27th of Uktar, 1048 TR, Late Evening : The mystery surrounding Brightflame was an unanswered question, and the group discussed their knowledge of the issue. They realized, they had never pursued the Maid Thelka, and what she might know of the issue. The group visited The Broken Hilt Tavern, and after meeting with the patron of the place, managed to bribe their way into getting her exclusively to themselves for the evening. Over honey mead and fine wine, she answered their questions, and laid out what little she knew.
Her grand-mother, the Widow Parikin was once married to a great local ranger, by the name of Corvan. In addition to the lost secret of harvesting Norish Apple, he was said to have access to teh Feywild, and was on good terms with the elves. They both shared ancient tales of the elves and other beings with her, and chief among them was the tale of The Panoply of Narwen.
Narwen, it seems, was a great Druid from a forgotten Druidic Circle (its name lost to history). He was said to have great power and riches, and chief among them was his “Panoply”, a collection of relics and lore that brought him strength. These relics were said to be tied to the ancient elements, and acted, in some fashion, as a key to his realm of power. It was believed, this was in the Feywild. She claimed, according to her grand-mother, that the sword, Brightflame was a key to finding the Panoply, gathering them, and then using them to access the Feywild and its many riches hidden there.
Suspecting the sword and Panpoly were somehow tied to the blue flame seen in the Spirit of the Wood Inn, the group decided to investigate the ruins and see what they could do to collect the relics. They selected supplies, and planned to leave on the morrow.
28th of Uktar : Travelling through the snows of the deep woodlands south of Paradise River, the group reached the ruins of the Spirit of the Wood Inn. Searching the place, they cleaned the area around the flames, and Ash boldly presented his blade, Brightflame to the great bronze bowl of blue flames. The Whisp appeared, and after a soft, sigh, disappeared and reappeared next to the door. The group gathered and followed, where it disappeared and reappeared again outside down a path. Following the Whisp off into the forest, they eventually, after some hours reached a strange glade.
The spot was an open forest clearing, though the hold of Winter was broken here, with everything rimed in frost, but the deep snow kept at bay. It was dominated by a crude stone altar built as a dolmen – a stone slab supported at either end by smaller stones in its center. It was flanked by two rough stone monoliths, with whorls and pictures chiseled into its surface in spiral patterns. The alter and entire glade near it, was over-grown with a thick growth of vines and tree-roots. Just beyond the altar, lay a massive stump, cleaved and hewn as though once having been a massive ancient pine tree, broken-off above its roots.
Approaching the altar, they were swiftly surprised as a large viny growth rose from the area and the mound of vegetation began to try and engulf the characters, one-by-one, while it sprouted little thorny growths, some spewing lightning, and others shooting poisonous barbs. The group, using fire and thunder attacks did extensive damage to the creatures, eventually hewing them apart and burning the growth to charred timbers.
Fangrik and Kruck dug about in the ashes around the altar, finding nothing of note, while Taumus and Ash searched the altar and flanking menhirs. The two scholars found the pictograms to be runes of some sort, ad using their ancient knowledge of Draconic, translated into a series of poems, believed to be the locations of the other relics of the Panoply.
Two miles towards the sun’s first fires, the earth’s embrace will still its ire.
A league to the south in sacred mother’s home, the royal water is returned to its own.
Southeast four miles the image flies, atop forest giant in azure skies.
Lofty stone reaching higher, holds in its grasp the sacred fire.
Six miles and some at forest’s heart, where name and namesake no longer part.
The group puzzled over these riddles, and examining their map, decided they were direct guides to the artifacts. They decided to camp around the tree stump for the night, and held a “cold-camp”, watching for intruders or Whisps.
29th of Uktar : Heading east, they broke camp searching for the first of the riddles, and found the small cave burrowed into a steep embankment, right where they expected it to be. Inside, they found the slaughtered, frozen corpse of a cave bear, and behind it, a small stone shelf holding an open wooden coffer meant to hold a wand… now empty. The Wand of Earth’s Ire was missing. Despair struck the group, as they realized they might have waited too long. They searched and found tracks of four horses, and several booted feet, one of which was small and booted.
They followed the third clue, which they felt was closest according to their maps, and quickly found themselves in a large stand of older growth forest, with tall cedars. Carried on the breeze, a strange thumping sound was heard, and it led to a massive, hollowed cedar tree towering above the other trees nearby. A truely massive forest giant, its hollow center was obvious, and among the lofty branches at its height, was a heavy leather case, swaying in the wind and thumping on the hollow tree.
Fangrik quickly scampered up the cedar’s side and noticed there was something tracking him from inside the tree. He reached the scroll case, and grabbed it to be confronted by a large insect-like creature that tried to eat him. After attempts to lay eggs in him and tear off pieces of his flesh, it took a couple swift spear thrusts to the noggin, and fell off the tree to its death. Fangrik returned to the ground and opened the case to reveal the Codex of the Firmament, which was given to Aaron to take care of.
Heading back to the Druid Grove, the group planned to re-think the 4th clue from the central location. Along the way, they tripped over an ambush of half-a-dozen hunting goblins, though only one escaped, the others were slaughtered. The group eventually reached the grove and thinking through the fact the clue had no directions or distance, they decided it must be here somewhere. Fangrik climbed up to the top of the right menhir and, sure enough, in a hidden niche at the top lay the Breastplate of Sacred Fire, which Kruck claimed.
The group decided to sleep , and camped back at the forest stump again…