In this episode, our heroes confront the Elven Queen, Ayandris, to try and quell her spirit and remove the corruption in the burial chamber. But not all is as it seems...
The spirit of Ayandris rises out of the tomb, bringing with her a wave of icy chill to the room. Trellimar decides against fighting and instead attempts to talk to her in an effort to calm her. He speaks to her in his native elven tongue in an attempt to be as polite as possible. He tries to convince her this is just a terrible misunderstanding, and that Jiǔtóu did not steal her daughter's circlet; rather, it was given as a gift in the hope that returning it would be seen as a mark of respect by the spirit. The spirit listens to Trellimar warily, but he does manage to pull her out of her murderous rage. All this time, however, the spirit still remains focused on Jiǔtóu with the circlet.
As the others try and converse with the spirit, Cam sees an opportunity for attack. He sneaks to the back to try and grab the mace from the tomb. The spirit swipes at him but he quickly ducks out of the way, grabbing the very large and heavy mace. As he holds it, he feels that there is something off about it. Mistaking the remains in the tomb for those of Ayandris, Cam smashes the bones with the mace, in a foolish attempt to destroy the spirit. His companions find themselves in utter shock and horror, as they realise he has just smashed the bones of the queen's daughter. The spirit's eyes turn crimson as she glares at Cam. Elora quickly steps in and tries to tell Ayandris that something with this weapon is causing her daughter's spirit to be cursed. However Ayandris totally ignores Elora, so Elora hides behind a pillar.
Jiǔtóu considers placing the circlet on Elora's head in an effort to rekindle some memory in Ayandris since Elora is also an elf. At the last moment, she rethinks her decision, as she realises Elora is part of a different race of elves, and therefore it might have negative implications. Jiǔtóu instead holds out the circlet and appeals to the elven queen that there has been a great misdeed done by Cam. She presents the circlet as a peace offering to show that they have nothing but respect for her. She says that they are willing to do whatever they can to bring peace to the spirit's heart. Unfortunately, this is only met by increased anger, and screams proclaiming that they are liars, murderers, and desecraters. The spirit swipes through Cam once more. She pulls his very life essence from him and permanently lowers his HP, before vanishing behind a column and reappearing at the back of the room.
Trellimar pleads with the spirit. He tells her that Cam a human imbecile (pointing out that Cam still has a floral crotch), but ensures her that the rest of them are trying to help. Ayandris turns and snarls at Trellimar. She tells him that her daughter's tomb has been desecrated by Cam, comparing it to her tomb being desecrated by the Dryad. She commands Cam to place the mace back, and Trellimar also makes it very clear to Cam to do this. Cam decides to cast Disguise Self and turns into a goblin, trying hard to convince the spirit that he was not acting of his own accord and instead this goblin is to blame for smashing her daughter's bones. The spirit falls for the ruse and Cam drops the mace as he flees the room.
Elora picks the mace up to put it back in the tomb. However, upon touching it, she has a vision of a hill-giant holding the mace, killing swathes of wood-elves. In another flash of memory, she sees an elven woman wielding a longsword, fighting one-on-one with the giant until the elf's blade strikes the chief's heart and he drops the mace. Elora's vision ends, and she drops the mace back into the tomb, once again asking what they can do to help. Ayandris, now much calmer, tells her the Dryad is of Gulthian and must be stopped. The Dryad's ritual has made Ayandris weaker and, as she speaks, the Dryad's tree grows in her burial chamber. The group are told that if the tree reaches full power a seed will be born and Gulthia's legacy will not be stopped. Jiǔtóu requests help from Ayandris in order to stop Gulthia. Ayandris agrees to lend power, as long as they stop Gulthia's ritual first. Jiǔtóu places the circlet back atop the tomb and the spirit disappears. As she thinks about Gulthia, Elora recalls a tale that had existed 1400 years ago. In the tale, Gulthian was a vampire. A hero stakes Gulthian through the heart. However, Gulthian's essence seeps into the stake, and the stake grows into a tree. The daughters of Gulthian were born of the tree and became evil dryads. Jiǔtóu's bark skin (that Gulthia had given her) recedes as Elora gives Cam a smack for his ridiculous actions, immediately dissipating his disguise. The group realise that Gulthia has tricked them. They suddenly hear a scream from Tomas in the next room.
Before the BattleEdit
Cam rounds the corner just in time to see Tomas' body held up by the vine creature. The last few drops of his blood fall from his wrists into the Dryad's cup, which she proceeds to drink. Renwyn stands to one side with his head in his hands, unable to look. Gulthia places her hand over Tomas's body and vines sprout towards it. Elora draws an arrow but cannot fire quick enough to stop the vine. Cam, on the other hand, manages to throw a dagger which cuts the vine off just before it can enter Tomas' body. Gulthia commands the vine creature to kill the group as she goes to leave. Renwyn opens the door behind the two with druidcraft and they both step through.
The creature turns to face the group and Trellimar attempts to attack it. However, as he does so, a second creature emerges from a pillar behind him, striking him in the back. As Trellimar falls he is just able to summon a Hellish Rebuke seconds before passing out. Elora shoots an arrow at the creature that attacked Trellimar, killing it instantly. She runs to Trellimar and takes the last potion he had been holding from him, using it to heal him. Jiǔtóu runs in and swings her guandao at remaining creature.
The creature raises a hand, summoning vines up from under Trellimar and Elora. Barely avoiding the restraining grip of the vines, Cam manages to throw another dagger at the creature as Trellimar pulls himself up and fires his crossbow, landing another hit. Cam then throws a torch to Jiǔtóu which she ignites and uses to strike the creature. Cam, more concerned with trying to find his thrown daggers, makes a nonchalant stab at the creature while he is near it which finishes it off, and it collapses and dies.
Battle against GulthiaEditTrellimar thanks Elora for helping him. Once the group are ready, they make to follow Gulthia and Renwyn. Elora unlocks the door and they make a quick check for traps before stealthily descending the steps into the next room.On entering the room, they see an enormous tree of polished black wood erupting from the sarcophagus in the middle of the room. They can also hear pulses emanating from the tree. Renwyn is whispering words of regret, whilst Gulthia mutters some sort of chant. As the group enter, Gulthia hears them whispering. She commands Renwyn to attack them. He casts Shillelagh on his staff, but looks uneasy and conflicted. Elora pleads with him, telling him that this is not the only option he has and that Gulthia has lied to him. Renwyn's head is cleared at these words and tells them to run as he turns and strikes Gulthia with his staff. Gulthia strikes back in retaliation and they both tumble back into a tree. As they do so, they seem to merge with it, and the tree shudders. The tree begins to move, stretching and flailing as if in pain as flowers bloom around it.
First Round of Battle
Jiǔtóu throws her torch at the tree. Getting stuck in the branches, it begins to light the tree up in flame. Elora can tell that whatever ritual Gulthia had been performing has gone wrong, and so she shouts for Ayandris. As the tree writhes around, it smashes through one of the pillars. Debris clutters to the ground, crushing Jiǔtóu's leg. Trellimar casts Eldritch Blast and directs it at the tree. Cam picks up the torch that Elora had previously dropped and throws it at the tree. However, he misses, landing it closer to Trellimar, nearly setting him on fire. At this point, Ayandris comes through the wall and moves through the tree. She tells them that she can tell there is innocent life fighting within, but that she herself cannot fight Gulthia.
Second Round of Battle
Jiǔtóu remembers Gulthia and Renwyn being absorbed into the tree and runs at it. She manages to peer through and can make out blurry black and green images fighting and grappling with each other. Reaching in she attacks Gulthia. Renwyn pleads for Jiǔtóu to go as he wants to repent for what he has done, by stopping Gulthia from controlling the tree.
Elora tries to copy Jiǔtóu and get absorbed, but the tree repulses her. As this is happening, Gulthia strikes at Renwyn again, this time drawing green essence from him instead of blood. On the outside, the tree strikes a second pillar. The ceiling creaks as its weight shifts. Trellimar also tries, but just like Elora, he cannot enter the tree as it pushes him back.
Cam, on the other hand, places a finger on the tree, and Jiǔtóu feels his presence as he enters the dimension. Cam's hair glows, and he seems to radiate hope and courage. Cam feels normal, but Jiǔtóu can sense this change. Cam summons his daggers, now glowing with radiant light, with his will and propels one into Gulthia's chest. She cries out as Cam throws another. Gulthia explodes in golden light. Her form begins to disintegrate. Renwyn thanks Cam. As Cam goes to pull Renwyn out, however, Renwyn says he must stay and destroy the tree from within. He thanks Jiǔtóu and Cam for giving him this second chance to repent, and his form dissipates into smoke. Jiǔtóu and Cam push out, and the tree shrivels back from a tree into a single seed.
End of Battle
First Night TogetherEdit
The team look to the spirit of Ayandris, as she reforms in blue light. Her regal robes are new once again, her hair is tied in braids, and she sighs in relief that at last she is saved. Elora bows to her and thanks her. Ayandris gives a crystal vial to Elora and also tells Cam to take the mace if he wishes, since she feels it would be safer in his hands. Cam keeps the ruse going that he was merely possessed by the goblin and that Ayandris has saved him. Jiǔtóu asks for a Healing Touch, which Ayandris agrees to, healing them all, and also restoring Cam's HP to maximum once again. With a final bow, Ayandris' spirit returns to rest and disappears. Elora uses her druidcraft to create a flower and places it on Ayandris' tomb. Jiǔtóu picks up the seed of the tree. Elora's crystal vial is infused with Ayandris' spirit, though the group do not know this at the time.
The group reach the path to the surface at the back of the tomb. Cam pretends to be distracted, inspecting the tomb walls, so that someone else will be the first to exit. However, Jiǔtóu is fed up with Cam's antics and pushes him out the door. They follow a tunnel until eventually, they start to see sunlight shining in; it is dim since the sun is setting. The tunnel leads out to a natural cave in a hill. A statue by the entrance has been pushed aside for access. There are also the remnants of a camp, possibly a week old. The cave opening looks out to rolling hills. Cam distracts the others and then goes for a journal he had spotted. He discovers that the journal had belonged to Renwyn. Cam flips to the last entry. It reads, "Tomorrow, we'll head down into the old elf barrow that Hull once said he had guarded. I hope that visiting somewhere so important to him will help me learn more about myself and perhaps help me finally say goodbye. I am sure the hills can do without their guardian for a few days." The group opt to move the statue back to the front of the entrance.
The others are surprised that Cam knows the camp was Renwyn's, so Cam reveals the journal. This annoys them somewhat and they challenge him. Cam decides to lie down and pretend to sleep, hoping they will ignore him. He keeps an open eye to check on them. Elora looks out onto hills and sees that they are in the middle of seemingly endless plains, but also observes some faint smoke and a wooden wall in the distance, indicating a village a few hours away.
Cam wants to get to know the group better, but they want to know more about him first since Elora accuses him of being dumb for smashing the bones. Cam is only too happy to babble on and tells the group that he travelled as part of a group of gypsy entertainers, the Bucklands. Jiǔtóu asks him what he does, to which Cam responds stand-up comedy (though he is unable to tell a joke when asked). He says he had to leave his group because of an invitation that came to the Bucklands, requesting for him to perform at the mason's guild in the capital city, Talis'Val. The guild is run by merchants, the people responsible for rebuilding the city. Korak the Champion will also be in attendance, so Cam feels very privileged to be asked to perform for him. Jiǔtóu doesn't seem to believe Cam and wishes to see this for herself, so she requests to join his routine. When he refuses, she offers to be his bodyguard instead. Elora says she is looking for her father's friend to ask him about the elven spires, and as the very last lead she is really hopeful for success. Trellimar only says he is looking for an object in Talis'Val, giving no details.
The village appears to be the only place within a day's travel. They know of a place called Briarcrest but it is about 5 days away. Jiǔtóu says they are wasting time and goes to head off, but Elora pleads with her to wait until morning since they all are heading to the same place and it is safer to travel together. Jiǔtóu agrees on the condition that Cam stays away from her, and she sends him to the other side of the cave. The group rest for the night.
Elora and Trellimar wake first, but soon, all are awake at dawn. They eat some of their rations. In the daylight, they can clearly see wheat fields of extremely high crops surrounding the village. Cam is sitting cross-legged and staring solemnly at a crudely-made dagger, remembering someone close to him. He then puts it back, puts on a chirpy facade and gives out a loud yell while stretching himself. Jiǔtóu is off, so the others follow.
An Unfortunate RoadblockEdit
As the group approach the village of Tallfield they see that there are no farmers in any of the fields. Reaching the large palisaded wall, they spot four very nervous young men who have clearly been up all night. The men command the group to halt, though they are panicking in fear. Elora states the group are travelling from Greybell heading to Talis’Val, but their caravan had been attacked. The guards seem very undecided as to who they should be more scared of; Trellimar looks the most daunting to them, but they have also never seen a tiefling before. They have recently captured a female drow, who is to be killed today. The group request to speak to the marshal and the guards let them in.
One of the guards, aged only 19, accompanies them. The buildings are made of stone. They seem habitable but rough. The village itself has a population of about four to five hundred. In the centre of the village, they witness a mob gathered around an impromptu gallows. Three people are trying to talk and calm the rest of the mob down. They can see a female drow tied to a pole on a stage. She is not injured but appears to be very tired. Murmuring in the crowd suggests the people want her killed so that their 'plight' will end. One burly woman is holding them all back, while a man, Finny, is saying to the mob that this drow couldn't have done anything as she was tied up in jail with the marshal all night. The drow herself then cries out saying she's told them a million times it is not her causing these issues.
The guard suggests this may not be the best time, telling the group that they caught this drow hanging around the village at night, so they hold her responsible for the deaths that have been occurring lately. Trellimar asks how the people died, to which the guard replies that they are all found at the edge of the village in the surrounding fields in the mornings, badly torn up with claw marks in their skin. Since they have not found anything else to blame, they accuse the drow. More chanting starts up from the crowd, shouting to kill her. The marshal refuses, having no proper evidence.
Jiǔtóu tires of the fuss - it is not tiefling business, so she feels it does not concern her. The crowd turn and see Trellimar, which panics them further since he is also a drow and has brought his allies. The reeve wishes to investigate further, and so has the guards break up crowds. The reeve agrees to take the group to talk with the marshal. He tells them regardless of what business they had planned, they are now stuck here, as if they try to leave the village, they will be killed. Cam says it is fate his brave group has come and agrees to assist the village. The reeve asks if they know the female drow the village have caught, but Trellimar doesn't recognise her. Cam jumps at the opportunity to put the reeve in his place, calling him racist for assuming Trellimar must know the other drow. The marshal now comes down and agrees to pay them 500 gold for their assistance, as the village is desperate and at its wits' end. He also offers his men to escort them to Briarcrest if they do. Elora and Jiǔtóu see that they will have to help if they ever want to leave this village. Jiǔtóu asks to talk with the female drow, and Elora wants to examine the bodies of the dead. They go to the drow first.
When they return to the drow she is hanging onto the pole, still appearing exhausted. As she looks up and sees Trellimar she perks up a little, saying it is good to see a friendly face for a change. Jiǔtóu is not looking so friendly, still uncaring since it has nothing to do with her. Jiǔtóu would have left already, but she realises that she needs to stick with Cam to get a meeting with Korak, and to investigate what she saw of Cam in Gulthia's tree. The drow tells the group her story, saying she was simply passing by the village on a scouting mission when she got caught. She describes the villagers as super paranoid because they saw nothing, yet still accused her. She also tells them her name is Vixanis of the house of Kel.
Trellimar recognises the name of the house of Kel, knowing they are military scouts and archers, and that they also had to ally with the dwarves. Jiǔtóu asks Vixanis what she thinks is killing the villagers, but all Vixanis knows is that their wounds are far too big to be caused by her. Elora decides to head to the temple to inspect the corpses, and Jiǔtóu walks off. Trellimar tries to telepathically talk to Vixanis. Vixanis is unaware as to how Trellimar can do this. Trellimar tells her he is from the house of Aleath, which she has also heard of. With this knowledge, and perturbed by the fact, he can speak in her mind, she agrees to tell him more. She tells him her mission was to find a dwarf thief who stole an artefact, so she was spying on village hoping to spot the dwarf. However, she saw nothing. She remembers the dwarf's appearance so Trellimar can telepathically pick it up. The dwarf is short with a ragged haircut and carrying a bundle, distinctive enough that Trellimar could pick him out. Trellimar agrees to keep her secret, and also to free her.
Elora and Jiǔtóu then enter the temple. It has been abandoned, and all that remains are the dead bodies laid out. Some are in coffins, the fresher ones still under sheets. There are big gashes but little blood, so they assume these victim's hearts must have been beating rapidly with adrenaline and fear when they died, meaning they bled out very quickly. The claw marks are widely spaced, and the bodies are not eaten,simply left for dead. It seems something has enchanted the people, drawing them out of the village to be killed, so they conclude whatever beast they must be facing must be able to use magic.
- Calvin, Tallfield marshal
- Finny, revealed in Episode 3 to be Alabaster Cask's owner
- Drow Houses
- Tallfield guards
- Tallfield villagers
- Unnamed burly woman, later revealed in Episode 3 to be Dahnna
- Unnamed reeve
- Accidental Souvenir: At the end of the previous episode, Kim accidentally took the mini figure used to represent Tomas home. At the starts of this episode, Mark bought Kim and Matt a set of dice each which he gives to them as a welcoming gift.
- Level Up!: After the defeat of Gulthia, the adventurers have gained enough experience to reach Level 2. Trellimar gains two new invocations, Disguise Self and Agonising Blast (able to add charisma modifier to Eldritch Blast), and learns a new spell, Hex. Elora gains Circle of the Moon and, as a bonus action, Wild Shapes (able to shape-shift into wild animals, dire wolf currently available). Cam learns Invoke Duplicity and Command. Jiǔtóu earns 2 ki points, which she can activate to use one of the following abilities: Flurry of Blows, Patient Defence and Step of the Wind.