The search for Griffy-healing ritual components continues. Rumor of a fey crossing brings R4S to Lake Nen. Component #2, Dryad Amber, must be found in The Feywild.
R4S enters the sleepy fishing village of Nenlast, situated on the eastern shore of Lake Nen. The party makes a stop at the local tavern in hopes of gaining information about the possible Fey Crossing. Neither the patrons nor the employees of the tavern have even the slightest idea what R4S is talking about. (“fey-what-now?”) Dejected, R4S sulk at a table with their drinks, discussing possible courses of action. Mialee, ever observant, spies an old map of the area hung on the wall behind the bar. She notices an island depicted at the near-center of the lake which does not appear to exist in reality. On the way out, Mialee asks the bartender about it but he dismisses it as an error since the map is very old. He does warn R4S that if they head out onto the lake to be careful of a very large aggressive crocodile – named Old Snappy by the fishermen.
The party heads down to the docks, seeking a boat to take them out on the lake. None of the fishermen are willing to bring a bunch of tourists out on a pleasure cruise when there are fish to haul in. The group turns back toward town and sees a shop with a familiar sign. Famous Dave’s Fresh Fish. R4S eagerly crowd at the shop’s window, and Dave groans in lament at seeing them. His bitterness is brushed off and R4S convince him that they will not destroy his building, try to claim a bounty on him, or otherwise ruin his business. Mostly to avoid negative confrontation, Dave relents and takes the party out on his boat to observe the lake. At the spot where the island was shown on the old map, Zedra’s arcana-sense tingles.
Mialee dives in to the water to see what she can find below the surface. Among the rocks and aquatic plants, she spots a chain-and-lock contraption. Mialee swims back up to the boat and relays her findings. She plans to make an attempt at picking the lock, to see what happens. No sooner does she disappear below the surface than the water is disturbed again. A remarkably huge crocodile takes interest in the boat’s presence. Dave voices his concern and is promptly shushed by R4S.
Mialee successfully opens the lock. Part of the lakebed beneath her shifts, releasing a few bubbles. How curious… She resurfaces for air and sees Kyrrox riding a massive crocodile, in order to keep from being bitten by it. Mialee moves towards her comrades, but is instructed to continue picking the underwater locks. The rest of R4S would draw Old Snappy’s attention. Worried but determined, Mialee takes in a deep breath and dips back into the lake. Zedra acts as guide, feeling out where the next lock can be found by sensing the arcane power of the area.
Kyrrox’ heroics in “commandeering” the croc make it easier for the rest of R4S on the boat to hit the beast. Mialee swims fast and sure to the remaining locks and opens them faster than if she’d held the actual keys. A section of lakebed begins to rise as soon as the fourth and final lock pops open, churning up silt and swirls of bubbles on its way. Mialee is carried up with the mass of rock. Just as the enchanted island breaks the water’s surface, Kyrrox manages to kill the huge crocodile.
Dave and “crew” pull the boat up to the isle and unload. Zedra confirms this hidden island is the location of the fey portal, and he prepares a fey crossing ritual. R4S bid fond farewell to Dave, gifting him the dead Snappy. He seems more excited about getting away from the group of adventurers than about the prospect of towing the beast’s corpse back to shore. Dave claims he will have a Dock Hand keep a lookout for their return, and pick them up when and if they require it. With a wave that equally says “Bah!” and “Take care, you crazies!” Dave turns back to his boat and R4S step through the fey portal.
The Feywild assaults the senses of the party with amplified color, smells, and sounds. Zedra smiles at the familiarity of it. He gains a feel for the arcane powers in the area, attempting to figure out the direction to take. Mialee’s high perception and attunement to nature give her the same sense of direction as Zed. They agree that Dryads are most likely to be found to the South, about 7-10 days distant. Patyen, Kyrrox, Gord, and Conry delve into their own senses and skills, but get different inclinations of where to go. After a brief arguement, it is acknowledged that perhaps following the Fey Wizard and the Elven Rogue is their best bet.
R4S navigate the wild and vibrant fey woodland, amazed yet wary as the days pass. A sun-dappled clearing opens before them and faint giggling from the treeline puts the group on edge. A few steps more, and a small contingent of gnomes make themselves known. Natural tricksters, the gnomes make for a difficult fight. One seems to be able to command a wall of brambles, others have the ability to teleport. By the time all the damn things are finally laid low, several members of R4S are nearly dead. Only with the grace of their cleric and the Revival Shroud are they able to mend their wounds and return from death’s waiting grasp.
Kyrrox decapitates one of the slain gnomes and carves the word “scourge” on its forehead. She then fastens the head to her belt and swears a personal vow to exterminate every gnome she encounters. As the party makes ready, Kyrrox finds the implements that had granted the thorn-waller his power: a set of Green Thumbs.
As the party continues on, Conry hacks at random trees with his sword. Zedra scowls and assures him these trees are not Dryads, and even if they were, his actions are NOT the correct way to extract amber. A few more days journey and Zed leads the way to a large, dense ring of trees.
The party walks in towards a resplendant, towering tree at the ring’s center. Before they can draw too near, one of the trees nearby begins to move towards them and asks in harsh tones why they’ve come. Conry and Kyrrox take a few steps back, Patyen holds firm, but Zedra and Mialee move forward to address the Dryad. The plight of Griffy is explained, but the Dryads make it clear they do not just gift their amber since it is rather painful to extract.
Mialee Woodsinger lives up to her surname and begins singing a soft yet soaring melody in her native elven. Zedra lives up to his upbringing and plays diplomat, assuring the Mother Dryad that the donor will be tended to. Conry nearly ruins negotiations by bickering with Patyen, and continuing to hit trees with his sword. Kyrrox helps to quell Conry’s aggression and miraculously Zed is able to resolve the discussion. The Dryads agree to give them the amber they need. A donor stands ready.
Patyen and Zedra perform the surgery and extract, with the greatest of care, enough amber for Huge’s cure ritual. Mialee’s voice aids in calming and comforting the donor and his family. When the amber is secured, Patyen heals the donor Dryad, and offers his humble thanks. Zedra and Mialee, too, express their deep gratitude and respect. R4S leaves the Dryad’s grove and sighing in relief begin their 10 day trek back to the fey crossing.
Travel back becomes increasingly difficult after all ration supplies are exhausted. Foraging for food becomes impossible for most of the party. Kyrrox thinks of a possible source of help and pulls out the Herman summoning bell. Flashes of light and a high-pitched mechanical whine come from the bell, but with a puff of smoke, Herman finally appears. “Are you in the Feywild?! That thing isn’t meant to be used across planes.” The starving adventurers apologize and cry their woes to Herman. He offers them a magic basket of replenishing food. Payment for their salvation is most of their gold plus the promise to find some obsidian crown of Ro’Thax. The party agrees, having little choice. Kyrrox manages to hold back her newfound hatred of gnomes long enough to complete the transaction.
With full bellies and new tasks in their future, R4S experiences little trouble in their last few days travel. The portal location is found again and Zedra does his fey-thing. They all step back onto the secret isle of Lake Nen. Mere moments later, a Dock Hand waves to them from shore and sets out with a boat. Once back in town, the party observes with amusement that Dave is now Famous-er for catching Ol’ Snappy.