A lot to cover and not a lot of time to do so. Our theory on the creature’s hideaway was correct: Natural caverns near a brook in the woods. The brook, as it would turn out, is part of the Siren’s domain, and her powers seem to work on the weak-willed males of our group. The soul bound, the half-orc and the dancer all instantly fell under her sway, leaving the rest of us to come up with clever methods to stop them from Light knows what fate: I managed to get some wax drops in their ears in time, myself.
The cavern was filled with mites (tiny little vermin-like fey), bees, skin walkers (elf-like fey that wear other people’s skin), and all manner of deadly flora. Their leader seemed to be some fanged monstrosity; undead, by the gnome’s words. My Alkahest seemed to deteriorate it well enough, which would lend credence to the claim.
Of particular note was above the fanged creature’s chamber were the missing villager, tethered by vine into the neck to a fey princess (as the gnome described her) up above. When we slew the fanged creature, the villagers were released from the vines and we were able to communicate with her: she was being bound here by a “lay line” somewhere in the forest, and asked us to aid her. As she is Seelie (the good guys; Unseelie are bad), we decided to help.
Following the ley line into the woods, we came upon an ancient crypt housing barbarian remains and Idellia soldier remains: their leader seemed bound there by powerful magic, and wished to leave to reconquer his lands. Of course, the soul forged starting blabbing about how he won’t stand undead, and naturally, they assaulted us. It was one of the most exhilarating battles I’ve ever been in, and we came out victorious, and with generous piles of ancient artifacts.
The ley line was tied to a gem, which upon returning, the fey princess described it as “a seal”, which then imbedded itself into the gnome’s hand, allowing him control over plants. The fey princess offered one of us a boon, but there were a lot of people interested, so I stepped back. It was a flower anyway: not my style.
Now, on a less action-packed but more interested note, among the villagers were a fiend-blooded noble who came to investigate the strange happenings like we had, and an elf that was alive at Darkfall, apparently. Combined with other factors, such as the gem being entombed for so long, I believe perhaps the fey princess had been sealed in this cave for much, much longer than the recent happenings. What that means is up in the air, at the moment.
The fey princess took us to the edge of the woods where we went to investigate the other village on our task: It had been obliterated. Apparently, all the villagers were transmuted into a giant
tree plant monster?. I copied the ritual for additional study, much to the soul forged’s chagrin: Combined with the fact that he seems to be the FIRST SENTIENT SOUL FORGED and is keeping it secret, I don’t see he and I getting along very well.
In anycase, we will be arriving home in Iresk tomorrow, and we’ll be needing to track down the changelings that have taken other people’s forms: most notably, a priest that the soul forged confided in (HAH!).