Arglwyth Emyr Cadwaler of Daden Bryd threw an elaborate party on Kindler’s Isle to celebrate the confirmation of the nobles. You received a seedling tree. Arglwyth Alvestar Glorandaal of the cantrev of Bloodyn Cain is heading back to his capital of Pelyth Cove, and asked if you would be his traveling companions (all living expenses paid). Arglwyth Alvestar received a staff-shaped bundle from one of the bards.
Dersyth grew up around a monastery to Pelor and is very traditional Old Faith / Old Ways. They are cordial to those like them (Human [Flan or Mixed], Elves, Dwarves, Halflings, Gnomes who follow the Flan Gods [Pelor, Beory, Obad-Hai, Ehlonna]) and dislike others. The more foreign (Half-Orc, Genasi, Dragonborn, or even Human [Suloise, Oeridian, etc.]), the less they like you. – Pelor is the God of Light, Warmth and Healing. His holy symbol is that of the Sun.
Dyffryn y Rheswm also grew around a monastery, but it is Rao, the Flan God of Peace, Reason and Serenity. They were a little more relaxed, but still very traditional Old Faith / Old Ways. His holy symbol is a white heart of wood or metal.
Trehalwyn is based on salt mining and production from an underground mineral spring. The mineral is very valuable and trades with the entire Sheldomar Valley. Because they have a lot of contact with outsiders, they are more tolerant.
Llannerch is in a wooded area with a lot of nut trees (almonds, hazelnut, walnut, chestnut) and tea plants (Camellia sinensis) that appreciate the cooler, wetter conditions. They see enough traders to also be more tolerant of outsiders.
Groesffordd’s economy is built around wheat, other grains and cattle. Most of their trade is with other Traditional (and Moderate) Gyri, but they have some exposure to outsiders.
Midwood originally stood on the eastern bank of the Javan River. When Gran March annexed the County/Cantrev of Arweth, they also annexed Midwood (technically part of Rhwng yr Coed). They people were upset, so they took their settlement and rebuilt on the western bank, back in the cantrev of Rhwng yr Coed, calling it New Midwood. As the main road between Gyruff/Rhwng yr Coed and Gran March/Arweth, Midwood’s Ferry is one of the few crossing points over the river. Early morning fog is common here, with a lot of insects that attract many fish, making fishing very important to the economy. The temple of Allitur, Flan God of Ethics, Propriety and Law, is very prominent. Allitur’s current holy symbol is a pair of clasped hands, but it once included level scales. Arglwthes Briallen merch Luther of Rhwng yr Coed met with Arglwyth Alvestar privately while you stayed at the inn.
Prenffrwyth (aka Hwyst’s Ford, Falcon’s Hollow, Fruitwood Grove) is built around the sawmill, lumber, woodworking and papermaking, but fruit and fishing are the main agricultural products. Most of the wood is from upriver, especially the Dim Forest, but they also trade with the Oytwood Elves for downed exotic fruitwoods. When the giants invaded, Prenffrwyth was evacuated. Then, when it was retaken, Arglwythes Briallen granted it to Marchioness Chantel Brodelin of Mandismoor, who was seeking refuge for herself and her people. (Ravonnar in Mandismoor is covered with lethal amounts of positive energy.)
Prenffrwyth was the site of the original Blackscour Taint outbreak during the War Against the Giants. The tainted well was treated with the cure and exposed to fire, but still sealed up and marked as poisonous. A bucket dipped in the well still brings up thick, brackish water full of the black fungus.
The people in Prenffrwyth said the spring once held curative waters, before the giants came. With additional investigation, a secret passage was found in Jack’n’Apes, a Tavern/Inn, leading down to the caverns attached to the well. Tornado (who doesn’t need to breathe) explored the Blackscour infested water. After exploring, he discovered an ancient underground temple/shrine consisting of three statues (apprentice wizard, adult mage and skeletal mage/wizard) looking at an altar with an unbalanced golden scale. The head of the apprentice statue had been broken off.
The group traveled back to Midwood to meet with the clergy of Allitur. Since Midwood was protected by a benevolent fog giant during the war, their church and holy records were preserved. A reference was found to an ancient temple of Allitur at Hwyst’s Ford (aka Prenffrwyth, Falcon’s Hollow, Fruitwood Grove). The place was a legendary and miraculous spring of healing, where people would pilgrimage from all over to partake of its curative powers. The temple was lost over a hundred years ago, when the entire village burned to the ground.
Blackscour Taint, a tiny waterborne fungus/mold, absorbs and multiplies incredibly fast (an order of magnitude growth per level of spell) when exposed to curative magic (cure wounds, heal, etc.), but does not seem affected by other magic. If even a tiny bit was exposed to constant curative magic, say from a healing spring, it would expand to fill whatever container the water was in. If ingested, the tiny fungus spreads throughout the body, perhaps through the blood? – Then, if exposed to curative magic, it multiplies rapidly, interfering with all bodily functions, particularly the heart and lungs. – Necromantic energy DOES damage the fungus/mold (or at least makes it go dormant), but would also damage a host. – Blackscour requires at least high humidity (if not a liquid), warm temperatures (32 – 120 F) and a food source (organic material, like a host body).
The well was treated with the cure, exposed to fire and expertly dammed up by dwarven engineers at the end of the war, when the Blackscour was thought eradicated, but evidently a tiny piece must have survived and regrew. [NOTE: The whole cavern was exposed to lots of fire, including fireballs, to eradicate the fungus, yet Tornado found a crate and a barrel at the bottom of the Blackscour water filled tunnels.] Your theory was that if the spring/shrine emanating curative magic was stopped/shut down, the Blackscour could be cleaned/destroyed in the well. Another theory is that any Blackscour that flowed downriver would be cleaned by the epic-level positive energy radiating out of Ravonnar, but what if the Blackscour absorbed and grew upon exposure to the positive energy instead of being killed by it? – The decision on what to do was tabled for the nobility (and e-mail campaign) to deal with.
Continuing on, you arrived in Caer Rhiniog, a hexagonal fort built during the war using ironwood for the corners. At the end of the war, a number of troops just stayed behind and started families here. Fish and fruit are the primary agricultural products. While trees are plentiful here, the people do not offend the elves by cutting any of it. They gather down wood for their fires, arrows, bows and woodworking. They don’t have much metalworking, but create some powerful liquors from the fruit. They see some trade and visitors, but otherwise just live in concert with nature.
Arglwyth Alvestar needed to meet with the elves in Edhellond anyway. The Oytwood Elves are still divided into two main political factions (the Cooperatists and Isolationists). When you were surprised that they are still fighting, Alvestar pointed out that the elves live hundreds, if not thousands of years. Ideological debates are not settled quickly or easily. The two factions have existed for hundreds of years and will exist for hundreds more. There are seventy-some clans of elves in the Oytwood, each clan centered on a grey elf noble family leading high and wood elves. Each clan’s influence is limited to a single village, although there are multiple clans in each given village. Each clan’s representative is on the council for that village. Each of the thirteen village councils elects one of their number to represent the village in the thirteen member Weeping Council, which rules the Oytwood. As opinions change, representation in the Weeping Council can shift power between the two main political factions. Additionally, each village may or may not be controlled by either party.
Additionally, although Arglwyth Alvestar is Ambassador from Gyruff and a Grey Elf noble, he is from the Dim Forest elf. The three elvish peoples (Oytwood, Dim Forest and Hornwood) are not on good terms, since their split during the war. As a fellow grey elf and official ambassador, they may grant an audience out of politeness, but he doesn’t expect a warm reception even if the Cooperatists are in power.
As it turns out, the Isolationists have a slight majority, but they hear the ambassador out in a closed session. Your group waits on a platform, under guard, for over a day before Arglwyth Alvestar returns. The Tear of Corellon, which magically protects the Oytwood, allowing it to flower and fruit year round (including exotic varieties that shouldn’t be able to live here, like oranges, bananas, coconuts, coffee, cocoa, etc.), has been stolen by the now-hostile fey. A guide will show you as far as they’ve gotten.
A friendly nymph agreed to tell you about the Verdant Prince and have Quimble, the blue-skinned quickling take you to the Evergreen Prince of the Winding Barrow. The quickling is fast and often gets bored waiting for you to catch up, but eventually takes you to the court of the Evergreen Prince’s Winding Barrow. You offer gifts for the gift of passage and an audience. When the prince is asked why the fey are hostile and also took the Tear of Corellon, he responded that he was ordered by the Queen of Air and Darkness to seek the phylactery of the Storm King, hidden not far from here. A creature is created and given as a gift for permission to leave the Winding Barrow. Quimble knows the way.
Quimble takes you to an ominous cave, where the trees and other plants around it are dead for hundreds of feet. Inside the cave, a green dragon slumbers on an earthen mound. – Of course the dragon turns out to be an illusion, but many of the party are turned into various beasts and humanoids by mischievous pixies. Upon being threatened, they reluctantly dropped the polymorph and those transformed became themselves again. – On the earthen mound was the Tear of Corellon, which was turned into phylactery while it was in the possession of the Storm King. – After a lengthy travel back to Edhellond, Arglwyth Alvestar presents the Tear of Corellon and warns the Weeping Council about it also being the phylactery. Most knew already, but a few did not. Without the Tear, the Oytwood would become just a normal forest, but it also now holds a terrible evil darkness. – Alvestar meets with them privately again, but your group can ask for a single boon. You chose the Elderwood Moss, gathered in a manner you decide upon. 100 pinches to the pound, for weight purposes.
Preston is a village under joint management of the elves and Gyri, where the two populations are kept in a careful balance. The elves are not very friendly, but peaceful. Arglwyth Alvestar has heard rumors that the Gyri in Arweth are oppressed, so he wants to see for himself. He asks you to take note of any defenses, schedules and the condition / treatment of the people. The Gyri of Preston take you across the river early the next morning.
Back from Gran March, you passed back through Preston.
After Preston, it is a 72 mile hike (2 days) before you see another settlement: Mellit’s Warf. Mellit’s Warf, population 300 (mostly Flan) make their living through gathered (not cut) wood from the Oytwood and fishing. They have a rope bridge across the river and there is a ruined temple to Hextor (evil god) on the Gran March side of the river. Mellit’s Warf has a Menagerie, where exotic animals (including the occasional griffon) are raised and trained. They charge a nominal fee to see the animals. – The village is ruled by Brehyres Xyrlmore Mellit, who is a nice Flan woman. Her husband, Gaelyn Waters, is indisposed, but she introduces you to her five daughters (ages 24, 15, 10, 7, 5). The community is particularly accepting of you as strangers, especially your dragonborn. Further investigation reveals that there are scores of green dragonborn, some of which even serve in the noble manor. It is a pleasant stay, especially after being in Gran March.
You reach Keeler’s Keep (pop 300) about lunchtime. The Keep, built by dwarven and gnome craftsmen during the war, is more village now with the primary industries of woodworking and fishing. Brehyr Tomm Longtongue and his two sons (ages 20 and 18) are happy to meet their new leader. They encourage you to stay, since it is a long hike to Pelyth Cove.
On the road, a tribe of lizardfolk accost your group. They immediately make demands on Arglwyth Alvestar, demanding their wands. He spends an hour or so negotiating with them in private before you can go on your way.
It is a very long day the next day, arriving about eight at night. Pelyth Cove, population 1850, has a temple to Tritheron, Freeman’s Lodge of the Gwys Glaif (tr. Swords of the Summoner), Gentlemen’s Ease Tavern, Riverboat traffic, Glorandaal Bank & Exchange (Pawnshop) and a distillery specializing in rice wine. Primary agriculture is rice and fish. Arglwyth Alvestar leaves the parcel he’s carried since Kindler’s Isle at the Pawnshop and you continue on. You arrive at the manorhouse, where you meet Baroness Ireena Kolyana Glorandaal, Alvestar’s wife.
Baroness Ireena Kolyana Glorandaal is a foreign human who talks in a thick (Russian-like) accent. Although in her late forties, she is a fearsome woman who keep the servants on edge and jumping. Her shrill voice pierces more painful than an arrow when she is angry. She constantly bosses her servants around and never seems satisfied. If anything, she seems restless and agitated. You are entering with Arglwyth Alvestar for his first time in this new home for less than ten minutes when his wife begins berating him for being late. The conversation/argument begins getting very personal and uncomfortable, so you excuse yourselves to stay at the tavern/inn.