After the battle at/in the Pyramid, Caderack and Grafton suddenly awoke from a long slumber in a solid green, old growth forest; the ground is covered in leaves – it is the beginning of autumn. A very peaceful place; animals / natural noise is evident. Caderack and Grafton are standing next to one another – no one else is there. Grafton determines the two of us are in a divine realm.
Caderack begins to pray to his deity – and a beautiful, ephemeral woman appears behind him. She identifies as Tarlana – goddess of war / love and says Caderack has a black spot on his heart. Tarlana states: “What have you done??” Grafton and Caderack plead their case to Tarlana. Tarlana says the mark will be the end of everyone and the world, but there is a chance to redeem the mark – and leaves, saying: “Never make a bargain like that again.”
The forest suddenly turns to late autumn….. Tarlana says to follow a trodden path. Tarlana says: “We will be hesitant to come to your party’s aid again – we are disappointed, but know time is being ripped apart by forces that want to end all things. Trust no one, save your hearts and one another.”
After Tarlana departs, Caderack and Grafton find themselves in a similar, but different forest on a road leading north… they proceed as the road slowly and steadily leads into a ravine.
Caderack and Grafton encounter a creature living in a tree-house demanding 2x gold toll to pass – the creature claims to be imprisoned by a Hag. The creature states the Hag and its Omath are preventing the creature from leaving his den…. The creature turns out to be an aged man with long hair wearing brown robes covered in strange symbols. The creature identifies as Barnabix Huld, aka ‘The Toll Keeper’. Once on the ground, the party departs and shortly after, 4x giant scorpions (The Omath) attack – each are 12’ long.
Caderack and Grafton quickly build a log ring and set it ablaze. Caderack summons his war horse and charges over the fire toward 2x of the giant scorpions – wounding 1x, while is horse takes damage. Grafton does nothing, save have Caderack jump back into the circle – but before an Omath pulls Caderack off his horse. Caderack is caught in a scorpion’s pincers and his War Horse attacks the Omath. Eventually, the party kills one of the Omath and the remaining 3x flee.
Caderack, Grafon, Barnabix then head toward the town of Falar. Food is shared and Barnabix has no relocation of time and his imprisonment by the Hag – but he pledges his allegiance to the party. Barnabix claims to have heard strange tails of the town of Falar, but has little recollection.
Barbabix says he needs to raise some 2,869 gold for the Hag, but he’s only raised half of it. The party rides into Falar, a small hamlet, surrounded by a small wooden fence and gate. The watch demands Caderack and Grafon to hand over Barnabix – which they do, but with the good of word of the watch to keep Barnabix safe until the morning, when all can meet with the constable to discuss.
Caderack and Grafton relax in the inn, enjoying a fine meal, are approached by a farmer. He asks Grafton to tell the tail of our heroic journey and exploits. Grafton then tells the tale of the party’s adventure in the Bay of Torpid Souls, but makes the last half up! (He leaves out the part of part about Caderack volunteering his soul a few weeks back to the demon Lan’cum :).
Then, the town fire bell starts to ring and Caderack and Grafton race outside to help. The building (Constabulary) where Barnabix is being held is on fire. Grafton sees an old crone dragging a body away from the Constabulary away from the burning building. The Inn Keeper throws his arms up and begins to chant, which seems to help thwart the fire. The crone is moving toward the wall, dragging an unconscious Barnabix. Grafton throws his axe, but horribly misses and hits Barnabix!
The crone attacks Grafton with burning webs! Grafton wounded, retrieves his axe and attacks again. Caderack hears the screaming of Grafton and charges toward the encounter. The crone is slowly pulling Grafton toward her. Barnabix looks dead, or dying. Caderack leaps into the fray and horribly misses and cleaves Grafton’s left arm off by mistake! (Oops… my bad.)
The town’s folk join the battle and the hag is defeated, burned and later, buried. Barnabix is still being held captive by the town. Grafton has been unconscious for 2x days. When he wakes, his bad arm is healing and it now looks like the wood of a tree.
The town then holds a trial of Barnabix and the events that recently transpired. Caderack volunteers to defend Barnabix in single combat and is victorious! Barnabix is free! Grafton learns his new arm is forged from Yew wood from The Tree of Time. The wood will never burn and in time, told it will be apart of him, but that he will have an affinity for other woods. Grafton pledged to pay homage to the wood and was told by the healer that as the years past, he may have to spend more and more time with the trees and the wood.
Caderack, Grafton and Barnabix depart Falar… leaving the area, the land is covered in snow…. Baranabix reflects on seeing a pyramid! Suddenly, Caderack and Grafton wake up in the pyramid’s anti-chamber and there is no Branabix – but Grafton still has a wood arm!
(BTW – any spelling, omissions, or misstatements are mine, alone…)