With the foul naga Osakay slain, the party took a well-earned rest to discuss their next moves as they tried to decide what to do with an enigmatic black wand and a broken diviner. Since she seemed to know about the wand, and had somehow managed to bring the party together for some purpose that seemed tied to it, restoring her fractured sanity seemed like the smart thing to do. This, however, left them with the ultimate question: What is the smartest way to do the smart thing to do?
Horizon, the city of magical wonders, looms and hovers roughly northeast. Eudora was certainly a member of some guild in the great arcanopolis, and they might have both the means and desire to either fix, or at least, take her in. In addition, Arden also had business with A.R.C.A.N.E., which could easily include following up on the translation of the wand’s mysterious name: “Ruat,” a word whose original meaning was steeped in concepts like “decay” and “fall”.
Sigurd, fearing that anyone in Horizon who could help Eudora would be more interested in exploiting her in some fashion, proposed other ideas. Watchtower, his tribe’s patron Koru behemoth, should be thundering along the southern Koru trails. Their shaman should be able to provide insight, and possibly alternate forms of mental healing, to Eudora. He also suggested that they may be able to place their faith in Santa Cora, in hopes that one of the city’s countless holy men and women could heal her addled mind, or at least offer her a place to stay free from exploitation.
Without anything firmly decided, the party decided to begin the trek back to civilization. As they left behind the towering arbors of the Dire Wood for the far more familiar, mundane sparse forests and plains that surround Horizon, their encounters took a turn for the whimsical, as they had to parley with a false purple dragon and help the World’s Cutest Kobold tribe find a place to live.
As they drew nearer to Horizon, they came upon a traveling caravan of minor nobles and wealthy merchants. With a brutal storm blowing in, the party negotiated their way into the nobles’ camp in exchange for protection and a promise that one of them, ultimately Arden, would agree to wed Lady Mavery Goldsend Lannaiya Erinnia Cunningwater, middle daughter of the Cunningwater Merchant-Noble family, and a mage of minor distinction in her own right. When she ended up kidnapped in the night, on the party’s watch, they had little choice but to follow the kobold tracks into the putrid swamp where they had recently seen a tremendous, eel-like figure soaring sinuously above the cypress. The tracks eventually led them to the mouth of a cave that cut into a wooded hill, like the scowling maw of an Imperial tax assessor.
The party made their way into the first dank, yawning chamber of the swamp cave. Small ledges lined the ceiling, while a massive fungal bloom covered a small fetid pool and threatened to overtake the earthen ramp toward the back of the cave. As they drew further into the cave, kobolds leaped from ledge to ledge, aided by old, rusty chains, swooping in with a swipe of their blades or a toss of their nets as they passed. On the ramp, a trio of remarkably well disciplined kobold soldiers blocked the path. The battle reached a fevered pitch, but the party prevailed. They ascended the ramp to the next chamber with only the distant sound of rushing water to greet them…