Saturday, 7th July 2008
Day of Temperance.
We're in the upper plane of Bytopia, in the golden hills of Dothan, in the shadow of Whisper Leaf, where the gnomish gods dwell. Three evil creatures have infested paradise. They were sent by the evil gnomish god known as the Digger below. They are loose and hunting in the Thilgey wood. Our arrival (through a portal on the branch of Whisper Leaf's daughter) brought us to the upper branches of Whisper Leaf herself. To get down to the ground we take a basket-elevator some 800 feet to the to of the hill. Below the hill lies a picturesque gnomish village. Most of the gnomes are hidden inside their houses. We spot only about half a dozen gnomes as we descend the hill, and even these gnomes seem harried.
At the bottom of the hill stand the sentinels of Flandal Steelskin. They ride badgers and dress in field plate armour. Our guide gets us passage into the woods. The guide also warns us that in the Whimsy caves magic can go awry. We gather together and Chryseis leads us in a prayer. Then we say our goodbyes to our guide and trek off into the woods without him. We're not exactly sure where we're going. None of us have ever been in a "wood" before. This place is less dense than the forest on the island on the plane of Earth, and far thicker than the trees in the forest of the Infernal and Divine in Sigil. Everything here is verdant and alive, but somehow stilled too. There are no loud animal shouts (as on the island), but we're not exactly sure what's missing. There are trees of all sizes, bushes, and ferns. Where the earth is bare of growth it is covered in well colored leaves and tree bits.
Eventually, after some walking, I smell water. We head towards it. After a bit we come up to a very pretty house situated along a gnomish track. The house has a barn and well-tilled fields. Beyond it is a small river. Ludvik and I head up to the door while the others hang back. We're worried about scaring the inhabitants.
The inhabitants appear in the window and seem to be waving frantically at us. Before we can figure out what they're trying to say, the giant rock near the stream leaps at us! It's an 8' frog. It has a wicked tongue that it uses to entangle its prey and drag it into its maw of teeth. It attacked us quickly, focusing on Ludvik while I scrambled away. Ludvik fired several arrows at it, but many bounced off the things tough hide. Ekikos rolled into the fray and hit it in the eye with his very fist strike. Chryseis menaced it with her javelin and eventually impaled it. It died slowly at the edge of the stream.
A gnome came out of the house. He is joined by a woman and three children. They tell us they've been trapped in the house for 2 days. He is Thomas Borogroves. His wife is Hilda, and his children are Petal, Clover, and Lucky. We learn from them that Sir Toves came by here 3 days past and headed down stream. They provide us with rations while we tell our tale thus far. They are interested in the news we bring regarding the evils, and promise to remain wary. Ludvik and Eki cart the toad to the midden pile and return the cart to Mister Borogroves.
They ask us to keep an eye out for the mule, Galumphs-a-lot, who ran off when the boundersnatch arrived.
We go back into the forest, following the river. Along the way Eki tripped over the roots of an ent. When we ask for directions to the Whimsy caves, they reply in rhyme:
Look ye for the tum tum tree
The tallest tree upon a hill
Its trunk is slick with moss & thick
Stand ye on the highest bow but 3
And the whimsy caves you'll see.
They admit, albeit reluctantly, that they saw Sir Toves (or at least a gnomen matching his description) passing this way.
We are warned that the tum tum tree can take your thoughts.
Following the river, we come across the clearing with the tum tum tree standing int he middle. Eki head us the tree while we stay well clear of it. Amidst its lower branches is the Borogroves mule. Mr Gallumps-a-lot can now talk. He's been eating the leaves of the tree and seems to think he's Sir Toves. Gallumps-a-lot doesn't want to go back to the Borogroves, or share his moss.
Eki has no problems climbing hte tree. He sees a waterfall int he distance. As he's calling out the directions to those of us on the ground, the jubjub bird attacks and knocks Eki out of the tree. The bird quickly flies away before Ludvik can get a bead on it.
We gather up Gallumps-a-lot and head towards the falls. The jubjub bird haunts us from a distance. When night falls we make a small fire and settle in. The sounds of the forest in the night mixed with the knowledge that a monster stalks these lands leads us all to have very little sleep. Ludvik is sure he saw a human-sized figure at the edge of his vision during the night, but no one approaches us and nothing comes of it. Sleep is fitful at best.
3rd day of the center rule in the State of Dominance.
Day of Charity.
We arise at dawn. Dark clouds roll in, threatening rain. Chryseis prays and we break our fast then head towards the standing stones in a clearing.
A gnome and four small mammals stand near a flat-topped stone with a spiky bit running down its center. There are menhirs around them. The gnome introduces himself as Sir Toves. He seems confused at first, uncertain why he's in the clearing, or even in the area. But he quickly becomes cantankerous and Eki gets cranky as Sir Toves becomes plain old mean. The animals with Sir Toves are affecting his mood.
Chryseis and I kill most of them and chase the rest of them away.