13 Erastus, 4713 – Whitethrone
The party spends the night recuperating from the assault on the clock tower and early the next morning they set out for Market Square. Even though they did a little reconnaissance during the week prepping for Logrivich, they still were not quite sure what to expect beyond the entrance as a thick heavy underbrush had grown up around the entire area. Even though the Winter Guard continually tried to cut it down, the magical nature of the forest enabled it to self heal, growing back almost instantly.
The PCs discover a set of ice trolls guarding the entrance which are easily dispatched. However, they immediately realize that although the Hut is at the center of the Square, it is not without its own defenses, beyond what Queen Elvanna and her proteges have put in place, the group finds a magical energy portal blocking their path to the Hut (it even prevents Aiwendil from flying up and over the trees to get to the Hut). Alabaster realizes that the PCs have discovered a reality siphon and that the entire area is potentially in danger. He knows that there are at least three elemental fonts serving as anchors which need to be destroyed before they will gain access to the Hut. Hunter is able to discern that Lady Nazhena Vasilliovna is trapped beyond the siphon, waiting for the arrival of those who desecrated her home.
Searching the entrance area, Hunter discovers some strange tracks which leads down a partially hidden path. Following the tracks, the PCs discover the first font which takes the form of a unique fountain where water flows up defying gravity even as the snow falls from the sky. The PCs engage in a small conversation with a creature known as a dawn piper who is guardian of the font. He insists that he is here to claim the Dancing Hut as his property. After the discussion breaks down, the piper calls out to a hidden twigjack ally to attack. The combat is quick and vicious with the piper killed and the ally fleeing. With the piper’s defeat the font is destroyed when it implodes.
Although a path leads out of the clearing, Aiwendil flew ahead to investigate and returns with a simple silver necklace. Misunderstanding the meaning, the group back tracks and follows the path in the opposite direction. Following the path leads to a house which is teetering precariously in the branches of a tree within the forest maze. Coordinated efforts between Aiwendil, Ingvar and Hunter leads to the safe rescue of two small children and their injured father before the house collapses.
The group continues to follow the path around the collapsed house and eventually come to another open area. This time the font takes the form of a large floating rock platform which is surrounded by rotating boulders. At the center stands the form of another dawn piper who introduces himself as Ravathiel. Much like the earlier piper, he states his intention to resist the party as he claims the Hut as his own. This time the combat is a but more intense and several of the party members are knocked off the boulders attempting to climb up to piper. He is able to launch a stone call and fireball attacks which inflict some significant damage to the party, but ultimately, they are able to survive the attacks and in time Svala and Ingvar get close enough to gang up against the piper while Hunter hits him with a critical bow shot.
After a very well-timed channels by Vadoma, the group presses on deeper into the maze. Coming around a bend they see what appears to be a campfire up ahead through the falling snow. As they approach, they are set upon by a mated pair of perytons. The attack is vicious and Ingvar takes a solid hit, but manages to withstand the terrible mauling as the party sets upon the creatures. After much blood is shed on both sides, the two beasts are dispatched and Vadoma heals Ingvar. After the brutal struggle the group decides they need to rest and look for a safe place to shelter for a spell. They discover a small narrow path leading deeper into the maze and are faced with a choice, follow the path or head to the fire ahead.