When we last left the party…
They’d just found both Barry and Lillian in life-threatening situations and managed to get their friends back to the palace healers before retiring for the night after a good long soak in the hot tub. Knowing Lillian won’t be able to go through with the wedding ceremony for a day at least, they assume they’ll have some time to figure out what their next move is after Raltar is wed and free to leave the forest.
Sadly for them, Barry seems to have other ideas. The gnome wakes Raltar in the midst of the night and half convinces, half begs the sleepy king to get married that day regardless. Lillian is strong, she’ll survive. Raltar agrees and the dawn brings with it an incredible breakfast feast, or breakfeast, to commemorate the royal wedding. The party members are given brief pamphlets describing the wedding events, and then a corrected pamphlet with only breakfeast and the actual ceremony on it.
The moment breakfeast ends Raltar, Nicholas, and Hawthuum are rushed to get their formalwear on and to the alter, where Lillian’s presumed bridesmaids are already waiting for her. Nicholas, a bit confused as to why the alter looks like just a large tree root, detects magic on it only to see what may very well be one of the hearts of the forest. A hush falls over the crowd, and Lillian enters. She wears no gown, only a snow white ranger uniform, custom made and immaculately clean but still fully functional for combat should the need arise. A half cape covers her injured arm from the public, but despite her injuries she walks to the alter slowly and of her own accord. Barry accompanies her down the aisle, but the small gnome wouldn’t be able to support her weight if he tried.
With Lillian and Raltar finally at the alter, Barry officiates the ceremony and the two are wed. Hawthuum tests the cake for poison, finding none, and the wedding breaks up into the congratulatory reception. During this time Barry takes Raltar aside and tells him to gather his friends. With he rest of the party in tow Raltar follows Barry to what the gnome explains is a secret way out of the palace. They have a job to do and it won’t get done here. Now that Lillian is officially of Raltar’s kin, she can protect the forest in his absence and he is free to leave.
At long last, the party descends into a cavernous tunnel system made almost entirely out of the thick roots of the trees of the elven city. They discover a room filled with mostly old forgotten materials and knick knacks, one of which is a scroll written in another language that Nicholas manages to decode for the party. Shortly after they nearly stumble into a section of the hallway cordoned off by various symbols etched into the cracked pieces of the path. Raltar and Safphron make their way across by simply climbing along the ceiling, while Hawthuum uses magic to traverse safely. Nicholas, curious as ever and recognizing the same language from the scroll, decides to attempt and solve it.
Leaving Nicholas to his puzzle, Raltar and Safphron go a bit farther into the tunnel, discovering branching paths and a large, intricate mural. Between Raltar and Nicholas they use the mural and Nicholas’ waning spell to determine the safe way across, spelling out ‘Bareznth’. Nicholas, fascinated, continues to inspect the mural while Hawthuum and Raltar discover a room with a springy, loamy floor. They enjoy their bouncing while Safphron and Nicholas continue exploring down the mural. The pair eventually come to a chamber filled with blankets and moss and other nesting material, coins and scales scattered admit the softer objects. They beat a hasty retreat back to the mural proper.
Hawthuum and Raltar, meanwhile, have grown board of their little game and take a different path through the tunnel. They incur the wrath of a black, oozing blob, an bear-sized creature with the face of an owl, and a slithering, skeletal serpent. After dispatching those they continue into another room, this time threatening and engaging in combat with six mushroom-like creatures. Nearly defeated, they survive only as Safphron and Nicholas rejoin the fight, and the party regroups by the seemingly safe mural to discuss their next move.
What other dangers lie in the escape tunnel? How did Barry even know the tunnel existed? Could the clues be right under the adventurer’s very noses? Find out next week on Dawn of the Storm!