It took the two of you 6 days of hard travel to reach the treeline from your wood elf home of Lelrengroth. An unfettered horizon was a welcome sight, but the sky was much like the mist within the Asparamyst as a storm was brewing and the air was thick with electricity and a quiet foreboding. Ithilwyn took a deep breath of the new air and focused her eyes on everything she could feast them on. After nearly a week of seeing only grey mist ten feet in every direction even a burned out tree stump was something to see and appreciate. After her moment of zen, she looked to her long time and frequent companion, Azalynn. The young elf appeared to be wrapping up a prayer as she rose surrounded by sparse saplings and random underbrush.
A small smile and nod from the young wood elf was all she needed to turn south and start again. It was another hour until you reached the Crossfire Causeway, a busy stretch of road between the Crossroads and Firemyst and another two hours through that hustle and bustle to finally enter the city. Other than the clearly posted laws you did notice a few wanted posters on your way in, city criers describing their heinous crimes in detail.
A few days in the less than savory Halfway Inn just inside the Adventurers Sector or Tavern Town as most call it, was enough to get your fill of Firemyst, but after three days of asking around no one seemed to have ever heard of this Handrevlias Banetree that the village elders spoke of. After 5 days, you were beginning to lose hope, but a tip from a traveler who had eyes for Azalynn and looked to be on his fourth or fifth ale in The Hungry Weasel, your 20th tavern it seemed, was enough to send you to a new watering hole. This establishment was called God’s Creatures and is known for catering to wood folk, tree-huggers and the like. At least that’s what the drunken man told Ithilwyn when she pressed for more information. A regular in the tavern, by the simple name of Strand has been drinking there for years and knows every forest dwelling, nature loving elf in the city. It’s the best lead you have had in days and as far as taverns go, it doesn’t sound too bad.
Ithilwyn and Azalynn made their way to the tavern God’s Creatures. As they approach, the sounds of revelry inside the tavern are overshadowed by the noise in the surrounding watering holes, most notably The Vengeful Cherry Pub & Grill a popular haunt for adventurers looking for a black eye and a good story. God’s Creatures, though busy and full of patrons, is tranquil in comparison. As they enter, the soft tones of a bard’s song fills their ears while thick tendrils of pipe smoke part for them, as they cross the threshold, like an oar through water. It permeates their nostrils and makes their eyes burn, but is almost sweet and carries with it an air of sophistication. Directly across from them is the bar, behind it a pudgy bald man, middle aged, but full of energy. He pleasantly listens in on a conversation down the bar while smiling at Ithilwyn and Azalynn as they enter. Hanging over him, is a large wooden sign that reads God’s Creatures with the holy symbols honoring Ehlonna, Obad’hai, Garl Glittergold and Yondalla. To their left is a softly burning fire. Many coals have fallen from the protective gate and cooled on wooden floor. Animals of several kinds scurry here and there between the legs of chairs and under tables. Everywhere they look they see droppings, straw and dirt. The place looks more like a kennel than a pub, but thankfully smells much better. Two full tables of mixed race patrons dominate the main floor. Shoulder to shoulder they talk, laugh and drink. One table is full of males, save one brown haired female who looks to be enjoying the attention. The other is full of all men who appear to have just finished a good story and look to have been drinking all day, as two of them are resting their heads on the table. One man feeds a rodent of some kind that is perched atop the passed out man’s head. All but two of the bar stools are unoccupied, one on each end. On the stool at the far end, away from the fire is a blonde woman drinking alone, her head low, but swaying to the music, at her feet is a good sized snake in a worn basket. She sits closest to the bard playing in the corner. The stool closest to the fireplace holds an elderly man atop it. He wears light green robes the color of the sea and has short white hair, neatly trimmed, his sideburns growing into his long nearly white beard, the hairs around his lips stained from years of drink. He sits with his back to wall so he can survey the entire pub with a wry smile and a long ivory pipe. Leaning against the far side of the hearth facing the elderly robed man is a gnome, with his back to Ithilwyn, one foot planted on the dirty floor, the other against the warm stone of the fire. He too smokes a pipe, nearly as long as he is, has shoulder length dark hair pulled back into braids and is wearing a burnt orange silk spun tunic. Few take notice of their entry and judging by the density of the smoke in the room, it has been some time since someone used the door.
Ithilwyn, with her head still covered by the hood of her cloak, and Azalynn head towards two open barstools and survey the patrons of the tavern to get a feel for the place. After a short time, a very alluring human female with red hair and striking blue eyes, enters that tavern takes a quick look around. Ithilwyn takes notice lowers her hood and makes a slight motion to the open barstool next to her. The beautiful human, Rhiannon, accepts the invite and moves to the barstool. Rhiannon is dressed very plainly in a peasant’s tunic and sandals, but her attractiveness still comes through. Although dressed plainly, Rhiannon offers to buy Ithilwyn and Azalynn drinks, to which they gladly accept. Ithilwyn and Rhiannon strike up a conversation while Azalynn watches the elderly man in green robes while periodically turning a wary eye to the snake at the other end. As the night wears on, the other party members arrive at the tavern. Delell, a Dwarven fighter from Aram’Ral’s military and Dorian, a very large bearded human woodsman. At the end of the night, only the party members, the barkeep, the gnome Irky Timberbottom and the elderly man known as Strand remain. Delell speaks with Irky, who has agreed to take him to Althbred a mining town to the north. Azalynn speaks with Strand and learns that the Elven sage they came to find, Handrevlias Banetree, left Firemyst around 20 years ago and moved to Althbred. Dorian presents a document, written in Sylvan, which Azalynn reads for him. The scroll is foreboding and is about a dying forest in need of help. The group agrees to travel together to Althbred as that is where all of their paths are heading.
The party heads out the following morning, heading to Althbred. On the way, they stop at the gypsy-like camp known as the Cross-Roads to get out of the rain for a bit and visit a ‘friend’ of Rhiannon – a very small human woman named Zelda Hagraven, a soothsayer. While in Zelda’s tent, Ithilwyn shares the legend of ‘The Creeping’ a depiction of which appears on one of the tapestries. After his morning prayers, Dorian and the rest of the party gets back on the road. Ithilwyn relays the story of ‘The Creeping’ to Dorian who has many questions. Ithilwyn ponders that maybe the group met for a reason. The scroll and his visions could be referring to ‘The Creeping’ and they are headed towards the Asparamyst which is one of the largest forests that she knows of. Dorian’s interest in their journey and destination increases.