The Association (Working Title): Festival of Kardia
The escort has arrived with two horse-drawn carriages. The Party is divided into two groups and then brought to the castle where the two carriages take the individual groups to two locations in the courtyard.
The castle is a surprisingly well kept one - being devoid of the usual dank, cold presence many others would. In the courtyard, there are numerous tents in shades of red, pink, and white. There seems to be insignias all over the place that bare a heart-like resemblance. The people are merry and there seems to be quite a positive atmosphere.
Party A consists of Lüm, Savanah, and Vai-Stin - with Party B having Irena, Dart, and Zook. Party A is dropped off in front of a large tent labeled “Tunnel of Love”. Party B has been dropped off near a large tent labeled “Dance Hall”.
Party A: They met Belvedere and shared Clover’s drawings with him. They then went through this proposed “Tunnel of Love” after being warned of the danger that lies within. The tunnel itself seemed to be a shifting environment which only opened when glyphs were activated accordingly.
There were 5 Pillars within the main chamber which Vai-Stin cleverly discovered that the third of which was trapped. The pillars took special stone discs with the emblem of Kardia upon them that revealed hidden rooms and glyphs for the Party. Each member of Party A were in great synergy as they used their brains, magic, and skills to help one another through the various traps and challenges.
Their main challenge came in the form of a small group of large mushrooms which wound up being Screamers and Violet Fungi. Lüm tried to use oil to simply burn the fungi, but accidentally splashed himself with the oil. Savannah responded by throwing the torch as far away as possible. Even with the accident, the Party adjusted in kind. Savannah’s spells, Vai-Stin’s scythe, and Lüm’s bow proved too much for their foe - and just in time. Vai-Stin saw what appeared to be a beak trying to poke around from a hole in the ceiling. What creature could have been lurking in the shadows and was it drawn to the screaming of the fungi?
They resolved the puzzle of the pillars and upon activating each glyph received a message from a most beautiful voice.
“Love is at its core chaotic. One can love any manner of person, thing, concept…but one can grow fanatical, passionate, or manic - THIS is the love Kardia represents. Her heart - pure as gold, twisted as veins within our forms. She was betrayed by the man she created. Devoured, was she by this man-like beast.”
Overall, Party A found a red rose, a satchel of burgundy powder, and a strange glass bottle in shape of an anatomically correct heart with 4 different glass stoppers.
Party B: They went into the Dance Halls and were met by Lord Dimitrius, ally to Lady Alenia. The dance had a few rules: One could choose to wear their armor and weapons, but masks and formal accents/attire were mandatory. Dart chose a Black Mask and Suit with Blue accents; Irena chose a Golden Bird Mask to go with her Deep Purple Streamlined Gown; and Zook chose to wear a Dark Red Mask with accents for his armor that matched.
Once inside they ran into a number of figures such as Cloche from the bookstore (revealing herself as a representative of one of the largest guilds called the Psychic Cradle). Irena made the acquaintance of Lady Morgaine of the Shieldmaidens and Maksim of the Money Managed guild. Zook and Dart got to know a pair of Dwarven Twins, Gregory and Gwynlen Toolah. Zook, being the suave gnome he is, managed to capture the attention of Gwynlen and shared a dance with her. Dart, on the other hand, had to help Gregory to the lavatory after 2 kegs of ale caught up with him. Irena impressed many with her ability to handle the strongest vintage the Castle was offering to a select few - Elder Wine. This wine could knock even a hardy Dwarf down after a few sips…let alone a full chug.
All of this excitement attracted the attention of the host of the Festival, Belvedere. He even chose them as winners of a random auction which granted them a chance for a one-on-one meeting with the King of Wellspring himself. He led them to a banquet hall and gave them the task of supplying a sign of love to 3 enchanted crystal balls. By doing so, the Party would be shown a hidden door and subsequently be on route to speak with the King! Zook took this opportunity to deliver Elvira’s letter as well as his own copy of the box’s drawings.
With an offering of dried fish from Dart (Love of the Sea), a bobby-pin from Irena (Love of Family), and some Gnome Golden Light Beer from Zook (Love of Home). Each offering was accepted and a brief image of Kardia’s eyes were upon them. She spoke to them only for a moment before the doorway was opened. They traveled through the corridor and down a spiral stairway until they found themselves in a dungeon. It looked unused, but there were cells lining the path before them. Where were they going?…What was this place?…Unfortunately, they could not answer this question as Belvedere’s guard was on patrol and threatened by the Party. It was a seemingly harmless, albeit monstrous looking bird with a serpentine tail and bat-like wings. The creature tried to intimidate them from approaching, but once attacked, it sprang into action. With a quick snip of his beak, Zook found himself turned to stone. Irena and Dart were soon to follow…
They would have been doomed to become statues forever, had Alenia chosen not to follow them. She brought them back to the Temple of Pelor using a few tricks up her sleeve. There, Margox spent a lot of energy to restore all three of them to their original forms. The three were grateful for her intervention - as she had foreseen this future in a vision and did not wish for her destined-to-be heroes from suffering such a fate while she was around to prevent it.