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Once more musical tones ring out as Melianse takes Ronald's words as invitation to converse in her native tongue.
"I gather she can affect anyone. It's just that her chosen prey is Human Males. Although... she seems to hate all humans, yet preys on human males. Perhaps you are correct and her powers do work better on human males."
"Until recently she had a... consort... of sorts... that used to hunt for her. Soon after I got here he tried to take her leadership from her. Then he vanished. Now she hunts for herself - about the only time she leaves the tower."
"Will they Flee or fight? Hmmm. Most of those here are those who have come to hate humanity. They'll fight you because of what you are, not why you are there. Loyalty is unlikely to make much difference to that. I doubt they'll seek vengeance upon her murderers though."
sense motive dc 15:
Melianse seems to have rendered voluble by the good news you have brought
"There has ever been strife in these forests between the children of the First World and the Second. But lately the whispers in the woods talk of something big happening, something that will tip that balance to the First World."
"The Fey have begun to reorganise, to move. Change is coming. Certain... call them 'attractors'... have begun to attract Fey to them. The Dancing Lady is one such."
"The Dancing Lady is hostile to humanity - a point of view I shared after my pool was destroyed by human greed. Fey with that point of view have begun to gather around her. It's not a court... not quite yet... but it shows the signs of becoming one."
"Really, I need to explain this in Sylvan. Your tongue is too caught up in the ways of the Second World to express it properly."
"The Dancing Lady herself is not that dangerous unless one is a human male. I've barely talked to her. A family of Quicklings has set up around her. There's some sort of dryad guarding the trees outside the castle. The rest of us - or them - are in the surrounding areas."
Hmm - not sure, but I think we have a miscommunication.
If there is an understandable ooc confusion I'm happy to fix it ooc. Otherwise I'll need a bluff check.
"Entourage?" Melianse seems about to say more, then stops, looking at the fingers.
"She gave you these? When I begged her for her help to save my pool she said she could do nothing, yet she gave you these?"
There's a momentary pause
"Of course, the creature is dead. It is safe for them now. With five of these I could reclaim my pool from the ruin it was left in by Humans."
She looks at Ronald hopefully, and then adds coquettishly "I would be very grateful."
Okay, sounds like everyone is doing it... tell me if not.
"Thank you gentlemen." comes the silvery tones of the Nymph
Melianse is in the middle of her pool, only her head and one hand showing as she investigates the fingers.
Ronald Dranstus wrote:
There's a pause"Yes. I will give you my word that I do not seek to do you harm. You might want to look away when I come out."
perception dc 21:
The Nymph's head is visible near the middle of the pond, her beautiful features crusted with mud and filth.
The melodic tones once again ring out as she speaks, though a somehow darker note intrudes towards the end.
"I? Of course I have some patience left. I have always thought it only a fool who does not try to reason with those they meet. Such are cursed to a life of constant fighting. I am gladdened to hear Tiressia lives at all. Fey fled or died to that Fell creature. You have done well to end it, but then that was ever the skill of humans. To destroy. To take. How clever of Tyressia to harness that dark power of yours. Alas. Alas that all human endeavor ends ultimately in destruction."
In the harsher terms of the common tongue she continues
The group turns away from the castle and heads towards the lake.
Once over the rise the ground slopes quickly into a pool.
The pool is little more than a large and flooded hole in the ground. Perhaps forty feet across, though the murkiness of the water makes it impossible to guess the depth. Saplings - barely three feet high - are spaced equidistantly around the pool.
knowledge:engineering dc 20:
This appears to be a manufactured pool. Created relatively recently. Given the surrounding slopes it seems likely that dirt was dumped around the area to create a raise; when it rains the runoff into this pool must be very heavy with sediment.
knowledge: nature dc 15:
There are no signs that there is fish or bird life in the area.
As you approach the clouds above behave strangely - almost as if a very localized thunderstorm was brewing.
knowledge: arcana dc 20:
This pool was created by magic. A lot of magic. Probably druidic in nature. The shape of the pool, the composition of the nearby hills, even the stress patterns on the saplings... magically created
knowledge: geography dc 15:
Terrain like this does not support pools like this. There should be a stream or equivalent, and there should definitely be trees around the 'shore'
perception dc 26:
The very top of a face looks out at you. It seems to be trying to take cover under the water, but the murkiness means that the eyes are just above the waterline. The hair seems volumonous and coated thickly in mud. Could this be the Nymph Melianse?
knowledge:nature dc 17:
Nymphs are beautiful water fae. Blindingly beautiful they are normally independent but seldom malicious/
made above nature roll dc 22:
As above and... Nymphs are powerful spellcasters. Their 'blinding' beauty is a literal term - they can be dangerous even to look at. They are exceptionally luck and all but immune to any attack that is not cold iron.
If Melianse is here she is almost certainly spying on you as you stand here.
I think there's enough knowledge ranks in the group to know that a Nymph like Melianse would usually be associated with a pool or possibly a stream.
Molly's flight through the canopy overhead is terrifying, skipping past a spider the size of a cat and through the strands of a web like thin rope. Yet from her aerial view she has a chance to see the landscape, and reveals a symmetry invisible from the ground; a four towered keep heavily overgrown by the forest.
Forsten and Ronald:
A flash of green hair draws your eye to a well hidden green humanoid figure between you and the 'castle', but a second later it is gone.
AND knowledge nature dc 20:
You believe this might be a Woodwose - a sort of evil male dryad.
AND knowledge nature dc 25:
Woodwose are much more dangerous than Dryads. They are magically potent, immune to wood and near-immune to everything else (except cold iron and magic)
AND knowledge nature dc 30:
The Keep of the Dancing Lady
Is any attempt being made to scout, scry or scan the approach? Is anyone using stealth? Is the group setting straight off - in which case they'll arrive about twilight having travelled 12 miles. Can I assume the Horror is still present?
"Yes.. yes, of course."
"She lives ten or twelve miles west-southwest of here, in an old castle from the first days."
"As to what she is... the Fey are from the First World. When a soul becomes snared in the fabric of the First World it turns some part of the First World into a Fey - and all Fey in this world are of, or descended from, such First World Fey."
"The Dancing Lady is of the First World. From what I have heard she is some force of death that has become a living personification of wickedness."
"Few Fey have any great love for humans, but the Dancing Lady is rumored to have some special hatred for them. She is not a noble, exactly, but the Dark Fae have been attracted to her. I fear she is forming a Court."
"There was a nymph nearby - Melianse - who was attacked by humans, and who recently joined the Dancing Lady for revenge. She used to be a friend of Falchos and I. If she is there she may aid you. If she will not do so in friendship..."
Tiressia pauses, steeling herself, then with a cracking sound she snaps off three fingers from each hand, one by one in quick succession.
Obviously pained she hands them over.
"She lost her glade. Plant these and each will grow into an okay like mine - and in time each will spawn a dryad to keep her company. For this I think she will help you."
Grove of Tiressia
Tiressia falls to her knees sobbing when her lover's remains are bought to her
"There is yet a way to save him. The Dancing Lady you asked about earlier has many powerful items. I believe if you can kill her, and bring those items to me, I may be able to restore my beloved to life."
@Grey: I think trees can be undead, but not zombies or skeletons as they lack flesh and a skeleton
I tend to do it for familiars and so forth, but technically no. Summoned creatures do. Generally you'll need to give them an order, which means it is better if you go first, but a standing order of 'attack anything that attacks you' is fine
I agree - want to roll init for it?
The tentacles lash around the base of the tree, but is seems unaffected.
@Denat; want to roll init?
@Grey; humans and NPCs are still setting up the settlement.
As you patrol Threshold you overhear the following conversation between two of the townsfolk
"...she might be ill. I sent Kovi to her house with some bread and her mother said she never came home after her shift."
denat: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (3) + 6 = 9
forsten: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (9) + 10 = 19
ronald: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (10) + 4 = 14
simon: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (7) + 4 = 11
molly: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (17) + 9 = 26
grey: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (7) + 2 = 9
Anglon: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (3) + 5 = 8
The Blighted Hollow
target: 1d8 ⇒ 2charge attack, limbs, flat footed, lunge, power attack: 1d20 + 10 + 2 - 2 ⇒ (9) + 10 + 2 - 2 = 19damage if hits: 2d6 + 8 + 4 ⇒ (2, 4) + 8 + 4 = 18
init: 1d20 + 0 ⇒ (9) + 0 = 9
The Runelords are heading south, having travelled for two hours, when they come to a blighted hollow.
The sweet stench of decay hangs thick in this woodland clearing. Knotted branches of sickly leaves line the perimeter, creating a thick canopy that blocks most of the sunlight and cloaks the hollow in shadow. Withered vegetation struggles to grow in ragged clumps among the multitude of bones strewn across the forest floor.
The runelords stop for a moment to look, and the evil they were warned of strikes! One of the trees around the perimeters suddenly bursts into movement, only Molly's avian perception catching the precursors to movement.
Bursting from about halfway around the clearing one of its scythelike branches stretches out, the tip just catching Foresten.
[ooc]Not sure we need a map for this as I suspect this will be a very fast encounter - one way or another ;)
She considers Simon
"Humans think us Fey mysterious. Capricious. Understand if you have trouble understanding the Fey we have just as much understanding you. You have asked questions. You have implied. But you have not offered me a deal, nor made a promise. I do not deal with humans. I deal with Fey."
"This I give you as a gift; listen to the words of the Fey. We do what we say we will do, but there is an art in making sure that what we say is not what is what is implied."
"Falchos thought it laired to the south. But be careful; the castle of the Dancing Lady is also to the south."
"A Tree. The ground in this forest strengthens the trees. Most simply grow tall, but this one somehow awakened. It somehow ate one of my sisters, and after that it could move. Now it stalks the forest consuming the magic and lives of all it finds - and especially Dryads. I am the last Dryad for many, many miles. It has been hunting me for months."
She bursts into tears again
"He led it away when it came here. He hasn't returned... he's dead..."
She laughs bitterly.
"Is not 'civilization' the enemy of nature? All you people seem to do is enslave, destroy and kill."
She pauses on that last word, seeming to linger on it.
"One by one my sisters are dead. My lover sacrifices himself to lead the murderer away, but It will return and I will die."
"It may be a betrayal... I don't care. I will aid you if you can save him. Eldest know I could not convince him to save himself. Save my lover and I will be your ally."
There is, in turn, a look of distaste on her face. A look of shame. A look of desperate hope. A look of pleading.