Mere hours after departing Bellwater the party encountered their first bit of strangeness for the journey. A strange whining sound echoing in the party's ears from somewhere off of the main trail they had been following with Eschana. Most of the party was against the idea, but eventually, Harold and Kalise decided to investigate further and were glad that they had done so because they discovered that the source of the distressing sounds was a dog—barely more than a puppy—pinned under a large branch. Kalise was able to successfully free the trapped canine, but they were still on the ground in pain. The duo called over Sylthana so she could heal the injured animal. While she struggled a bit in the task, the dog's injuries were not severe and Sylthana was able to heal them easily. The young dog proved himself quickly to be both tame and friendly, seeming to be quite happy to accompany the party back to the cart. The party quickly dubbed the dog Brusten and settled in for the next leg of their journey.
The party continued traveling until they reached a huge meadow in the center of the Silverwood. It was here that the party first made camp, setting up in as sheltered an area as they could find. After enjoying a meal of rabbits caught and cooked by Kalise and Ardeth, respectively, the party sat around the fire, preparing themselves for a night's rest when they were interrupted by Brusten growling and snarling at something hidden in the darkness. The party quickly whirled around, catching sight of three black-clad men attempting to creep up on the party—likely with ill-intent in their heart.
The party launched a volley of swift attacks that quickly incapacitated their newfound foes and Ardeth immediately led the party in interrogating the men. The party learned that they were a part of one of many bandit crews spread throughout the Silverwood, all led by a single leader, known only as The Shadow. The men had very few details they could provide the party on their crew's operations, but they did reveal that there was some sort of strange middle-aged man that lived alone in the forest, but additional details eluded them. After robbing them of all of their sharps the party decided to let the men go after they proved themselves to be blubbering cowards to the party. While not necessarily fearing retribution from those they had let go, the party still thought it prudent to move camp to another, more isolated, location before taking their rest.
Over the next several days of traveling along the main road through the Silverwood the party encountered, in various locations, small crystals placed almost randomly. These crystals emitted a light buzzing that all magic-users in the party were able to detect even from afar. On one morning, after breaking camp, the party discovered a strange bush on which a great multitude of these crystals seemed to grow from, though none of them emitted the telltale magical buzz from those they had encountered previously. Despite their best efforts, the party was only able to determine that this bush had been created by some kind of magic, but any knowledge past that eluded them. The party collected some of these crystals for themselves but eventually decided to leave it behind and continue on their way.
Later on, that same day, the party reached the bridge that would lead them to the very edge of the Silverwood, but before they could cross it they found themselves distracted by another buzzing sensation focused on a nearby cliff face. Upon examination, the party was able to determine that the cliff face itself was actually a near-perfect illusion. After probing the illusion for some time, the party heard a response from beyond: a voice calling out to them that they would open the door. Moments later the illusion was dispelled and in place of the cliff face stood a ramshackle hut, a young boy standing beyond the open doorway. The boy, Vidon, was disappointed that the party was not the return of his absent father, but it wasn't long before the boy warmed up to the party and invited them in for lunch.
Upon entering the hut the party realized that the exterior of the building did not reflect the interior at all. Beyond the hut's threshold, the party discovered a large central chamber with several, equally large, chambers branching off from it. The center of the central chamber held a perfect scale representation of the Silverwood, and Vidon revealed that the crystals were used as a form of echolocation to keep the map accurate, which Vidon had taken to maintaining in his father's absence. The party also discovered a large bathing chamber, featuring plumbing more advanced than any in the party were familiar with, and inside the chamber, they discovered clothing emblazoned with the Coldfire symbol, the same symbol as was on the ring given to them by Eskaer. The party questioned Vidon, but all that the young boy knew about the symbol was that his father, and several of his friends, had often worn the symbol on their clothing.
After bathing themselves—and Brusten as well, presumably—the party joined Vidon in the kitchen for a nice lunch of various foods that the boy had produced using some sort of magical pantry created by his father. Vidon revealed that his father, named Aveios, had left home almost a year ago in the company of several other people who wore the Coldfire symbol, only telling Vidon that he was leaving to "fight the good fight." Once their hunger was satisfied the party made ready to leave, passing by a large map of The Reaches on their way out. Vidon mentioned to the party that if his father had been home he could have "moved the house" and easily transported the party to various locations throughout The Reaches.
While the party had many questions about Vidon's strange home, they still felt the need to press onward, so they bid the young boy farewell and rejoined the slightly less confusing world outside. The party's journey following this brief respite went by smoothly, after crossing the bridge and exiting the Silverwood it was a simple matter of following the road south to the city of Herrion, where the gates stood open, as if waiting for the party's arrival.
—END OF SESSION SEVEN—
—TO BE CONTINUED—