In the densely forested valley between the Grygov and Smich Mountains lies a wood elf kingdom. The Grygovian and Smich dwarves rely on the wood elves to transport goods across the valley, the ancient dwarven tunnels below the valley floor have long been infested with drow and accompanying nasty creatures. The wood elves, lead by King Sova, have lived in relative peace for centuries, the dwarves providing protection from the occasionally threatening army of orcs from the north. Sova’s Great Hall was located in a wood elf “city”, Valona, (you wouldn’t know it was a city having just been plopped in it, the dwellings were either underground or in the trees) in the southern part of the valley. Valona attracted wood workers from neighboring kingdoms. The wood elves took great care of the forest, but the few trees they felled were of world class quality and renowned bows, furniture and wood carvings were produced there. The elf settlements beyond Valona relied on the forest for food and shelter and enjoyed a mostly isolated existence.
The last six or seven years, however, have seen a change in the forest. Rumors began to spread through the eastern settlements of the strange behavior of birds and smaller woodland creatures, the elves felt as if they were being watched as they went about their day. Then elves started going missing, children, women, hunters out alone. King Sova dismissed the rumors that reached his hall as the wild imaginations of a convincing story teller traveling the far off settlements, but sent a contingent of his finest hunters to the eastern edge of the forest. Only one returned, beleaguered and lacking weapons and armor, he carried a small basket. The king and his attendants watched in shock as the ranger open the basket and revealed a gristled goblin head. Their concern mounted as he presented them 3 long, sharp teeth that he unbelievably claimed belonged to a dragon! Sova appealed to the dwarves, but they were still more skeptical, and chalked it up to a rogue goblin clan that had made it’s way into the forest. The dwarvish representatives urged Sova to send a greater force and drive the goblins out. As their trade routes were still running without incident, Sova’s appeals for further intervention fell on deaf dwarvish ears.
Sova sent word to nearby cities beyond the forest for champions to help his kingdom.
Six adventurers converge on Sova’s great hall in Valona to help with the matter of the dragon causing problems in the kingdom of the wood elves. All but Ellion are awed by the incredible living hall, and at least somewhat taken aback by the mode of discourse of the wood elves, who sing everything they say.
Those adventurers who speak Elven help translate back and forth to those who do not (the translations vary…) as King Sova sings the story of what has been happening in his realm. Sova indicates that Princess will guide the adventurers through the forest, but is not equipped or trained to help them in combat. After unsuccessful attempts on the part of some adventurers at securing an advance on the reward for killing the dragon, Aliona leads them to the east, riding horses specially bred by the wood elves for forest traveling.
Ellion is quite taken by the princess and spends much effort in attempting to secure her interest (which has so far netted nothing in particular). Aylani Thenosen, realising that she seems to be picking up more Elvish than she would have thought she would, attempts to improve on her linguistic gains by engaging the Princess in conversation, when Ellion’s attention is occasionally elsewhere.
After three days of travel, the group sees smoke and hears distant sounds of yelling. Soon, they find an Elven woman holding two children protectively, and singing to them. It is quickly learned that she has fled the nearby Elven community, which is under attack by goblins. There is a short argument between the travelers and the Princess, who wants to take the adventurers directly to the village; Ellion, Aylani, and Onia insist that she stay with the Elven woman, safely behind the battle, since the location is very close anyway.
Our adventurers arrive on a gruesome scene. Goblins and human-like individuals have set fire to many of the Elven homes here, and are caging the inhabitants they’ve managed to catch and subdue. The party quickly closes with the closest groups of enemies, between Onia, Syoran Silversmith and Erelas Treestrider, while Garret Nimblefeet and Ellion stand back to act as lethal archers, with Aylani wielding her patron’s magic.
Battle is chaotic; the dwarven warrior’s greatsword cleaves through goblin flesh with ease, the human cleric, who towers over everyone else, proves to be very well-armoured indeed, the wood elf ranger is a blur with his two short swords, the halfling rogue’s tactical positioning makes him a lethal adversary, and the single arrow he looses that spears two foes inspires not only his companions, but also some of the inhabitants of the burning village, who thereafter join the battle (… or are able to stop cowering in the house and gain enough courage to flee? I can’t remember). The half elf bard finds himself abruptly beset by more enemies than he had expected at one point, and a goblin attacking with a torch manages to set him aflame. Ellion puts his speed to good use and streaks across the field, launching himself in the mighty river (waist-high stream… ) which flows through the village to quench the flames. Aylani is surprised by the damage her spells, which she has thought of as “simple”, seem to be doing.
As combat on the near side of the stream seems to be wrapping up, Ellion, now on the far side of the stream, is alarmed to discover more goblins and scaled humans loading caged elves onto a cart hitched to a horse. At the same time, Aylani, who is cautiously trying to keep space between herself and the group responsible for setting Ellion alight, hears singing coming from a burning house behind her. She calls out, hoping the elves inside will somehow understand, telling them that help is here, but there is no movement from the structure. Erelas disengages from the almost completely subdued group of enemies he had been helping to battle, bursts through the house’s door, drags the inhabitants outside, and directs them towards the Princess and safety.
Ellion bravely engages multiple enemies in an attempt to keep the cart from hauling off the imprisoned elves, and Garret (or was it Ellion?) shoots the unfortunate horse so the captive elves cannot be abducted. Other party members begin to close the distance to this new area of combat as their adversaries fall on the near side of the river. Onia is the first to arrive, followed by Garret, still employing advantageous positioning to amplify his arching, and then Aylani. It is at this time that the adventurers are able to see a serpent lady closing in on three short sword wielding wood elves either trapped in or defending a pavilion-like structure. Before anyone can take useful actions against this frightening creature, one of the elves in the pavilion calls out to Aylani, and she curses her lack of knowledge of the language. It seems to her that the elf is asking her to choose one of three options, so desperately, she calls back the first option and this seems to satisfy him. A pillar of fire descends on the serpent creature, blowing her back. While our heroes would have liked to close with her, she runs (slithers?) away as soon as she picks herself up after the blast.
The party finishes off the goblins and scaled humans, lets captive elves loose, and helps the community put out fires. A village elder sings a mournful song, which also seems to thank the adventurers for their help, and gives each of them 2 pieces of compressed plant matter which turns out to be healing herbs of some sort. The party leaves in pursuit of the fleeing serpent lady.
Night has fallen, and when the group hears sounds of battle up ahead, they fear they might not be in fighting shape yet. They fall back and rest before proceeding, at which point they find caged elves and another horse and cart, with dead goblins and a dead serpent lady. From the charring on her body, it is decided this must be the same creature which suffered injury from the pillar of flame outside the wood elf pavilion. The dead creatures seem to have been dispatched with fine weapons and practiced technique, and the adventurers come to the uneasy conclusion that perhaps this was a drow attack. They continue onwards, uncertain of what they will find.
A little while later, they hear goblin voices and eventually see some indication of firelight on tents or huts. Creeping in closely, the party sees goblins around a campfire. Three die very quickly, but the fourth runs away to sound the alarm. The adventurers follow, and more combat is rejoined at a nearby second campfire. Again, some of the goblins escape, this time into a fringe of trees. When the party pursues them, they come under arrow fire, though this does not have the effect of stopping their chase. They break through the trees and find multiple targets to engage – goblins, and more scaled humans. There is a strange quality to the air here. Shortly, they hear strange chanting begin, and it grows louder and faster the longer it goes on. As the adventurers fight their way through this part of the enemy camp, the air gets stranger and stranger. Finally, they see the source of the chanting – a goblin shaman – and quickly target him. A strange mood takes Onia, and against his better judgement, he finds himself running away. A minute later, Syoran finds himself strangely compelled to drop his sword. Meanwhile, isolated on the other side of the enemy camp, Erelas finally takes too much damage and realises he has to disengage to save his hide.
The shaman manages to finish his chanting just before he is felled, and moving in closer, the adventurers find a strange dais, or stage, set in front of two lines of dense thickets. The goblins and scaled humans are mopped up, the camp is swept to be sure that there are no more enemies to jump on them… and one line of this dark hedge at the back of the camp swings open, beckoning the adventurers onwards.