Still searching for the Heart of the Forest and (name?), the missing Druid’s apprentice, we follow the river further upstream. While attempting to climb some rocks that line a small waterfall, a big ass rage bear jumps out and tries to F us in the B. We proceed to turn the tables.
After defeating the bear and making our way further upstream, we find that the river’s source is some sort of high volume spring at the base of a huge dome made of dense, twisting vines. Out from the top of the dome protrudes the spire of the Druidic temple. Attempts to chop and burn the vines are futile, so Aleron decides to take matters into his own hands. Using some sort of magic unbeknownst to the other players, he makes his way down into the spring. Nearly 20 min later, we hear him hacking away at the vines, and he emerges, slightly wet, from the dome.
As we make our way into the dome, we see the temple. In front of the temple is a fountain of stone whose water is the same tainted gray as the spring and river. It appears that this fountain is the source of water for the system. A strange luminescent moss covers much of the temple, and heavily lines the long entrance hallway. Harwell takes some of the moss for later use as a tea… with any luck he could have a vision or two.
An unnatural confusion overtakes any who attempt to walk through the hall. Attempts to cover our mouths don’t have any effect on the confusion. We decide to bolt for it, and some stumble and fall due to the effect.
Having all made our way into the temple we find a young druid, clothes tattered and clearly confused, standing near the place where the Heart rest. The gem is missing, and the druid babbles incoherently. Annoyed by the man, Cliff picks him up and carries him quickly out of the temple. En route the druid takes a swing with his staff, but Cliff is unscathed and pins him to the ground outside.
The rest of the group begins to act strangely. Victor, Suriah and Thorn pause before moving through the hall, clearly concerned. Aleron takes them all under his arm (with a bit of struggle) and carries them out of the temple.
Finally outside, the group tries to get some answers out of the druid. “We must leave!” he says, “we must go back!” Clearly insane, but generally seeming to calm down, Cliff eases up on him. Out of nowhere, the party starts attacking each other. Aleron (does some shit… can’t remember what). Cliff is bloodied by an attack by Thorn and in a haze sprints back into the temple, shifting into his feral form. Aleron goes in after him.
Inside the temple Cliff is doing battle with a huge lumbering hump (a.k.a. blubbering mound, a.k.a. quivering load). This huge vine-creature has a large main section and multiple offshoots with semi-autonomous pods. Cliff swings from vine to vine, striking the pods and severing a few before the rest of the group joins in the fight.
Meanwhile, having heard some commotion inside, the group begins to make their way into the temple. A battle ensues, but the party is often overtaken by their confusion. At times they find themselves inexplicably running away, attacking nearby creatures or just drooling all over themselves.
Frustrated with his lack of control, Aleron drops to a knee mid-battle and prays for Bane to give him the strength to overcome the confusion. The tyrannical god instead instructs him to find strength in the moss. With the new revelation, he makes his way back to the entrance. Taking a chunk of moss he jams it into his mouth. “Eap the moff” he says to the others, mouth full and bitter with the taste.
In turn, the party moves to the hall and eats some of the moss. The effect seems to be lessened, and they proceed to destroy the hump and its minions. As Thorn makes the final blow the vines start to recede, and in the center lies an old druid. He is dead, and embedded in his chest is the Heart of the Forest.
Harwell takes the heart, but before he can examine it closely, the apprentice snatches it out of his hand. Walking gently to the rear of the temple, he places it gently in the stone. (He says some shit about how the gem can’t be wielded.) The vines of the dome begin to recede, and after a few moments the sun shines brightly throughout the temple. We take stock of our wounds and take a short rest, weary from battle but hopeful that the blight may soon be removed.