It took only an hour or two into the morning of the second of Gozran for the party to stumble upon something they’d been looking for– a patch of fangberries! Unfortunately, the majority of the patch seemed covered in fine spiderwebs…there was likely danger about. Additionally, upon closer inspection it was revealed that the fangberry bushes were heavily laced with thorns, which meant that if they wished to collect enough berries to be useful for Old Bokken, the crazy old hermit to the west of Oleg’s Trading Post, then they’d have to take their time not to get all scratched up.
Elysia the Half-Elf Ranger, with the keenest eyes in the group, was able to first spot the threat lurking in the patch: The ground a bit to the north of her position, which at first seemed to just be littered with dead leaves gently stirring in the light breeze, was quickly revealed to in fact be crawling with thousands of spiders! The small arachnids were swarming all over the area, and in fact there was another swarm of similar size off to the side. After the group had been alerted to the possible threat, they began to work carefully at the berries…but after just a few moments realized that they would not be left alone, as the spiders began to make their way towards the party. Gavriil the Human Arcanist opened up with a gout of flames from his fingers, torching many a spider but not quite finishing the swarm off. Eneko the Human Bard/Cavalier attempted to use his musical magic to damage his foes, but this proved ineffective.
In the meantime, Trytor (the bandit-turned-helping-hand) had been ordered to continue picking the berries, which he was doing hesitantly, not really wanting to be near the approaching mass of legs and webbing. It wasn’t long until Trytor was overrun by the second swarm of spiders, sending him screaming into the distance. Elysia brought out a flask of Alchemist’s Fire, which she sent flying into the swarm of spiders, burning more of the tiny creatures up and keeping them off Trytor. Eneko, after tossing another Chord of Shards into the spiders, decided to ride after their bandit friend to make sure he was safe, while Gavriil finished off the last of the spiders with his flaming phalanges.
Having finished off the spider swarms, the group went back to attempting to pick the fangberries off their bushes. Eneko began riding around on his horse to keep an eye out on the thicket in order to ensure that no more swarms of spiders would coalesce and spring upon them, while Noruas the Human Gunslinger began digging away at some of the bushes, assisted by the Arcanist, in an effort to transport them on the wagon back to Oleg’s Trading Post and the garden that Gavriil had helped Jhod plant there during the previous visit. Elysia was very unlucky in her pickings however, as after grabbing only a small handful of berries she lost her balance and fell into the fangberry bush, scraping all of her exposed skin and drawing blood, but mainly injuring her pride. Huffing, she retreated back to the wagon to sulk for a bit.
About forty minutes into their work, Eneko spotted in a corner of the thicket a number of spiders converging into a single mass, and shouted the alarm to his companions! The Bard and the Arcanist both readied spells, while Trytor and Noruas continued working at the berries. As the spiders swarmed closer, fire and song burst forth at the creatures, not quite harmful enough to destroy them all yet certainly dampening their number. Trytor, beginning to freak out at the sight of even more spiders after Eneko had assured him none would return, gladly hopped onto the back of the Bard’s horse as it passed by, running back towards the wagon. Gavriil bravely attempted to distract the spiders away from the Gunslinger, who moved opposite the man and continued to pick berries. This was met with only limited success, as the spider swarm split into two streams smaller than its whole, one moving towards Gavriil and one towards Noruas. The spiders which attacked Gavriil caught up with him and began to swarm all over the spellcaster, biting him in numerous unfortunate places yet failing to poison him as they had Elysia earlier that morning.
It was then that Elysia swooped in to help save her companion! Running up from by the wagon, she grabbed a second flask of Alchemist’s Fire, and tossed it upon Gavriil’s form, dousing the man with flame and burning the majority of the spiders off of him! The Arcanist ran then back to the wagon, with the rest of the party retreating after him, satisfying themselves with the berries they had collected and the two bushes they had managed to uproot and store in their wagon.
The rest of the day was mostly uneventful, with the party making their way to the south-east in order to cross the Thorn river at the ford. That night they made camp a short distance away from the river, as was their wont, and set up watch. Unfortunately, they were subjected to an attack by a pack of wolves that night, while Elysia was on watch! Being weakened by the spider’s poison, she was unable to properly wield her compound bow which she’d been using since slaying the bandit Happs Bydon at the trading post a month previous. As such, she grabbed her longbow and fired two arrows at the nearest wolf, shouting a warning for the rest of the group to awaken!
The battle was fierce and quick, with six wolves having surrounded the camp and pressing hard on all sides. Noruas took out several with her musket, with Elysia’s axes helping to remove others. Eneko and Trytor’s horses were both injured by wolves in the attack, but by morning all were properly healed and in full health. The next day of exploration was uneventful, and it wasn’t until mid-day on the fourth of Gozran that the party came across a lone sycamore tree, standing straight and tall and alone atop a hill. Recalling that this old sycamore was home of the Mites, enemies of the Kobolds who inhabited the Kamelands. These Fey creatures were known to be cruel and sadistic, and thus the group decided to descend down a hole in the roots found by Elysia, to see what they could see.
It was down this hole that the party dropped in upon a tiny Mite-sized workshop, some workbenches and tools scattered about, and two tiny, ugly, blue-skinned Mites using crudely constructed mini-catapults to throw metal caltrops at each other’s mouths! The Fey were startled at the sudden appearance of several adventurers, and Eneko’s attempts to negotiate with them in Undercommon were met with failure. The Bard defended himself against the tiny creature, managing to slay the Fey outright, and its companion decided to retreat down a tunnel leading deeper into the earth.
In hot pursuit, Elysia grabbed her rope and tossed it down the 30-foot-drop that the Mite had scaled down just moments earlier. As she descended, she was soon privy to the high-pitched screams and squeals of pain emanating from the cave below, and after a moment the forms of several more Mites were seen gathered around a black-scaled Kobold tied up to the roots in the dirt walls, the Fey poking at it with sticks and other sharp pointy objects, taking great delight in its pain and displeasure. Gavriil and Trytor began to slide down after the Ranger, while Eneko and Noruas stayed at the top. Noruas’s gun rang out and dispatched one of the Mites, while arrows from above and Elysia’s axes began to fell others, the heroes taking only minor scrapes and bruises from the Mites in return. Soon, the last few standing Mites retreated, screaming to “run away, run away!”