Session 37: Into the Howling Wood

The Return of Menzo

The adventurers decided to refuse the King’s call to travel to Inaulia as they believed retrieving the unhatched dragon eggs from Menzo was of greater importance.

Before they departed Silver Hill they met up with a familiar face. It was Valez and he was accompanied by a dangerous looking halfling named Poppy. Valez not only affirmed their decision to seek Menzo but told them he and Poppy would accompany them.

Their first stop was the halfling village of Fernwall and there they reunited with their dragons who had grown quite a lot. Zalthannus warned the heroes that the missing dragon riders, Petrin, Arygno and Kitten would need to spend more time with their dragon lest the bond weakened and the creatures reverted to their more wild tendencies. The heroes immediately thought about Petrin roaming the Abyss and the slim odds that the dragonborn hero would ever be seen again.

Zalthannus gave the companions directions to Menzo’s whereabouts and the heroes agreed to depart in the morning. That evening however the halflings were throwing a party for their prize stud goat, Hornsby, who was lost (apparently in another realm) was found and returned.

There was food, drink, dancing, and games. The heroes were never ones to turn down a party and so they joined in. They competed with the halflings in: dancing contests, in which Vex created a new trend and became something of a dancing legend, goat avoiding, in which the halfling Poppy never got rammed by the most cantankerous goat in the village; cheese bowling, in which Galendan showed off his secret cheesy talents; and drinking, in which Voren was Voren and all were in awe. In the end Voren was named winner of the games and Hornsby’s next offspring would bear his name.

In the morning, the heroes awoke well-rested and ready for their next adventure. Many of them were eager to confront the tricky wizard Menzo once more. They hoped to retrieve the eggs so that Leira and Vex could bond with their own dragons.

Upon entering the outskirts of the Ghandril Forest also known as the Howling Wood, the heroes found an old man and a child by a small campfire. Their clothes were torn and their faces and arms marked with scratches and other small wounds. The heroes approached and learned from the two that a great purple dragon had made a home in the woods and was a monster who delighted in destruction (including destroying their humble homestead).

The heroes remembered that years ago when they first gathered their dragon eggs that there was one egg, containing a purple dragon, that Kitten somehow knew to be a foul beast and better left forever in that dark underground vault. Could this be the same creature? If so, how had it grown so large so quickly?

The heroes had many questions, but were interrupted when a band of werewolves emerged from the treeline and attempted to terrorize the group. The heroes would have none of it and sprang into action. Valez and Poppy immediately tore through the group with a viciousness the other heroes were not used to seeing. So scared were the werewolves that one attempted to flee, only to be felled by a barrage of arrows from Leira and Eldarion.

The old man, Martuk, and his boy, Khezri, were thankful for their timely rescue and decided to help the adventurers track down Menzo. They told them to seek the wisdom of the dark treant, Olvendark. The dark treant was not happy to see the heroes and went on a bit of a tirade about how the adventurers would likely bring ruin to the forest. He gave them a riddle about fire to test them, and the heroes answered correctly, proving that they knew how to be good stewards of the forest.

Olvendark begrudgingly helped the heroes but told them that if they damaged any trees or started any fires that the very forest would rise up against them and kill them. Galendan thought briefly to his combat with the werewolves in which his sword became lodged in a tree and sheepishly grinned at his companions, who kept that detail secret.

The heroes followed Olvendark’s directions and it appeared they had snuck up on Menzo, but the tricky wizard had his own companions nearby creating a bit of a standoff. With Menzo were his two ogres, the violent werewolf alpha Belaruse Garu, Petrin’s mother Artana Iceblade, and a jittery elf named Maglor. The heroes learned that Menzo had given dragons to Belarus, Artana and Maglor and the dragons’ names respectively were Smoke, Halcyon and Mistake.

The heroes inquired about a purple dragon and the remaining eggs and at first Menzo deflected the questioning. However the heroes would not let it go and Menzo confessed that he had made a mistake. He sensed the power in the purple dragon’s egg and thought he could tame it. The dragon hatched on its own, unbonded, and named itself Inimigo. The beast seemed to have stored up some energy over the centurieshe and matured at an astonishing rate. It has already achieved its adult size. Inimgo demanded Menzo hand over the three remaining eggs, which he did (having realized he was no match for the dragon). Menzo believes Inimgo intends to hatch the dragons and raise them in his image.

The heroes were furious with Menzo and started making plans to take down Inimigo. Menzo laughed and said it couldn’t be done and to leave the tyrant be. Menzo argued that when the great war with Fyrus eventually erupted, Inimigo would be an ally and they’d all be happy about that, despite his evil tendencies. The heroes came up with an alternate plan, to sneak into Inimigo’s lair and steal the eggs, hopefully without confronting the purple tyrant.

Menzo wished them luck and said he would not risk his life or those of his party in such a foolish mission. That night the heroes made their plans and interacted with Menzo’s companions. Eldarion knew a bit about Belaruse from Kitten’s stories and asked a few questions about the werewolf’s views on shifters. Belaruse quickly verified Kitten’s stories and remarked about how surprising it was that a shifter like Kitten could be seen as a warrior, let alone a hero. Eldarion did not appreciate the mocking tone and the conversation ended as quickly as it began.

Artana pleaded with the heroes not to give up on Petrin but to find him and deliver him from the Abyss. She asked them not to judge her for joining with Menzo as she believes she can do the most help being alongside him.

Maglor was the only one to offer his help to the heroes, but so off-putting and annoying was his non-stop talking that the heroes tricked the elf so that they’d be gone before he even awoke.



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