Escaping the River Dargle. The session began with Arthur, Cadoch, Gunnvor, Kayleigh, and Cocidius in the River. The group began to swim to shore and found that was easier said than done. Gunnvor and Kayleigh went under water. Kayleigh saw something terrible under there, but that vision was not confirmed by anyone else. Arthur summoned a celestial porpoise to assist, and the party finally made it to shore. Gunnvor heard a voice in his head, but he resisted its command. He didn’t mention this to anyone, though.
The party scurried around to the gate of the northern section of the castle. The wooden gate had been completely smashed for some time. Inside the castle, the party could see Aeronna and Fisk tied to a spit above a large bonfire. They were being turned by two goblins. The party moved in to attack the goblins and quickly learned that there were more than two of them in the castle. The leader was very large and very tough. For some reason, Gunnvor thought it would be a great idea to kick a flaming log at the leader, but that log actually hit Fisk in the face. Arthur dealt the killing blow with his amazing, awesome sword. One goblin was left alive (unconscious due to Cocidius’ Color Spray). The party interrogate the goblin and learned that a seer in the Wyldewode had learned that there was something in the castle that the King of Shadows wanted; the goblin said they didn’t know what it was and were hoping they’d know when they saw it. Völva identified the Shadow King as Oberon, Lord of the Seelie Court. The goblin finally escaped and was killed – one of Kayleigh's arrows between the shoulder blades.
In the lull after the battle, a troop of elves could be seen passing near the edge of the forest. Gentle lights could be seen and ethereal music was heard. They passed slowly and stately.
Meanwhile, for some reason, Gunnvor became convinced that there was a shiny sword just sitting there unattended in the river, so of course, he decided to go get it. He was struck by a tentacle. Everything seemed fine for a few moments, until he began to have difficulty breathing, and his skin began to change to a slimy, transparent mass. Unsure how to cure Gunnvor, Kayleigh rode out to ask the elves for help. Generally, they seemed uninterested, but one rode forward and offered to help if she paid a price: her ability to see the color red. Kayleigh reluctantly agreed. The elf rode quickly to the castle, the hooves of his horse seeming to hover above the surface of the earth. He cured Gunnvor, and then reached up to touch Kayleigh’s eyes with his thumbs. Seeming puzzled, he hesitated, and it was clear that something was preventing him – whether it was his own knowledge, or some outside force was not clear. He rode away without explanation.
The party rested for the night, Cadoch sleeping outside the castle. When he woke, a hideous little beast that looked like a bald, mangy, upright opossum was sleeping next to him. The gremlin, Grimple, fetched some young scamels from the rock for his new friend.
The group set out for the Anvil the next morning. The “road” skirted the edge of the forest. Suddenly the group noticed a loud crash and heavy footsteps coming toward them. A hill giant staggered out of the wood and accused them of stealing his wedding ring. Wisely choosing diplomacy rather than combat, the group learned that the giant, Grunk, had been drinking, that the ring was lost, and that Grunk was going to be in big trouble with his wife is he returned home without it. The group agreed to leave the road and venture into the enchanted wood to help the giant and avoid a fight. They reached a cave where the giant had been drinking, and noticed a harpy asleep in a nearby tree, wearing a crown. Fisk used mage hand to lift the crown and return it to Grunk – the crown, of course, was the wedding ring. When the harpy woke, she attacked Grunk, and the two smashed off into the forest together. While the party looked around the cave to see whether they could locate any shiny clues, Arthur and Aeronna decided to venture off into the Wyldewode, and were promptly lost.
Grimple offered to go look for the two lost party members, but after an hour, he returned alone. Cadoch noticed that the cave had altered, so he threw a rock into the cave. The rock landed in a group of shriekers, which began to howl, awakening and enraging an owlbear sleeping inside the cave. The owlbear burst forth and attacked Granuaille. The party began to scatter, and were on the verge of getting separated in the forest, when Cadoch stepped forward and cast Sanctuary on himself. The owlbear attampted to attack Cadoch, and seemed very puzzled by his inability to follow through. Cadoch invoked the names of the saints to strike fear into the Owlbear’s heart, and the beast fled back into the cave.
Völva knelt down and began to commune with the forest. Suddenly, she stood up and pulled back the fronds of a nearby wide-leafed bush to reveal Aeronna and Arthur, who looked as though they’d been gone for days. Arthur’s beard had grown considerably, and Aeronna’s armor had moss growing out of it.
The party set off for the Anvil again but didn’t make it before nightfall. On watch, Kayleigh heard a sound of struggle, and stepped out of the light to investigate. She found the body of a decaying Norseman, killed by a blow to the head. The struggle was coming from within a nearby sack. Upon opening the sack, Kayleigh was attacked by an animated cup. She called out and the others rushed to help. Aeronna managed to grab the cup and they returned it to the bag.
At daybreak, the group set out and finally reached the Anvil. The monastery was dug into the side of the small mountain, a foothill of a larger mountain range. The large double doors of hammered metal were joined together by a golden metal circle inscribed with dwarvish. Cadoch read the passage, which said that the doors could be opened if one proved their worth by striking with the hammer of a dwarvish master smith. The group noticed smallish lizard footprints, which matched the description Grimple gave of the creatures he’d seen coming in and out. The group guessed that it might be kobolds and decided to set an ambush.
They didn’t have to wait too long. Three kobolds, two of which struggled under a heavy burden, soon approached. As they stepped into the clearing before the doors, they saw a prone figure next to a heavy iron cup. As they stepped forward and spoke, the cup attacked one of the kobolds. In the ensuing combat, one of the kobolds was captured, and the bundle was revealed to be little Nora Walsh, the five-year-old daughter of the douche landlord, Fintan Walsh. The party was skeptical about his motivation at first, but determined that he probably didn’t have anything to do with the abduction – in fact, another child, William, had also been abducted the night before. The group learned from the captured kobold that they children had been taken to be sacrificed to the “Dragon King.”