The day had been long, and caravans just arriving found their way to the Wayward Fey, filling their mugs and relaxing after a long travel. Townfolk also found their place their,nursing drinks from the sole tavern in town. Trina was watching the the crowd from behind her bar, her features warm to each traveler and caring towards those who frequented the bar. Though her eyes did linger a little long over Rowena and her strange party that she had been hanging around with these past few days. Though no complaint was raised, and carrying on with business as usual, had the barmaid get them drinks to nurse.
Moft quick like a butterfly saw the tension in the room, and with her eager disposition set off to befriend the traveling merchants. Followed closely by Rowena, while Moft ordered herself a drink next to the Caravaners, the leader of their party made a sharp cry. “Moft! Put that down!”
Who turned to look at Rowena with a scowl, placing the spoon back on the plate of the man she sat next to. He hadn’t even realized, but no harm was done. The lass was pretty enough for his liking and her wide smile disarmed him.
However the short outburst had left Moft slightly disoriented, having forgotten her question. “So… why are you all here is Còisir?” She asked with a wide, awkward, smile. Embarrassed. They laughed at the girl.
“What else would we be here for? Just rest, lass. Been to long on the road, take a weeks time.” With that, Moft continued, recalling her question.
“You seem like you had a long journey, something the matter?” Her brows furrowed with worry, a man nodded across from her.
“Just north we’ve seen strange lights, from the woods.”
“Ah! You know those are just fireflies, middle of summer!”
The man retorted with a scowl, “Ain’t no firefly shine that bright, that’s for damned sure!”
Moft could only laugh, "That’s right! For all you know it could of been giant-fireflies, then we’d surely be in trouble. Another man spoke up, before the wounded individual could speak any further.
“South theres been talk of bandit attacks, must be some new company… though. Organized, they get the job done efficiently. Had to take off with the horse myself to speak of the tale.”
Moft rose notably from her chair, looking as if to speak. Though the man continued, “Saw that Bounty Hunter nursing the ale over there, friend of yours I take it? Well, speak to Dalon, and he might have work for him and your likes. Could use a hired hand.”
Rowena close on her heels, they returned to the table nestled in the corner. Ulundes refused to sit anywhere else, she had to sit in the darkest corner of the tavern. While the Bounty Hunter, and Shanston nursed drinks of their own.
“You need to talk to Dalon. Find out about the job offer, and get us the job.”
The orc scowled, “Why.”
Moft rolled her eyes, “Don’t you want gold? Just do as I ask.”
“Perhaps you should discuss with the Priestess?” At that moment another Priestess came by, pulling Rowena aside and speaking quietly.
“She’s right behind me, if she didn’t like it she would of said something” She paused, looking back and finding out that she was not after all behind her. Rowena after having finished speaking to the Priestess coming up, requested that we leave. Moft agreed, but only if they spoke with Dalon right after. The rest of the party joined along, welcomed by the Head Healer, Phiala.
Phiala and Rowena made the customary ritual of greeting for the Priestesses of Diancecht, and they begun their discussions with all haste. “Rowena, Father Moorland has agreed to perform the ritual of the land.” At this, Rowena gave a wide smile, relieved. “As you know however, this requires reagents from the pond. Now, if you cannot do it I fully understand. Though seeing as you are so want for the woodlands, I thought I ask you first.”
“Of course I will go, Phiala. It is only my duty.” She stepped away, just enough to confer with her companions in private, where Moft turned on her.
“Rowena! We didn’t even talk to Dalon!”
“You wanted me to talk to Dalon!” The orc interrupted, Moft scowled, to speak back at him.
“Only because you’re the only one with any experience to take on jobs! What would they think if I.” She gestured to herself, in her homespun dress, “Asked about the job? They’d laugh at me.” Rowena nodded her agreement in Moft’s statement but was unconvinced to speak to Dalen.
“That doesn’t matter. We don’t even know them Moft! Their merchants, simply taking advantage of travelers swindling them of their hard earned money.”
Moft pressed, “Not true! They’re people like you and I! Besides, they’ll be killed, who else in town could offer them protection?”
Rowena shaking her head as if chastising a child. “This is your home, Moft. Who are they? We need to find out if something is wrong with the land.”
“I agree with the Priestess, the Coille Forest must have this ritual performed, so that we may know how best to help.” Ulundes added to the conversation. Shantson stood beside her.
“Moft, im not saying you have to go with me. I was only going to ask if you would accompany me, and it looks as if Ulundes and Shantson already decided.”
Moft turned to the Orc, “You won’t get paid if you go with the Priestesses.”
The Orc rose his brows, “Gold or I’m out.”
With an audible sigh, Rowena returned to Phiala, and after a few moments came back.
“They’ll pay the party in silver, and you can have my share.” Moft turned, admitting defeat.
“You can have my share to.” The dark haired child said, and the party left to prepare for the trek to the Pond and back.
They had walked long into the day, Ulundes keeping ahead of the main party by a hundred yards. Moft and Shantson were flanked by Rowena leading the point, and the bounty hunter in the back. There was little event, outside of the unusual plant growth, which in all honesty Moft preferred. Otherwise, their was nothing out of place, the sun shined, animals kept their distance, birds played their songs.
It wasn’t until a battle cry sounded did we realize that something was amiss. There was no question about it, Ulundes had found trouble, and engaged. The party leapt into action, charging ahead with great speed. Moft, on the other hand, froze. She breathed in deep, and with a burst of speed darted off the trail and into the thick wood. She concealed herself, looking ahead to see what lay before.
Cut in literal half on the ground was a twisted, spiney creature, sap poured from its fatal wound that Ulundes had dealt it. While the other to slow to react from the ambush, found her axe cutting it in two next. The party continued their haste, off in the distance a plantblight (unknown to them what it was) prepared its nettle shower. Moft pressed on, but the thought of that more of those could very well be hiding in there with her was enough to cause her to forget all the teachings of her troll-family. Crack! Pop! Tssh! Went the foliage and twigs about her, crashing about as loud as an infant, she crouched down, but had there been a creature it would know where she was without a shadow of doubt.
From behind her, a large vine shot out at Ulundes, though she was quick, bringing her axe in a downward swing she nearly chopped it in half, but it persisted and what growth she had chopped out, more vines came in to grapple her. It thrashed her about wildly, and as she struggled to find release, a spray of nettle consumed her. She cried out, going limp in the grip of the vines. Shantson was the first to react, casting a a burst of flame in the face of the plant blight, dousing it in fire. Then came the Orc, charging past the vines preparing a devastating swing for the plant-blight. The vine relinquished its hold on Ulundes, Rowena was there, and duty-bound as a healer leapt out of the way and with a holy utterance brought back the Elven Barbarian from the clutches of fatality. Moft, gave heart, seeing the courage of her friends. Finding her place among the woodlands again, she crept along from a distance. Wary eyes looking for anything else that may come to surprise the— Oooh! A robin’s egg! What’s that doing on the groun— Ow! Picking up the egg, Moft begins to flee from the angry bird attacking her for snatching her unborn chick!
Ulundes was infuriated, dodging a swipe from the vine, in her haste to retaliate swung to low, missing the vine completely. Rowena waved her hand in an arc, and a rejuvenating light refreshed Ulundes. The last plant blight faced down with the Bounty Hunter, and although it did dodge his attack, the creature could only give a high pitched laugh as he saw that weapon of his hunter go flying behind his back. Shantson prepared another incantation, dousing the vine-wrath in flame, added to the Rowena’s own holy radiance. The Orc side stepped a shower of nettles intended for Rowena, but it harmlessly bounced off her armaments and she continued her divine intervention.
Ulundes with her axe, and the Bounty Hunter with his secondary weapon equipped (a maul), ended the battle with two ferocious swings. Sccchnak! Went the vine wrath, thrashing about the ground with sap spraying from its now severed greenery. Cssshtak! The plant blight crunching beneath the weight of the maul. Tumbling out of the greenery, appearing to have forgotten the fight all together, twigs and leaves in her dark hair. “Look everyone! I found an egg!” She smiled wide, but to her own disappointment they were already moving on.
They reached the pond, and to the dismay of Rowena and Shantson, the old groundskeeper of the camp, Phelan, was gone. The only trace was some supplies in the water, which Ulundes wasted no time in examining. Rowena took charge, they must gather the reagents. So she sent Moft up a tree to collect the highest leaves, and Ulundes procured the water from the deeps. Both Shantson and the Bounty Hunter continued their search around the area, for any bodies, seeing as the camp was neglected and left a mess, as well as good supplies tossed into the waters.
Having collected their things, Moft held onto the tree. Embarrassed by her inability to contribute to the fight, and being disregarded for finding a perfectly good robin’s egg.
“Moft, let’s go.”
“Im actually going to stay.”
“As am I.” Put in Ulundes from the water.
“Really, Moft?” Rowena fixed a stare on Moft as one would a child.
“I’m staying right here.”
“Suit yourself, Bounty Hunter, Shantson, we’re leaving.” With her reagents in tow, Rowena and Shantson began the long trek back to Còisir. Though with a twinkle of magic, everyone turned their head. Where once an Orc stood, only a sunflower remained. Shantson was quick to make his way, attempting to find any seeds he could find. Whilst all turned their heads to look at Moft.
“Who are you talking to, Moft?” Asked Rowena.