Cal’renn, the warlock, Soz Ticonderoga, and Corwin embarked once more to face the challenges of the twisted tree.
Upon gaining entrance, the party immediately noticed that things were awry. The central fungal patch showed signs of having been burnt and there were several corpses of Midwynnian woodsmen suspended and punctured by the tree’s interior roots.
As they pondered their next move, they were joined by Atos’ old nemesis, Vortigern with a man-at-arms in tow, claiming credit for the carnage within. It would seem that the herbalist, Termion, growing impatient with the lack of success from the adventurers in accomplishing their mission of gathering specific components, had farmed out the task to others.
Vortigern proposed an alliance and Cal, with trepidation, accepted. Inside, found himself at odds with a violent toadstool when he went to investigate a fungal patch off to the side of the tree’s interior, shattering his masterwork dagger in the process. Further investigation yielded a hidden tunnel leading downward into the tree’s roots.
In the earthen passages underneath, Corwin blundered unawares into an intersection where he was set upon by a twain of viscous badgers lying in wait. With the aid of his compatriots, the viscous beasts were dispatched and masterwork crossbow bolts sized for a small wielder were unearthed but not before Corwin was incapacitated. With his wounds bandaged, the unconscious ranger was left behind, topside.
The remaining adventurers pressed on…
Further ahead, they found a mold encrusted room and a pair of severed arms upon shelves bearing interesting looking bracers which Vortigern laid claim to and to which Cal meekly acquiesced. Also found was Crone’s Ear, one of the herbalist’s sought after morels.
Forging onward into the next room was something’s lair, short & scaly, ill-tempered & spell throwing, it cursed: Away! Away from here! This Skunge’s home – mine, mine, mine! Back to sky with you all! You no get my blood bite! It all for me, I make it! You no get my blood bite! It all for me. You no get blood bite for scale brothers – it my glory! It my creation!
Aided by dire beasts both rat & badger and a summoned swarm of bats, the diminutive caster sent the party running but alas, Vortigern’s lackey woodsman and the luckless warlock were run down and slain by the raging, blood thirsty badger.
Back at Midwynn, the remaining twain, quest completed, were each rewarded by Termion the herbalist with a brace of useful potions and coins.
A grim bargain, the reward gained, paid in blood.