- “Many dangers lurk in the places we cannot see; but in their seeing, they are oft made a hundredfold more horrible.” -Cor’nith Sapseer, Within the Glade
The Banks of ColorEdit
Waterdance and Light (at Light’s direction) skip through the forest to the east, with the other two following at a walking pace. As they move, mist begins to rise from the ground all around them. Waterdance decides the mist has a… sickly sweet taste. It’s slowly getting thicker and taller as they walk.
In addition to tasting the fog while walking, Light attempts to sense evil within the fog. Which… unsurprisingly, isn’t intrinsically evil. Bunny climbs up a tree (after checking for inhabitants first) to scope out the situation, but can’t see much from her vantage point. The fog, or as Light chooses to refer to it, Dessert Mist, doesn’t seem to be hurting them.
Light casts Light on Waterdance’s hand, choosing to send the dwarf ahead as a lantern of sorts. Bunny descends her tree to keep up with the party, who are wandering off, continuing to the east. The group forms up in a hand-holding chain so as to not lose anyone as they wander into the enveloping mist, quickly being above everyone’s heads.
Soon enough, the sun is being blotted by the mist, and the party note that the world around them has gotten silent - no birds chirping, no noise of water, just silence. A few minutes later, lights begin to be discernable through the mist - blues and greens mostly, mostly blurred. Moving towards the turquoise light in front of them, they believe it to be a lantern light, rather high up. Light calls out to the person, but finds her voice somewhat muffled. Seeing it as their best chance at contact, they continue to move towards the lantern - but it seems to be moving at the same time, keeping away from the group. They decide to accelerate their pace a little bit, to catch up.
A Sinking FeelingEdit
Chasing the light through the mist, Light notices that the ground at her feet is wet and goopy, and sandy. Unnaturally so. As they stop to look at their feet, they notice that their feet are sinking. Victoria manages to wrench her feet free and step out of the quicksand, while Waterdeep has a bit more trouble getting his stumpier legs out, sinking inwards. Bunny tries a gentler approach, but finds it ineffective. Meanwhile, the light hovers over the group, pulsing warmly. It is probably enjoying itself. Light decides the best course of action is to remain still rather than struggling.
Victoria grabs a log from the treeline, and tosses on end to Bunny, for trying to pull her out. That becomes somewhat of a lesser concern when Waterdance’s struggling pulls him under the surface. She grabs another branch,and uses it to tug the dwarf back up to breathing range. Light, in trying to invoke some magic within her, seems to have backfired, and she ends up warping a bit, and shrinking - taking on an almost dwarf-like appearance. Trying to climb up the stick is less than helpful, but eventually the group is floating on sticks and branches. Lacking for rope, Victoria resorts to disrobing, tearing her dress in half, and fashioning it together in a longer strip of cloth to yank the dwarf free, which she finally manages to do, resulting in quick celebrations before casting the cloth rope out to Bunny, and eventually to Light. Meanwhile the light that led them into the quicksand has disappeared.
Light, in seeing the enjoyment of others’ nudity, strips down as well, though keeps her clothes intact and in her pack. Victoria meanwhile fashions makeshift clothing out of her cloth. All of the contents of peoples’ packs [EL: Except for Victoria, presumably] have been exposed to sand.
Light and Bunny spy a couple of gnomes approaching the group slowly, Light calling out in greeting and Bunny diving for the nearest cover. Though the mist obscures them, they’re definitely gnomes, but their motions don’t seem right. As Light and Victoria discuss her hair, Waterdance notes that the gnomes have blueish greenish skin, like the lights they saw before.
Combat - Gnomes of the Past: The shambling gnomes aren't a huge combat threat, but with half of the party wielding nothing but improvised weapons, it takes some effort to take them down. Bunny finds that she is more efficient attacking from behind. [EL: Gen proclaims herself to be a Thief.] Victoria finds out the perils of swinging a longsword, nearly cutting Light. One of the gnomes is clubbed to unconsciousness by Bunny’s club, and the other by Waterdance smashing it while holding the giant diamond.
Light recognizes the diamond-downed gnome, as Grumples slowly bleeds from the head wound inflicted by a dwarf. Other than being blue-green and bleeding, he looks just as it did before. Light sings him a eulogy, and then picks him up to deposit him in the quicksand. On reflection however, they decide to carry the zombified, bleeding body of their former friend around just in case there’s a cure for zombification laying around. Victoria surrenders the top half of her clothing to use as binding to prevent being bitten. Bunny loots Grumples for a bag of garnets, a shovel, and a set of gnome sized clothing. Light rips a strip off of the bottom of her cloak [EL: What cloak?] to staunch the blood flow. Waterdance loots a shovel from the other gnome.
The group starts to move onward, poking the ground with Bunny’s makeshift club in front of them to avoid another nasty surprise.
Crystals In The MistEdit
Moving onwards, the group is still in the midst of mist and lights glowing in the distance. Some many hours later, the lighting seems to not have changed with time, but eventually the group comes across a mini stepped pyramid structure made of grey/black stone, and seems to have erupted from the ground. Light immediately climbs it like a playground item. From there, she notices its got an entrance on the far side. As Bunny starts to inspect it, she finds inside a pedestal upon which rests a large purplish quartz crystal, with a gnome grasping it who has black oily eyes. Bunny’s initial tests suggest the gnome is frozen in position. Light attempts to Detect Evil, but it doesn’t work. Neither does dancing, nor hip thrusting in the gnome’s direction. Bunny doesn’t seem to detect any traps in the entranceway,
In an effort to further deter any further traps, Bunny suggests using Grumples’ body as a lawn dart. Meanwhile, Waterdance starts speaking a language no one else can understand, and Light attempts to throw a stick at the crystal, sending it tumbling to the ground, the gnome falling with it as though attached. Light promptly changes her name to Gem, because she’s been Light for far too long. She attempts to manifest an Unseen Servant to bring the gem to her, but nothing happens.
Bunny again suggests putting Grumples into the building to see if it does anything. Which it does, namely snapping Grumples neck as he lands woefully short. [EL: Victoria and Bunny are both credited with half of the credit for killing Grumples]. Bunny finds a longer stick, and pokes the oily eyed gnome repeatedly. Also pokes the gem. And the ground. Eventually deciding the door is relatively safe, she steps inside.
Slowly Bunny makes progress at trying to get at the gem, using Grumples’ body as a testing surface, then attempting to bash the other gnome’s hand off of the gem, she finds it is being actively gripped.
Frustrated at Bunny’s unwillingness to touch the gem, Gem enters the structure and wraps the gem in her cloak before yanking it free of the gnome’s grip. Immediately the gnome gasps, and the oil recedes from his eyes. A moment later, he start jabbering in gnomish - which it turns out Waterdance can understand.
The gnome, probably understandably, questions why everyone’s naked. Gem, unable to understand, does some interpretive dance to try and calm the gnome. It has not quite the desired effect, as the gnome is rather distracted by her nakedness during this. Waterdance manages to refocus both Gem and the gnome into describing what happened. He mentions a man with armor and a bunch of weapons who said he was the gnome’s friend, touched him on the head, and then he had a nightmare in which his friends rose from the ground and there were blue and green lights all over….
At this point, the gnome notices Grumples’ naked corpse casually laying in the room, and freaks out. When Waterdance manages to get the gnome’s attention again, he describes the man as having a ‘whole bunch’ of swords and knives and daggers on him, but he only saw him for a moment. When Waterdance relays the information to the party, Victoria suggests that they ask the gnome about the gem. Those outside the structure note that the mist is dissipating. The gnome claims to have not seen the gem before, but instinctively reaches out for it when Gem reveals it in her cloak. He does however know of a strange old man on the edge of the woods that bought a whole bunch of different gems. Further identifies him as Rath-atan after some discussion, and he claims to know the way to Rath-atan’s house. The gnome identifies himself as Glib Glob, which he explains Glob as a clan name. He offers to show the party the way to the home of the elusive elf wizard, on the edge of the forest...
- Recap from EtoileLion on reddit. Editorial notes are theirs.