“So, there were TWO of ’em!”
Session of 09/11/2013, Presents: everybody.
…the group gives assistance to the halfling, that appears to be badly injured. When he is in condition to talk he relates that he and his companion were attacked by a tiger (a real tiger), he tried to rescue his companion but that didn’t worked very well. But the halfling is also happy because he saw a real tiger, that is quite uncommon. The tiger itself seemed distressed and apparently was attacked on his own by something else. He also confirm that they saw the blood traces, but they didn’t investigate the matter because “it was unpleasant”. While they were around they also checked on “the fox on the tree” that “was still there asleep”.
When the younger is in condition to proceed, they leave him at his own device and continue towards the colossi tree. And it’s BIG. I mean, seriously big. A large clearing in the forest host the massive tree, an hundred of meters in diameter and several hundreds in height. With massive branches leading out. The tree itself seems not made of wood but almost of stone.
And everybody begins to feel the effects of the tree: by making then not to think to violent or bloody ideas, if it’s dangerous, it has no place in that place. So everybody become very calm, and relaxed and more prone to peaceful and quiet ideas. Therai senses that the area is completely voided of Arcane powers, no arcanist can do anything in the area.
The group, is eager to investigate the blood traces reported, but the problem is that just going to look to the blood is going to be difficult with the “appeasing” effect the tree is exerting. After a while, Irann and Cor manage to muster enough strength of will to go and have a look. After some checking around it seems that /something/ gave birth in that place. And they can recognize the paw prints as the same as the ones left in the monster-attack zones. So it appears that the monster mom, gave birth to at least one youngster, and is the youngster that is going around doing all the killing. Unfortunately, this realization makes them to think a bit too hard about the implications, so they, under the influence of the tree, decides to go somewhere else and stop investigating.
The group decide to spend the night around the tree, because with the influence of the tree is obvious that there is no danger there. However, they realize that is better not to stay too long around the tree, otherwise the influence become permanent and can severely affect the survival ability of anybody.
Hardok, Irann and Cor decides to climb a bit the tree to have a better view of the forest surrounding. And they can see the forest stretching around for how far they can see. In the north, they can see another Colossi poking out from the forest. Each one linked to each other, their influence protecting the forest from the outside world.
During the night Irann is awaken by a thelepatic message, somebody (or something) up in the tree is calling for help. She relay to Cor (that is awake because he doesn’t need to sleep a lot) and both of them climb the tree to check it, after a while of climbing, they reaches an higher standing where they find a fox.. asleep…
The fox resemble a fox with big ears, only it’s green… really GREEN.
And it seems either deep asleep or comatose. Trying to check it, Cor discover that he can’t even touch the animal, but Irann has no trouble in doing so. She also recognize that the fox is the origin of the telepathic message. It seems impossible to wake up the animal, so she decide to bring the fox down with her.
The next morning, the halfling are shocked to see the fox: they knew that the fox was up in the tree but nobody ever managed to get close to it, forget about touch it or bring it down! The fox apparently has been in the tree asleep basically forever. As long as anybody remembers. Irann decides that the call for help is a reason enough to bring the fox with her until they manage to wake it up or discover a bit more about it. The only thing that is quite clear is that the fox is a fey creature, and obviously doesn’t belongs in the forest.
Since it seems there is nothing more to discover in the area, the group begins the trip back to the village. As soon as they out of the influence zone of the tree, they get back to normal, and they discover that anybody now can also touch the sleeping fox, but it’s still sleepy.
They reach the village right before the daily shower, immediately they are notified that during their absence another attack toke place: this time the victim is I’tok.
The group goes to investigate this attack, that happened inside the barrack, with guards posted outside. I’tok managed to draw his sword, but it seems he didn’t had any time or possibility to do anything. There are traces around, the usual necrotic effect. It seems the creature, whatever it is, managed to sneak into the closed room without breaking down the door. Also, the corpse has lost his head… in the sense that the head is phisically detached from the body. Like it was twisted and pulled out. This strange things makes the group think that the attacker were in pair this time, so maybe is not ONE monster, but two of them.
This information makes kind of sense, in the sense that there are two different pattern: one is going after the shaman/chief and the other one is going after the caravan crew.
The group talks a bit with the remaining guards, they were outside and when they heard screaming they pried the doors open, because I’tok had locked himself inside, and when they entered he was already dead.
A bit of brainstorming with the information they had, the group decides that the creatures they are dealing with are a couple of young Tembo.
Tembos Are Vestiges From The Cleansing Wars. The Champions created these merciless predators to aid in their genocidal struggle. Tembos were designed to sniff out and snatch those most loved by their masters’ opponents. Tembos survived even after war or old age claimed their creators, and they are universally hated across the Tyr Region. A tembo kills for food and pleasure. Though intelligent and capable of speech, it shows no remorse, and its chilling laughter echoes through the soul. Being two young ling, they are probably not as strong as adults, but they are still deadly (as already noted).
The group after this goes to the temple to talk to the shaman.
Irann asks a few questions about the fox (that she named ‘Foxy’). But the shaman doesn’t have a lot of answers about it. Basically he can only say the same things as before, the fox has been in the tree for a very long time, it doesn’t belongs to the forest and they have no idea why/how or what.
After that, Irann theorize that, if one tiger was attacked by the monsters, now the tiger spirit could be aware of the monsters and being willing to spot them if they came closer. With the help of the shaman, she manage to enter a state of trance and uses the “spirit awareness”, and indeed the spirit is now aware of the monsters. She can identify that there are two monsters (only two of them) and that the guardian tiger statues can now be “persuaded” to notice the monsters if they came closer enough.
The Chief suggests that, to minimize damages to other halflings, they will stage some sort of ‘celebration’, with the main ‘targets’ for the monster in the Arena, while the rest of the village’s warriors will wait in the Square and the Temple, when a signal is given, everyone will rush to the Arena to fight the monsters. Irann, Cor and Varnag will stay at the temple, so Irann can be “in sync” with the spirit tiger and act as a sort of “proximity alarm” when the monsters approaches.
So preparation for the ‘party’ begins and everybody decides to take some time to rest, relax and get prepared.
That night, the “baits” are pretending to have a good time in the arena, while looking around suspiciously all the time, when Irann gets a flash: one of the Monsters is coming, fast, from the North. Cor waves a torch giving a signal so everybody is prepared in the Arena, but the monster is fast! He enters the arena, a shadowy thing that is partially visible and only partially physical, this makes difficult to react, because the creature seems to be in different places at the same time, the Shaman-in-training goes into ‘combat-mode’, so it seems that there is a tiger standing where he is, but basically everybody moves around trying to get out of the way.
The fight is complicated by the apparition of the other Tembo, coming from the south that is intercepted mid-way by Cor and the rest of the group before he can get to the Temple, Hardok, Therai, the Chief, the Shaman-in-training manages to dispatch the first Tembo, even if the fight is complicated by the Tembo’s ability of “phasing” to shadow (becoming semi-immaterial and reducing damage), but the two creatures are dispatched.
Obviously everybody is very happy, the monsters have been destroyed, the group has proved that they are concerned for the good of the village (and this is an obvious bonus for the trading business) and nobody’s dead (that’s a plus).
The celebration becomes a real celebration and everyone enjoys (and Irann has a pet, a sleeping one but still…)