After being tied up to a tree in the clearing, our heroes are met with a Pixie sitting on a huge stump. The fairy court is now in session; Judge Merigold presiding. She questions your intent and asks you to defend yourself. After much debate she decides that she will leave the sentence up to the heroes. They may choose between seeing The Companion and having him judge them or something that translates to “The Shaming” in Sylvan.
Faen, Patchan, and Apotropaia see The Companion, Dertaal. Merlot and Ander undergo “The Shaming.”
Petalsent the sprite escorts the group to Dertaal’s shack along with and Tilbow and Shayz the satyrs. Dertaal welcomes his visitors with a smile on his face and they discuss what to do with Apotropaia, Fane, and Patchan. Dertaal says that he doesn’t have a clue what to do with them and might send them to the tiefling outpost near the mountain path when he’s finished with them, just as he did with the “last one.” Dertaal sends Petalsent, Tilbow, and Shayz on their way and they head back to the clearing.
After they depart, Dertaal forces the group to drink poisons. His cheerful demeanor disappears with a final laugh at their fate and he warns the three heroes of a great blight headed towards The Clearing. Taking a more grim tone, he explains of how the blight is an unnatural phenomena that came to pass three years ago where a tree was struck by a magical lightning from the heavens and corrupted. Plants near the tree twist and into vile figures seeking nothing but to destroy and expand their corrupted domain. The tainted abominations will rise up and attack within two weeks. Though they were weak and easy to fend off before, his prophetic vision predict that this time they will experience a power stronger than before. He allows them to leave with a final warning: if news of The Clearing or the fey residing there makes its way around town they’ll never get the antidote. He also states that he doesn’t want the fey to know about the blight. The would sacrifice their lives to protect the clearing and he doesn’t want that.
Tilbow and Shayz prepare for The Shaming and undress Ander and Merlot. Pixies, sprites, satyrs, and dryads walk past them, laughing at their naked bodies. They are sent back to town, unclothed. They are informed if they cover up in any way, they fail the ritual and will not be allowed to have their possessions back and the fey will seek them out to punish them fully.
The group meets up. Faen is completely disturbed by her naked companions and rushes to Dresler’s church to cleanse her eyes with holy water. Ander decides to go to Shootren’s, Apotropea goes to The Mill, Merlot hides in Albern’s General Store, and Patchan camps out amongst the trees of the forest.
Ander reaches Shootren’s house. He knocks on the door. Shootren peeks through his window, sees Ander’s head and prepares to open the door. He looks down further and sees that Ander is shirtless and becomes suspicious. He looks even further down and sees that Ander is naked and he mutters “why?” to himself as he makes his way upstairs.
Ander thinks this is the cue to let himself in and does so. He lays down on the floor as usual and Shootren’s animals lick him all over. Shootren comes down to see the commotion and tells Ander if he needs to take care of something like “that” he shouldn’t use animals, he should just go to The Mill. Ander takes this advice.
Ander passes by The General’s Office. Jubeln tells him that he can’t walk around like that. She has Stute pick him up and take him inside. Jubeln questions Ander, but without paper for him to write on, she doesn’t get far. Ander mimes to Stute that he needs to go to The Mill. Stute understands and tells Jublen to let him go and she responds with a scowl.
Saft talks with Apotropaia. Ander barges in and confuses everyone. Drunken antics in the bar with Ander and Apotropaia.
Dresler explains that she has minor clerical powers.
Merlot buys flowers for the fey. Merigold happily accepts and is a bit taken aback by the kind gesture. (Merigold approves)
Ander and Apotropaia wake up in The General’s Office. Apotropaia notices a terrible smell and sees that Ander has vomited and wet himself in his sleep. Jubeln checks up on them and sees the mess. Apotropaia apologizes for her companion’s misbehavior and Jubeln says it’s alright, she’s used to taking care of kids so it doesn’t gross her out nearly as much as it confuses her and that they have enough money to replace the mattress. Stute lets out a deep chuckle as he sees Ander walk out and quietly comments to Jublen “I’m glad we let him go.” She scowls at him again.
The group clears up some questions with the fey while Merlot cleans up Ander and they clothe themselves. The fey don’t know of the upcoming blight. They notice that some items happen to be missing and were replaced with berries and nuts.
The group moves on to meet with Dertaal and they clear up questions they have for him. He explains that now would be the best time to obtain some battle experience and that if they couldn’t find anyone to train them in town, they could practice on a few wild animals in the clearing, but it might not be much help.
With that our heroes set off… but how will they prepare for the upcoming blight? Will they seek aid from others and risk Dertaal refusing the antidote? Will they battle one another or with friends to train their bodies for combat? Will they delve deeper into the forest to train on the monsters within?
YOU DECIDE NEXT TIME ON: INVASIVE MANEUVERS!