My past is a haze of acorn collections, one night stands with pixie chicks, and running messages for The Man. A hard life, but without many complications. Then came this thing I like to call Awareness. It comes with more baggage than a train filled with my ex-wives.
It started with this urge to tell some broad with short silver hair: “Remember, if I come back and that bastard is alive, your head will roll with his.”
Murder threats. A great introduction to this seedy little village filled with secrets. They panicked just from me delivering the note with a little class.
“You snuck into a house, where you found a silver-haired elven woman and a young elven girl and wrote “Who’s the bastard?” on their walls in illusions. When the woman realized they were illusions, she fled the house, collapsing in the street beyond, apparently terrified."
When they were busy running scared, some other chump said, “Twixt night and day, I heard you pray, your songs lulled me to sleep. Thy off’ring accept, our deal be kept. In safety, you will weep.”
You would think by they way they acted this was the biggest thing that ever happens in their lives. But weeping women and screaming kids can be deceiving. It soon became apparent this village might be some mad experiment in torture and brutal survival. I have my suspicions it may be who they call The Great Tree that calls the shots and keeps them on the edge of disaster…
Over the next few days this town was attacked by hawks, the inkeepers son was murdered and turned to stone, nothics melted off my skin which miraculously healed by the next morning, and a little girl ran away into the woods to meet with a troll made out of grass. But I get ahead of myself here is how it all started:
The Death of Langdellan
One of my companions, Old Crow, headed north on the dirt track they call a main road around here. He found the body of the innkeeper stretched out, smiling and turned to stone with his petrified guts being ripped out by some demonic chickens. But this was no mindless killing, the murderer left the murder weapon at the scene. A nice jeweled dagger with a symbol on it, two R’s and a green gem. Needless to say I kept it for evidence.
The elves wanted the bits of stone back for sentimental reasons so we helped them fight away the demon chickens with magic and the demon’s natural dislike of garlic. My other companion Patches was worthless in the fight, fainting right away in the beginning. Nearly got himself killed but I found out he seems to have some strange ability to transform into a flightless bird. If this world is based on survival of the fittest I have my doubts about him…
While hey were getting the stone back to town I built a cairn of stones where he died and I gave the poor boys father a hint about the killer. I showed him the murder weapon, but I stayed hidden. Old Crow, Patches and myself have all decided to keep hidden. Secrets and death lay thick and we have no intention of letting ourselves become targets.
We gave him a proper burial near the tree we made our home. Strangest thing, hemlock bloomed right after the burial. I suspect Old Crow, he has a macabre sense of humor. For my own part I fashioned a small offering made out of some bloodhawk feathers we had faced earlier that day. These barbarians took it as some sort of “sign”!
Pull a few bloodhawks out of the street so they don’t rot or spend a little time making pieces of art out of feathers and the next thing you know we are being called “spirits”. Something has to be keeping these poor saps alive despite themselves. There is something about this place I need to understand. Why am I aware? Why are two others like me aware? How have these elves survived in a place this hostile? And who is the Great Tree?
The Missing Girl
While spying on the dame with the silver hair more bad news struck like a splash of cold water to your face. I had been seeing if this broad was so popular in town because she was their leader. Turns out she may just be a floozy who likes to collect flowers for making poisons or medicines I’m not sure. While busy collecting her noxious foliage her brat slipped off into the woods without saying a word.
Being a softy, I went out in search of her thinking it would be no trouble. Turns out I was wrong.
After tracking her for miles I found her in a grove of trees facing down a bear. Poor dumb brute, and I mean the kid, she had no idea the thing was going to eat her. Kept saying “The Great Tree will protect me.” So I played cards with this bear to save her life. He had a full house and I only had a pair of twos so I bluffed. I threw up a false image of an even bigger bear to distract it and let her run away. It worked well enough. Little to my knowledge Patches, Old Crow and her mother were hot on my heels. A scrappy little fight ensued where we put down some rabid wolves and the bear. Thought we were in the clear until a walking tree decided to join in. Never seen the like before. It was like an elf, but tall as a tree and seemed to be made out of wood and leaves. It snatched the girl and knocked the old lady out of the fight. I wanted to follow it to this Great Tree it was telling the girl it would take her to, but Old Crow wanted none of that. For the next half hour he whittled away at it with some sort of spell. In the end, we got the girl back safe to town (tough I did have to save her from a Nothic nest) and we got the mom rescued. Turns out Old Crow can take a dead animal and make it less dead. A new member to our strange little group, Zombear carried the dame back to town on its back. The dame even gave it a hug after. Not sure if it was kind or creepy.
One valuable lesson learned. Nothics see and eat magic. Not a great fit for me and my invisible flying magic using companions. I traded the boots the mom had lent her daughter for the daughters life in that nothic nest. It got the magic boots, I got the girl.
The Soiled Dove
The doll with the silver hair is named Isyndra. She might be a lady of the night, some crazy witch doctor, or maybe even an assassin. Its hard to tell just yet but her daughter has caught the fancy of the only thing powerful enough it might be able to keep these elves alive. The kid calls it the Great Tree and it seems to be the one calling the shots with those over-sized moving topiary that tried to kidnap her. Turns out she has never even seen The Old Tree, its all part of their superstitions around here. But unlike the Easter Bunny this thing might be real. After all, he has giant servants running around saying his name.
The little girl also hates a man we know simply as The Bard. Sounds like a pansy to me. Who would be scared of a bard? Still, from what we can gather, he’s a fighter and a magic user with some sort of power over this town. Isyndra owes him her house from the sound of it too. We don’t know what she had to do to pay for it though… Old Crow let the little girl know we would take care of the bard if he gets a black ring around his neck.
We do know this: There are a fair number of people that pass through. About 1-3 a week. The majority of people that pass through stay with Isyndra, unless they are a large group. There have been more groups of late, and less individuals. Even from those groups people go and “talk” to her. I suspect more than just idle chatter.
The Great Tree uses troll things as messengers. They can cast Feirie Fire.
Lellding is a healer.
Something wants me to keep the girl alive.
Lelding can do sending magic to reach someone with a message far away.
Issindra messaged someone about getting new boots and a cloak. I suspect The Bard.
An elf named Raphalion,, carries a dagger a lute. Has red hair and freckles. Northwest to find him.
Disappearing when under the animal friendship spell is abnormal. They didn’t know the pixies could disappear.
When not invisible gnothics no give a shit!
Old dude wants to get with the elf. “Because he failed to get with the mother. He wants her to get rid of his curse. Only the moonlight brought by an artist can take the curse. I do hope this one agrees. 70 times I’ve tried. 70 times I’ve failed. Perhaps by collecting one younger she will will be more willing than the others.”
Tree turtle is surrounded by two auras of consecration and one area of desecration. It knows we are unusual and can sense our presences. Does its magic in the circle in front of it. There is a giant jug of water or oil, and three giant piles of vegetables. We have all taken messages for the turtle in the past. We have all brought messages to him. Doesn’t care if you touch him. The tree is a curse. He doesn’t know who cursed him. He knows all fairies. Silver hair means born in the moonlight. She must be brought to the turtle by an artist. The little girl will have a choice. The curse causes immense pain.
Healing him helps him. He wants me to stay with him while he decays. He will take forever to decay. Cure wounds makes him feel better. While he is the tree, the trolls serve him.
The turtle doesn’t remember pain when he first took on the curse.
To make a silver haired elf, the child has to be born in the woods at night under a full moon.
The turtle is able to speak in my head at a distance. He wanted me to protect the girl.
The circle in the cave heals people slightly.
The turtle is able to move around. And the roots writhe. He came from the mountains and we lived on his back.
The bard and two guys went back into town. The two guys stay at the inn, and so does the bard. He wants the little girl. He will give clothing to issindra if she sends the little girl with him and offs one of his companions.
Thorn spent his time screwing with kids who had a friend turned to stone. The petrification wears off after a day.
The bard has the same symbol on his cloak as the dagger.
One man ended up dead on Isyndras bed and I learned a little tune I can hum with some magic power to it.