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Blood of the Father

Heading east from Celia’s song, the party set out for the Kingdom of Calcazarr where rumors of rising tensions with orc territories are becoming commonplace. Hopefully the Dwarf Battlerager Dwar Steelgrand could be found involved with the battle in some manner. Adia, finding herself alone with her horse Fabio one evening, managed to get more information from him regarding his current form. The information he provided however seemed to Adia to be incredibly unlikely or cliche, including the classic fairy tale story of how love’s true kiss would restore him to his natural form of a prince. Fabio also mentioned that he knew of Adia’s father, and described him as a tall man with a long, thin, black beard who came to his Kingdom many times in the past. When Adia had enough of the conversation she wished Fabio a goodnight and left the stables.

Their expedition east carried on, and weeks after leaving Celia’s song they entered an area of mostly uncontested land often called “the frontier”. The first town the group came too seemed to be accomidating more people than it could hold, as several tents had been set up around the village. Investigating, the party found that many of the villages of the frontier had been attacked by a group of cultists who were recruiting from the locals and killing any who resisted. Adia, feeling the need to be charitable, began to hand out gold pieces to the misplaced families. She even found herself giving extra to a young boy who had been orphaned when his parents were killed by the cultists. It began to rain hard, and the party set about finding shelter in the local inn for the evening. But as they did a woman’s cry alerted them to trouble within the sea of tents. Some of the cultists had followed the peasants here, and threatened to finish the job. The party intervened, killing most of them. The leader of the group attempted to flee, and as he did so sent a bolt of magic the slew the young boy that Adia had befriended. Adia raged and released a dark evil that had been building up inside of her. Hoisting the mage up by the neck, she bit down into his shoulder and drained him of his precious blood as her party looked in horror. Beneath her feet the grass began to yellow and die. The rain stopped and a mist began to envelop the town. It felt to the party as if they were the only ones left standing among the tents. Then, the sound of footsteps on the wet grass announced the approach of another. Ring Master Euric emerged from the mist and tipped his hat to greet the party once again. He then gestured behind him, and the mist parted to reveal a dark red tent covered in vines. Adia stood in shock and Euric explained “you should have taken my warning and not let the monster out. You must prove you can control it. You may take anyone who wishes to accompany you, but let them know that your final fate will be shared amongst them”. The party nodded their heads and entered the tent together.

As the party went through the tent the world around them altered into a thick forest of massive overgrowth. Adia climbed to the canopy and looked around, noting they were within a valley surrounded by mist covered mountains. She also noted a village in a clearing and let the party in that direction. Soon the group heard the sounds of revelry and celebration, coming across the village in the midst of their 100th year of settlement. As Adia moved closer, and in sight of the townsfolk, the music went silent and all eyes laid upon her. Adia started to yell at the villagers for answers, but was answered with more silence and timidness. Finally, a man stepped out of the crowd and introduced himself as Leanu the town leader apologized for the reaction of his people, politely excusing them as unaccustomed to friendly meetings with an elf. Saryon, overhearing, quickly through a hood over his own elven features and joined the rest of the party who began gathering to get their own questions answered. Adia was shocked to discover that the townsfolk called this the valley of Yuirwood, as Yuirwood was her home and certainly never contained within a valley. Overhearing their questions, a traveling paladin by the name of Gaspar found their plight similar to his own and started to mingle with the party members and offered to join them for a time. During the festivities a man approached Saryon and claimed to know him. Saryon recognized the man as the same person he saw taken from a crate that once belonged to Euric. The man introduced himself as Strom and told Saryon that he had no ill feelings for anyone involved in his kidnapping, as he now accepted it as a method of keeping his loved ones safe. Leanu offered the party a home to stay the rest of the night, but Adia was compelled to seek out what she believed was the ruins of her home, unable to believe that her family was still alive despite Leanu’s claims.

Setting out the group found themselves at the mercy of some of the dangers of the Yuirwood at night, such as a young behir (a large, six-legged reptile with electrical qualities) that attacked them til they managed to dispatch it. As they came closer, Adia began to notice landmarks that she remembered near her home such as trees and rock formations. But for everything that was the same there were some odd differences, such as several dead plants and trees, and an aura of dread that seemed to be lingering about. Breaking through into the clearing where she expected to find nothing but the ruins of her village, she was shocked to find a populated village of elves, very much like the one she thought she had lost forever. At the center of the village, there was an unfamiliar oak tree that had taken root, and looked well over a hundred years old. Adia touched it and felt an odd sensation of reassurance and calming. Suddenly, from her child-hood home within the village stepped her younger brother (older now, but by elf standards) Orron. He seemed shocked to see Adia and returned the hug she gave him, but less enthusiastically. Over tea he told Adia the woes that had befallen the town since she had been gone. Over a hundred years ago her father returned to seek her out. Then a ranger named Leon, aided by a spirit of the wood, killed Adia’s parents and sent the village to this personal hell where they have been trapped ever since. Adia was heartbroken and vowed to destroy Leon and set out the very next morning to find him, despite Orron’s warnings that Leon would likely find them first. Partway through their search the party came across the band of gypsies again. This time Adia was called to the elder gypsies cart where she met with a blind, old and withered gypsy named Zasha. Zasha cut Adia’s hand quickly and gave Adia the warning “Know thy enemy.” She also spoke of this realm as a prison then disappeared into the shadows of her cart.

Journeying onward the group suddenly found themselves snared in a patch of living vines just as they approached a rushing river. Across the river, a man in woodsman gear aimed an arrow at them as a woman stood nearby. The man insisted to know why they were trying to find him and Adia accused him of killing her parents and damning her people here. Leon admitted that he had killed many elves, but claimed they all deserved it. As for being the reason the elves were damned here he claimed innocence on account of being born long after this world existed. Struck by this logic, the rest of the party managed to talk their way into being released. As answers were about to be gained, the trees behind the two strangers willted and died, and Orron and his wife Elania emerged from the rot. Elania drew a knife across the woman’s throat and slaying her, and Orron grabbed Leon and drained his beauty and essence from him, leaving him as a pale and withered husk of a man who crawled to cradle the dying woman next to him. Adia shrieked in horror, and Orron admitted to her that he had just used them to track down Leon so they may kill him. He also informed Adia that her father was not dead. In fact he had come to the village the night Adia and Feriel went to market seeking her out, but their mother, Roshell, refused to give Adia up. Her father then killed Roshell, drank her blood, then fled. Compelled by a lust for power, Orron too drank of their mother’s blood and the village shifted into this dread realm the moment the blood met his lips. He then found he had new powers unlike anything he could ever imagine, and craved the beauty and creativity of mortal beings. He warned Adia to never return to the village or she and her friends would die, then he and Elania merged back into trees (which quickly died) and disappeared.

Shocked by this discovery the party questioned their next actions. Noticing something in the trees Adia wandered off and found a decorative envelop on a tree. Opening it she found one of Euric’s tickets inside which seemed to stop time for all except her. Euric appeared and sympathized with what she was going through. He told her that she had two options: either make a home here in this valley, or kill her brother and be free. Adia became furious and Euric restored time to her friends. Requiring knowledge of how to face whatever creature Orron had become the party returned to the gypsy camp and Errik promised four favors to the gypsy fortune teller for the information. Armed with charcoal stakes the party ventured into the village during the night in the hopes of exposing Orron and his kin to moonlight which should slay them. While the party dealt with the guards, Adia confronted her brother who showed no shame for drinking their mother’s blood and becoming this undead beast. Just as Grendmir and Gaspar began to crash through the wooden walls of the house, Orron and his consort transformed into a swarm of songbirds and dove down into a small opening in the ground.

Following information from the frightened elves the party attempted to ambush the vampires by locating a cave where they may have fled to stay safe from the moonlight. While finding a possible safe room it had clearly not been used in some time. Going through some books left behind, the party found a tome of curses that had been recently translated into elven by Orron. One fairly important looking quote was translated as “a gift given in passion is lost until reclaimed.” Giving up on tracking Orron, the party ventured back into the woods and camped as a storm approached. During a watch, Saryon watched a bobbing white light in the woods and was forced into a meditative state. Adia awoke with a start and saw her deceased brother Ferial standing in the woods beckoning her to join him. When awakening her companions proved useless she ran into the woods alone, only to find Ferial standing in a clearing with the most unnatural and evil grin on his face before everything went black.

The party awoke and found Adia missing. While searching they noticed a faint white light (much larger than before) that seemed to guide them through the woods. Meanwhile Adia awoke and found herself inside a magic circle not unlike those Errik could make. Standing outside the circle, surrounded by a stone henge, stood a twisted gnome and Leanu. Leanu mournfully regretted what he had to do to “his own daughter” admitting that he was in fact Adia’s father. He activated the ritual and Adia felt herself being drained as the fortune teller’s voice exclaimed “A gift given in passion is lost until reclaimed.”. Leanu had given up his ability to feed in order to sire Adia, but now he was weak and defenseless without it and was willing to sacrifice his own daughter to get it back. As her friends found their way to the clearing they rushed in to disrupt the ritual, and Leanu turned to his Gnome asisstant Gimblethwip and ordered him to deal with them. Gimbletwhip summoned a horde of possessed squirrels to distract the party while he tried to bring Serin to uncontrollable laughter with a disturbing grin.

As the ritual neared completion and Adia slowly felt herself dying, a reassuring and motherly force began to interfere and force energy back into her. As the ground around the circle broke apart, Adia found herself in control of new powers and a kin-ness to nature. Transforming into a snow leopard she joined her friends in attacking Leanu. Suddenly Orron, Elania, and two other elven vampires appeared and joined the fight against the party. Leanu suffered early in the battle to a disabling spell by Saryon and was unable to contribute to the fight physically. Instead he changed into a mist to enable a quick escape and then began to dominate Grendmir from afar who constantly was forced to fight off the urge to attack his own teammates again and again. Eventually the elven vampires and Gimblethwip were defeated and Leanu dropped to his knees to await his fate decided by his daughter. Adia brought about the destruction of her brother as she plunged a charcoal stake into his heart and the sky rumbled as a result. While her friends finished disposing of the body, Adia turned to her father and asked “Why.”. He told her that he did not want to kill Roshell, but he became angry when she wouldn’t give Adia to him so long ago. He also informed Adia that he was grateful that the ritual did not kill her as it was supposed to. Adia, disgusted with her father, told him to flee and never return.

As the mist on the mountains flowed down and started to retake the valley, Euric emerged into the clearing and demanded the puzzle cube they had been keeping. Once in his hand he activated it, summoning a white doorway and ordered the party to enter as this was the only way he could keep his promise. Apparently the “Dark Powers” had decided they would not release the party as originally intended, and Euric was going against their orders. The last of the party managed to jump through the portal as the mist overtook Euric and the valley behind them.

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Shawnacy

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