Apparently being close to their lair has reawakened the mischievous streak in the fey. That and the fact that they never made nice with Nishi. I woke up in Nishi’s somewhat smelly clothes, and she woke up in mine, while the fey laughed themselves silly over “bigginses.” Perhaps it is necessary to lean upon Morrigan’s magical talents to lay a harmless but embarrassing booby trap for them – not to harm them, but simply to discourage them. And to drive home the point that the “bigginses” are perhaps not as easy of a mark as they think.
After exchanging clothes (and giving mine a thorough scrubbing), we continued southwest. Came upon a river (the locals call it the “Skunk River”), and the surrounding area was thick with nodules made of flint and limestone, which made the ground sharp and hazardous in places.
We followed the river until we came upon a gigantic boulder shaped like an elk (B1). This obvious shrine to Erastil led to a cave which appeared to be the ruins of a temple. Poe quickly explored the cave, and saw both a gigantic bear and a nebbish Halfling. The Halfling warned us that the bear was psychotic, so of course Nishi felt the need to try and use her druidic powers to bring it to heel. This proved a miserable failure. Her lizard also charged in, getting mangled in the process.
Naturally I piled in afterwards. Despite my newfound devotion to Falayna, it evaded my attempt to grab it, and dropped me in a heap in a single pass of claws and teeth, and then tried to repeat the process with Nishi and the wolf. The frustration continues to grow. Apparently I need to grapple something and then rip its ears off, if only to get the tension to abate.
Nishi’s healing was sufficient to get me back on my feet in a matter of seconds, and I was able to hold the creature in place long enough for Morrigan and Ce Me No to put it down at a distance. The Halfling revealed himself to be a Bard by the name of Entem Guile. Despite his bookish appearance and demeanor, he is apparently somewhat more seasoned than we are. His inspiring song proved useful in the latter stages of the fight. I think he intends to move on, but he is going to at least spend the evening with us.
After dropping the bear, Nishi got it in her head to try and communicate with the creature, given its obvious intelligence. Entem was “kind” enough to get it back on its feet after I had tied it up. The creature’s raw strength was enough for it to immediately burst some of the rope. With no other choice, we kept it from breaking free and put it down for good. As it died, it transformed into a wizened old man, and from there almost immediately crumbled into bones and dust. Clearly some ancient and powerful magic held sway over the man. Though it remains a mystery to me, I am hopeful Jhod Kaven will have some answers for us open our return to Oleg’s.
In addition to the body reverting to dust, the foulness in the pool outside the temple lifted. Not only did it become very sweet and clear, but it took on magical properties, healing the rest of the wounds I and my compatriots had suffered, even the wolf. We shall fill our skins with it, and journey onward on the morrow.