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@Xander: Jacob waits outside the temple and sees you coming out. You inform him of the house.
"She must mean Lacore's home. We have kept it in decent shape. In case he chose to return. I doubt he will mind if you decide to take residence in it. Balion never did have a house here. He always lived out in the forest."
As to your question regarding the limits of your stay.
"Arralae has approved of you. You may take a look around Swan's Rest. I must warn you though, there isn't much interesting here. Unless you like crops. We do grow our own. I believe you are in for a treat."
@The Party: You are lead to a two story house. The painting has worn off inc comparison to the other houses. Jacob goes over the door and unlocks it.
@Tarith: The house is ample, but dusty. It has two bedrooms above, while the first floor has a dining room which serves as a living room. You do, however, find a simple trap door under the rug. This one leads to a basement where a set of sketches on canvas have been piled next to each other. The drawings are incomplete, but they show mainly forest scenes. One of the sketches, however, is quite ominous. It shows a portrait of a man. The drawing is done in early charcoal, so it is difficult to even make out color, but it shows a man with long hair. He appears to wear an outline of a fullplate. However, what startles most is the fierce detail he has done with the eyes. Black and soulless, filled with hate. The sketch is not even dated, but there is a note scribbled behind the canvas.
May he never find her
You also find, wrapped in a cloth, a stone, identical to the one found at Balion's home.
@Xander: Jacob scratches his head. We sadly don't have too many books. Steiner was the reader amongst the group. Check out his collection. He took some of his books, but I'm sure you'll find something interesting. See you in an hour!"
Jacob walks away as the lights from different houses down the lane begin to shine through the windows.
Yelled: "All clear. no traps, and nothing interesting beyond the secret celler with the creepy paintings."
After the others descend(if they do)
"It looks like this fellow was rather nasty. I wonder who he is."
Tarith pockets the second gem, and heads out of the house, and walks around town, looking for anything unusual or odd
@Xander> You watch Tarith leave and look at that painting for a few seconds before deciding to best turn it against the wall. As you look at Steiner's collection, you find this little gem.
The Giantshield Mountains
An Appendix & Bestiary
Curtis Pettigrew Cornstopple
The grand spine of Oerth that runs through the northern part of the world is home to many tribes and creatures of wondrous - if at times dangerous - characteristics. It should be noted that the Gulgar have established a well fortified tribe in the upper echelons of the stone cliffs. Fascinating creatures, they have managed to tame the elusive Yrrthak, and use the dragonesque creatures as mounts! Much care should be taken when dealing with them. Not because of their bravado, which this writer is fortunate to not have witnessed, but because their language is so difficult to comprehend, even through means of magic.
Particular mention should be given to the Bazahdun tribe at the foot of the mountains, in a Valley known by the locals as Jottun's Foot. The Bazadhun tribe is made of stone giants. These generally reclusive creatures have been observed by yours truly actually bartering with the locals outside their stone vale! Truly a remarkable advancement for the primitive creatures.
@Tarith> You take a walk outside and notice that through the knotted roof that makes this enclosed space, the stars are already starting to show. The houses sport light coming from them and the aroma of a warm meal wafts down the lane. Then you notice something odd.
At different points in the hillside, there seems to be loose trapdoors. Upon closer examination, the trapdoors don't lead anywhere, but would act as effective shields, especially since they face the Seal's entrance.
Interesting. So there were some plans made for defense here long ago, but I have seen no signs of weapons, beyond what that archer was wearing. Perhaps he spent some time preparing for an attack. I wonder if he left any other surprises that could be useful
Tarith searches the area, before returning to the house.(Search of 30, taking 10)
When he gets back to the house
"I wandered around a bit, and the village is rather odd. There is no tavern, blacksmith, or store, and these people have been here for some time with no connection to the outside world. There are some trapdoors that could be used to help defend the entrance to the village as well. It is almost as if someone started out thinking defensively, but stopped as the years went by. I have also seen no sign of other weapons in the village, although they may have hidden them. If that man in the painting knows the seal has been breached, there is not a lot these people have."
Sadly, there does not even seem to be any houses to visit in the night. All in all, a very odd town.
@Tarith> You take one last search at the area before heading back to the house. You wander around one of the Fountains- the one that has the large Balion statue upon it and notice an indentation at its base. This one has a very similar shape as the stone you found at his house.
As everything is going on inside the temple Dantie is silent. Though he has many questions he wishes to ask her he was asked not to bring up her past and remind her of it and so instead choose to be silent. Only saying something when she said she would be honored to have them for dinner. Thank you lady Arrallae for your kindness and hospitality on such a sad day. I did not know him long, but the few times I did get to know him before the lich put him under a spell showed me why you weep for him. A great man fell and I have sent up a prayer so that his soul may wait for you in Pelors golden halls. Dantie said to her before bowing and following the others outside. As they went to investigate the house Dantie trailed behind and when all were out of ear shot he once again said to Jacob. As I said Guardian I need to talk to you. And I think it may be wise to do so now before I sit down with her again to eat. I would not wish to say the wrong thing and upset her. Dantie said looking into his down on Jacob with a will that said he would not move from his spot until the guardian agreed to speak with him.
I suppose it is as Jacob said, outside there crops there is little of interest here...however not that the seal has been broken I suspect this place will draw much more attention. Tarith, do you think that any of those defenses will any use against Kazym if he where to attack?
To Xander: Those Trapdoors might serve to protect against some of his spells, but they will also force us to use ranged weapons, which is probably not going to work, as I suspect the arrows will just go straight through him. They are better than nothing, but not a lot better. They might be more useful for the villagers, if we can convince them to fight.
As Jacob agrees to speak with him Dantie starts his tale at the beginning of his journey, when he first learned of Arralle. Well Jacob I first learned of this place and Arralle in a port city called Bludhaven. It seems someone spread her story very far and many of the common folk went from worshipping Pelor to her. As I am sure you know that caused quite a few problems with me and my brothers. Dantie then took a pause letting that sink in before continuing. Saying we knew very little of this so called goddess, which I now know as Arralle, I went to the temple of Bobboc in the city and when we scryed her some dark voice spoke back to us, the words I do not remember, but what happened...It destroyed the whole room shattering all the glass and almost killing me and the high priest. Dantie said finishing off the beginning of his story. This is what led me to believe like in the town known as greyhawk in the marshes that there was a demon once again on this plane and so I set out with one of the members of the balance to set things right. While on our way we collected our old monk friend the drunk you may have seen, our old friend felix who used to live close to these woods, and of course Tarith. He is the one with words. Felix disappeared on our travels here, and the member of the balance was called away on dwarf business when we rescued a few of his kind. Now so it has only been me, Master spellbane, and the one known as Xander which we know very little about besides that he likes books so far. Before we came to these woods though we stopped at a city called Justcrown saying it was Tariths home and two of his friends had been murdered. So we stayed behind and choose to search for the person who had done this. We found them. A woman named Nerean, a doppleganger named Verien, and a lich named Kazym were the ones responsible. At a party where two of them tried to kill the duke and capture a halfling with many gifts, we destroyed the doppleganger, but she got away. Latter on we found out that the lich had come here and was searching for a way into swans rest. I fear if we did not come when we did he would have succeed in getting inside the walls and turning all here into his undead minions as well. Dantie said before laughing. Now I'm getting a bit ahead of myself. Sorry, where was I ow yes thats it. When we came into these woods that were once Balions domain we encountered the last of the fey that were alive and they had summoned a women named Azakiel to protect them. She asked me to not allow her to remember the past, but I must know what it is that I am not suppose to allow your Arralle to remember. Dantie says filling in all the important matters. I know you may have thought at the time locking her up like such was a grand idea, but it drove Balion to madness and has caused the forest to all but be destroyed. The fey who she used to visit at the lake is dieing without her and the only remaining coven will be dead soon if that lich were to go and attack it with his army. Many things have changed in the past, and I think it is no longer the wisest idea to lock yourselves up and hide from the world. Making a magical portal that can only be opened from the inside I can understand. That way she can come and go to those who need her as she pleases. But sealing her up once more is not the way to go. She is one of Pelors champions. And she has a duty to the world. And though I shall not remind her of who she is, if you choose to hide her away from the world still then I will be forced to call down the church of Pelor to take this village and protect it. These are dark times, and there has been many new magics learned. Their are still ways to seal the gate like before, but now they are much wiser and opening them does not cause the seal to be broken. Please Jacob do not make me call upon the church to secure this place, for not all of them are like me. I will only resort to violence when I must and diplomacy fails. They will not wait for diplomacy when they see the morning star of Pelor and shall stop at nothing to protect her. Dantie said letting the last of his words hang in the air.
@Dantie> Jacob goes very silent as you explain everything to him. He then takes a deep breath and looks at the temple before placing his hand on your shoulder.
"Let us go inside, Dantie."
Jacob takes a seat and leans forward, placing his elbows on his legs and crossing his hands as they cover his mouth, letting everything you just said sink in. And sink in well.
"I know who Pelor is, Dantie. I used to live outside of these forests years ago, and have met members of your order. Arrallae has no idea who even he is. Such is the state of amnesia she is in. She only remembers her name and those she has met when she was found."
Upon mentioning Nerine and Varian...
"I have not heard of Varian, but Nerine I know. She belonged to the Eastern Coven. Banished when she attempted to kill Arrallae and because of her sadistic demeanor overall. I would have thought she would've left the forests, as per Coven Law. It would seem her years in exile have driven her to become even worse."
Regarding the lich. Jacob draws a smile.
"I think I know why that monster would not have entered here. You probably felt it when you walked into the village? This place is infused with Arrallae's power. The power to heal. The very air you breathe while you sleep nurtures your body. I may not be a cleric like you, but I have had my fair share of encounters with the undead at a younger age and know these cannot tolerate the power of healing, which this place has in abundance. That monster would've eventually turned to dust upon entering The Swan."
Upon mentioning the trials in Justcrown.
"When we sealed off Swan's Rest, Justcrown was ran by the church of Hextor. I do hope that has changed. The hextorites, however, are not the reason we sealed off this village."
Upon mentioning Azakiel, Arrallae's memory, and the attack on Bludhaven.
"I have sadly not met Azakiel. Whoever she might be, I never got to meet. Yet, she seems to know about Arrallae. Enough to know about her past. There was... an incident regarding that. When we tried to make her remember. That is the reason why we sealed off the place. Steiner came up with the idea and she agreed to it. Thankfully, everyone one else was blissfully unaware as to why. This attack on the temple of Boccob..that is intriguing, yet not unfamilar. When we sit down at Her table, please do not bring these items to question. As I believe it may trigger something similar to what you experienced at Bludhaven, but far worse."
Upon mentioning the plight of the Fey Woods.
"I am certain Arrallae will want to walk through the woods again, now that the Seal is broken. She will want to visit all the friends she left behind. I see no danger in that. And if there are any of those undead still prowling around, well...let-s just say Arrallae knows how to deal with them rather well."
Regarding mentioning Pelorite incursion into the village.
"I understand your words, father. Please understand mine. We keep her here for a reason. I do not want to risk people's lives... do not be alarmed, none have been taken by her. However, it could trigger. Join us for dinner. Talk to her. She will have much to ask you, but please omit the details you have mentioned, except for the Fey Woods, which she holds dear. After tonight, I will relate to you why we locked ourselves out. From one man of faith to the other, father. Please be patient."
Dantie listens to jacobs reply. The church of hextor has lost its hold a long time ago on the city of justcrown, now Pelor and St. Cruberts church watch over the city. And I shall wait and listen to what you have to say after dinner. It seems there is still much to discus. I will tell my friends not to mention anything outside of what has happened the fey woods, but you may have a problem with Xander. He seeks knowledge no matter the price. Dantie says to him, taking the man at his word. Now that the seal is open and will be for at least a small window of time I suggest you arm yourselves for war. As I said the lich did not work alone and he may not even be the head of the snake. Dantie says following him to the temple.
@Dantie> "Thank you for being understanding, faher. I promise you will get your answers, but now, please, let us go to Her house. She will probably have dinner set up already. She loves doing it on her own. Never understood why."
@The Party> You reach Arrallae's Temple and the smell of fine foods washes in from the great arch. Inside the garden has parted and a long table which is basically a tree trunk cut with a rooted base extends before you. A fine silk cloth has been placed on top and several wooden chairs have been apparently grown from the spot to fit the table. Several porcelain plates have been placed evenly around the table. A variety of delicious aromas come in from one of the rooms beyond the garden. A female voice is heard.
Dearie, please! I Can handle it from here! Go meet your guests. Go!
A light fills one of the entrances as Arrallae walks in to meet you with her ever burning solar halo. Her hands smell of parsley as she hides them behind her back and bows.
"Thank you for coming. Dinner will be served shortly. Please, sit down and let us converse. I am sorry for the place."
Jacob takes a seat and looks at her.
"Arrallae, please. You know you do not need to cook. You can create food if you want." He produces a bottle of wine and starts uncorking it.
@Tarith> Arrallae takes the main seat at the end of the table and looks at you.
"I was helping, more than cooking. Jacob's wife, Martha, is the chef here. She taught me the culinary arts, but after such a long time, I could never reach her level of expertise, I'm afraid."
After a few minutes, steps are heard from the room Arrallae came in. Several, in fact. A few moments later. A heavy set woman with an apron and ruby cheeks comes in carrying a large platter. behind her, a boy and a girl carry trays of food as well.
"Pardon me, lad." Says the lady as she places the tray a few inches away from you, attempting to center it on the table. The boy asks permission to xander to place his tray and pushes it it with much effort towards the center as well. The girl does the same, but on Dantie's side. The trays have a smorgasbord of fruits and vegetables, tempered with pork and fowl, cooked to a sizzling perfection and marinated in a honey sauce and parsley. It does surprise you that these 5 year old were able to carry the trays/ as big as the one their mother was carrying all by themselves.
"Don't get up, luv. I'll bring the glasses before Jacob here decides to use the bottle as one."
Jacob goes red and uncorks the bottle as he places it on the table.
"That's my wife, Martha. These two are Owen and Gail. Go wash your hands, now.@
Owen and Gail frown and look up at Arrallae. "Do we have to, auntie A?"
Arrallae smiles and looks at the children.
"If you wash your hands, I'll show you a trick after dinner. How's that?"
The children run through the temple corridors, their laughter echoing through the halls.
As Dantie enters the area Jacob lead him to he is surprised at how much work had to be done to make the place look so natural. Only once had he seen such work and even then the elves he had stayed with at the time had shown them very little of their talents with the craft. As Dantie is admiring the craftsmanship that would make Bishop look like an child in contrast he hears a voice speaking to someone and turns. Once again he has to shift his eyes back to the vision of a normal person, for fear of going blind from the light that seems to shed all around her body, revealing to him that she was indeed not a demon or devil in disguise. It is my pleasure to sit down and eat with you morning star, that is what the fey have been calling you outside you know. Morning star. And I see why. Your glow is much like a stars in its beauty. Dantie says bowing before taking a seat. What is there to be sorry about, it seems like we are in the home of the gods. All seems peaceful and happy here. Dantie says with a smile looking around him.
As the little girl comes and places the food in front of him Dantie looks down and smiles at the young girl. Why thank you very much for your kindness, may Pelors light ever shine down on you. And Kord never have to meet your match. trying to make a few laugh saying how strong these two young children were. Perhaps lighting the mood would reveal how it was so. Then as Jacob explains who everyone is Dantie adds You have a wonderful family. Strong and healthy to it seems. But if you do not mind I take it you like to drink a lot. Perhaps you could try and have a competition with our friend when he choose to rejoin us. He seems to have wandered off somewhere. Probably still outside with glimermug. Surprised the small fey did not come in with us really. Then looking to Arrallae dantie adds, All the fey have been waiting to see you actually. I think someone should send a message to them soon to allow them to find out that the seal has been opened. There was a young fey who drank blood who seems especially needing to see you. Dantie says as he smells the food that smells as if it was indeed made by a master cook. Silently he listens to what she says to the children and then waits to see what her answer would be.
@Dantie> "They call me Morning Star? Why would they do that. I am simply Arrallae, father Silva. I am no goddess, but I thank you for the compliment. You are most kind."
Martha comes back with a tray of glasses and sets one on each guest's table.
"You two get grape juice, not wine.", Owen and Gail frown.
After you mention the Fey Woods...
"Yes. I do miss visiting the Covens. I also wish to see Father Shepherd. I miss him so. Then the Rose Garden. I hope Balion tended to its care while I was away... You mean Anzaril? Yes. She has certain odd feeding habits, but I found in her a kindred spirit. You see, Anzaril is an outcast. In a way, I am too. Wherever I am from, I cannot return. My memories are gone. As if someone shunted them away."
Arrallae stands up and raises her glass.
"First, a toast to an Old Friend who has left us. Balion, may you watch over us from the Great Beyond. Also, a toast to our new guests. May their days here be filled with joy and merriment."
Dantie was surprised that she did not know the fey called her such, looking to Jacob as if saying he could have let Dantie know. Yes a fey named Glimermug said so. And do not worry I can see you are not a goddess, but do understand why some call you such. When I look at you with the powers granted to me by Pelor I see great powers at work. You shine so bright that as I said it is looking at a star. Dantie says with a kind smile to her.
As she mentions the covens though and all the trials they had to face Dantie looks at her and then to Jacob as if saying to Jacob that there was some news he was not sure was wise to say so instead he changed some of the story, not lieing, but leaving out a few key details. Arrallae through the attack of the lich and his controlling of Balions mind not everything is as it once was outside. Right now though the fey are one coven, working together for survival. As for the shepherded...he offered up his heart to protect you and so it waits in the thorn gate Balion made to protect you from the outside world. If you wish tomorrow I can go with you to retrieve it. Dantie says to her kindly. As for your garden I am sorry to say that unless it works more quickly then glimmemug made it seem it will not be as you left it. One of the flowers in their was a key to open the door and well when we destroyed its guardian it grew in on itself until it was completely closed off. I am very sorry. Though the little fey said it would eventually go back to normal once ti found the nourishment it needed to do so. When she mentions her memories Dantie places a hand near her and says Though our past may make us who we were, it is our actions in the present that make us who we are. I'm sure when the time is right that you will one day remember who you are. But not before then. The mind has ways to protect itself, but that is more a discussion for Xander. Dantie says looking at the mage and saying Now be gentle to our host Xander. Do not try to bring out the past. Only what she wishes to tell us and remembers. It is rude to pry. As he turns back around he sees Arrallae standing with her glass raised. ahmen. Dantie says drinking from the glass of wine that was before him.
Speaking of Anzaril, she has not been doing well recently, especially given the grim events in the Fey Woods, her food supply has been running low. She misses you deeply, and if not for our arrival, and myself allowing her to use my blood for sustenance, I fear she would have met her demise already, I would recommend visiting her first off.
As for the Shepherd and your Garden I fear I have terrible news, both where lost I am afraid as a direct result of the lich, Kazym deceiving Old Balion into allowing him to despoil much of the woods you loved, in his pursuit to undue the seal that was erected so long ago. A portion of The Shepherds sentience is was transferred to a fey named Casylln, who we managed to save, and waits at the last remaining coven.
I hate to burden you with so much at once, but from what I have seen of your powers I believe you may be able to help set right much of the damage that was done you will be able to undue, and in time much of the damage will be able to be healed over.
As Xander is speaking he is studying Arrallae, trying to puzzle out as much of the mystery of her existence as possible. Xander silently raises his glass in salute to Balion.
Mentally, in a mildly annoyed tone. Dantie, if you have concerns regarding my etiquette when meeting new people that you wish you voice, please choose a more subtle method in witch to do so.
Spellcraft (1d20+21) (Xander can tell she radiates magic, is trying to figure out what he can about the magic.)
Knowledge (Arcana) (1d20+21) (Focused both at the magical energies, and the possibility she may be a magical being.)
Knowledge (The Planes) (1d20+15) (Xander can't rule out her being a outsider yet.)
Knowledge (Nature) (1d20+15) (searching for traces of elven, or fey or the like in her appearance and the magic she uses, as it would likely be based in nature.)
Knowledge (Religion) (1d20+12) (If indeed she is a goddess of some Pantheon.)
@Dantie & Xander- Arrallae looks terribly troubled as you mention what has happened in the forest.
"I had no idea... why did Balion allow this to happen. Who is this creature, Kazym? I hear his name and it brings me much pain. The Covens have been attacked. Father Shepherd has been corrupted, you say? Casyllyn, yes. I do remember her. You mentioned his heart is still intact? And you gave yourself to Anzaril? You are most noble, Xander. Few would commit to that. I must cleanse the forest! Jacob, I will leave Swan's Rest tomorrow and visit the Covens and the Groves. I have remained aloof for too long."
Jacob almost chokes on the venison and downs it with a big gulp of wine.
"Arrallae...are you sure? You haven't ventured out of here in awhile."
"I am sure, Jacob. Worry not, I will not leave my family alone. But many have suffered because of me, I intend to remedy that as soon as possible. I hope you three won't mind taking a walk with me through the woods tomorrow?"
@Xander- You take a look at the goddess of Swan-s Rest and attempt to figure out who she is exactly. This is what you gather.
-Arrallae radiates a massive amount of Conjuration magic. Especifically from the Healing subschool. The extent of this power cannot be ascertained right now, but she did infuse Balion with a jolt of positive energy. Enough to disperse his body in a burst.
-If there has ever been a creature that radiates magic, she would be the one.
- Many outsiders, particularly those of the Upper Planes, use beneficial magic, such as positive energy. None, however, in the way you have seen her use it. perhaps further observation would be required.
- Arrallae is an elf. A more common breed, the High Elf. yet this one has unsurpassed features, bearing royalty among her kind, despite there are no elves in the forest, or none that have been seen.
- There are deities that involve in healing besides Dantie's god, Pelor. There is Ehlonna, who many of the pilgrims thought resided here. Other nnartial deities, like Heironeous or even Kord are involved in healing, but focus more on martial aspects. If Arrallae belongs to a pantheon, this is not known right now.
I know little of Kazym I am afraid, aside from knowing he is a dry lich, that is involved in some organization with nefarious goals, and is the cause of much pain and death.
Yes the heart is intact, will you be able to restore The Shepherd to his former self? I am sure myself and the others would be more than happy to walk with you tomorrow morning, although afterward we must return to Justcrown.
"Jacob, your children are most impressive. I would have had trouble carrying such a platter, and they managed it with ease. You must be proud. There has been much that has happened since you sealed yourselves off from the world. I suspect that it is all part of some greater game, and we have only seen the opposition's pawns. There is someone, called the Lord of Fire, who might be behind the recent events. There has been much death as well. They lured pilgrims into the forest to see you, and killed them so that they could be raised as salt mummies by the lich. Two of my friends befell the same fate, sadly. Even worse, since they were turned into undead, I can't raise them. Still, this is meant to be a happy time, as you can go out, and see the world. Jacob, your children are most impressive. I would have had trouble carrying such a platter, and they managed it with ease. You must be proud."
Tarith is eating and drinking slowly, but he has hardly touched his wine.
@Nathan> "This Kazym brought suffering to the forest? I shall cleanse it from his vile touch. Thank you for telling me this. One must not rest on her laurels while the world withers away. I have been in this ivory tower for too long."
@The Party> Dinner goes along rather well. Martha's cooking turns out to be, matter of fact, delicious.
"I hope you saved room for desert! Arrallae made some blueberry pie with fresh cream on top!" Martha gets up and picks some of the plates and heads off to bring dessert.
Arrallae blushes and then turns her gaze down as Owen and Gail tug at her robes.
"Auntie A! Auntie A! The trick you promised!"
"Why don't we wait until after dinner, children" We have guests..."
"Pleaseeeeeeeeeeeeee" Both kids seem jumpy as they tug at Arrallae's robes. The goddess laughs.
"You two are terrible! Very well, then, let's go outside."
Arrallae walks as Owen and Gail hold each of her hands, almost pulling her. Jacob uncorks another bottle and serves another round.
"She is a patient one, no doubt."
Suddenly, Arrallae stops as the kids almost stumble to the ground, but hold on firmly to her hands.
Arrallae pushes both children back a few feet and kneels on the ground. Owen looks puzzled as Gail begins to cry incessantly. Martha comes in and drops the pie on the floor at the sight.
"I'll get the kids."
Martha lifts both kids up.
"Auntie A is tired, but you'll be able to play with her tomorrow. Let's go."
Jacob runs towards Arrallae and holds her in an embrace. She turns around to you three.
"Please go back to Steiner's. I'll meet you there later. Go!"