First Branch of the Elements
Magnus Party Leader, because he is bigger than the rest of us.
Toledo Steele Scribble
Lath Military Scientist, if she can figure out which hand bag to use.
Pierre I can cook anything and make it taste like chicken, including beef.
Erzabet I can summon you back from anywhere, so I'm coming with you.
Bart Can I fix you, yes I can.
The party employer Professor Franks turned up at the guild wanting a party to act as body guard for him while he experimented with opening some doors to the elemental planes. He initially had trouble hiring a party as Summer is the peak adventuring season and there is no shortage of jobs on offer. Bleyze, Mebh, Shoka and GoK all looked at it before he got the almost perfect party. Its just as well Bleyze didn't come along as there would have been too many specialist mages in the party which tends to weaken it. Its a shame Mebh and GoK didn't come along, they always harden up a party nicely. I've never met Shoka but anyone that ugly with a big glaive can't be all bad. Finally after offering vast riches and exotic training Professor Franks got us.
We left on the afternoon of the Guild meeting. Professor Franks wants us to go to a small village in Brandenburg called Gedistra. Apparently there is a dimensional portal there. Lath has heard of Gedistra and has had some dealings there in the past. This has made the party a little uneasy as we are unsure what sort of reception we are going to get when we arrive, Lath has had a colourful past while she has been with the guild. Our unease deepened when it was suggested that we should camp on the cloud overnight over the forest to the west of the village and enter the village at dawn.
At dawn we landed outside the village and found ourselves in exceptionally heavy fog. We crept into town under the cover of fog and walked into a number of buildings that we didn't see coming. After 20 minutes of blundering around Erzabet DA'd the fog to find out that it was Laths cloud that had followed us into town. After sending the cloud on its way we could see and were introduced to the villagers.
The village is a strange one. It puts the Law into lawful and the Order into orderly. Even the children play with military precision. As we walked in we found ourselves walking in two ranks of 3. Unheard of behaviour for guild members outside of the Castellan Borderers.
A heavily armed guild party always attracts attention as it enters a sleepy village. Villagers generally become quite rightly concerned about the intent of armed intruders. Only 3 out of 7 of us were in heavy plate so we don't count as heavily armed. We're more of an armed utility unit with heavy escort. Into this peaceful mix Lath mentioned that the villagers have sticks which make you behave like an instant compel obedience. As we walked in 4 unarmoured villagers approached us armed with billy clubs while the rest of the village formed an orderly mob around us. My money was on Magnus's glaive.
Lath demanded that we be taken to see Brother Farrack, the local Michaelite Priest and the village escorted us to the church. Brother Farrack is a long time friend of Lath's and deftly defused the situation by inviting us in for breakfast. Poor Pierre was almost beside himself as he watched the brother stumbling ineptly around the kitchen and couldn't resist ordering the man out of his own kitchen. I have to say Pierre did a good job and the breakfast he created was a meal to write home about.
While we talked with the Brother about the tree I couldn't help getting the feeling that something wasn't quite right. I've met a lot of Michaelite's and Michael himself and this Brother doesn't fit the mould. When ever the conversation broached the subject of the tree he appeared to feign unconcern but eventually professor Franks was able to get his permission to perform a simple ritual on the tree.
That afternoon Pierre decided to break a bit off the tree off as a souvaneer. Big mistake. The villagers rioted and a surrounded the party. Pierre and Magnus were hit with billy clubs and told to stop and sit down, which they did, and it was only some fast talking by Lath and the Brother which prevented the party from being evicted from the village. After that we were shadowed by villagers day and night.
Pierre was eventually able to buy a bit of wood off the blacksmith. He wants to turn it into a wooden spoon. I suppose that's so he can make a meal that actually tastes like the ingredients, at present everything he cooks seems to taste like chicken. Poor Erzabet completely failed to buy a twig of a 10 year old village boy. She didn't seem to understand the fundamentals of negotiation, she probably could have swapped it for a chicken and he would have been happy. In the end Bart stepped in and resolved her dilemma by giving him 300 sp. By hook and by crook the party got 4 bits of wood.
That night we slept well under the watchful gaze of dozens of villagers. Pierre woke up in a bad mood the next morning and the breakfast he cooked was just terrible. It tasted like he had made porridge out of straw and I don't know if it was before or after the horses have used it. Maybe the new wooden spoon isn't so good after all.
The morning of the ritual has arrived and under the watchful gaze of an entire village, Michaelite Priest and nervous party the professor proceeds to create a door in the side of the tree which wasn't there before. The professor says this door should be to the elemental plane of Air and can only be used once a month and today is the day so once its open don't shut it. Imagine our surprise when an Earth Elemental stepped through, followed by another, and another, and another, and another, and another.
The party leapt into action. We aren't in heavy battle plate just for looks. Steele, Magnus and Pierre leapt into harms way to keep the elementals from the village, Lath tore them apart with whirlwinds and Erzabet and the Professor sent them back from whence they came. As the last elemental fell Steele jammed the door open to stop it closing and the party entered the Plain of Air, the door shut behind us.
It sure was dark. Steele, Erzabet, Bart, Pierre and the Professor were on the shore of a dark underground lake. With a loud yell Magnus the 8 ft giant in heavy plate plummeted from the roof into the lake and hit the water with a mighty splash. There was no sign of Lath.
Using mind speech we found Lath trapped in the rock above us. Pierre has a mighty rock splitting staff and he thwacked the rock that Lath was trapped in causing the rock to split slightly, and start pumping water into the lake. With Lath still pinned Pierre thwacked the rock again causing a mighty torrent of water to start flowing into the lake and cracked the rock enough for Lath to wriggle out, almost drowning her in the process. Our erstwhile water mage appeared unperturbed that we were in a cave that could be rapidly filled with water.
Meanwhile Bart attached a rope to Steele and I went into the lake to find Magnus. About 30" out the bottom shelved steeply. Magnus was at the bottom of this underwater bank. As we readied ourselves to boost Magnus up the bank the first tentacles struck. Non-plussed we hacked them off. Then more tentacles came snaking out of the water below us. While Steele fought a desperate rear-guard action against the tentacles Magnus was pulled up the bank by Pierre then the the two of them grabbed Steele and pulled him to safety. We appeared to have the upper hand on the tentacles and it was only a matter of time till the foul beast was slain. Then Pierre was grabbed pulled off the ledge and swung around in the air. Lath fired a Windwalk at Pierre and he escaped the clutches of the beast before he hit the water and chastened, the party fell back to the shore. Erzabet examined the aura of the beast and the blood drained from her face. The ancient horror we had been fighting sank back into the lake and we retreated from the slowly filling lake.