New Corruptions and Old Enemies

Green Fires and a White Dragon
The party starts to find Clues

After walking another day, the party came upon a large clearing in the middle of the forest. It was so large that the other side could barely be seen, and would not have been if there had not been a green glow emanating from the other side. Curious as to what the glow was, the group rushed forward, not noticing the sentries posted a few meters from where they had emerged. With a shout they charged.

Quinn was first to react as an arrow came hurtling towards him. It grazed is arm but he knew this could have been much worse if he had not made the turn towards the ones firing upon him. He took a closer look at who was firing at him and noticed they were elves. Thinking that this could be simply a misunderstanding, her tried to shout out to them. He was answered by another volley from the two archers. This time he was ready and dodged out of the way. There was no mistaking it now. Those were Eladrin. Their single eye colour gave them away and they were much more graceful than any elf that Quinn had ever seen. Even so, they should not be firing on him. This mystery was getting more and more strange.

Demia was dealing with some men that were bearing swords and another that was holding leashes to two great wolves. This worried her slightly as she was not sure how to deal with them all. That was until a great hand carved out of ice shot up from the ground and grabbed one of them in its icy grasp. Thanking the stars that they had the witch, she lunged at the one with the circle of orange chains etched onto his over-shirt. Unfortunately this was the man holding the wolves and as she did this he let them go. Now they were in trouble.

Duth could see the predicament they were in and was liking it less and less. They had been foolish not to check for enemies as soon as they had left the clearing. He sommoned a giant hand of ice to deal with one of the men approaching Demia but then saw she had unwillingly unleashed the wolves upon them.

“Just perfect,” he snarled.

Unleashing another torrent of magic he started to deal with the wolves as the other two quickly dispatched with their respective opponents. Unfortunately for him, wolves are much better at working together than humans and eladrin. This proved difficult for Duth and it wasn’t until Quinn turned his attention towards them that they were able to finally kill the beasts.

With their enemies dead, they knew that they would need to hurry before someone found out about their presence. Sticking the dead soldiers on pikes to keep them up straight, they quickly skirted around the clearing, avoiding other sentry posts by going deeper into the forest as needed. Quinn was uneasy though. Why would eladrin and humans be working together, and what evil could have possessed them to attack like that? this was becoming much more than they had bargained for.

Finally reaching the other side of the clearing, they decided that the best way to avoid detection was to get off the ground. Duth enlarged his broomstick and the 3 of them hopped on. Rising to the canopy, they got a much better view of the camp they were observing. The green light was coming from a fire. But this was not any old fire. This was gigantic. As big as a house and great green flames dancing into the night made it seem much more menacing than any normal fire. An old man was dancing around it and throwing powder on it. He spoke in a strange tongue that the group had never heard before.

This was odd enough, but the worst was yet to come. A cold chill fell over them as if their very bones had felt wind from the mountains hit them. Off in the distance, but getting closer very fast, they could hear a beating, and not any old beat, a wing beat.

As it got closer the cold got worse. The fire however seemed to be as strong as ever. As is got to shivering point, A giant shadow passed over them and soared over the clearing. It circled around and landed at the other side of the camp. What as in front of them, illuminated in the green light of the fire, was a giant White Dragon.

“You imbeciles!” it roared. “You have let intruders into the area. The southern sentry is dead, and now we must move on to keep our presence here a secret!”

The old man walked up to the dragon and began apologizing profusely but the dragon would have none of it.

“Make ready to leave. I must talk to the master and then I shall be on my way.”

The camp was suddenly very active. tents were being taken down and camp fires being put out. Horses were being readied to leave and it looked like the way out was directly under the group hovering in the trees. This could be bad.

The dragon walked up to the fire, breathed on it and as it shimmered in his breath, a shape formed. As it became clearer, Quinn was filled with dread. A skull was staring back through the flames. It had a large pointed crown on its head and its mouth moved though no sounded came out. The dragon was watching and softly growling every now and then before giving a nod and blowing the fire out. As the flames extinuished, Quinn could have sworn that the skull turned and looked directly at him, but he couldn’t be sure.

“Meet the rest of the army at the second camp. They will be ready to march soon and their mission must succeed. We cannot allow one man to interfere with our plans.”

With that the dragon took one wing beat and soared up into the sky before disappearing into the distance. The camp was now ready to go and the started marching below them into the forest. Duth motioned for them to be quiet and they did not make a sound. Quinn was not used to heights and it bothered him to be so far away from his beloved earth but he did his best to remain quiet too.

The camp was almost fully past when Quinn decided to try and get more comfortable in his seat. This was not the best decision as as soon as he moved, a twig broke next to him and before he could grab it, it fell towards the last man in the march. Not daring to make a sound, they all watch as it fell and landed just behind him.

Not daring to breath, the group was silent while they waited and watched the man turn and look to see what noise had startled him.

The party journey's into the forest of Lethyr

It had been a day already and the three companions were no closer to finding out what was going on with this forest than when they started. They had entered the tree line the previous evening and slept for a short time before heading further into the forest. Other than the occasional insect or bird, there had been no sign of any life in the forest. They could not even find any trace of the men who went missing in this same area.

It was almost midday when they finally found a living creature…or at least just creatures. A group of gnolls were huddled together in a grove which would explain the lack of animal life in the area and possibly the missing villagers, but that wasn’t what really made the group stop and re-think their position. Wandering around the grove, not in any order or specific direction, were some ghouls. This was strange on its own, but what made the party worry all the more was the fact that they were not attacking the gnolls. Quinn knew that natural creatures and the undead do not traditionally get along and this pairing should not have been the exception to the rule. Something was terribly wrong.

Duth suggested moving around them when an ear piercing screech penetrated the silence of the forest. A ghoul had spotted them and now all the others were running forward to investigate. not only that, the gnolls seemed to understand the ghouls and were moving towards them too. This was turning into a very bad situation.

With a shout from Demia, the party sprang into action quickly dispatching the first ghoul and moving onto the rest of the group. It wasn’t long before they were each dealing with their own set of enemies. Lucky for them, skills with sword, magic and religion came to them a lot easier than getting cats out of trees. With a final blow, Quinn and Demia both lopped the heads off their respective opponents and Duth squashed the last one in front of him with a giant hand made out of ice.

This was strange and the party was not sure how to deal with such a combination of enemies and especially how they seemed to work together. Quinn knew this to be a bad omen of things to come and the group continued deeper into the forest, hoping to find the answers they sought.

The Party begins
How the group began it's journey

They failed to save the cat. Even the four companions still couldn’t believe it. It was a simple task. A cat was up a tree. Get said cat down from the tree. Easy task right? WRONG! Using all of their combined might, all they managed to accomplish was winding and injuring themselves in the most ridiculous fashion. Not only that but Quinn was sure that he had seen the cat smirk at him after clawing away at his head when it had dropped down from it’s branch. This had only occurred due to Demia stubbing her toe on the magical steps that Quinn had grown out of the tree thanks to his prayers to Chauntea, and banging into the tree hard enough to rattle the top branches enough for the cat to lose its balance.

Holding the now placid cat in front of them, they walked back to the sheriff’s office to ask for a proper mission, even if they didn’t quite feel as confident as they had earlier when the sheriff had presented them with the test. They entered the building and were thankful that the office to which they were headed was the other side and therefore did not have a view of the yard in which their failure had occurred. They had already agreed never to speak of it again. At the end of the corridor, stood the door with the gold five pointed star stuck to it. They knocked and entered the office.

“Ah, so you did retrieve Fluffy then. Good work. For a moment I was getting worried that the simple task would be to much for you, ha ha ha.”

The group looked at each other and nervously laughed while Quinn let ‘Fluffy’ down. The cat instantly ran across to the sheriff and jumped up on his lap. He stoked him a few times and then looked back at the odd quartet.

“I must say you don’t look like much of an adventuring company. You all look fresh out of trade school.”

The truth was most of the group was. A special school, that’s location was kept secret in the foothills of the mountains to the south, where monks trained potential heroes to fight the ever encroaching darkness that threatens the natural world. The only one of them that wasn’t trained there was Quinn, whom the group had requested assistance from in person at his temple that resided on the school grounds. It also didn’t hurt that the group was already good friends with each other at the time.

“I assure you we are all capable,” Demia spoke up in her echoing Tiefling voice.

“I suppose we will see wont we,” the sheriff replied in a somewhat jolly voice. “Now, as to the quest you seek. Here I have a map of the area directly surrounding the village.”

The companions gather around the parchment that had been laid out on the desk and began studying dots on it that the sheriff started pointing out as being noteworthy. Demia, the Tiefling Warlock, was particularly interested in the forest to the north noting that it seemed to just be a line of trees with no other details.

“Why are there no notes about the northern forest?” she asked.

“Ah, Keen eye you have there ma’am. Yes the Forest of Lethyr. That is the reason that you are here is it not?”

A little puzzled Demia responded “We are not map makers and we do not fill in blank spaces in them unless it is part of our mission.”

“Ah, but you see, that is your mission. I want you four to go to the forest, enter it and investigate it.”

At this point Duth, our Githzarai Witch spoke for the first time all day.

“Surely you do not need us to chart your map. This is a job for your local Militia and cartographer.”

The sheriff looked carefully at the Githzarai, puzzled by the witch for a moment before resuming his jovial attitude and simply saying “Who said I was sending you in there to chart a map?”

Pointing to the forest the sheriff started to explain to the group what quest he had for them.

“Over the last year, I have sent a number of brave men into that forest to chart and explore it and discover what mysteries it may hold. After the first few did not return it became a rescue mission. After the rescuers did not return it became an assault force. Now the forest is simply off limits. What I want you to do is explore the forest and investigate what has been going on behind that line of trees.”

The group stood still for a moment. No one dared say a word, that is until Quinn spoke up.

“You have no idea what happened to the men you sent into the forest?”

“Nope. The only news we ever get is usually from Yeshelmarr, the city that borders Thesk and the Great Dale, and on rare occasions from the Wood Elves that live at the southern end of the forest. And they haven’t sent word of anything out of the ordinary for many years.”

Quinn looked at the rest of the team. They all nodded their approval and with that, Quinn turned back to face the Sheriff.

“When do we start?”

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