Events that took place in the nettlewood
In the early dawn, the group set out for the Nettlewood with Shalelu guiding to the closest trail entrance that would lead to Thistletop. Shalelu had to part ways at this point, advising she would keep extra goblin packs from causing trouble for the adventurers.
Indeed she kept many of the wretched monsters away, and the group reached the briar patch with minimal issue. Inside however, the unkempt growth proved to be quite difficult for the group to navigate, but eventually much of the briars were explored. Theo found one scouting ledge, which helped him see precisely where the bridge to the island lay. After dispatching a number of goblin dogs, a goblin named Gogmurt threatened their journey further. Theo’s words found silvery luck, and persuaded the goblin to grant them passage on the pretense they would not fight unless attacked first.
Finally, the adventurers found the bridge. Eager to find Ameiko, everyone charged forward. Their folly only too late realized. The bridge dropped and only Selith managed to react quickly enough. Everyone else found the water an unforgiving pillow, and everyone struggled to stay above water. Expertly, Gale aided the group into a grotto under the penninsula. Inside the hopes for a path back to the brambles were dashed as a sleeping bunyip was spotted in the distance. Andri, Theo and Gale moved with caution to not wake the creature, but alas, it was roused.
Selith continued to run through the brambles in hopes of finding a path down, finding no such luck and oblivious to the dire events unfolding below.
With a deafening roar, the bunyip announced its hunger, invoking an incredible fear in Gale. Theo urged Andri to push his way to land on the other side of the grotto, but Andri felt the ledge within the grotto was closer for the two heroes to reach. In a splash, the bunyip dove into the water and Gale, terrified, was forced to flee.
Theo struggled to help protect Andri from the powerful jaws of the bunyip, and they both took a few gnarly bites for their efforts. Dread began to overtake Theo’s steady mind, provoking him into a rage to focus his mind on the combat.
Times seemed to slow down. Theo found purchase on the ledge, pulled himself up, and had enough time to look around before he watched Andri sink under the surface. Desperately, he drew the ranseur, but before he could offer the shaft for Andri to take, he saw what he knew to be death.
The blood flowed and bubbled on the surface of the water, eventually streaming out of the grotto in the direction they came. After a moment, Theo was forced to accept that the bunyip had escaped, likely with Andri in his clutches.
After a moment of wailing, Theo made his way out of the grotto and onto the beach nearby. Gale’s fear had vanished by now, and she only just arrived to hear the sad news. Up the cliff side, Selith called down quizzically about Andri’s absence, concerned they could not find him.
Theo recounted the events in the grotto, failing to maintain his composure when he had to put words to the death. Exhausted, defeated, and with few options, the group retreated from the brambles.
A few hours had passed as the group struggled to find the main road; finding a shrine to Desna just before nightfall. Theo was by far the most emotionally broken, though cracks in Gale’s morale had grown intense and fragile. Theo took a moment outside to commune with Calistria, venting his sorrow and failures. Eventually everyone found rest within the shrine.
Just before dawn, a knock came on the door to the shrine. The lightest sleeper of the bunch, Theo roused and checked to see who was there. Before him stood a strikingly beautiful man, skin as white as pure snow. In his groggy state Theo thought he saw a ghost or an angel before him. Fleeting, the hope that such a man had been sent by Calistria crossed Theo’s mind, but he dismissed it.
Alistair, an asimar on his way to Sandpoint, had more than evidently lost his way and his caravan on the journey from Magnimar. Selith woke up shortly after and seemed aloof to the newcomer. Theo suspected the prospect of an impoverished but alluring man would be competition for any funds Selith could milk from the various nobles. Fortunately for Theo, Alistair wasn’t very observant and didn’t see the glaring sneer on Theo’s face toward Selith’s commentary. Theo urged Selith to wake Gale, so the group could decide their best course of action.
Everyone agreed a quick stop back in Sandpoint was a good idea, prompting Theo to charge through his shopping errands as Gale and Selith spoke to father Zantus about the latest turn of events. Selith and Gale were presented with the battered form of Shalelu, clutching onto life from a vicious melee against a warg. Gale helped explain what exactly a warg was, invoking a thought of terror in Alistair. Soon, Theo returned with a climbing harness, extra rope, and a few traps and nets planned to entangle the bunyip.
Set and prepared, the party returned to Thistletop. As they traveled forward into the brambles, a pack of goblin dogs pounced on Alistair. Theo rushed in to rescue, showing renewed prowess against the pack as many were felled by the weakest of strikes.
Not surprising to Theo, but once the group had reached the brambles again, they chose instead to rush toward the bridge to avoid any protracted conflicts. However, Gogmurt, the goblin Druid they had negotiated with before, unleashed a fury of magic to avenge the party’s failure to defeat Ripnugget the previous day.
Desperately, the group found Gogmurt’s advantage a dire turn of events, enabling him and his fire cat to almost kill Selith. For his own efforts to heal the gunslinger, Alistair himself was nearly killed. In a moment of grace, Theo overcame the entangling vines enough to deliver a shocking grasp upon the hellcat, annihilating the beast in a single blow.
Selith took the distance to draw first blood upon the goblin. The tide had turned, and Gogmurt now sought to retreat further into the thick brambles to summon something new. Alistair found his wits and teleported Theo within range of Gogmurt. With a lunge, Theo slammed the ranseur into the foul creature and successfully disrupted the casting. Gogmurt responded by escaping from the remaining fight. Exhausted once again, the group found themselves forced to retreat back to Sandpoint to recover from their near loss.