After another night on the boat we decided to help the newly appointed cabin boy, Roger to the temple. During the night we heard the strange noise of hooves on the water, it seemed surreal, but sure enough it was true. We were greeted by our occasional member, Eladril. She’d been spending some time in the Feywold, but heard news of our adventures and came to see if we needed assistance. It was a weird sight to see a horse atop the water.
With our new companion and roger, we set down in the roughly-known place of the temple. Finding ourselves on the road that skirted Lake Nen, that stretched between Nenlast and Falcrest. As we wandered along, we came across a ‘erb and spice merchant. I forget his name, but he tried to rip us off. Is no-one trust worthy in this world? How’s an ‘honest’ rogue to make a living? Aelar managed to barter the man down and bought some of his wares. I have little need to ‘buy’ such things, but some of the group like to collect seemingly useless trinkets, or anything that isn’t nailed to the floor (and even then I’ve seen them try). Perhaps I have more in common with my companions that I initially thought…
We talked with the merchant some more, trying to ascertain if he had heard of the temple in the area, but he could offer us no real clue to its whereabouts, beyond what is written in children’s tales that we already knew. Looking around, we found what seemed to be a recently used trail heading in a southerly direction , that was overgrown but passable. It might have been nothing more than a rarely used hunting trail, but it was our only lead. We knew where the road went in both direction, East to Nenlast and West to Falcrest so into the forest we went.
The forest was quite thick, and getting denser the further we got from the road. After a short walk we came across a wider path skirting a small hill that breeched the treetops. We chose to head to the left, even though there was a tingle of electricity or some other magic in the air. The others thought that this might signify that we were getting close to finding the temple, and thought we should venture to find its source.
The forest got thicker again, the treetops intertwining, blotting out the sun which casted everything under the canopy into a warm, murky gloom. I wondered how old the forest was and if it housed any old or magical entities. I grow wary of all the plant life we face, I am a rogue, not a gardener, and such camouflaged and deceitful prey always proves troublesome for us to ‘prune’.
After what seemed to be hours, we finally saw a clearing ahead, the warm sun lighting the glade in a hazy glow, making it seem like a most welcome sight. But danger was afoot.. in the middle of the seemingly tranquil scene, a man, draped in what seemed to be religious finery, tied to a tree with rope. It wasn’t rope. On closer inspection, the ‘rope’ looked to be living vines, a creeper, slowly tightening and grasping the man. At his feet in the tall grass, bodies of other creatures lay strewn about. Other victims. I wanted to leave the man to his fate, the place was laden with trap, set by the monstrous plants in this place, set up to entice would-be rescuers into the same fate. The others thought his unusual garb might yield clues to the whereabouts of the temple so my objections were outweighed.
The most ‘stealthy’ member of our group, the dragonborn, clumped his way to the man, while the others took up their positions in the wood surround the clearing. I was suprised half the forest didn’t know we were here, but hey-ho. As soon as Tnarg made his move, the forest came alive and the trap was sprung. Vines darted from the undergrowth and assaulted us in worrying and disturbing ways…
After what seemed like hours, the sun wheeling overhead, the clang of metal died down and the fight came to an end. The remaining plant-life retreated once more into the old wood. We saw to the man, who muttered a few words before passing out, weak from his ordeal. His clothes carried strange markings, while his robes where standard worship fare, they could mean that the man was from the legendary temple. We searched the other bodies, one of them was carrying some arrows – 3 in total – intricate markings scored into their shaft. I could feel the enchantment in them as I thumbed the flights. I wondered what they did.
We pressed on through the woods using the trees and other markers to find the entrance to the temple, finding a small stone entrance hidden not far from where we discovered the man. It looked deserted.
We descended the steps inside the entrance, it seemed quiet, too quiet. Ahead of us we found a long corridor with statues along the wall. Suddenly at the end the corridor a bunch of minions stepped out of the shadows. Before they could raise the alarm i notched one of my new arrows and fired it down the hallway, hitting one of them squarely between the eyes! But as he dropped a strange thing happened.. the world lurched dragging me forwards and leaving my stomach behind. I blinked and found myself standing over the fallen foe – surrounded by his companions all looking at each other confused. Before they had time to react, i snapped to my senses, hurling a cloud of metal at them, spinning as i went. The 3 other guards dropped to the floor one by one as the metal hit flesh. I stood at the end of the corridor alone, looking back at my friends.
“Care to join me, or shall i do all the work?” I joked.
The others, obviously amazed with my ‘skill’ came to and searched the corridor for traps. A suspicious mark, in the centre of the hallway made my companions skittish, but the leaped over it with no problems. I looked around while i waited. There were 2 ways. One through an old heavy wooden door – the other down some step hewn into the stone floor. I listened at the door. I could hear a voice, sounded like common, but muffled beyond recognition through the thick door. As the others arrived, Aeler and I looked at the stairs, listening for any clue of what might be hidden there. Suddenly behind our backs, we heard a booming knock on the door – Sehanine! – the dragonborn! I started to run to see the door open and the dragonborn to punch the opener square in the face. We could hear a voice from inside -" quick save me! they’ve invaded the temple – kill the infidels!", it shrieked. I ran into the room to see the man leap behind a line or pews – what a coward. Still i leaped over the wooden chair to where he hid.
The sound of metal and steel clashing around us, i tried to comfort the man, when one of his assailants approached. I jumped up onto the benches to confront it, but as i turned my back the old man suddenly declared us fools with a laugh. Transforming into its true form. An Oni! I leaped out of the way of its attacks and started to pivot into position, made more difficult by the benches and pews. The Oni started to remove our souls one by one, stunning us and sucking our lives into oblivion. We fought hard and bravely, it took it out of us, but eventually after what seemed like hours, the beast and its ‘assailants’ lay dead at our feet.
Leaving the room behind we explored deeper in the temple. We found the true members of the order holed up in the basement, craven and cowardly. One of them was gravely sick from a poison used in the attack, but she talked us through what she needed and while the others looked in the temple for the required items, Aeler and I ran from the temple and explore the immediate woodland for the natural ingredients she needed. When we had returned and she was out of danger we chastised them for the events that had taken place.
We managed to get them to actively promote their order, and to stop hiding themselves in the woods no longer. They were once a brave people, and the world needs people to protect them. I hope they can be again and stick true to their word.
We introduced Roger to them as a new member, after all an incestuous order could do with fresh recruits. I hope it is everything the boy dreamed of. For me, I still dream of riches and piles of gold beyond my wildest dreams, and with that thought in my head and a smile on my face, I am off to my cot.
I look forward to see if my fortune will come next time!