Upon starting day 4 of their exploration, Blaine returns to the temple to stand guard with Umalli and generally relax. The rest of the group pushes forward.
They arrive in a vast stone valley. As the group descends into the valley, they notice that among the general debris of the area are hundreds and hundreds of stone faces, seemingly melded into the ground. Grafton knows the faces are not chiseled, but somehow magically created, though Darnis does not quite know how. A fully upright statue further down the basin wall attracts Hoerig’s attention. It is an attractive eladrin woman, fully clothed, wearing a serene facial expression. She stares forward and slightly up. When the party fixes their gaze in that direction, they see a small hut. The group decides to go to the hut, but are stopped by a blast of arcane energy that chokes them in dust and gravel. A man with a wand threatens them, wondering aloud just how many graverobbers he’s going to have to fight off. He descends from his perch atop a heap of debris and demands that the PCs drop their weapons. The group, sans weapons, convinces the strange man that they are not grave robbers but merely travelers. The party’s lack of fey convinces him and he identifies himself as Fleme (pronounced “flame”). He is a human who’s village was teleported into the Feywild whole and the inhabitants petrified, though their petrified forms appear eladrin instead of human. Fleme has been trying to find a way for several years to undo the magic of the valley but has been unable. He seems to think that the arcanists of Hyloneme might be able to help him, but he has no way back and is unsure of leaving the Feywild and his “home.” The party convinces him that they have a way back and some contacts that could help with the situation. Fleme agrees and wants to bring his fiancee Ella (the stone woman) back so that he can ensure the magic will work before returning to the Feywild. Ella is too heavy for the party to carry and so he tearfully leaves her behind, instead bringing along his dog, Scout, who has similarly been turned to stone. Fleme knows why he was not affected by the transformation, but will not reveal why to the party. It seems he is ashamed somehow of this secret and so the party does not poke further into the matter.
The group, with Fleme in tow, heads south to the village of Arnis where they receive a less than warm welcome. The gnomish, pixie, brownie and otherwise mini-fey inhabitants of the town have a distate for big, nonmagical creatures. Fleme explains that he comes to Arnis occasionally for fish, but a merchant quickly tells them there are no fish and that they should scram. It seems the village is slowly starving since they can not get their boats offshore due to four dragons that are destroying their boats and eating the fish.
When the party arrives at the docks, they see a couple of gnomes prepared to launch a boat to try to get food. They offer to take down the dragons and are met with immediate derision. Still, their impetuousness prompts one of the gnomes to make a bet – 100gp that the party can’t kill the dragons. Hoerig immediately accepts; the gnome says “fine, it’s your death. And I’m going to take all your stuff when the dragons finish you off.” The other gnome, amazed but seeing the opportunity for profit, runs back on shore and announces the PCs’ foolhardiness to the town. More bets are placed, with the second gnome acting as bookie. Darnis places 20gp at 7:1 that they’ll even come back alive. Thud continues the bravado, asking what reward they will receive from the town for saving their livelihood. Glimwocket the jeweler presents the party with two crimson stones if they can do it, but is clearly not afraid of losing the gems.
The boat puts off and within moments, is under attack by four dragons, two Large and two Medium. They immediately open up with rending claws, scaring the party something fierce, but they retain their resolve. Grafton summons kelp from beneath the surface of the water to hinder the dragons and keeps at least one tied up well each round for several rounds. The two parties trade blows until a gnome sailor launches a harpoon at one of the larger dragons, and gives Thud the chance to leap onto the beast’s back! He grabs it by the neck, drags himself up and delivers a crushing blow to the dragon’s skull. This signals the rest of the party to focus their attention on the dragon. Aided by Darnis’ magically burning weapons and another harpoon shot, the first monster drops.
The fight is far from over, however. Both Hoerig and Darnis burn through every healing ability they have, including utilities, and nearly everyone uses their second wind. Most of the party is bloodied at some point, and usually multiple times, except for Darnis. Despite being the target of as many attacks as everyone else, Darnis is apparently invincible while on a boat. Things look especially grim when the other large dragon roars, stunning Thud and Grafton and knocking over a mast onto the ship, blocking movement. Hoerig thinks quickly, though, and commands the gnomes to hurl the fallen mast at one of the smaller dragons. They hit and the beast goes into the water, entangled and stunned. This frees Thud to rejoin the party surrounding the other large dragon. The gnomes catch smaller dragon #1 in a fishing net and proceed to beat it to death with oars while the party deals with the other two dragons. The larger dragon attempts to grab Hoerig twice, each time meeting a swift punch to the dragonballs resulting in an escape. With double flanking and several leader bonuses, Grafton finishes the long and difficult fight with surprising efficiency, knocking smaller dragon #2 prone so the gnomes can tie it up and then performing a crude tracheotomy on the other large dragon while in beast form.
Exhausted, but victorious, the party returns to shore, receiving their winnings, the jewels and the famous ‘slow clap.’ During the night’s festivities, the group learns that the town was once in possession of a book that had rituals involving teleportation and revivifying petrified remains (among other things) but the book was bought by a man named Berrian Truescourge many years ago. That book was called the Tome of Twilight Boughs. The party also arranges to have Ella brought back to the Yuir Temple by the Arnis villagers so that Fleme can continue his research.
Upon returning to the Yuir Temple, the party finds the captured eladrin dead and Umalli and Blaine unconscious. The pair inform the rest of the PCs that the captives escaped somehow and knocked them out. They know little more than that. Nimiwi is nowhere to be seen. Searching outside reveals foottracks heading in many different directions and a wagon trail headed toward Tarmek. With less than two days to spare the group decides to head back to Tarmek to talk to the magic dealer there. He unfortunately knows nothing about any captured dryads and when asked about petrification magic, mentions only that he thought there was a book somewhere that talked about it, the Tome of Twilight Boughs.
The party finally races back to the Yuir Temple with almost no time left before the Temple is due to return and are met by a half-dozen eladrin in front of the entrance. They are clearly glad to see the party and offer refreshments. They explain that they had come by a couple days back to visit Berrian and take an order. Upon entering the Temple, they saw several men carrying out Umalli’s and Blaine’s (assumed) corpses. The captives explained what had happened to them and demanded weapons to strike down the PCs when they came back. The merchants asked for money, the captives didn’t have any and decided to try to simply take the goods by force. The merchants defended themselves but had not yet disposed of the bodies. They have since returned several times and have been sending out search parties to find the rest of the PCs at Blaine and Umalli’s request.
Before the Temple leaves, the PCs do some business with the merchants, led by an eladrin who calls himself Whitman. They trade one of the jewels they received from the Arnis villagers and Hoerig’s ability to handle dangerous magical items for several pieces of magical gear. While the party peruses magical equipment, Hoerig is handed all manner of cursed and malfunctioning items to “hold while my guys get the residuum off of it.” A shield that engulfs the wielder in flames when hit, an amulet that delivers random shocks, a moldy shirt that keeps away pests, some tainted troll parts and all other manner of disturbing items fail in Hoerig’s presence and are recycled. Hoerig claims a magical bedroll for himself and crawls into it shaking after that ordeal, whether the magic works or not! Whitman also gives the party a tracking armband so that if they ever end up in the Feywild again, they can find the merchant wagon.
Finally, it’s time to return home. All 6 PC’s, Nimiwi, Fleme (with Ella and Scout) and a bunch of crazy new gear enter the Temple for the last time and are carried back to the Natural World.
240gp in winnings
100gp Luck/Karma and 90 Fame for defeating the dragons
Lv 4 Power Jewel
Watchful Ruby Eye – traded for a (+1 Deathstalker?) Greatspear, a +1 Lullaby Craghammer and a Restful Bedroll
Thud’s Eye Loupe