The fey are old and powerful. I think they have a court and a queen simply as a convenience for visitors, and their true ways are kept secret. I have dealt with them twice before, and each time was so different, that I could not learn a thing about them. There are few things that bind or hold them, they are chaos and freedom incarnate. They have oaths, or bans that guide them. One might never leave a particular tree, and another may be forced to eat its own eggs. Each seems a kind unto itself. Sometimes they appear woodsy and made of twigs and cobwebs, and the next they are dressed in strange gowns of priceless cloth. I cannot give you any help or advice, because the fey I met will not be recognisable in the fey we meet.
That said, they listen to their queen, or they did when last I met them. The staff is the symbol that the imperator has her oath of fealty. We will get a chance to see if it was fear of the maker, or respect for the oath that held them in check.
Paper should show the staff, and say 'by the ancient compact, I demand passage to the court' if we encounter any.
When we get to the court, he should say 'by the ancient compact, I call you to your oath' and specify a service. Be very specific. They will twist the wording, and violate the intent if there are any loopholes in the wording. Set clear conditions to release the service too, or the request will be void.
Leave any iron on the road here. It is a grave offense to carry iron into the court. We are far from the road.
No names. Don't make the same mistake again. If one of the unseelie hear you, we may never see you again. Look out for any circles of toadstools or mushrooms, as that will be an entrance to their court. Now turn your clothes inside out. I will watch over you all as you change.
After burying the great wizard, Crassus leads you into thick woods. As the branches and undergrowth get more gnarled and impassable, he calls out in sweet Greek.
"We seek audience with the court. One here bears the ivory staff. He is heir to the maker. Do not bar our way."
Somehow, the way is easier now. The strange disorientation you all felt the last time you were in these enchanted woods passes, and you see them now as nothing more than vibrant, healthy woodland.
"Don't stand in any circles. Not all of the fae will obey the compact."
The fae court are closest. We can be there in a few hours. They make fine messengers, and can rally the other peoples to meet us. As we go, we can try to meet with the giants. They are fine fighters. The centaurs will be last, as their wood is farthest.
It will only take an hour to bury our old maker. Formal funeral arrangements can wait till after the crisis.
Crassus removes his armour, twisting to reach the straps, and placing his gear close to the stairs. He readies himself to sleep standing up, then looks to Isat. When this fight is over, I will take you to our greatest healer. He will have much to show you. He studied under Chiron, who was first of healers.
Crassus voice is returning. It is a confident, clear baritone.I must guide you all to the court of the fae, then to the glades held by Thereus. If you go alone, you may lose yourselves. One of the woods is quite deadly without a guide. Even centaurs know that if they stray further than a bow shot inside the unseelie knot, they are never seen again. Stratos may follow the road without incident, but we must go to places that are far from the road. When we approach the fae, take care not to stand on a stray sod, and not to heed any singing you hear. I don't need rest. I can go when you are ready.
The fauns are fine slingmen, but they live scattered. There are the giants. They are on our way to the woods. I am on good terms with the smartest of them. My first recommendation is that we go to the hidden court, and gain messengers with wings. By ancient oath and pact, the sprites will not alter as much as a syllable of a message entrusted to them, but they do not work for free. Silver coins will buy their service. When we tell them their woods will be next to burn, they will probably lend arms as well, but their ways are fickle.
The centaurs are already in the fray, but I fear that ancient divides and rivalries may still keep Thereus from aiding his son and the rebel people. Noble Thereus committed me for treason, and sewed thus my lips, merely for speaking to his son. I sought to broker peace between them. The centaur is the greatest warrior in this land. We are the army of its defence.
Another option remains. Our dead may be risen to serve in battle. It is a final option, as it is a desecration.
I can think of no other allies we can reach in time to save our woods, and I know nothing of the lands in the far lee of the tower. The book on the table will tell you more than I can. I am the most travelled of all my kith, and there is yet much to the realm that I have not seen.
I have done you wrong. I doubted Thereus wisdom when he urged you here. I thought you a danger to the realm, and thought him a fool for trusting you. Now the maker has bequeathed his mantle to you, and I am ashamed.
"Lysoskevos the mighty, just and fair ruler of the land of the false sun, protector of the first world, conqueror of death and creator of life, adept of time and space, master of the spirit, author of the compact, and son of Hermes. Here are heroes worthy of your counsel. Here are the ones foretold."