3 to 12 Rova, 4730 AR
The Greenlords deal with several more incursions and threats from the First World. Near Tatzlford, in the Narlmarches forest, a bloom of First World flora and fungi preludes an influx of mandragora swarms – miniature root creatures that sicken and nauseate with their terrible shrieking and poisonous flesh. The Greenlords deal with the mandragora swarms with fire and magic.
Not long after the mandragora bloom, Nisha explores the ruins of the so-called Castle of Knives in the forest of a Thousand Voices and discovers that it appears whole and undamaged – an impossible structure of tall spires and unnatural angles. Further inspection reveals the majority of the structure to be an elaborate illusion, and that only rubble and ruins remain of the ancient dwelling. Nisha does find evidence of activity at the site, however, and with the rest of the Greenlords learns that a small force of ettins and great cyclopes has appeared and is advancing towards Zelenoy. As reports of cyclopes and ettin attacks in different cities emerge, the group springs to action to defeat the threat. They discover that the force is led by a powerful satyr ranger calling himself the Horned Hunter. The Horned Hunter attempts to trick the group into giving up Briar, but his fey music luckily does not sway everyone, and the satyr is eventually dealt with.
Finally, on the night of the 12th of Rova, many of the Greenlords find their sleep interrupted by unsettling and twisted nightmares – visions of being chased through strange wooded realms, being savaged by wild animals, and especially of being pursued by an immense night-black bird whose wings blot out the stars. For Yetar, in particular, the dream becomes a living nightmare. In the fetchling’s nightmare, he finds himself struggling to keep afloat in a turbulent black sea, never able to keep his head above the waves for more than a second or two. The massive black bird circles in the sky above, a black blot against the already-dark sky. As Yetar flounders, he feels the presence of something in the water beneath him, and feels his legs suddenly gripped by the tentacles of some hellish creature of the depths. Yetar suddenly wakes from the dream, and for a moment thinks it is over, until he realizes he is being held to his bed by a mass of writhing black tentacles.