The Eye of the Beholder
Terrible it appears, its reputation for invincibility firmly entrenched, a hopeless situation seemingly at hand – a great beholder in a small area protected by some twisted ancient warriors and strange extrusions that would appear from nowhere – BIG DEAL!
While not exactly a walkover, our fearless heroes combine their mounting firepower with great effect to dispatch the beast, without taking too much damage themselves beyond the foul taint of the strangeness of the Far Realm, to find the tower returned to normality, all sign of the chaotic beast gone, with only the ashen remains of the once humanoid warriors remaining.
But one boon is granted the victorious: three more cards, similar to the one held by Glaudr, bearing the symbols of the Vizier, The Jester and the Star.
After a rest in the now peaceful tower, the party investigate further into the forest, the elves in particular comforted by the fey origins of much of the undergrowth and drawn on by the distant sound of running water.
Mordzan scouts ahead to discover a clearing, at the centre of which stands a fountain of beauty, surrounded by intricately carved runes. Around this stand a host of Eladrin warriors, their apparent leader looking morose and thoughtful.
Without going through the details of the tortuous negotiations the party introduce themselves and discover they are talking to Berrian Velfarren and his followers, an eladrin mission who have recently arrived at the Abbey at the climax of some century-long quest for something or the other (the details not forthcoming at the moment on the grounds that he doesn’t really trust anyone). In addition, having discovered this forest has obviously been shaped by an eladrin hand, he is keen to stake his people’s claim to the area and is somewhat disturbed that the humans of Winterhaven may be taking an interest in the Abbey again, never mind the orcs, who at least seem to avoid the area.
Gaining some modicum of trust after their boasts of defeating the menace in the Watchtower, the party are granted the boon of a sip from the font of Ioun. The magical water removing the taint of chaos and granting the party many visions of the Abbey in its former glory, at peace and at war. Something that seems to transport Sir Oakey into a trance-like bliss.
There are more pressing matters at hand than this drug induced visual history fest. Velfarren’s sister Analastra has gone missing, probably on some ill-advised and impetuous scouting mission, and the party agree to help find her.
It doesn’t take long as Mordzan’s tracking abilities come to the fore and they are soon face to face with Analastra, in the process of fleeing two mighty and hungry displacer beasts. She falls to the ground at the foot of an abandoned tower, where she is then further assaulted by a stirge flying out from the ruins.
Her life hangs by a thread as the party charge in, doing their best to time their attacks to match the somewhat disturbing ability of the cat-like tentacled fiends to phase in and out of the mundane plane. More stirges, some mighty damage for Bodin and a ferocious battle is joined.