I was adding wood to the fire so that it would last until the end of the watch when I suddenly felt the wetness of warm blood and saw the tip of a sword poke through my chest. I don’t know if I was more surprised at being attacked or that I had survived the impalement. Luckily, I reacted quickly and was able to turn the tables on the scraggly looking man who stabbed me. I even got to return the favor, except he did not continue to fight after I ran him through. Sadly, we had to dispatch his companion as well. Katcha would have liked another leopard around. I try to learn something from each encounter in the wild. Apparently, it is still easy for me to be surprised in the woods. I can’t let myself get too comfortable in any environment. I also learned that Yuri and Pandora are very sound sleepers.
The next morning we followed the mans trail back to his lair. He had dug out the trunk of a tree and made a shelter for himself. In it we found a small chest with some useful items. I regret not having woken Yuri after the fight. It would be useful to know more about this dead individual. Did he attack us because he was protecting his territory, was hired or was he just mad with isolation? We will never know now.
We traveled westward deeper into the wood. It was the strange sight of lumberjacks yelling at each other and a fey in the middle of a pond that caught our interest. Two of the lumberjacks had been charmed and were protecting the trees around the pond while the others were trying to break the charm without harming them. We left the discussions to the Baroness. The fey wanted five trees (coach wood) that had been cut down replaced. She was quite distressed at having lost some of her grove. The lumberjacks were looking for maximum profit for their labor. Luckily, Ed2 remembered having seem a grove of these trees farther to the northeast. After some discussion that nearly came to blows, the lumberjacks were persuaded to seek out the northern grove of trees. Ed2 promised the fey that he would find sapling replacements for the five downed trees.
The trek into the woods continued. About midday, we entered a small clearing with a large tree and the sound of a woman crying. After a brief period of searching we were greeted by a dryad. She stepped out of her tree, crying still but willing to speak. Her companion, a Satyr, had been badly hurt while trying to fight a blight spreading tree. They had tried on various occasions to drive the tree from the woods but had failed and the last time suffered injuries. After a short discussion, I agreed to look into the blight tree. Ookami and the others were interested as well. So we spent the day healing the Satyr and moving towards the blight tree. It had made its lair in a dense section of woods. It was clear that the tree had diseased the surrounding area. It looked of dead plants and smelled sour and rotten. In the middle of it all was a tall black tree. Our initial plan was to burn it with fire arrows but unbeknownst to us, it was watching. As soon as we pulled out the flask of oil, it charged. The limbs ended in spikes that had a great reach. The damage it could deal was substantial. Luckily, I avoided serious injury thanks to the healing of Ookami and an enchantment by Yuri. Pandora made good use of her flame sphere and Ed was quick to engage in close combat. Trixie somehow climbed up the moving, swinging tree and was stabbing it from the top. In the end, a mighty chop from my great sword seemed to deal the final blow. Trixie made an impressive leap and roll to keep from being crushed by the falling tree. We were in need of rest and healing but too far away from the dryads home to rest there this night.
Of course, the night we need rest is the night we have our camp invaded by two giant trolls. The combat was luckily shorter than our first encounter with trolls. Perhaps we learned from the first encounter, perhaps we were just a little lucky. We managed to keep everyone active throughout the fight and that helped greatly. Even so, it was a painful experience. The next day we visited the dryad and decided to camp there an extra day so that we could heal up before the trip back to the Stagholme. On the trip back we visited the fey and replaced the five trees using some magic feather tokens we found in the blight trees bole. She was grateful and said we could take the fallen trees. We will have to send a crew of laborers to bring them to the city. We are back in Stagholme for a short stay. Looks like it is time to do some paperwork before we return to the woods. We have mapped out the woods up to the ruined keep. That should be our next foray.