The party began this session with a trap laid by a force that identified itself by declaring “I am indomitability; I am the fire.” Immediately after a sudden warning by Crystin Ja-Nafeel, a fiery lance shot from the heavens and speared Mel and his horse. Immediately thereafter, a fiery wall sprang up along the path behind the heroes and the flames on the threes exploded in increased flames and cinders. As the smoke cleared, four burning stags with antlers of pure fire charged the party. Lahspar reacted immediately by striking one with his fists, only to realize too late the pain caused as he struck their burning bodies. Working together, the party dispatched these stags swiftly, after which the party found a massive voice in their heads, urging them to “follow the river” and free him. The being offered great power and reward for its freedom. After this short exchange, the blockade on the road was lifted and the party continued forward.
Very soon thereafter, the party came to a river crossed by a stoneworked bridge with a tower at the center of it. After making use of Haddin’s knock spell, the party explored the tower to find the remnants of a couple guards, starved to death, as well as the writings of a priest who was undergoing a trial of faith. The priest lamented his life worshiping the Elvish God of Sunsets and now wished instead to follow Austere, God of Life and Healing. His journal suggests he attempted to save as much of the nearby village as he could, but found many cursing Anyariel under a shrine built to his name. The priest alludes to a power he hid away that could be accessed by those seeking to defend the forest from the curse on it.
Upon exploring the nearby village, the party found the Shrine of Anyariel, along with a pair of ghasts hiding in the trees. The undead were quickly dealt with, but not before Mel was bitten deeply by one of the creatures. While attempting to heal himself, Mel uncovered a lair under the shrine. The party found a translucent being guarding the underground sanctuary, and, on questioning, learned that the Shahalesti originally set the Innonentdar forest aflame in hopes of blaming the Ragesians and garnering the support of the elves in the forest. The flames flew out of control, and haven’t ended since. The party also found the bodies of a Shahalesti soldier and the old priest, eerily preserved in comatose near-death. The guardian also indicated a lock of hair was stolen from the cave during an altercation in which the old priest was mortally wounded.
With more questions than answers, the party returned to the surface and decided to follow the voice in their heads and move downstream. On the way, they encountered a young Seela, Tiljann, singing quietly by the side of the river. She told a mournful story of a people divided. Most of her town gives heed to Vuhl and seeks to end the Song of Forms, while the rest hold to tradition, which demands the Song be continued at all costs. Tiljann seeks to find a way to move forward, but is perturbed by Vuhl’s drastic plans.
Shortly after meeting Tiljann, the party is assaulted by a band of angst-filled Seela, who ineptly try to use hunting spears to drive the party away. They clearly disparage outsiders and will hear no argument from the party otherwise, despite some impressive giant-screaming-girl illusions by Chaucer. Lahspar and Vicven quickly drove off the ruffians, and the party ended walking into the Seela lakeside village.