When the mysterious temple shimmered and appeared before our eyes, we could hardly believe it. The whole structure was completely composed of living trees, vines and roots. It emitted a soft, golden glow, but before we could enter we were stopped abruptly by a group of dire beasts – perhaps they were once the temple’s protectors before the magic and the fey in the area started acting up?
Time was of the essence and after we dispatched of the creatures, we hurried our way inside. The beauty of the scared place could not be conveyed into words, and the air was thick with thrumming magic. As enchanting as it was, it was not without its dangers. The place had been set with traps, and silently I feared the worst for the Dryad we promised the pixies we would find.
Exploring more, we found a room with mysterious altars composed of bones and jewels on top, all placed around the room with an ornate fountain in the middle. The morbid altars were slightly out of place, as the entire temple itself seemed to be a celebration of life. Were the bones from sacrifices? Or was it a tomb? I would’ve liked to have studied these things, but there was not enough time. Locating the Dryad was our priority.
After I had taken a not-so-graceful journey down a flight of stairs we found, we discovered an antechamber that was ankle-deep in water. The liquid shimmered and glittered, giving off a peaceful magical energy. Gabriel was able to discern that the water had healing properties, but all curiosities were halted when we discovered a figure slumped in the corner of the great room.
Lyrimwe, the Dryad the pixies so desperately missed in their home tree, the one we had been searching for, was drawing her final breaths as we approached her. Upon further inspection, we noticed she was the beautiful woman who appeared in front of us, almost like a vision, before we departed Haldseth. Once again she requested our assistance, and we were all quick to oblige. She told us that dark cultists now inhabited this temple, tampering and defiling the pure magic it provided. With the last bit of strength she could muster, she cupped some of the enchanted water in her hands and solidified it, turning it into a magnificent gleaming crystal. She implored us to use the gem to heal the Thrice Twined Tree, a source of magic that the cultists had been corrupting. Gabriel secured the crystal in his robes, and we readied ourselves to investigate the cultists’ activities.
We didn’t have to wait long, for after rounding the corner we came face to face with some sentries. Our battle unfortunately attracted more cultists, but we quickly dispatched of them and found our way into a great hall. I will never forget the foreboding feeling that tingled up my spine when we entered that large room; the magic felt vile and molested.
Nearing the back of the room, the Thrice Twined Tree came into view. Instead of it being a beautiful, thriving thing, its bark was blackened and its roots writhed and twitched in what seemed like agony. Surrounding it were more cultists, and curiously, a small dragon. As we approached the group, they made it clear there were to be no negotiations, and they swiftly attacked us.
I have heard stories of dragons before. Their mighty wings and strong bodies usually no match for most, and their infernal breath could easily wipe out acres of forest. Yet this one seemed small and frail. Were the cultists hurting this creature, too? I almost felt bad for the thing, but we were determined to purify the area and restore balance to the fey.
After some time, only one cultist remained. He identified himself as Berrian Truescoruge, the cultist leader and an Eladrin, but Gabriel nor I would ever call him kin. He was truly evil, and had abandoned everything our people held dear. Bardock, Jabez , Boboo, Gabriel and I fought against Berrian relentlessly. It was their hope to weaken and exhaust him so that we may pry information from him about what he has done, but I was enraged. I engulfed the corrupted elf into flame, watching as he died in agony. I still see his face when I close my eyes; it haunts me. Would Master Xanwern understand what I have done? Would he be proud or ashamed? My stomach sinks when I think about it.
After our battle, Gabriel dropped the crystal Lyrimwe had given us into the roots of the dark tree and the most wonderful display of rejuvenation and purity played out before our eyes as the Thrice Twined Tree became healed. It yielded a tome to us within its branches; an ancient, unintelligible book that appeared to be of Elven craft. We have yet to decipher the thing, but Boboo is keeping it safe until we can. I have half the mind to ask him to assist me in conducting a ritual to try and translate the text. He is eager to learn more of it too, so I am sure he would cooperate.
After celebrating the life Lyrimwe was known for with the pixies, we returned to the village of Halsdeth. We told the farmers of our successful mission, much to their joy. We kept the discovery of the tome a secret, but Grear, one of the farmers, had mentioned that his brother in Halsdeth has seen a tome that sounds quite similar to the one we found. Is the tome we have his, or are there more of its kind? We agreed to travel to travel to Veltalar the next morn to learn more, after some well-deserved rest and recover.