Up The Garden Path

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This adventure takes place (where ever we go).

Summary

Adventure: Up The Garden Path
GM: Jacqui Smith
Session: Autumn 809 wk
Night: Mondays
Location: Chez Smith in Mangere Bridge.
Level: Medium

Party:

  • Basalic - Male human earth mage
  • Menolly - Female elf earth mage (plus Briar, Basil and Borage the dogs)
  • A human binder calling himself Mushroom
  • Sooty - Elven male fire(?) mage
  • Vanderhan - Male human non-mage
  • Arwen Valenta - Female Human Earth Mage (late arrival)

Employer:
Professor Lucius Bellimus from the Gentlefolks Exploratory Society - an Earth Mage/Philosopher in Plants

Mission:
Investigate tales of strange plant creatures on the Island of Delph

Pay:
Salvage plus Guild Standard

Scribe Notes

Full Scribe Notes

Sooty's Diary

The Beginnings.

We began some three days after the Guild Meeting (3rd of Fruit), brought together by Guild Security on some errand, I thought a matter of Healing as they hauled me out from the Healers quarters where I was spending the week working, but apparently yet another employer had managed to get his times wrong and missed the guild meeting. This tardiness is simply becoming unacceptable, especially when the matter seemed to be as frivolous as this one, Walking Plants and other rare Jungle herbs being sought after in some southern jungle region by California Smith Most of the others gathered I had met before, Basalic, a Warrior, Menolly, a Beastmaster, Vanderhan the Four handed, and a new one, a Human, claiming to be called Mushroom along with his stringy attendants. And myself, Sooty, a Journeyman Healer. An interestingly motley bunch, but perhaps suited to a trip into the jungle, though I had my concerns about how green some of the group were. The trip there was relatively uneventful, travel via a series of portals to Rangiphero, then taking a ship onwards to our destination three days later (Evening 7th of Fruit), Port Morsten. Once there, we settled into the local, well, it passes for an Inn in this kind of place, houses on stilts for the monsoon rain floods, piratical types mixed with jungle natives, several bars and seemingly little industry of much beyond food stuffs. Fairly normal for this climate.

Rugarzh the one armed.

Discussing the rumours of wandering plants gave us a name to chase up, Rugarzh, who had allegedly had a run in with some oddities and lost an arm. Little else though other than the discovery that this lot tended to be very…. closeted as pirates go. For people that sail the seas, they sure knew next to noting about the jungle, so maybe this lot are just wanting to be pirates but haven’t the peg legs of iron to do it. We chased our lead up the next day, 8th of Fruit at high sun. We figured he would be awake and starting to drink again by then, and we found him where we expected, with a drink at a bar. We sat down and got a drink, only to discover that my companions indiscretions as to who we worked for at the bar the previous night had gotten around, and he expected far more in payment out of us for his tale, given as we were Seagate Adventurers. He wanted his arm regenerated. I was happy enough with this as I had planned to invite him back to the Guild for that if his tale had turned out true and we survived once we were all done. That out of the way he spun us a tale of some wee pigmy jungle folk, made of twigs he said, though who knows for sure at this point, who captured him up by a cave with a waterfall in it some days into the jungle. His story meshed with some of what we had heard about where one might find walking plants so we thought his directions were worth our first check out.

I have a Dream.

Laying in provisions for the trip took the rest of that day, and we headed to sleep. Nightmares from my…. curse…. aside, I had an odd dream that night, of a mans voice, calling for help, a vision of a garden, and finally of a demonic looking creature. I spent some time scrying related to this, and it appeared that if we did nothing, a Demon of some power, though not one of the 72 of Darkness, would take over this region with walking plants and destroy the village. Exactly what the right course of action actually is I do not claim to know, simply that inaction will cause this, but we can hope that our actions do not also cause this. Regardless, I relayed the generalities of the vision onto the group, as well as speaking to the natives who were to act as our guides, and they agreed to take me to their shaman, to speak more on this vision. We travelled two days up the river, stopping in a large village on the bend and there I spoke to the Shaman (10th Fruit). He had little clue as to the nature of the vision itself, save that it boded ill, but he was able to offer the group some useful amulets, that even the more experienced members seemed strangely lacking in. Anti Demon and Curse amulets for the most part, as well as a blessing before we left, for courage if nothing else.

Minor Inconveniences.

From here, we had another day up the main river by boat, before we took to a game trail up a side river (11th Fruit). Along this river we had our first encounter with oversized animals, typical to a magical jungle of course, giant centipedes, these were troublesome, with Mushrooms pets proving less than effective, however a Carbuncle amulet held their poisons at bay long enough for them to be dealt with. Investigations revealed that they had been affected by the magic of ‘The Garden’, probably the Garden from my visions, and they had very minor mutations similar to those found on animals in the hells. That night we had our second encounter, potentially more deadly though we got through it fortunately without major incident, oversized blood drinkers, which most found very difficult to deal with once they got close and latched on. Menollys’ pets were perhaps the most capable against them, crunching them up, and those that attempted to latch onto me suffered some unfortunate events. Long story short, the entire swarm was killed, but a larger swarm, or a swarm of similar size on less well equipped travelling parties, could prove somewhat fatal for those attacked.

The Valley (14th Fruit)

We moved on, discovering the cave we sought, verified by the foliage attempting to eat Mushroom as he searched for rock for a Golem, and entered to see what we could find. Lead by our Caverns expert, we avoided being deposited to the valley below by the collapse of a significant portion of the rock face of the waterfall, instead descending via rope & leaping to beside a tranquil pool at the waterfalls base. Perhaps half a mile away from where we descended was what my vision had shown to be the Garden, and our objective now it seemed. Above we could identify several flocks of, well I will call them Proto-Demons, though it isn’t quite accurate, but they appear as something less than an Imp but on the same path. It seemed from observation that a fast flier could outpace them, but attempting to fight them would be difficult due to the sheer numbers with which they could drag one down and smother them.

We Commit.

Travelling down the valley to the garden is relatively uneventful, through a scrying reveals that inside the garden itself is somewhat scry shielded, if in a misty version rather than simply impervious. Entering into the garden we discover just how difficult traversing it would be as almost instantly we are set upon by the foliage itself. Dispatching this trouble we try another scrying inside the walls of the Garden, with limited success, sufficient to give us the pathways through the Garden, and identify a strange circle, somewhat near the middle perhaps half a mile or more away which we still have shrouded vision off. We guess that this is our destination and proceed.

Troublesome Paths.

This half mile or so proves slow going, with the Fauna & Flora all hostile, attacking us around every corner. Simply razing the garden seems a tempting option, but would require a larger force than we have available, significantly larger. So we stick to the paths, taking the shortest route towards our apparent destination. A short distance before the bridge after a number of bothersome encounters, we reach a bridge, and unsurprisingly a troll. Perhaps more surprisingly, a number of small lizardy folk backing the troll up, the troll answering to a DA question concerning master as ‘Yes’, and an Earth mage on par with our own. Vanderhan takes a Javlin straight to the heart during the exchange, and goes down, Arwen takes another serious injury crippling their primary arm, Mushroom takes an unlucky club and ends up with a shattered hip, and the Earth mage proves competent with Diamond Javlins, concentrating them on my mount. The troll and most of the lizardy folk go down, the Earth mage escapes by sinking straight into the earth of the Garden and proves impossible to locate after that, the earth of the Garden acting as bound to us.

Onwards Regardless.

Pressing across the bridge after resurrecting Vanderhan, and delivering Mushroom to the healers, we encounter an ambush of twig people, sentient plant like creatures, and their leader, a spell casting tree. After a sharp fight with these creatures, including the unpleasant discovery that they are armed with some form of poison that reduces mobility, we finish off the tree and most of the twigs, the remainder entering into hiding, and rescue a captive elf. Titling himself the Plant Master, he takes responsibility for creating the Garden, Importing the giant creatures, and for summoning the Demon, though he thought he could control the Demon. Questioning him for details he believes the Demon may be a minion of Savnok, though is uncertain. Primary lesson to be learned here. If you really must summon a demon, do your homework at least and know everything about them first. The Demon is also trapped inside a magic circle, some 200’ across, with the edge being defined by an enchanted walkway, made of semi precious gemstone paving tiles, perhaps 10-15’ across it in most places. Inside are tall dark trees, so for a change we aren’t going to be pushing through heavy undergrowth, though the vines hanging off the branches ahead may prove hazardous.

Banishment.

We win! The plan worked. After establishing that nothing magical at all can cross the barrier (possessions of normal entities are unaffected), we enter the circle at the edge, holding a defensive formation while we start to destroy the circle. The Demon responds along with 2 earth based Titans in the circle, though not full sized titans, obviously a lesser sort, or diminished in some way still dangerous enough. Things are looking bad when half a minute in Arwen takes a javlin to the eye and turns into an earth elemental, but pair of lucky breaks also go our way and one Titan vanishes to a Whirlwind Vortex, while the Demon suddenly turns into a cabbage. The Salamanders busy trying to keep ahead of it’s potion drinking proceed to make charred cabbage then eat it, while the second earth titan stops moving as we finish it off. Over the next day while Arwen is healed the Garden slowly returns to normal, and after spending a month in the Garden assisting around the place, we make our return to Seagate, travelling faster now the jungle isn’t trying to eat us so much.

Basalic's Diary

3rd Fruit

It may have been fortunate I was in Seagate organising farming supplies for Bolton Bay as I was approached by Guild Security and ‘requested’ to help look after a party. So I went over to the meeting room to see who was there.

Sooty – a fire mage although rumoured to have picked up some ice recently. Menolly – an up and coming earth mage, accompanied by her two dogs, Briar and Basil Vanderhand – a non-mage four armed fighter A binder who wouldn’t give us his real name but answered to ‘Mushroom’.

Our party employer was Professor Bellamus from the Gentlefolks Exploratory Society. He wanted us to help him check out rumours of walking carnivorous plants in the jungles on the island of Delph that he had heard about while they were getting silvered weapons to protect the Rangiwhero trading post from undead, sahuagin, etc. Bellamus is also an earth mage, specialising in plants and was wanting to find some rare herbs while we were there. Pay was standard Guild rates plus salvage.

After some discussion, Menolly was the party leader, and Mushroom the scribe.

Once the meeting finished, I put Lessers on those who needed it, then shot back home to get my adventuring equipment, tell Flamis what was going on, pick up essential supplies (cheese, bacon, beer, etc), and make arrangements for someone to co-ordinate the upcoming harvest in my absence.

Getting to Rangiwhero was easy, basically using a chain of portals. Only took an hour, most of which was filling out the paperwork. Once there, we stayed at the trading post while Bellamus organised a boat.

7th Fruit

Stayed overnight then sailed to Delph. Took three days to sail to Delph. Landed at the trading post, Port Morsten, where we asked the locals. The lead we got was a man named Rugarzh who had only one arm. We were told he had lost it when attacked by some strange entities in the jungle.

8th Fruit

Finally ran Rugarzh down after lunch. Since someone had let loose the fact we were Seagate Guild Adventurers, he wanted an agreement that we’d arrange to get his arm regenerated before he’d tell us what we wanted to know. It seemed reasonable so we agreed. He told us that he had been captured by some pygmy folk, whom he described as ‘twig men’, by a cave with a waterfall in it. That, and some of the other things we had heard about walking plants, made that area worth checking out.

We spent the rest of the day laying in provisions for tomorrow’s trip.

9th Fruit

Next day, Sooty told us he had a dream to do with someone calling for help, a hidden garden, and a demon. He didn’t think it was one of the 72 (or is that 77 – can never remember) but it was likely that, if nothing was done, this demon would take over the entire island with walking plants and may even pose a threat to the rest of Alusia, if given enough time.

10th Fruit

We boated up the river for two days. At the end of the second day, we stopped at a large native village and Sooty was taken for a private meeting with the local shaman, presumably something to do with that vision. He had little more information to offer but was able to offer some useful amulets, mostly anti-demon and anti-curse ones.

11th Fruit

Another day of boating up the river, then down a side river before walking up a game trail through the rather dangerous jungle. Remided me of Galatea. The first attack was three giant centipedes. Took a bit to get them down and, while doing that, my ice sword broke. Must have taken damage the last time I used it. I wasn’t happy about that and had to switch to my glaive. From what we could tell, the reason they were so large was that they had been affected by the magic of the Garden, presumably the one that Sooty had the vision of.

That evening we were attacked by oversized mossies. It took a bit to deal with them and it was fortunate there weren’t more of them.

14th Fruit

Found the cave. It had vines around the edges. Mushroom decided to poke around in the vines, looking for suitable rock for a stone golem, and was promptly grabbed by something called an ‘assassin vine’. We had to act fast. Sooty was setting up to burn the vines to a crisp but it would have taken out Mushroom as well. Fortunately I was able to use my earth staff to get a trollskin on him, even though I was outside the usual range. Once Sooty’s spell hit, Mushroom was safe, although covered in ash and looking rather singed around the edges. However, he got his golem.

We entered the cave and carefully made our way down it, meeting up with an underground river. Finally reached the end, a ledge where the river turned into a waterfall We had to climb down the cliff race and into the pool below in order to enter the valley spread out before us, and the garden within it, located a half a day away – the same one as in the vision. There were several flocks of what Sooty described as proto-demons in the air. I was just about to set the ropes when half the ledge fell down. Fortunately, not the bit I was standing on.

Got down into the valley and travelled down an old stone path with the jungle on either side. Menolly was listening to the local wildlife and all she said she could hear were the plants … and they seemed rather hostile. Straying off the path would not be a good idea.

Suddenly we were buzzed by a giant sized wasp. I tried to shoot at it but missed. In retaliation, it went for me and managed to sting. Felt like I had just been injected with chilli. I tried to shoot at it again but missed again. Meanwhile Mushroom tossed some darts, and Menolly used her sling, both which hit.

The wasp came around again and, this time, it went for Mushroom. More weapons attacked it and, finally it went down. Mushroom decided to send a golem into the jungle to retrieve his darts. The golem went in, the plants rustled … and the golem never came back.

The path reached a gap in a wall. Beyond, the terrain was more garden like. It was also covered in a magical aura .. good for earth mages. We cautiously made our way in, Mushroom and Vanderhand at the front. It wasn’t long before they were attacked by an assassin vine each. Mushroom had all his golems pile in to attempt to overwhelm the vine while Sooty went in, on his efreeti mount, to assist Vanderhand. I was more in a position to assist Mushroom so, after tossing a Trollskin at him, in case Sooty attempted to burn the vines again, I waded in with my battleaxe.

Once those were dealt with, we continued on towards the centre, where there was something odd. The next encounter was with giant spiders which were also swiftly dealt to.

I was scouting ahead when we noticed the path split. The left hand one didn’t go very far and dead ended in front of some sort of large effigy, a large wooden totem On the other side was the sounds of drumming and chanting, as if some primitive ritual was in progress. The trees and other plants were rather thick so bashing our way through them to get around this edifice was not an option. It wasn’t magical either.

Menolly decided to leave a gift of food near the bottom of the totem. As she did, some javelins were thrown at us from near the top. Must be some guards up there. Most of them missed but one impacted on Mushroom. We couldn’t see anything to shoot back at so we waited for a bit. During that, someone spotted that the bottom of the effigy was an entrance. However, no one came out to take what we had left. For a while, the idea was mooted to bust our way through but we then decided ‘why bother’. It seemed incidental to why we were here and, besides, it probably would still be there on the way back.

We continued on. Soon, around a bend, Sooty saw something silvery up a tree. Looked like a cocoon. We then realised that those group of trees were covered in webs and there were a group of spiders in it. Also, by the way the cocoon was moving, there was something alive in there and gaps in the cocoon told us it was a person, probably stored up there for food. So we went on the offensive.

  Basalic – “Fire at will”
  Menolly – Which one’s Will?”

Once I rounded the corner I dropped a line of Hands of Earth in an attempt to trap and block the spiders from the cocoon. Meanwhile Sooty started quickening us all. To my surprise, one of the larger spiders teleported out of the hands. Somehow, I don’t think I got that many. Mushroom’s stone golem rumbled in and was pounced on by nearly every spider in the grove.

My instruction to Sooty was to ‘terminate all those spiders with extreme prejudice but not to burn down the forest’ while the rest of us attempted to take them out with ranged weapons. So Sooty headed in on top of his efreeti, and, once in range, let them have it with a well placed dragonflames. As far as I was concerned, that was very nicely done and an efficient use of magic. The only casualty on our side was Mushroom’s golem who was in a bad way after all the spider attacks and was reduced to a pile of powdered rock. His attempt to reconstitute it resulted in a sand golem.

We rescued who was in the cocoon and, much to our surprise, it was Arwen, another Guild member. Seems she had got here on a mis-teleport and was pounced on by the spiders. There were also other victims of the spiders about so we set down to looting.

Night had fallen by the time we were examining the loot but we knew it wasn't safe to camp anywhere in here. It was going to be a long day. We found the following: a battle axe (plant bane), dog collar (empowerment), haversack (containment), trowel (destruction), hide armour (comfort), small bundle (comfort, command word required), pair of daggers (silvered, non-magical) and a large bearshaped cuddly toy (comfort). I had visions of the tough adventurer requiring a comforter at night.

  Menolly - "Oh no. The spiders killed Santa Claus. Here are all the presents"

Continued on, reaching a green mold area across the path. To one side was a area of long grass that we could use get get around the path but none of us trusted it. Above the mold floated a cloud of spores. I tossed a nail on the mold and more spores puffed up. I then tossed a nail into the grass, and something puffed up out of there as well. After some discussion, including the possibility of using Walls of Stone on their sides, it was finally agreed that Sooty would put Clensing Flames on each of us and we'd run through. Not the most pleasant of solutions but it worked. Arwen had summoned an Earth Elemental with the intention of tunnelling underneath the area but the elemental said it was unable to penetrate the ground, as if it was Bound in some way. Hm.....

More walking, passed under some trees, which thankfully had no spiders in them, and past an area of swamp water. Between us and that were reeds, and there was something moving in there. Suddenly long sticky tongues lashed out and attempted to drag some of us off the path and into the water. We were being attacked by four large carniverous frogs. Arwen created Hands of Earth to hold us in place while we hacked at the tongues. The frog must have felt the attacks that Sooty and I were lavishing on it as it let go. Meanwhile Menolly was in serious trouble as she was being dragged into the reeds. So a dogpile of elemental, golems, dogs, etc pounced in order to prevent that.

  Basalic (shooting at a frog) "Toad in the Hole" 
  Bellamus - "More like Hole in the Toad"

Finally, all we had left was frog gumbo. There was then talk about draining the swamp.

A bit further down the the path, we were divebombed by three giant wasps. Vanderhand and I shot at the lead one then Sooty's Dragonflames took it out. The other two went for Menolly and Vanderhand, the latter being stung. A volley of darts from Mushroom followed by Arwen's thrown axe sent a second one crashing to the ground. Menolly meanwhile beaned the last one with a sling and Mushroom's second volley of darts brought it down.

The path led towards a bridge across a narrow part of the swamp which was bounded by brush and a few trees. As we approached the bridge, a troll emerged from the swamp and blocked our way, proclaiming "You Shall Not Pass!" - and yes, you could hear the capital letters.

  Basalic - Great. It's a troll bridge.

Unlike other troll bridges, this troll didn't want us to pay a toll, it just wanted us to go away and not come back. This was considered to be rather unacceptable so it was decided to make our point of view known rather forcibly. Menolly started tossing trollskins onto people. As she did, a volley of javelins flew out of the bushes. One impacted on Vanderhand, which unlucky for him, resulted in a shot through the heart. He was dead before hitting the ground.

Arwen's rapier burst into flame, courtesy of Sooty, and she went into combat with the troll. Just then an earth elemental appeared on the other side of the bridge and lumbered towards us. Mushroom's stone golem went to meet it while we did what we could with the troll. Once it was down, Arwen went for the elemental. Meanwhile I summoned an earth elemental of my own, nicknamed Sergeant Rock, and along with a squad of clay golems, rapidly created by Mushroom, send it to deal with whatever was lurking in the bushes. I then charged across to the bridge to help Arwen deal with the earth elemental, along with the tribal chief (who was an Earth mage) and half a dozen warriors who were on the other side. Meanwhile a volley of diamond tipped javelins shot into Sooty and his efreet mount.

We finally cleared the way for the others. Unfortunately we had taken losses, Vanderhand was dead and Mushroom, who had bravely gone in with the sergeant's golem assault force, had been seriously injured in the resulting skirmish. Both of them had to be got back to the Guild in a hurry, but retreating out of here wasn't an option. Plus most of us were running on healing potions and restoratives.

It was decided that Arwen would use her teleport ability to blink an itemised Vanderhand and a skinchanged Mushroom back to the Guild. Our initial evaluation of Mushroom's injuries indicated that it would be a while before he was properly up and about so he wasn't coming back. However, it was also decided that Arwen and Vanderhand would stay long enough to get Greaters. So, we set up a defensive perimeter with Walls of Stone, and waited.

About an hour and a half later Arwen and Vanderhand were back. Arwen had been fortunate enough to catch Herkum and managed to get a Greater off him while Vanderhand got one off the apprentices. Once we were set, and buffed up with Strengths of Stones and Armours of Earth, we were off again.

It didn't take long until we reached a point where another stone path crossed ours. Arwen was on point while I covered her rear. The rest of the party were behind with Vanderhand covering the party's rear. Since we didn't have Mushroom or his golems any more, I assigned the sergeant to be the Professor's bodyguard. Just then, Arwen and I heard a faint call for help from somewhere down the right-hand path.

The whole thing smelt as an ambush so Arwen and I cautiously turned the corner, and were shot at from the surrounding forest by what we initially thought were wood splinters fired by what looked like humanoid small trees. One hit me in the arm and that arm started to get stiff and wooden. Not good. So we backed off back around the corner and regrouped.

Trollskins, weapons of flame and some quicknesses later, we charged around the corner. I had the sergeant go down one side while Arwen and I went down the other. Sooty wasn't too far befind us while Vanderhand stayed with the others in case a threat came down one of the other paths. Just then Hands of Earth leapt up in front of us as another volley of missiles flew at us. It was a case of running the gauntlet until we could get close enough to engage the enemy.

The elemental pounced on one while I, after suffering several impacts, swung at another one with my now flaming battleaxe. Meanwhile, we had spotted the Earth mage caster, a rather taller twig creature, and Arwen threw an axe at it. Meanwhile Sooty started casting Hellfires while the efreet busted out of the Hands it was in.

I had just finished chopping the first one to bits and was about to take on the next two, who were still shooting at me, when more Hands shot up, one stopping me right in my tracks. Vanderhand couldn't get a clear shot at any of them so we got out Shatterer to see if the magic of that hammer could rapidly destroy a Hands of Earth. Unfortunately, no such luck. That was when I noticed there was an elderly looking male elf being held captive by vines. I also DAed our attackers and discovered that the smaller ones that were firing bits of themselves at us were 'Twig Things' and the caster was a 'Wizened Tree Thing'. As I did that, it healed itself of some of the damage it had sustained by sucking the life out of some of the surrounding forest.

The sergeant had turned the first twig thing to garden mulch before turning on the one that had been firing at Menolly. Meanwhile Sooty and the efreet helped me out of the Hand I was stuck in so I charged at the other two twig things, intending to take them both out at once. Two massive swings of the axe later, and they were cut down. Meanwhile Arwen and Sooty used their magic on the caster finally taking it down.

Our attention turned to the elderly elf captive. He told us that he was the Plantmaster and he had created the garden. Naturally we then wanted to know why everything in the garden was attacking us. He replied that wasn't supposed to happen but the garden had been subverted by the demon. What demon? The one I had summoned. What did you do that for? Well it seemed like a good idea at the time. *SIGH*

Anyway, the upshot was that he wanted the demon gone and the garden would return to a more peaceful state. It was still physically confined to the circle but was exerting it's influence in order to get aid in escaping and, presumably, keeping the Plantmaster out of the way. He actually pre-dated Penjarre and his native language was ancient elvish. He had heard about Penjarre from passing travellers. The circle itself was roughly 300 feet across and the line itself was five foot wide and comprised of semi-precious stones etc. That caused a few members of the party to value the potential haul of the circle but the Plantmaster pointed out that the materials would vanish when removed from the circle. We finally decided to free him after we were convinced he was relatively harmless. (Yeah right!)

We then had a quick look at the contents of the circle. Unfortunately it would not be possible to take pot-shots at the demon from outside as there was plenty of cover in there. Besides, we couldn't see the demon at all. This was going to be really tricky.

Quite a bit of discussion occurred on how we were going to accomplish this .... and even whether we should or not. Sooty tried sending in a salamander to see how vunerable the plantlife was. However, we soon discovered that summonables could not cross the boundary .... neither could spells as the effects bounced and splayed out over an invisible boundary. Objects could cross so we didn't have much choice but to go in there and take on the demon in it's own territory. So, after trollskins, weapons of flames, and a quickness was applied we went in. Menolly, and the sergeant, stayed outside with the professor as backup.

The demon was blended at the other side of the circle. It's highest ranked spell was DTJs and it's greatest weakness was fire. Since it seemed to be composed of wood, that didn't seem too surprising. Secondary college was none. That's a relief. Just then two large rocks to either side unfolded themselves and lumbered towards us. They were Earth Titans so Vanderhand and I moved to intercept one each to hold them off Sooty and Arwen who were going to sling spells at the demon.

Arwen had a ring that would convert spell energy into a random spell. This had the potential of being a recipe for disaster but it was decided to do it anyway. As the demon quickened itself and it's minions. Arwen let fly with a dragonflames as well as spotlighting the demon with a pyrotechnics display while Sooty used Hellfire and a salamander. Arwen then managed to conjure up a whirlwind vortex that broke one of the Titans. Vanderhand was dodging rocks for a while. A fireball then impacted on the demon before it shat a volley of DTJs at us. Fortunately, well maybe, I had an Earth Titan for hard cover. I was chipping away at it with a battleaxe while Vanderhand came over to help with his hammer, Shatterer. Then the titan stomped. I fell down, then got up again just as the titan stomped the ground again - and I fell down again.

Arwen got a DTJ in the eye, and turned into an earth elemental. Meanwhile Vanderhand was being rather more effective against the Titan than I was so it was concentrating it's attacks onto him. Spells were still flying out of Arwen's ring but there didn't seem to be any effect. I later found out that the demon had been hit by an Enhance Enchant, a Waters of Strength and a Blessing of Crops.

Vanderhand and I continued chipping at the Titan. Suddenly, it stopped moving. So we plowed into it. I must have blinked and missed it but the next thing I noticed that the demon, that looked like a tree, had turned into a cabbage - or was that a cabbage tree. Well .. after that, it didn't take us long to turn it into coleslaw.

Once we took stock of the situation, I realised that we had been extremely fortunate. That combat had the potential of rapidly going the other way.

The mists rapidly dissipated and we soon noticed that the twigmen and frogmen started resuming what had been their original function, tending the garden. I suspect there is going to be a lot of weeding done. And ... finally ... we could camp and get some rest because, frankly, we were really exhausted.

15th Fruit

It was really late in the day by the time we emerged. The Plantmaster then offered to teach us Earth Mages a ritual that would allow us to create our own gardens. Initally, I was thinking of doing the harvest and coming back later but that was rather impractible so we spent the next four weeks learning the ritual. While we did that, the others searched the garden for any other loot as well as partaking in any other training that the Plantmaster could offer. Also the Professor amassed specimens.

Finally we wildfired back to Fort Morsten, headed back to Rangiwhero, courtesy of Arwen's boat, then portalled back to the Guild, arriving back on the 20th Harvest.