The undead troops returned for their visitors to find the Master’s boneshard skeletons lying in charred heaps, but they took them to see the Lion anyway. Unlike the living wizard Thistle remembered, the Lion was now a withered husk of his former self, transformed into a skeletal lich. He received his guests in a chamber dominated by a black and twisted tree, whose branches snaked all over the walls and floor. He told Thistle that this was her tree, the tree inexorably entwined with the pixie from her birth, as all fey native to the Feywild have. Thistle’s tree, however, sprouted from a stake used to slay a vampire, accounting for the pixie’s strange bloodthirst. Hoping to absorb her unnatural vitality and extend his own life, the Lion conducted agonizing experiments on her to rid her of her bloodlust. Instead, his rituals served only to magnify her vampirism and ruin the king’s attempt to leech the life force from the verdant plains around his lair. He became not immortal, but an undead lich. As he told Thistle now, she created him as much as he created her.
The exploded boneshard skeletons, as it turns out, were created by the Lion for the Red Hand, who coerced him to do so by stealing his phylactery, a necklace of lion’s teeth. The former king implanted an image of the necklace in Frug’s telepathic mind, and agreed to withdraw his support for the horde if Thistle, Frug, and their friends returned his phylactery to him. He also agreed to entrust into Thistle care her soul tree, since the tree’s fate is the pixie’s as well. The lich told their party that five boneshard skeletons were to be delivered in five days for the attack on Brindol, and to save them some time he performed a ritual to teleport his new allies to the Blackfens, where they intend to contact the Tiri Kitor elves.
Arriving in the marshy Blackfens with a white flash, the travelers materialized near the shredded corpse of a giant owl, which had apparently been killed and partially devoured by something with large, sharp teeth and acidic saliva that corroded the bird’s feathers and flesh. Around one talon was a gold band with the name Liokio in elvish. Soon the newcomers to the swamp learned what had killed the owl as a great roar pierced the woods and an enormous green reptile burst from the water, trashing razor-sharp wings. Its call brought more reptiles, two blue and two red, in a ground-shaking charge. The blues fought with charges of electricity, the reds with gouts of flame, and the green with spurts of acid. In the end, the heroes prevailed, but at great cost. Cyress fell to be trampled into the muck by the beasts’ taloned feet, dead.
XP (Brandis, Cyress, Elkantar, Frug, Thistle, Tirah): 2,733
Next session: 11/24/2013