Thursday August 26 1574 Edit
Our episode begins as we see our adventurers Keth, Kriv, Rickard and Cadence packing down camp after a good nights rest just within the boundary of the Black Wood. With the directions from the poachers the day before, the team feels confident that Minyelles lab won't be found toward the north of the dense forest, and decide to head nearer the center. During the first half of the day searching for the landmarks and locale described to them by Minyelle, our crew find something different entirely.
Ahead we see a single large tree, roughly 20 ft wide at the base. The other trees here all seem to give this one plenty of space, allowing a ring of sunlight to break through the canopy. It's branches are all stained grey, and it's leaves are mostly weltered. On the western face of this tree, its roots are exposed stretching outward from a crack in the earth that splits a few feet up into the splintering trunk revealing a hollow inside. The party investigates finding a collection of goblinoid skeletons that must have used to live here. Kriv does not dare to go inside, noticing a strange breeze flowing outward from the hollow before being spooked by a pair of large round glowing eyes along the ceiling. Keth having well suited light sensitive eyes can make out the large maggot like shape of a carrion crawler. Kriv feeling creeped out initiates a fight with the creature by firing his cross bow, landing the bolt in its hind quaters. Rickard charges into the hollow failing to connect with his sword as Cadence assaults the creature with a vicious mockery spell, causing the creature to scamper from the far end of the hollow around toward the opening. Keth steps in as the beast scatters along the wall above him before it lashes out with piercing poisonous tentacles trying to latch itself on to bite into his flesh. Keth fights off the paralytic poison with a swing of his long sword that fails to connect.Our team deal a good portion of damage with Kriv keeping cautiosly at range. Keth takes another tentacle attack, this time becoming paralyzed for a moment before being able to finish the creature off with a huge critical slash cutting it in two.
As the party rest to regain their strength, Kriv takes a moment to reminisce. Kriv's mind drift to his memories as a child, when he would spend much of his time being generally mischievous with a group of about a dozen other children. The group were all the offspring of soldiers, having differing levels of contact with their parents. The children grew up together, when they became teenagers and knowing that they couldn't stick together forever, they all got themed tattoos. The scene fades from a teenager Kriv eagerly flicking through designs back to present day.
After the hour of rest and everyone feeling energized, the party continue searching for the lab. A few hours pass and Kriv finds the large nose shaped boulder described to them by Minyelle, and they follow its point toward where the lab should be.
The trees begin to thin out and the grasses become shorter as our adventurers find their destination. A number of medium sized branches grow in odd convenient ways to support the basic form of this structure. Twisting branches and unnatural angles form rafters beneath a simple ceiling, the banister of an improvised stairway up to a small attic space and miss-shapen wall frames adorned by weaved plant fibre and thatch. The western face of the structure has been totally destroyed, as if torn apart by a beast with incredible force. Corners of the run down building are covered in a strange thin black sticky film that stretches out covering many parts of the structures interior. Oddly however there are a few pieces that seem completely untouched. A three piece seating corner, the second row of a wooden bookshelf and a large brass brazier remain neat and tidy.
Our party deduce that the brazier must be what Minyelle used in her summoning attempt, find charcoal and the goopy remains of various incense and herbs. The bookshelf houses a number of books, namely an elven discussion piece about the morality of necromancy, a poorly written book with large lettering reading "finding unfound things", a diary made up of many scraps of information mostly in draconic that focus around a fable of a wand that could freeze a person in place, and finally another elven book titled "geneology of the elven mule" referring to the nature of half elves. The adventurers decide to take all of these, besides the one on necromancy, hoping to find use of them later.
In manipulating the books, behind "finding unfound things" Kriv finds a small stoppered glass vial with a golden sewing needle suspended inside of it. Examining the vial, Cadence notices a blueish smokey strand of fine thread the loops through the eye of the needle before winging its way down and around the needle. Astounded, Cadence comes to the conclusion that this must be a thread of pure magic, that Minyelle must have somehow figured out how to manipulate the ethereal Weave and contain it.
In the small coffee table Kriv finds a hidden compartment that contains a small wooden lockbox and three loose dome shaped mushrooms. The team take the lockbox and skewer the mushrooms to avoid touching them before tucking them away.
The crew move upstairs to investigate further to find only the shredded remains of bed linen and pillow feathers. Keth moves in to search more thoroughly, in doing so he steps on a loose floor board that shifts just enough to allow the black sludge from below to seep through. He moves his weight off of the board to avoid touching the film but it's flow does not decrease. Looking around the party only now notice that the sludge has been slowing expanding to engulf the structure. Now that it's been agitated, the film begins expanding much more rapidly. Rather than risk stepping into the substance, Kriv jumps over the banister, managing to avoid the sludge in his landing. The remainder of the team carefully rush down the stairs, however Rickard gets his boot stuck. He hastily pulls his foot out of the boot before it is consumed by blackness and continues to leave the building.
Kriv in hurrying the others out, takes a misstep that leaves his bare dragonborn foot stuck in the goop. As hes struggling to pull himself free, a lanky black humanoid shape with two sets of both arms and legs warps into existance behind Kriv and lunges itself at him. Kriv breaks his foot free at just the right moment, managing to move himself out of its way. Keth and Rickard rush in to support their friend in the fight. The shifting man takes a couple attacks before channeling its planar jaunt ability and warping out of the material plane. A few moments pass as our party prepare their weapons waiting for the abomination to warp back when they hear the telling pop of air being forced out rapidly as the man warps back into the material plane lunging itself at Keth. The battle repeats this manner a few times with the creature shifting out of the plane with the party waiting for their opportunity to strike when it shifts back trying to attack. A couple of planar shifts later and the creature lays dead by Rickards sword.
With the monstrosity removed the black film ceases its expansion and our party feel comfortable enough to set up camp for the night.
Friday August 27 1574 Edit
Our adventurers are keen to get on the road and take caution to retrace their steps back to Wellington. They pass a small abandoned hunters shack, and later in the day spot a pack of wolves advancing onto a flock of sheep. Avoiding trouble for the day the party settle in for a good nights rest before a half days travel tomorrow.
Saturday August 28 1574 Edit
The team arrive in Wellington shortly after midday and head straight to visit Minyelle at the alchemist. She is greatful for the return of her lockbox though is disheartened in learning that her lab and many of her belongings have been destroyed. Kriv asks her what she might know about a golden needle. Her reserved disposition fades and she becomes much more volatile. "What did you find? Are you stealing from me Kriv?" "You mean to tell me you just so happened to find the broken shards of a golden needle amongst the rubble of an entire structure? Likely story." She shares the contents of the lockbox with our adventurers as promised and the team head off to the Goodbarrell for the night.
Kriv, Keth and Cadence are sitting in the Goodbarrell enjoying the daily stew for supper while Rickard looks for Thom. As they are eating, Rickard enters from down stairs in frustration and throws a note down onto the table without a word.
Pops, I know you'll be mad at me for leaving but finish reading before you jump to anything crazy.I met a man, Jovrick who was on his way to the university, he's friends with one of its professors and thinks he could fast track my interview. I've decided that rather than waiting for your return, I'd take a few coin to pay my way there with Jovrick.This way you can save on your own travel and avoid dealing with their administration and all that while you take care of Uncle H. I'll send letter for you once we arrive.The episode ends as our party look at each other confused, not sure what to make of the new situation.