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Summary LXIV: South, to the Wilderness

The summary:

The party headed south out of Cromwell toward the mountains. Rangorn was
surprised by a totem. We moved on, and began our gradual ascent into the
mountains. Snow began to build up on the ground, and once the party had to
break off the march at midday and take cover in _Leomund's Secure Shelter_,
courtesy of Eli.

The next day the party advanced through the fresh coating of snow, but was
attacked by a fanged creature that attempted to drag Runt into the snow.
It was slain, and the party trekked to a nearby cave. In the cave was a
huge segmented worm thing, which was dispatched through the able fighting
of the mighty Stone Soules.

In the back of the cave we discovered a magic pickaxe, which turned out to
be a holy symbol for a frost giant religion. There was also a one-way (the
other way) panel at the back of the cave, which we decided not to
investigate so as to clear the mountains sooner.

Soon after we came down from the mountains by following a river. The river
eventually became a lake that we skirted the edges of. That is, until some
invisible faerie creatures starting shooting arrows and making Rangorn and
Xavier spontaneously burst into song and head toward the lake dreamily. We
turned away from the river and passed a belated sign telling passersby (in
Ogre) to stay away from the evil fairies. We also surprised and killed a
gnoll tied to the branches of a tree, dozens of feet up. (I'm still not
sure about that one...)

Then we crossed out of the hills into the valley below. This was a
forested area. We set up camp in an attempt to create a cache to store our
cold weather clothes, but we were interrupted when the watchers noticed
that about 60 or 70 squirrels had gathered in the clearing. Using Xavier's
_Speak with Animals_, we determined that they were there to kill party
members who were badly injured, and that they served some master. We
turned and headed in the direction leading out of the valley, but we were
clearly being followed by the sudden storm clouds that had appeared
overhead (Alegra determined these were unnatural). Hmmm... controlled
animals, moving clouds, gee... druid, maybe?

When the squirrels scattered after dark, we breathed a sigh of relief.
When the first _Call Lightning_ struck Xavier, we were considerably not
relieved and decided to press forward with all speed, hoping the druid
would give up or see that we meant no harm. Eli's _Minor Globe of
Invulnerability_ deflected another bolt. Now we were getting annoyed, but
no more bolts seemed to be coming. Then the _Insect Plague_ hit. Ouch.

Arabica, Xavier's new cavalier henchman, was totally unable to escape the
cloud and was bitten to death. Many others stumbled out at near
unconscious levels. Alegra threw a responding _Insect Plague_ off of
scroll, but it didn't seem to hit the phantom druid (who threw a _Call
Lightning_ into the center of the plague, just in case anyone was still
alive in there). As Alegra, Aria, and Rangorn went in search of the
missing Sean, and Xavier and Javin went in search of the late cavalier, the
remainder of the party regrouped. Alegra took another _Call Lightning_,
not a problem considering her protection spell. Sean and the body of
Arabica were recovered. When everyone had regrouped, Raven, Ceydric,
Mordrick, Theo, Star, Alegra, and Eli charged at the last estimated
position of the druid with the Protection from Magic scroll up. They
gradually uncovered his location, defeating various druidic spells and
passing right through an _Obscurement_ before chasing him. The party
blasted him and he went shrieking through the forest, leaving an easy trail
to follow for those who could move fast. Unfortunately as Raven passed
through the barrier of the Protection from Magic scroll his bastard sword+1
was drained. Finally, Mordrick sprinted ahead and sliced the druid apart
with a backstab.

We recovered a magic staff and a couple of one-shot pipes. The staff can
become a treant once per week. The pipes summon animals as friends to help
you for awhile. Sadly the staff is only usable by druids.

Eli _Teleported_ back to Cromwell to have Arabica raised and the
aforementioned magic items identified, as well as pick up some equipment to
replace the lightning fried stuff.

Next the party encountered a weird adventurer type (I've forgotten his
name-- no evil intent though) who informed us that the druid's name is
Lugmut, and he is apparently immortal. He returns back to life after a
week. That made us even more annoyed at him than before.

We skirted the edges of the hills, away from the infamous valley. There we
defeated four volts, and later a giant weasel. Finally, the party got
attacked from behind by four displacer beasts. Thanks to a timely _Slow_
spell, we were able to hunt them down and kill, though it took great
effort, and far more damage was done to other party members through
friendly fire than by the beasts themselves. We tracked back to their lair
and found a token and some gems (Thurmond food).

See next week: the Wilderness... Part 2!


"What do you mean, you've got a 'little job' for me?"


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