Black Goat of the Woods, Part Six
DM NOTE: It is important to note that with the death of Lyonesse and the retirement of Faye, there are no heroes that witnessed the original dark pool. In fact other than Brona, none of the remaining heroes were present for Parts 1-3. Our tale could have ended here… but it didn’t. Brona took up the cause of Darkwood Abbey with new allies.
Brona, Wood Elf – Druid
Bjorndar, Hill Dwarf – Cleric of Ulaa
Zetvosk, Human – Fighter
Wyleros, Half Elf – Sorcerer
Vale, Wood Elf – Ranger
Clarion, Tielfling – Rogue
The heroes began exploring the barbarian barrows, but found nothing until they entered the “King’s Barrow”. Named for its relative size compared to the other barrows, the “King’s Barrow” was massive and contained three separate entrances. Inside they found a dark altar and trinkets honouring Shub-Niggurath. They didn’t get too deep inside before a pair of ghosts aged Zetvosk into his 70s.
The heroes retreated to Darkwood Abbey, where they discovered a small fortress had taken up residence overnight. The Red Queen’s banners flew from its tower and a large garrison of Dark Sun mercenaries had arrived with it. Worse the Abbey was under attack by an aggressive goblin warband that would unleash mutant monstrosities against the town. With the assistance of the heroes and the Queen herself unleashing her magics the warband was defeated.
Following the raid, the Queen herself acknowledged the heroes’ contribution. She told them that she had learned of their quest and asked for an update. However, the heroes were deceptive and it was obvious the Queen did not get the answers she was looking for. The Red Queen offered to have her clerics reverse the aging of Zetvosk and remove the swamp hag’s curse that plagued Brona. However, they would be in her debt and for payment of this boon they would return to the “King’s Barrow” and bring the Queen their findings. The heroes grudging agreed to these terms.
The heroes would not return directly to the barrrows though. Instead they traveled northward into the Great Wood. Their motivations for seeking the elves and the Darkwood tree were unclear and driven by Brona’s motivations more than anything else. While in the forest the heroes would make contact with the wood elves a few times. Some of these meetings were friendly and others were violent. Vale made an ally, Asha a druid of the moon who assisted her in gaining more information.
What they learned was troubling. The Goat and her goblins were using strange grubs to kill Darkwood trees. The goblin offensive was succeeding in the eastern reaches of the forest and there was a rumour that the Goat and her minions could listen to the Darkwood trees. The wood elves most strategic advantage (Darkwood Trees) could no longer be used for fear that the goblins would eavesdrop.
Their journey into the Great Wood came to an end when they finally reached an eastern Darkwood Tree, guarded by a druid and his dire wolf pack. The heroes defeated the druid after he refused to let them near the tree. Brona reached out through the Darkwood roots trying to send a message to her druid allies. However, the Darkwood trees were more silent than she’d ever witnessed before.