That night Lyra has a dream about the battle from the Night of Tears, where a group of dwarves, elves, gnomes and humans attacked a host of orcs and ogres camped around what used to be known as Celeste’s Refuge. In the morning Grom heads out to pick up his modified crossbow. Drugan tags along to pick up a breastplate. A familiar with a message finds Lyra, Mira and Oath at the inn. He relays Fenhani’s thanks and presents the party with a magical token that can be redeemed at the College of Wizardry in Dalasia. Lyra convinces the party to go with her to investigate the Mourning Tree.
The Road to the Mourning Tree
As the party travels west out of Dalasia they notice that the land to the south of the Dal River is cultivated and much more civilized. They pass several hamlets and farming villages as they travel west. Along the way Drugan informs the part of the “standard” dwarven block measurement after seeing a sign indicating distance to the Mourning Tree. Outside the last hamlet before the woods, the party sees hawkers with wagons full of cheap wares. Jasper looks for a wooden statue or figure. On past the next hill the party encounters one final wagon tended by two middle aged gnomes. Upon inspection these items seem to be of higher quality. Drugan and Lyra purchase six black candles, six bottles of holy water and two emblems of Eldath, Sylvanus and Talos each. Drugan handle out a candle, bottle of holy water and emblem to each party member.
The Mourning Tree
Upon entering the woods the party lights their newly acquired candles. They smell of sage and other herbs as they burn and give off a weird greenish flame. As the party moves into the wood, the sunlight fades rapidly and a weird gloom permeates the environment. Moving along the trail a couple hundred feet the party sees a stone tablet with remains of burned out candles and other offerings. As they progress deeper they notice small white stones that crumble easily, small scraps of metal, that the ground is soft and spongey and thick vegetation is all around them. Lyra tells that that a battle happened at this location hundreds of years ago. A coalition of dwarves, elves, gnomes and humans battle a horde of orcs. Drugan notices that the stones appear to be unnatural, almost as if they were grown instead of carved. Lyra thinks that druidic elders probably have that ability. They’re pretty faded but Lyra does notice some druidic symbols on the stones they pass.
Finally the party makes it to the center of the woods were they see the Mourning Tree. Think vines wrap around it as well as questing out towards the soil around the stone slab. As the party enters they area they encounter a few weird patches of ground that compress, then launch them through the air. The vines start to quiver and a large yellow musk creeper starts to stir. Corpses start to rise out of the ground, clawing their way to the surface near Grom. Drugan, Lyra and Oath race towards the creeper. Jasper attempts to, but is thrown through the air again. Mira helps Grom with the reanimated corpses. Drugan, Jasper and Lyra with her Flame Blade engage the creeper. The creeper expels a seed pod that lands near Mira, who promptly smashes it with her Spiritual Weapon. Oath holds off some more reanimated corpses at the ramp to the stone platform. Grom uses his modified crossbow to fire and attach the grappling to a branch on the tree. He then runs and uses one of the launcher to catapult himself at the creeper crashing down on it in a mass of metal and muscle. The creeper releases a cloud of spores charming Drugan for a short time. More seed pods are released as the creeper is damaged. Corpses continue to dig their way out of the ground. Mira and Oath make a stand with Smoke destroying corpses and seedlings that have emerged. Jasper and Lyra continue to hack at the creeper. Grom throws oil on the creeper. Drugan attacks first Grom then after escaping his grapple attempt lunges at Lyra. Lyra ignites the oil on the creeper with her Flame Blade. The creeper seems to fall limp and stop moving. Jasper and Oath engage the seedlings. Grom smashes through several corpses that have made their way up to the platform. Drugan shaking off the charm effects realizes what he was doing, quickly apologizes and moves to aid the others. With the plant on fire, Lyra tries to pull it away from the tree while the others finish off the few remaining seedlings. After investigating they discover a partly fire-damaged root, which they hack through.
The party recovers the dropped candles and other items, then gathers themselves on the stone platform. Lyra investigates the tree, which looks like the creeper has been draining of life. They notice random bits of pastels colors and vibrant colors that are popping in and out of existence around them and the tree. This continues for several minutes before the colors intensify and a dryad steps out of thin air…