17 to 18 Rova, 4730 AR
The Greenlords continue to explore the glades of Nyrissa’s realm, doing battle with a gargantuan mandragora composed of thousands of the shrieking root creatures and surviving an ambush by two ankous – shadowy assassins of the First World. Kreeger surprises the other Greenlords (except Nisha) when he shapeshifts into a weretiger during the fight with the giant mandragora, but the group decides it best to save any penetrating questions about the matter until they’re on safer ground. Moving on, the group comes to a forested glade featuring a high waterfall cascading between two immense stone hands carved from the peak of a stony cliff. The falls plunge into a crystal clear pool in the glade, its shores thick with reeds and water-flowers of dazzling hue. Giant trees hang over the pool as though protecting it, and several large leaves the size of small boats float near the shore.
The waterfall glade is seemingly peaceful compared to the rest of Thousandbreaths. The Greenlords observe at least two very large winged owlbears high up at the waterfall’s crest. The owlbears don’t appear interested in disturbing the group as long as they remain at the bottom of the falls, and the Greenlords decide to camp near the pool. Kraig tries to contact the owlbears after a time of rest, hoping they might let the group travel upriver. He finds the creatures become increasingly hostile as he approaches the top of the waterfall, and after several attempts at reasoning with the owlbears he decides to give up on the attempt.
The Greenlords continue along Thousandbreaths’ pathways. Hours later they enter another glade, this one a huge field of thorny brambles twisted and grown around thousand s of stone statues. The statues depict different and strange denizens of the First World, from giant worms to lightning treants to terrible linnorms, nymphs, and more, and each is encrusted with moss and lichen. At the centre of the clearing rises a low but strangely round hill, atop which rises a three-hundred-foot-high tower of white stone with a peak consisting of three conical rooftops. An immense archway gapes at the base of the tower, wide and tall enough for a pair of elephants to walk through side-by-side. The twilight of Thousandbreaths is eerily silent in this glade.
The Greenlords approach the tower: Kraig, Torgrim, and Kreeger on foot; Mistral, Nisha, and Alys in flight; and Yetar hiding in shadows in the rearguard. Twenty feet ahead of the massive arch leading into the tower, the path under Kraig’s, Torgrim’s, and Kreeger’s feet suddenly turns to mud, plunging the three thirty feet to a hard surface below. They hit the ground hard and find their immediate vision blurred by a heavy, acidic fog that burns their skin through armour and clothes. The three can just make out a pair of eyes in the acid mist, large orbs that burn with a purple-red fire. A chilling voice fills the cavern, something like of the sound of leathery skin dragged across a jagged rasp:
“It has been some time since Ilthuliak enjoyed the tender flesh of mortals. Do give me some sport, won’t you? Something on which to reminisce for another century.”