5th 17th, 3241
We heard defensive spellcasting and chanting as we walked through the maze-like caverns. Taking one turn, we found a cavern full of webs and went around it, finding ourselves in the midst of some kind of ritual. “Grandmother” was sprawled out inside some arcane circle. One troglodyte completed the ritual while another defended the area. There was also a large spider and some swarms of spiders.
We wasted no time. Jaden began calling up the lightning of storms underground. I engaged the bigger troglodyte but he was too much for me. Even with Gilroy’s help we could barely hurt it. Jaden and Arius mainly ended up fighting the druid troglodyte after he turned into an enormous spider. Thankfully Dazen was able to heal me or I would be dead right now. This has happened all too many times and I can’t keep my composure much longer.
The ritual finished during the fight. A great evil awoke inside Grandmother. It controlled her and she sprouted spider mandibles from her mouth. My fear of spiders made it very difficult to do anything while Grandmother and her spider minions were around so I ran and urged them to kill her.
They mostly spoke though, fearing the power that she wielded. She considered Arius a friend. Arius is a Quori, an apparently misunderstood race of evil creatures that did some horrible things in the past. But eventually Gilroy knew what to do. He cast protection from evil on Grandmother which forced the evil being out of her. It appeared as a dark blackness, shaped like a half-man, half-spider. Then a Coatl emerged from Gilroy’s birthmark and defeated the creature and both of them were sucked back into the birthmark. What this could mean, for both Gilroy and the creatures, is unknown to us. But the current situation was resolved. Before leaving, the Coatl said to learn about the Dhalkyr. All I know is that they may have been involved in creating underground tendril creatures for ancient wars.
We healed Grandmother. Then we spent a good amount of time cleaning up the place. Jaden wanted very badly to bring the ruin back to the way it should be. That meant no more spiderwebs, though I couldn’t bring myself to be involved with all of that.
They cut some things out of the webbing, including three odd creatures. One is a wormy tentacle creature, another a scarab, and the last a smaller worm. We first tried to kill one of them but it screamed in our minds. Dazen healed it while the rest cleaned up the area.
This was not a good day, at least for me. I ran from a corrupted tree and from an evil spirit infesting one of the locals. I can’t help but feel that I am not helpful enough. The evils at play are too strong.
5th 18th, 3241
Jaden was frustrated today trying to figure out how he can fix the area. He planted lots of acorns and cast plant growth on them. A lot of sprouts grew but it was clear it was not working the way he expected.
He then tried using bloodstone. He engraved an acorn with a symbol. I suppose this might help, but I guess we won’t know until tomorrow.
5th 19th, 3241
Today Jaden did the ritual right. The old tree was rapidly replaced by an enormous new one and it spoke with us. It’s name is Garrerean, a terran word, and the name of the fortress is Gatehouse. The tree’s father is, of course, dead, but its grandfather still lives on an island far to the northwest.
We learned there are five sects of druids that each serve different purposes. Jaden is now part of one of them, it seems, though he rarely talks about anything to do with that.
Gwen appeared shortly after Garrerean grew. She said the forest is healing, even as far back as Allieua. It was good to see her. I miss our talks of more pleasant things, of helping people. The reality of this world is that being a hero to the people means enduring great pain, suffering, the death of your family, one’s own death, curses, and more. Even my companions show little cheer of late, the gravity of our situations sinking in. I do not think they drink for cheer any more, but to blur the memories of the day.
We were reminded once again of our fate as we walked into the circle of stones. My rapier became lighter and sharper. The changes to my armor were stranger. I became able to change its appearance to whatever I wish, including making it invisible.
Dazen’s book grew star opals and his cloak turned black with spider webs. Gilroy’s shield glowed and shook a bit. His hammer glowed as well. Arius’s staff didn’t look much different but he did focus on it for a bit so probably something psionic. Jaden’s armor grew some kind of leaf-like pattern.
We found out that Garrerean is the ancient word used to teleport to this place and took a chance to check on the various teleportation circles we knew of. Thankfully, nothing was awry.
We discussed how to proceed. Jaden and Dazen went back to Allieua to check on them and tell them of our progress. I declined to go. I knew that if I did, I wouldn’t return. My old life may have been simple, but it was safe, and pleasant. Those days are over, replaced by the darkness of past and present.
Instead, I went with Grandmother, Arius and Gilroy into the mouth of the great tree and we were whisked away through the plants of the area to a large oak tree in the middle of Vawua. The tree wasn’t there before and it vanished into a pile of leaves after we exited the tree.
We checking on the sleeping man. He was wasting away but Grandmother would make him a potion to remove his curse. She went back to her house to do just that while Arius, Gilroy, and I went back to the caravan.
After talking with Yllasis, we found an empty wagon where I could try out those bugs that used to belong to the ancient evil we destroyed two days hence. They communicate telepathically to their host and that host is now me. Arius didn’t find much use from them and nobody else would wear them. I normally wouldn’t either, but this new life I lead will not be much darker for the use of some strange psionic bugs. If they ever do anything harmful to my mind, I will need to kill them. But for now, they will prove useful.