Forgoing the fancy formatting because it’s an ass-pain.
In the forest on the way to Winnonorg, or Windownurg or lets just go with Wino-burg. We encountered, finally, some of the fair folk. I can scarce contain my excitement at finally seeing them in the flesh. We have long postulated that something happened at some point, who knows how long ago that disturbed the balance of things. Going solely by folk-lore and stories from the past, we should practically be tripping over the things. We have long wondered if they were somehow extinct or cut off from the waking world. Perhaps they were and are just now returning. The world was once a stranger place. Perhaps it’s the church’s doing? We have dedicated our lives to seeking out the strange, hopefully if we continue down this path, clarity will emerge. If ever a pixie ring reveals itself to us, we’re going to be hard pressed not to enter, come what may, and trip off to the trackless reaches of deep faerie.
3 foot tall, vaguely hominid creatures with avian wings. Skin tone ranging from cerulean to stark white – evocative of winter. Generally elfen features: acicular chins, high, prominent zygomatic bones, elongated ears. Displayed mischievous, mercurial natures. 2 males and a female: Droos, Matri and Ogna. Matri appeared to be in charge. They were playing a pranking game with us. This entailed throwing snowballs at us and laughing impishly. Olis won the game with ingenuity and superior firepower. This seemed to impress Motri greatly, who made a great show of snubbing his cohorts, who complained vocally, before offering a boon to Olis. The creatures claimed to hail from the “Winterwood” which, appropriately enough, is the court of the winter fae. After the boon was offered and accepted, the creatures vanished into the forest once more. As time permits, will have to return to this location and attempt further study.
At the northernmost terminus of the hills, in the Anton gap, we find the “quaint” village of Winoburg. There’s a real spider motif going on here, really a-typical for a small town. We made our way through town to the Brakenweb tavern. We are told by villagers that 5 of their precious young people have gone missing by yet another variety of beast men. What stands out here is that nobody actually witnessed the kids being taken. Apparently, W-town has had trouble of late from Ratmen. However, historically, they are THE TOWN THAT SURVIVED THE SPIDERFOLK!. Exciting! Chezza picked the brain of one of the surviving veterans of the Spiderfolk wars, a one-armed crone called Acronea.
Overly enthusiastic old woman: we suspect dependence on one or more substances. Claims children taken by ‘Spiderfolk’ up mount Bubbi – entirely too enthusiastic about this. Described them as possessing 8 appendages inherent to Arachnids as well as a capacity for making webs and poison. Her description was addled and inarticulate, but she intimated an upper body that had humanoid qualities and suggested them capable of higher speech. Unclear if bodies are a amalgamation of chitinous portions and flesh or all one or the other. Also relayed their worshiping a deity called Black Chogga, god of spiders. Claims that if children have been taken by spiders, most likely for food. Her presentation casts doubt on whether they exist at all save the curious naming conventions of the town and surrounding terrain features “Broken web,” “Spiderwood,” etc.
The children were all been taken over the span of a week. During this time Ratmen have been seen around town “robbing and pillaging,” especially during the recent storm. They have left no ransom or word of any kind about the children. All villagers seem to agree that they would be “up mount Bubbi.” Marcel opts to head off to rescue them – this guy loves to be sidetracked. I’m beginning to suspect he isn’t keen on this robber baron job. That’s fine with us, nothing particularly interesting about Robbers or barons. Anyway, off to mount Bubbi, which actually looks like a boy hugging himself and crying.
Troll sign encountered on road to Mt. B. Gabriel excellent at finding this, must continue to utilize his talent. Should let him know what we’re looking for? I’m pretty sure he knows Probably… Definitely. Mountain appears to have many cave openings and trails leading from one to the next. Cave contents as follows:
1. Small pool inside, 4 passages leading from it. Wiertof – strange Gabriel-replacement-hallucinatory-person – recommends not exploring any of them because no children tracks found. Everyone listens. Why? Do they not know the importance of our work? No possible scenarios where beastmen are capable of obscuring their tracks?
2. Small opening, too small for a troll. We enter and stalactite falls and nearly kills us. Upon impact: splits open to reveal organic structures within – similar to Mollusks on cursory examination. Cannot get closer because ceiling covered by them. The impact seemed to cause it to expire. Is this usual means of procuring prey? Curious.
3. Man sized Bird/Lizard hybrid. Powerful jaws reminiscent of various large, predatory lizards, lower body covered in feathers but no wings. Tiny, almost useless seeming arms extend from thorax. Erasmus has taken to calling it “El Pollo Diablo.” Highly aggressive, attacked us and was slain. Powerful bite. Many bones collected in it’s lair. Some human. Amongst them: ring with translucent green stone, “DarunDara” emblazoned upon it. Will ‘read’ later – too many spirits present here.
4. Enormous Bio-luminescent Beetles. Group of 3 beetles attacked – were quickly dispatched. Dissected most intact specimen: Glow comes from specialized organ located in their abdomen and can be seen from both above and below the beetle. Was able to remove the organs from all 3 beetles quite easily – makes for a portable, heatless light source. Curious on how long light will last. Two passages lead from cavern. One beetle sized, one large enough for humans. We explore neither – for reasons, see above, except Wirtof is now curiously absent. No one else seems to notice, but his influence seems to be affecting their minds. We suspect some manor of trickster figure, fey, demigod? If he appears again, shall study further. Addendum: Ogres and ratmen use “buglights” frequently.
5. Troll Cave – Large Boulder blocking left passage, sleeping troll in right passage under filthy furs. This specimen much larger than hill troll cousins, seems smarter as well. Sees through our attempts to lure it outside during the day – fears or detests daylight. Comes out on it’s own after dark. We fight it on the slope leading up to the cave above and in entrance-way to cave. Very hardy, much more difficult to slay. After death we move bolder in left side passage. Many treasures including a belt made from perfectly preserved, interlocked beetle carapaces – not the “fire beetles” from below, smaller. Inside the belt – odd symbols, must research. Also golden spider on chain, resembles religious icon, inside: amethyst. Also Square metal rode with cylindrical hollow inside. Attached is a small baton for striking. Each side a different color: Red, Blue, Green and Yellow: magical, keyed to opening doors and wards. Addendum: Gretta used to open magically sealed passage later.