Chapter 3, Part IV: Don't You Trust Me?

Before stopping at the inn to settle in for the night, The Easy Marx headed out in search of Bertrand, the other survivor of the mine collapse. They made their way to the tavern, which was one of the only big public meeting spots in the town outside of the library and the temple-- and the only one that it made sense to check at this late hour.

Corky concocted a plan to find Bertrand, a man the group had never seen and had never asked a single thing about to anyone regarding his physical appearance. Corky and Stefano began to sing an ad-libbed, hauntingly beautiful song about the life of being a miner. Noticing a halfling among a group of friends who seemed to be particularly moved by the song, Corky introduced himself. He learned that the man's name was Bertrand, and so he flagged over the rest of his party.

They learned that Bertrand ran much faster than Warrek when the mine collapsed, and that he didn't bother to look back as he booked it from the mine. Bertrand disparaged Warrek, saying he was crazy to think anything other than a tragic collapse took out their coworkers.

After their conversation with Bertrand, the party returned back to the inn. Leozumin knocked on Airmed's door, wanting to talk about his reaction to the Mimics.

Airmed admitted that he was upset about how they were handling the Mimics, and recognized that he had been the one to make the first strike against them. When he did, he realized how similar the mimics were to him; they were creatures who could change their appearance at will, as he could. They were the first things that he had ever encountered outside of himself with the ability to do so. And because of what they were, a whole village of people wanted them destroyed.

Leozumin expressed understanding, but also contended that the Mimics were not intelligent creatures and that they actively sought to seek harm, which was very different from Airmed.

Airmed said that he felt like the Mimics were smart "in their way," and that they could sense when someone wanted to cause them harm, and defended themselves.

Airmed, trusting Leozumin, then shared that he had a Mimic in a chest to save it from being killed.

Leozumin promised not to tell the rest of the party about it, and would let Airmed do so when he was ready.

As Leozumin and Airmed spoke, Stefano Romano and Chief Paws had a drink in the lobby of the Wooden Hearth Inn together. Stefano told Chief Paws about the secret of his and Corky's ventriloquism success: most acts have to rely on one person doing the act of both the person and the puppet, but Stefano isn't like other puppets. Because he isn't a puppet at all, but the soul of an elf inhabiting a puppet body while a demon inhabits his own body. Chief Paws left the conversation unsure if Stefano had just tried to do a big reveal, as they had been pretty sure the demon possession was general knowledge amongst their party.

As Corky slumbered upstairs, alone and hundreds of feet away from his soul-shield, a voice penetrated directly into his brain, whispering darkly, "Where are you?"

The next morning, Amadeus met The Easy Marx and escorted them to the Elder's Estate.

You take the path through a thicket of trees before exiting into a clearing. Ahead of you is a fence made of a strange metal that seems to sway in the wind, the gates forged into an intricate pattern of laurels and vines. As you stand before them, they begin to open, revealing the wild garden grounds of the Elder's estate. At the top of the stone path that leads through the garden is the Elder's manor, a building made of many curves and sweeping lines, its surface covered in the vines and flowers from the garden that have overtaken it. The most prominent feature is the large tree towering above the home, its trunk seeming to have engulfed and grown up and around the manor so that the two structures meld into one, giving the impression that the manor isn't so much as built on top of the forest as it is a part of it.

Luidalia, expecting them, greeted them at the door and invited them inside.

Luidalia is a tall and thin elven woman, with white blonde hair that is wrapped into a series of thick, complicated braids. Her features are sharp, giving her a severe appearance. She regards you with careful eyes before she steps back and allows you to enter her home.

During the conversation, the Marx learn that Luidalia's brother, Adamar, was the elder in Everness who was killed in the coup that drove the three elven families from the woods. They also learned that Luidalia had all of the village's efforts focused on the mine collapse until news of the crisis in Everness reached her. Due to the futility of the efforts to unearth the collapsed mine, she made the decision to divert their resources to their sister clan, and the group of her High Rangers went into the woods to see what they could do.

The Marx told Luidalia that they wanted to help, and would go into Risorial Woods to investigate. She told them that the woods were one of their most sacred places and she would not be allowing near-complete strangers to just stumble inside. She also warned them that the woods would be able to protect themselves, and people who go in without an invitation do not typically find a way back out.

They agreed to prove themselves in someway in order to help her trust them, and then mentioned that they will investigate the mine collapse, since the resources were diverted away from that situation. They learned that the mine is a Mithril mine (also known as Elven Ore or Elven Iron), and one of the main sources of employment and income to the village, and with it down, the town is beginning to feel the effects of its lack. Gyome asked Luidalia for something made of mithril for an idea he had to assist with the mine. Luidalia provided him with a mithril hand mirror, though she was unsure how that will help.

Before leaving, Corky gave a business card to Luidalia and Airmed noted that there were a section of Ghostbells growing under Luidalia's side window, a translucent flower that can be used to craft a potion of lesser invisibility.

Airmed also stopped back by the Apothecary and learned that the unknown liquid he had found on the witches outside of Gilding was a poison known as Night's Ink, and will cause the drinker to immediately experience an additional 3 levels of exhaustion.

The Easy Marx then found Warrek, and had him lead them up to the mine to get some investigating done. Gyome set the mithril mirror on the ground where the opening the mine had been. Within moments, the ground engulfed the mirror, pulling it down into the mountain. A rumbling sounded from a handful of yards away, alerting the party to a change in the mountain. When they went to look around, they noticed a few etched symbols and writing into the rock. Before attempting to solve the puzzle that was revealed, Artem sent a Dragonfly messenger off to Luidalia to let her know they had found something in the mountain and that they had a feeling it was going to allow them entrance.

While attempting to decipher the puzzle on the mountain wall, Chief Paws, with their keen Tabaxi nose, sniffed out the presence of blood on the rock. His observations helped the party figure out how to solve the puzzle, which revealed the entrance to the mine.

As they stepped up to enter the mine, a much larger, more substantial rumbling shook the group and mountain around them. As rocks fell from the walls of the mine, they seemed to fall into the shape of a large, glittering rock creature, forming a torso, arms, legs, and a head. The rocks were held together by a glowing, iridescent light that seemed to come from the core of the creature. Rock pillars jutted up from the ground to block off the entrance, that same warm, glow pulsing from within them as well.

With a leap much swifter than such a large, bulky creature should have been capable of, the rock golem took a place on a large rock above the party and began to attack.

For a full recap of the battle, see Artem's Battle Report.


Occurrences of Note:

  • Full party introduction of Bertrand, halfling male and one of two miners who escaped the collapse.
  • Resolution of interparty conflict between Artem and Leozumin.
  • Artem reveals secret Mimic to Leozumin.
  • Someone or something is seeking Corky.
  • Full party introduction to Luidalia, the village Elder of Thetchery at the Elder's Estate.
  • Party learns Ludalia's brother Adamar was the leader killed in the Everness Coup.
  • Party learns the Risorial Woods protects itself against outsiders.
  • Party learns they will receive a safe way to enter the woods if they prove trustworthy to Luidalia and the people of Thetchery.
  • Gyome obtains mithril hand mirror.
  • Airmed obtains Night's Ink poison.
  • Gyome gives mithril hand mirror to the mine.
  • Completion of Mine Blood Puzzle.
  • Party engages in battle against a Rock Golem/Elemental.
  • Party victory against Rock Golem/Elemental.

Completed: November 2022