The party descended the Stormbanner Peaks, leaving Dragon Mountain in the distance. A troop of 8 kobolds and 2 giant pack beetles followed them, along with two inexperienced adventurers rescued from Dragon Mountain. As Miri the barbarian surveyed the terrain, the party’s suspicions were confirmed. When the wizard Zolar planeshifted Dragon Mountain out of the state of planar flux it was left in by the dragon Infyrana, the mountain returned to the world 50 miles to the northeast of its previous location. They had a long trek back to the king’s castle at Tir Uldeir, and the supernatural winter storms that wracked the mountains made them uneasy. Spirits of the Wild Hunt were visible in the storms…an omen of war, plague, and death.
Travel thru the mountains was mostly uneventful. The party almost lost a pack beetle (laden with treasure) tumbling down a steep escarpment, but Zolar cleverly cast a web spell to catch the tumbling beetle. Miri investigated a large basin filled with kobold and giant bones, but when something moved in the center of the bone pile, she thought better of it, and ventured on.
In the Dunwood, the party began noticing that they’d been cursed. It started when they noticed black marks on Zolar’s usually unblemished skin. Lily identified it as a curse and Zolar cast remove affliction on himself while the kobolds hunted elk. When the kobolds returned from their unsuccessful elk hunt, one had a dislocated shoulder. While Kirito was enthusiastic about punching the kobold’s arm back into place, to everyone’s surprise Zolar cast thunderwave and smashed the kobold against a tree, killing it. “What?” said Zolar surprised, I was only trying to help.”
Others were behaving strangely too. Kirito surrepitiously checked his newly acquired dancing short sword to make sure it hadn’t wandered away. Tristan gazed at the emblem of the Raven Queen on his newly acquired shield. Miri was seeing ghosts that seemed bound to her newly acquired flail. Was the entire dragon’s hoard cursed?
At this point, the other kobolds fled and Tristan the vampire took them under his wing, leading them to safety in a nearby cave. With the aid of the kobold Pick-Pick, Tristan proceeded to trap the entrance to the cave, telling the kobolds they’d be safe from the wizard here.
Lily realized the nature of the curses was stronger than remove affliction. She also noticed a nasty storm descending from the mountains and felt her newly acquired magic ring charging with static electricity. Was it drawing the storm? What would happen if the storm broke on her while she was wearing it? Lily didn’t want to find out. She convinced Zolar to cast a fey crossroads ritual (and Zolar was only too happy to oblige), and convinced Tristan to depart with them as the “safest course of action for the kobolds.”
An old oak split open, revealing a green firefly-lit passage thru the Feywild. Stepping in, the party felt their heads swim and suddenly they were only a few miles from their original basecamp where Dragon Mountain used to be. They heard echoing cries in the Feywild of “Synovel!” An elven name, perhaps?
Kirito led the giant pack beetles and noticed their henchman Kirnwedigan (a.k.a. torch guy) was drunk. Their henchman related what happened over the last several days, how he and Miri’s horse killed two trolls leaving the mountain, what he saw when Dragon Mountain planeshifted, and how surprised he was that the entire party was alive. Transferring their treasure to carts and mounting their horses, the party followed the mountain path to Harker’s Ferry.
While in Harker’s Ferry, Zolar cast remove affliction on Tristan, nearly killing him, but the ritual was unable to break the powerful monster apologist curse. It would seem only a series of side quests would break the curses on the party. In the middle of the night, Miri vanished. Just then Raphael remembered the story behind the belt of dwarvenkind Miri was wearing – it had belonged to Hrenbled, a dwarven performer, who led a circus troupe, but the dwarven mountain king was offended by these un-dwarven actors and had them killed, but the dwarves returned as ghost mimes who haunted ancient dwarven treasure. Guessing that her horse might be able to find her, Kirito led the party to the stables. Indeed, Miri’s horse pointed them to the old barn at the edge of town where they’d met a Vistani witch before braving Dragon Mountain.
Miri had been woken up by the ghost of one of her tribesmen who pointed toward the barn. All this while, Miri could see and hear her friends, but they could not see or hear her. She even walked thru them a couple times in frustration. In the barn they found the Vistani witch who could see Miri through her white glass eye; the witch was upset at Miri for shattering the gem the dragon Infyrana had trapped her sleeping consciousness in (in turn shattering the witch’s crystal ball). Thus, the witch was reluctant to help Miri. However, she did cast a spell which allowed the rest of the party to converse with Miri, though they still could not see or interact with her. The Vistani witch warned that the curse of the dwarven ghost mimes would only get worse, eventually drawing Miri into the Shadowfell and compelling her to join the undead dwarven circus. With a wry cackle, the witch offered to break the curse if the party agreed to certain conditions. Tristan did not trust Vistani, and he negotiated hard. Eventually, to save Miri, the party agreed to the following terms:
Miri’s curse would be ended first, and in return the party would tell her the secret of the Alder King’s daughter, retrieve a catoblepas’ heart for the witch, and perform an undefined favor for her (involving protecting someone or something) at some point in the future. As insurance, the Vistani witch geased Tristan to do these latter two things for her. Once the geas was cast and the deal struck, the witch told them they just had to extinguish the candle to bring Miri back. Zolar did so with his mage hand, plunging the room into supernatural darkness. Pulling out sunrods, the party found Miri had returned! The Vistani witch had vanished once again.
Gathering their horses and treasure cart, the PCs headed southwest across the Misty Downs, bound for Tir Uldeir. The Misty Downs was a haunted place, with the light of the sun muted through the ever present thick mist which wrapped around hills and oak copses like fingers on a loom. In the distance storm clouds were moving in, and the first snows of winter were falling. Then they heard the disembodied voices of elven men singing a dirge and a horn sounding from the woods. Elven men cried, “Synovel! Synovel!” Squinting into the woods, the party saw a golden haired elven girl in a torn dress with red sores on her forearms fleeing thru the woods. Behind her three undead riders emerged from purple mist. Tristan’s attempt at parlaying with the riders was only met with a steely “We are servants of the Horned Lord.” The party decided they would rescue this elven child, and engaged the three undead riders in combat. Though the riders nearly abducted the child, and momentarily possessed Kirito to turn him against his friends, Miri was able to mount her horse and rescue the girl from being taken. Strangely, when the riders died it was almost as if time was catching up with them and in the blink of an eye they aged hundreds of years and turned to dust.
The girl revealed she was the daughter of the king of the wood elves – the Alder King – who had promised her hand in marriage to the Horned Lord of the Wild Hunt, and she was fleeing the arranged marriage.