Belluae

Where the wild things are

As the party approached the massive nest, they noticed humongous red feathers scattered about. Raxys, determined to seek aid from those within the perceived house, approached. With a flutter of wings and a shrill cry, a massive young bird peeked over the edge of the nest- which Alarin recognized as a thunderbird. 

The magnificence of this roc was not lost on the party, but they feared for their lives, unsure how to face such an enormous foe. As the hatchling ruffled its wings, eyeing the group like catepillars, the massive branch shook violently. Thrown to their backs, they could only look on in helpless awe as a cat larger than most dragons had pounced onto the treebranch and in a single swipe, snatched up the massive bird. The muffled cries of the bird in the cat's mouth were carried away as the colossal feline leaped to a lower branch some thousand feet below. With another leap the cat was out of sight and the party was left in terror as they realized how truly small they were in this world.

Gathering a few of the marvelous feathers before running for their lives, the party soon realized they had nowhere to go and no reliable methods to reach the forest floor from their perch. Knowing that their quarry was fleeing ever faster from them, they puzzled over what to do. In his fear, Raxys made the mistake of getting too close to the edge of the branch, and was washed with the most intense vertigo he had ever known. Shaking, the goblin retreated to the center of the branch where he lay on his back clutching the bark for dear life.

Etalman and Korrazah noticed silhouettes moving through the higher branches and canopy. Raxys cloaked himself in invisibilty, Alarin and Mosh took refuge under the massive oak leaves strewn about, as Korrazah set herself in a battle stance ready for a fight and Etalman looked on confused as to what action to take.

 

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Furthest from home.

Mosh discovers tracks left by their quarry, and identifies the prints of a creature not unlike a bugbear, a wikkawak- a creature of winter and ice. The group isn't quite sure what the wikkawak has to do with the vampire they seek, but being the only trail they have they opt to follow the tracks deeper into the Chanthwood.

Using the rituals known to the Gatekeepers, Mosh attunes a dowsing rod of yew to point towards the nearest portal to other worlds, and so the group follows their course led by druid rite and muddy footprints…

Crunching under Raxys' boot, the goblin discovers a red oak leaf the size of a tower shield as Mosh and Alarin point out a gnarled oak before them with a strange natural opening. Mosh lets the group know that this is the portal to the Twilight Forest. As the heroes debate their next course of action, Korrazah boldy walks into the unknown. Alarin, Mosh, and Raxys have no choice but to follow suit.

Exiting the oak, they find themselves in a marvelous world- a primal world. As they exit, Mosh appears to stand taller like an orc half his age, invigorated by the abundant natural magics of the realm. Once through the doorway, to the dismay of the children of Khorvaire, they turn to find only a knothole in the titantic oak they now stand upon, a branch wider than most rivers. With the door shut behind them, they can only move forward. Raxys sees ahead some sort of dwelling, urging to the others to investigate, although Mosh and Alarin try to convince him it is some kind of nest.

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Who's that I see walkin' in these woods?

25 Vult, 999 YK

Examining the corpse of the courier, the group discovers that the half-elf girl was attacked by a vampire, but she was left to die. Raxys decreed that she was scared to death, most likely by the wisps feeding off of her fear. Her body was abandoned, her parcels untouched by her attacker.

Investigating her satchel the group discovered two letters of interest from Mayor ir'Sykes of Wyr. One addressed to a barrister in Aundair's capital of Fairhaven, named and described each member of the party (save Etalman), explaining that the party had been deputized in an investigation, but that the matter had been resolved and the travelers were free agents again with no bonds to Wyr or the crown of Aundair. The second letter, simpler in fashion, addressed to Warchief Horgun of the Gnarl Valley centaurs, pleading with the warchief to not attack guards she had sent into the Chanthwood (to search for Raxys the night prior).

Deciding to leave the poor khoravar where she lay to avoid future incrimination or suspicion, the group headed deeper into the woods, following Mosh's Droaamish compass. Mosh had discovered at the scene, a heavy set of tracks that seem to belong to a white-furred bugbear burdened by weight, the tracks deep in the muddy earth. The tracks heading in the same course as the troll's hand pointed them…

Deeper into the forest, Mosh gets the feeling that the he and his friends are being watched. Adding to the foreboding sensations, Alarin's Irian crystal spins wildly in his wayfinder. Fading in from the shadows, step seven black-coated dire wolves with red eyes- Shadow Wolves of Mabar.

Raxys draws first blood with Journey on one of the shadowy beasts, and Etalman sinks a few arrows into another of the pack. Mosh attempts to get the pack to back down, but the beasts respond to the druid's empathy with hostility, quickly taking the legs out from him and Etalman.

As Mosh defends himself with his spear, Raxys keeps his foes at bay with stabs and illusions. Korrazah smashes into the wolves with her dancing chain and heavy flail, adding new teeth to her collection, while Alarin illuminates the dark pack with radiant flames. Etalman's sword still bent, he relies upon his bow taking shots at wolves his new companions wound.

Alarin turns to the remaining wolves, and bright rainbow feathers of light envelope them and Mosh, but the old orc had time to shield his eyes from the illusion. Caught by surprise by a spell Alarin has never had knowledge of, he surmises that the coautl-esque feathers of light must be a gift from his time as a celestial host. The wolves of shadow stricken blind by the spell, were easily felled by the combined efforts of the group. As Raxys tends to their wounds, the group has to wonder if the wolves were called by the year-end proximity to darkness during Long Shadows, or if they were set upon them by a vampiric master…

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Into the Woods

25 Vult, 999 YK

As the villagers of Wyr trade for fantastical items from Sora Esma's cart of wonders, the group takes a moment to talk to Boo. The old vintner explains how he had come to the conclusion that his friend had been destroyed by a vampire, having studied the undead for decades. He gifted the party a special arrow from his collection to help bring the murderer to ruin, wishing he could journey with them to avenge his friend, but knowing the wilds are no place for the unprepared.

Into the Chanthwood following the pulsing directions of Mosh's grisly compass, the path quickly becomes overrun by vines and undergrowth as the group must stray from the trodden road. Shadows envelope the forest, much darker than should be for so early in the morning, and with uncertain realization Raxys remembers they they are entering the nights of Long Shadows at year's end- not the optimal time to hunt vampires.

Mosh notices several tracks scattered along their path; hooved animals and birds, and stranger tracks similar to horse and goat- but that Mosh is able to identify as centaur and satyr from their depth into the soil and placement of stride.

The Chanthwood is eerily quiet as they make their way through the forest. Alarin and Raxys attempt to learn more about their new companion, but his answers are guarded.

Strange red light catches their attention, which Mosh and Raxys identify as the lure of the will-o-wisp. Three of the aberrations hover over a fallen body. Immediately the heroes set upon the orbs, Raxys cleaves one in half with a single blow- annihilating the wisp and simultaneously unlocking latent potential of his relic dagger Journey.

Finishing off the remaining wisps, attention turns to their victim, a young khoravar courier.

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The murder of Bakji Cooper

25 Vult, 999 YK

The murder of Bakji Cooper has been solved, but with it comes a greater mystery and even bigger threat to our heroes and the simple people of Wyr.

By her own confession, the kitsune-turned-vampire Kionna tore out the samsaran's throat nearly two weeks ago, but as the party pressed her for information, it became clear that the dark will of her unknown master was forcing her hand. Conflicted upon granting mercy to an unnatural entity, Raxys staked the young boreal fox-kin to her coffin, but could not bring himself to destroy Kionna entirely.

Mosh, Alarin, and Raxys agree to attempt to cure the perfumer of her vampiric curse and stow her coffin away into their extradimensional rucksack to prevent the villagers of Wyr from exacting a mob's revenge. Informing Lt. Darius of their plan, the captain reluctantly agrees to stay his blade, urging the party to chase after the mysterious figure known as Barzuln.

Korazzah insists they reach the Chanthwood by sunset, using the day to their advantage to ready themselves for a battle against an even greater vampire.

Speaking with Fie the Fabler, they learn that the Chanthwood is a mysterious forest that the scholar Talybus believed to have ties to Lamannia- a wild and primal realm. From speaking with Ash, Raxys knows that many shifters and lycanthropes fled to the plane of the Twilight Forest following the Purge by the Silver Flame. This adds weight to the tale of Graypaw that was torn from Bakji's storybook.

Concluding that the story has some truth regarding lycanthropes, the mystery remains why a vampire would kill a shopkeep for such a simple story, and the motives behind Barzuln commanding Kionna to murder Bakji remain clouded.

A familiar sound interrupts their pondering, as the party steps outside the Gold Dragon to see an overloaded cart pulled by a muscular bugbear- the peddler Sora Esma has come to Wyr. On behalf of Mextwizx, Esma gives to Raxys his cauldron, a week before an Orien courier was meant to deliver it. In trading with the hobgoblin crone Raxys, Alarin, and Mosh gain new armaments and trinkets from the mysterious trader. She offers insight to their undead quarry, and asks the party to accept her elven nephew into their company. As the group concludes business, a small crowd of onlookers draws to the old woman's cart, intrigued to see what fantastical wares this outsider has brought to trade…

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The road so far...
Tales of the heroic adventures, set upon a path not of their choosing, but one they are destined to shape.

Guys, this is where I will port over the synapsis so far. Feel free to edit it, add to it, and make new posts, either updating notes or personal journy entries of your characters.

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