As Rory pursues rumour and opportunities for adventure Elsbeth notices a young, well dressed half-elf sulking in the corner of the Inn. Leaving Denelyth to his tea she takes a seat beside him on the dusty floor and stretches out her bare feet. “What’s the matter little one?” She asks brushing his long golden hair from his eyes. “I lost my favourite toy" He whispers solemnly avoiding eye contact. “I went into the copse by the ford and found a big rock, big as a house and then a little blue man jumped out and snatched the sword from my hand. His friends all laughed and poked at me with sticks until I ran home.” He raises his eyes and realises the half-elf before him is one of the newcomers he had spied on earlier that day.
“You can help!” He called his eyes widening. “You’re an adventurer! As I one day will be! Please to have met your acquaintance, I am Master Beilin!”
Later that evening Elsbeth met the young boys human mother and enquired after the missing toy. She dispelled his claims as no more than tall tales and attempted to deflect any questions as to her past beyond hazy outlines.
The following morning the party ventured westward beyond the Ford, the young Master Beilin watching nervously from his window. Around mid day they stumbled across a thick copse of trees alongside the river. The floor was choked with ivy and the trees so dense that entry would be challenging and in places painful. Denelyth found a child sized path into the woods hidden behind a fallen boulder at the waters edge. The thick canopy above and walls of tapered trees created a gloomy picture within. Elsbeth lit her staff entirely for the benefit of Rory and requested he lead the way. By the eerie light of Elsbeth’s staff they crept into the darkness unaware they were already being watched by a secretive creature flitting from tree to tree.
The lack of woodland sounds put Denelyth and Rory on edge who appeared visibly shaken by the unnatural feeling of it all.After a while it became apparent that this copse fell between worlds, that is to say that it resided within a different plane or perhaps plunged deeper into their own, upon discussing these possibilities Denelyth and Elsbeth left Rory to wander. Getting just far enough ahead to see by the light Rory narrowly avoid falling deep into a pit trap. He caught himself swaying on the precipice and called over the others. The tracks thus far made it clear that children or at least children sized creatures frequented the area and on closer inspection the trap was cut a meagre 3 foot deep. A gruff chortle rang out from the trees before it’s maker rustled away unseen.
Eventually at a wide cross roads Elsbeth Identified the tracks of an injured centaur or unicorn whose feet had dragged or been dragged further into the darkness. A light chime rang out through the crossroads leaving the heroes bewildered once again. 15 feet or so further a silver barked elm caught there attention, poking it with a stick identified it as the source of the earlier sound, a deep chime struck out once more and the surrounding trees became awash with a moonly glow. Elsbeth quickly collected the valuable fallen bark of the[[:Trance Elm]] to sell to alchemista nd herbalists.
Following the trails of hooves lead the heroes into the central clearing of the forest where a giant mossy boulder rests and a welcome break in the canopy allows a thick shaft of sunlight to pool in. Suddenly a tall elven man in armour carved of gold and studded with diamonds appears striking a heroic pose atop the rock. He was as dashing as a fairytale prince; his long copper hair caressed by invisible hands “I am Guardian of the Moon glade” he calls to the trio far below. “I protect this place and all it’s inhabitants, what business have you here?” Elsbeth cannot help but question the stranger knowing that the Moon Glade is a secret place of her peoples far from here. The dashing stranger grins striking a new pose before responding “Really!? Well that is what I call this place!” With a shimmer of glittering light a voice whispers in Rory’s ear “oust him from this place” leaving Rory glancing around for a source Denelyth realises this elf is simply a glamer, takes up a medium sized pebble and hoofs it at the imposter, who suprised stumbles, flailing and waving for balance atop his rock before sliding comically off the boulder and impacting upon the soil below revealing his true form as a huge. The small humanoid looks like a shrunken old man covered in moldy blue skin with a huge bulbous head and slit like red eyes.
The leader lifts himself raising an ornate sword hewn of wood and slate and screams “To arms!” A pair of smaller Mites hop out of the undergrowth weilding sharpened sticks and stones as crude weaponry, each has armour made of odds and ends from the forest or village. A colander and a pan make for sturdy helmets and two are topped with large toadstool. One Mite stubbles out of the hedgerow with a mighty crash, tied by a delicate chain to a nearby root the particularly overweight creature clutches a huge set of bellows to his chest. Denelyth quickly blasts the group with a clour spray leaving all but a few concious, taking his sword against the lead. Rory makes quick work of the Mitecapp Warriors clefting their toadstools from their heads and leaving them dead or unconcious. Elsbeth and Beauvoir work together throwing the frail animals against rock and floor to finish the job.
After finishing the fight half of their number remain alive and have fully surrendered. One sobs into the soil unable to look his attackers in the eye, the others unconcious or in the case of the chained Mite oblivious to the presence of strangers. Elsbeth and Rory clambered to the top of the rock to discover a small rock throne and a stash containing a few gemstones and an ornate shortsword of fine elven craftsmanship. Denelyth remains with the Mites and is disgusted by the friendly gestures of the overweight bellows blower. To make matters worse still the Mite conceives a devilish plan and sets to work turning his back on the Magus. Becoming suspicious of the dim-witted cretin pulls him around to realise the monster has stuffed his bellows with cheese which is promptly sprayed across the furious young elf. When Rory and Elsbeth return and Denelyth has cleaned off a small pixie guides the trio back into the woods, they arrive at a small clearing forgetting the way they came in a haze of pixie dust. The path behind seems to close off as more trance elms arrive to encircle the crew, the pixie touches each in quick succession creating a irredescent light that masks the body of a strange voice. Through the rainbow sheen the faint outline of a sitting unicorn can be seen. This isan elderly Unicorn who settled here to find peace in his golden years, he informs the trio that Master Beilin was a dear friend and attempted to drive off the unwanted guests and offered to find help when unable.
The visitors awake alonside the river where a pixie waits patiently upon a flower. “Thank you for saving our woods” She sings, “as a mark of gratitude and allegience our master has granted you the following gifts.” she flies to each in turn and places a tightly wound strand of moon coloured hair, to Elsbeth she gives 2 requesting one be gifted to Master Beilin also. “And lastly” she whispers holding a small pouch before her and glanicing at each of them in turn, “a single use of pixie dust.” Then flutters back high above the copse dipping into the darkness and out of sight.
The heroes return triumphantly to the village and find Master Beilin awaiting their arrival at his door. Unsure as to the sword he seeks the boy identifies the Elven shortsword as his own. His mother returns to the door and thanks the three for returning it. “Forgive me, my boys has my father’s heart for justice and his hand for the sword. I did not want him to pursue this path, alas I do not think I can stop it.” Although she smiles a sadness can be seen in her eyes before she bids the heroes goodnight.
That evening Caelistra and Master Beilin take their usual seats at the Tabithia Inn and Elsbeth makes time to share a drink or two with her friends. Master Beilin appears to have his sheathed sword at his waist and shield strapped ready to his forearm. Caelistra is happy to talk about her travels to Dawnford and how she came to live in the small cottage across the road. "My husband and I eloped. We stole what we could from my father and fled to the west one evening on our journey to Ailenhold. My father was an unforgiving man so we expected resistance. Lone assassins and groups of thugs found us no matter where we went and he was unrelenting. As it happens he was magically tracking us using the items we had taken from him. Eventually we realised, bloody and bruised from our travels we traded everything we carried for what coin and gemstones we were able and headed south unhindered. We stopped at four towns to be sure we weren’t being followed before settling here. After such vicious fighting we swore never to take up the blade against a fellow man again, and we stuck to it and no man has ever crossed the militia in all my years here. I suspect my son will not do the same, he is too adventurous and knows what is right and what is wrong, he will make a fine fighter one day, just and true… But for now he is just a child.”
On the next table over Kaylin and his new friend Teflin, a well groomed halfling trader, share a conversation about a roving goblin tribe which has peaked more than one persons interest…