3 Rova, 4730 AR
The Greenlords investigate the strange vortex in the middle of Tuskwater Lake. Nearer the phenomenon, they notice the waters grow darker closer to the vortex, and rife with strange foliage and plants that sometimes move against the prevailing current created by the whirlpool. Nisha notices that the dark waters appear to be spreading quickly.
At the sight, the Greenlords witness the heart of the vortex. The slowly churning whirlpool is 500 feet across and reaches to the bottom of the lake 200 feet below, leaving a circular area of lakebed 50 feet across exposed. Eerie, silent black swans seem to congregate in the waters surrounding the pool; as they’re drawn into the vortex, they fly up into the air and settle back down in the water some distance away. Every once in a while the black shape of some massive water elemental shows itself within the whirlpool, exiting a portion of its body in the shape of a huge black swan.
With the help of Triffid, the sentient plant creature and co-caretaker of the Erastil’s temple in the Narlmarches, the Greenlords determine that the vortex is some sort of First World intrusion upon their kingdom, a breach in the planar fabric separating the material and fey realms. With little else to go on, the rulers of Zelenoy agree that eliminating the fey water elementals is the first course of action, and hope that the elementals are somehow linked to the vortex’s continued presence. Luckily, their hunch is right, and by destroying the elementals, the First World bloom is destroyed. With the destruction of the sixth and final elemental, the energy contained in the vortex rises up in a pillar of green light into the sky and emits a high pitched keening like the sound of a mortally wounded deer or rabbit. The green pillar spirals back in upon itself and the whirlpool collapses.
The sword Briar pulsates and grows hot. Kraig nearly drops the sword and then the heat suddenly dissipates, and the half-orc finds Briar to have grown in power – it is now a cold iron bastard sword.
As the frothing waters finally settle, there remains only the carcass of a single black swan. The carcass radiates strong conjuration and transmutation magic. Further examination back at Mistral’s tower in Winter’s Gate determines that the black swan carcass may be some kind of link or anchor between the Material Plane and the First World.
Through communion with her god, Abadar, Alys comes to the same conclusion. She also learns some more information about the nymph queen Nyrissa. Abadar’s agent reveals that the Whirling Lake has an analogy in a forested realm within the First World called Thousand Breaths – Nyrissa’s prison. Thousand Breaths is said to have a connection to the forest of Thousand Voices in the Stolen Lands, but very little is known about the place, even amongst the gods. Thousand Breaths apparently consists of a number of glades connected by rivers and paths, presided over by Nyrissa in a strange house called the House at the Edge of Time. Most of what is known about Thousand Breaths comes from a rare picture book called Zuddinger’s Picnic, published more than 40 years ago in Pitax.
The Greenlords resolve to find a copy of this book.