From the canopy descended a small entourage. The party noticed several shifters mounted on enormous bats and ravens, and upon landing one large bat changed back to the form of a female dwarf. Etalman and Korrazah were surrounded by locals at spear and crossbow point. A feathered shifter hailed them in a rough dialect of the Common tongue of Khorvaire.
Unsure as to how to respond, Mosh stepped forward from his hiding place greeting the shifter. The feathered native, introducing himself as Volan, offered his respect to the aged druid.
Alarin followed Mosh stepping forward from hiding. Reluctantly Raxys dropped his invisibilty, and the natives assumed the goblin to be another user of druidic magic. Raxys did not correct Volan for calling him Treefriend, using the misinformation to his advantage.
After introductions, the group relayed to the Lamannians that they were on the hunt, and Volan informed them that Barzuln had sought refuge earlier with some of their more dark-hearted kin. Volan invited the party to their home, offering varying methods of druidic and aerial travel to take them miles below to the forest floor and to their village. Raxys offered to ride behind Volan on his werebat steed to learn more about the plane and its peoples.
As they desceded, Raxys learned more about the Purge orchestrated by the Silver Flame more than a century prior and how many shifters and those touched by Olarune fled to the Twilight Forest. Some lycanthropes and shifters held to the darkness in their hearts, and Barzuln had taken sanctuary with the Midnight Pack, a migrating colony composed of malevolent shifters, werebats, werewolves, and their ilk. Volan and his people belonged to a tribe called the Verdant Shell, a mixed group who made their home on the shell of a colossal turtle called The Archelon.
After minutes of flying, the Archelon came into view, a massive lumbering snapping turtle with an entire village built upon its moss-covered shell.
The community living on the Archelon were cautious of the visitors, but put at ease when Volan explained the party's goals and need. The Archelon lumbered along the forest floor, foraging from various plant life as it trekked its ancient path.
Upon the turtle's back was a small village of tents and semi-permanent structures. Volan's people and forebears had beseeched the Nature Guardian for aid, and in turn help to protect the Archelon from smaller threats. Mosh noticed the heavy workings of druidic magics tied to the community, everything had an ancient and primal feel to it. A twitch reminded the Gatekeeper that the tracking magic in the Droaamish Compass was fading and they needed to find Barzuln the Frigid soon if they had any chance of wrapping up the mysteries of Wyr.
Volan and his people knew the legends of the fabeled silver tree that Barzuln sought. The shifters invited Mosh and Raxys to commune with them and join in on a ritual to aid their chase. Mosh eagerly agreed, but Raxys cautiously declined, afraid to blow his cover of not being the Tree Friend the Verdant Shell believed him to be. The party gathered around the shaman yarnga- a teepee-like structure filled with aromatic smokes from various holy herbs and incenses. The aging orc sang his magic into the ritual performed by the Verdant Shell folk, and the party was blessed with the ability to step from tree to tree.
Thanking their hosts, the party linked hands, and Mosh led the way with the lasting magic of the troll hand compass. Miles passed in moments as they teleported through a continent sized forest.
Finally the party emerged at the edge of the forest, at a cliff's edge overlooking a valley below. Cradled in the valley was a lake, and at the crown of the lake stood a magnificent silver tree that was beyond breathtaking.
Unfortunately, however, the party also realized that surrounding a figure at the forefront was a pack of nocturnal predators- dire wolves and rats, shifters and werebeasts in animal and hybrid form. Barzuln had brought his guides to ensure he could claim the silver acorn…