at the Sanctuary of Odalon.

Meanwhile, Shir sees a glowing holy symbol on the door of a house as he passes through the merchant district. Investigating, he engages in a strange conversation with a shady Punjal named Baramashta. Baramashta insists he sees no symbol on his door and that he is a symbol clothing manufacturer. After roping several friends into helping him, Shir and company break into Baramashta’s house and discover that he is using children as slaves to make his wares. During the attempt to free the children, Baramashta is slain and his home is sent on fire.

The heroes then hear word that Svarda Chandreshi‘s son has gone missing and that there is a reward for his return. After inquiring, the heroes begin an investigation into the disappearance. The trail first leads to the son’s friends, Basha and Jangali, who say that they were attacked while leaving a club named Bashrai. When pressed, the two mention that they heard about the club from an “exotic goods” dealer named Kasresh. After interrogating Kasresh, he reveals that he was paid by a member of a gang called the Gloved Hand named Anjali.

After several attempts at tracking this fellow down fail, the heroes eventually bribe Nika (the beer fairy) with a keg of fine Tark. After consulting other annui in the city, Nika leads the heroes to Anjali’s home, where they interrogate him until he reveals the gang’s hangout and that their leader Ashrangi set up the kidnapping.

The heroes ambush the gang in their hideout, a bar in the poor quarter, and quickly dispatch many of them with a fiery blast from Rasha. Most of those not killed in the initial blast surrender immediately and Ashrangi is captured in a wall created by Nacu. The heroes discover that Chandreshi’s son was kidnapped by the group for a Svarda named Masrangdal, who is now holding the boy at his estate. The heroes inform Chandreshi’s people, but are told that they cannot move against Masrangdal without more solid proof; so the heroes resolve to rescue the son on their own.

Adventure 8: Settling Debts

Having cleansed the Sanctuary of Odalon, the heroes continue on to the city of Nani. Bhagram announces that he will be trading in the city for three days, so the group has some time to themselves.

While going about his usual routine, Shir runs across a lone Sidd wandering the streets proclaiming that the end is coming and that only by turning to Shir can they be saved. After a very Shir-like conversation, the man wanders off to continue his mission. Meanwhile, some of the others in the group who are in the bazaar run into a traveling merchant calling himself Sabu Panish, purveyor of potions. Having heard of the groups good deeds, he offers to sell them some of his wares at a deep discount.

After gathering back together, one of the heroes mentions that he saw a bounty for an escaped warlock named Bhaharashta Blackbeak. The heroes decide to recapture this fiend and collect the bounty. After investigating, they head into the jungle lead by Tima tracking for the group. They discover Bhaharashta in a small clearing and set up an ambush, but a botched attempt to sneak-up on him by Shir ruins their surprise. Bhaharashta summons imp-like creatures to his aid and Kaz dives into the fight, left hanging out to dry by Shir who retreated from the scene. After an intense fight which resulted in the death of Kaz from blackfire, the heroes eventually vanquished the warlock. Using their resurrection herb, they bring Kaz back from the dead. On his body they find the Shadowshroud cloak, which was what let the warlock teleport repeatedly during the battle.

After a short recuperation, the heroes decide to investigate the disappearance of several merchants over the last month. Their investigation eventually leads them to decide that the victims are being taken after parties at the homes of various nobles. Using her status as Tariti, Tima secures an invite to the party of Svarda Pasharesh. Most of the heroes remain outside, while Kaz and Rashanu accompany Tima into the party. After a relatively uneventful party, she takes her leave and sets out for home with the party shadowing her. Along the way she is attacked by Svarda Basaranand and his compatriots. Soon after engaging their foe, they learn that the Svarda and his companions are ghouls. After a tactically interesting fight in the streets and alleyways of Nani, the heroes eventually slay the last of the creatures.

The next day the heroes set out on the last leg of their trip to Jangir, but along the way they are ambushed by Svarda Namreshi and a group of his men. The party is given a choice, surrender Bhagram or die.

Adventure 7: Sanctuary of Odalon

At the request of the Keeper of the Ways, Utog leads the group north into the jungle to slay an annui named Seoud Oui Odaloni, the mad king of the broken wood. Eventually they come upon the entrance to the Sanctuary of Odalon, which was once a garden of unique character. Using his powers of nature and an application of will, Utog opens the thorn gates (large interlocking thorns sealing the entrance).

The heroes encounter three paths, each pointed to by a tree with limb-like branches. When asked, the tree indicates in a disembodied voice what is down each path. Turning west first, the heroes encounter an ancient tree in a clearing with acorns scattered across the ground. When the approach the tree, creatures resembling twisted saplings blackened by disease burst forth from the surrounding brush. The heroes form a defensive position at the tree and dispatch the foes with relative efficiency thanks to Rashanu’s magic.

They then go back and take the center path, a cavern whose floor is covered by large mushrooms. The mushrooms are red, white, and green. Utog and Nacu recognize the white and green mushrooms as dangerous, and so the heroes navigate the cavern by stepping only on the red mushrooms.

Emerging from the cavern, the heroes discover three new paths. The heroes again opt to go west, coming to a stone gate with the following words inscribed in it (deciphered by Kaz): Strong is the back of the oak, made to lift even stone, but the journey from nut to tree is not so easy. Soil of superlative fecundity, sweet water from on high, and nourishing life from the stillness will see it grow.

The heroes than go back to the central path, which leads to a clearing covered by churned soil. There are tree roots crisscrossing the area and a refuse pile near the back. Fearing that creatures may lurk beneath the earth, Kaz uses his natural agility to navigate the roots, take some soil, and search the refuse pile.

The heroes then backtrack to the great tree and take an acorn, then go east until they come to a series of increasing large mushrooms leading to an island of land held aloft by long, thick roots. Several of the heroes jump their way to the island, finding a tree shading a wooden basin in which mystical waters lay. When they approach the tree comes to life, animated by the will of an annui named Dayoon Nina Asayee. The heroes battle the tree, all the while trying to remain on the island as it rocks to-and-fro. After a drawn out battle, the heroes eventually defeat the annui despite the endless complaints of Shir, and they gather some water. Kaz opts to spare the annui, whose unconscious body lay in the broken remnants of the tree.

The heroes make their way down the last path, coming to still pond in another clearing. When they approach, a hag arises from the water with a number of Riyopi (a water fairy). She challenges them to answer a pair of riddles or else she will take all of their possessions. Knowing they are not prepared to fight so powerful an opponent, they opt to answer the riddles.

Having answered correctly, the heroes puzzle at the stone gate for a time, eventually coming to an answer. When they pass the stone gate, they confront Seoud, engaging in a vicious battle as Seoud turns the plants against them. With Seoud defeated, the heroes return to their journey towards Jangir.


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