We broke down camp the next morning and I started scouting to make sure the immediate path was clear before we continued our journey and who should I run into but our favourite Eladrin, Althea. I’m lucky I didn’t shoot her; I’m so jumpy these days. I took her back to camp and we set off. Korgul and I are scouting ahead of the group, not far mind you, but far enough to be able to warn the rest of them of trouble if we should cross it. I can just see Korgul through the brush and trees. We decided it would be better if we were not side by side and thank goodness for that decision! Just as I glimpse movement ahead of us, Korgul gets caught. Of course he does. I swear the poor guy just cracks under pressure.
“Halt!” A group of Bara’Lohem came into view. A large group it was, too. They also seemed to know quite a bit about us. They asked Korgul where the rest of us were. He tried to play it off, saying he “had to go pee,” but they totally didn’t buy it. While they are conversing, I attempt to make my way back to the group to warn them. I failed to notice exactly how close some of the “Lohem had gotten.
The leader of this group of Bara’Lohem stood with Korgul. His skull tattoo seemed more primitive than the others. He had more translucent skin than the rest and you could just see faint lines around his eyes. He looked at me with cold eyes as he beckoned me over. He asks why we were in the forest and we talk about the orcs and Thag. When I mentioned the obolisque, his ears seemed to perk up. He requested that Korgul and I escort the group back to our friends. Korgul and I had a quick disagreement over whether or not we should but in the end, we agree to their demands. We lead the way with arrows pointed at us. I feel I must mention that the druid we let go from our last encounter with these guys is in this group. Now I feel stupid for convincing Hovan to let him go.
So we make it back to the group and Hovan and the Elder ‘Lohem strike up a conversation. He tells him more about the obalisque and the ‘Lohem lets slip that the tree growing inside the obalisque was what was important. And, it’s back in Brighton. Apparently, Thag isn’t really dead either. As long as the tree lives, Thag’s “essence” resides as well. He also thinks some of the Elves at Grandfather Oak would be interested in our discoveries. The Elder ‘Lohem gives us a choice; leave the First Forest on our own, or be escorted to Grandfather Oak as their captives. Of course Hovan say’s we will leave. Of course he does. Doesn’t appear to think twice about it. That man’s mind works like no other I’ll tell you. After the Bara’Lohem depart, he turns to us and says we are heading to Grandfather Oak anyway. His reasoning? “You heard the guy! ‘Some people would be interested in what we know,’ he’s practically giving us permission!” I just shook my head.
So off to Grandfather Oak we went. As we traveled, I became more and more uneasy. All the crazy unchecked growth made my blood run cold. As we reached the city, four Elvish horsemen ride towards us. I pulled out the faux letter from my father and the leader of the pack spoke to Althea for a second and off we went again. We found an inn and it was decided that Althea and I would go to the court ourselves while the others rested.
Althea and I made our way to the lift that would take us to the top of Grandfather Oak. We used the letter from my father as an invitation and Althea as my escort and were told the lift would leave within the hour. An Eladrin court member approached us by the name of Beruthiel. Althea talked to her for a while and though I gave some input, I think Beruthiel was more interested in talking to Althea. The three of us enter the lift and set off.
From out of no where, Gnomes start attacking Beruthiel! Of course Althea and I step in. And in keeping with every other bad day, disaster ensues. The gnomes disappear and this Spellcaster appears. He made me stumble towards the edge of the lift. The lift stopped with a loud sound and I almost fell off. The lift shook and sounds like thunder cracked from above. The ropes lifting the lift fell one by one as we battled those damn gnomes. Beruthiel teleported from the lift, weak and tired, leaving Althea and I on our own with four or five others. Then, the last rope broke.
Althea quickly teleported from the lift to a safe location. I grabbed the only things I had left. Rope and arrows. I tied one end of the rope to myself and the other to the arrow. I tried to shoot the tree, to save myself, but it just wasn’t meant to be. I couldn’t get the arrow into the tree. I watched as I got closer and closer to the ground. It was the end for me, and I knew it. I would die the second that lift hit the ground. Peace fell over me and then there was nothing. Darkness. Pain.
How can death hurt so much? I thought death was supposed to be painless. Maybe I wasn’t dead then. I don’t know how, but I slowly opened my eyes. Everything from my head to my toes hurt. I groaned and looked up. Hope crouched in front of me, her eyes as wide as saucers. Hope’s presence combined with the oh-so-merciless pain convinced me I was, indeed, alive. She helped me too my feet and back to the inn where we met the others. I rested a while and Althea and I told the others what happened.