Chapter 01:

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Session Number: 131
Date: Sunday 22 April 2012
Venue: Densial's
PCs & Players:

Arrian Rog1/Clr10 (Fergus) (kills: none)
Calico Drd11 (Yeran) (kills: none)
Lionel Rgr6/Wiz1/ArcA4 (Ash) (kills: none)
Rowaine Pal11 (Craig) (kills: none)
Troll Wiz11 (Densial) (kills: none)

XP Awarded: TBA

Shalélu finds her way to Trina, where she is set upon by Troll.

"Where were you?"

"I couldn't find your guy, but I found some little arachtria so I've been hunting them. Quite a lot of them. After two days of not finding any more, I came back."

"I've been worried about you."

"I can take care of myself."

Troll gets word to Verithna, also sending the druid some of Trina's seeds. She is quite taken aback at the gesture. Troll suggests to Ethalyn that she send some SpiderKillers to keep an eye on Verithna's Ridge and the old goblin mine. They make sure that the families of the SpiderKillers that lost their lives in Isendor are well taken care of. Troll then grants Lionel transit rights through the tower network, gets rid of his Vampiric Touch and Ray of Enfeeblement wands, then he and Ethalyn go on holiday at Abbey's for a time. This effectively shuts down Trina to outsiders while they are away. While away, Troll decides that every day he and Rowaine adventure together, he will gift Rowaine an Endure Elements spell.

Background: Knowledge of Trina is generally limited to folklore: most people know her name, but not where she was or that she is now awake. Some of the elven aristocracy know of her awakening. Fewer still know that she is the base of operations for the fledgling SpiderKillers. It will take years for that knowledge to filter down to the general population.

Rowaine excuses herself from the elven kingdom to visit Minehome. She retains a master armourer and weaponsmith to craft a suit of dwarven plate armour and a dwarven waraxe using billets of imithrium alloy that Abbey has manufactured on her request. She then visits the Silver Arrows, far to the south.

Arrian stays in Avarriel in a silent retreat at the temple. He also starts making use of the Roielle library.

Everyone agrees to meet in Avarriel in two weeks. Some will meet at Trina for Troll to teleport them to Avarriel.

Two weeks after the banquet, Troll, Ethalyn and Rowaine return to Trina. The SpiderKillers seem more active than normal, more alert. Ethalyn asks for a report.

"There is someone outside the brambles, calling out for Trina," Ethalyn informs the others.

"They cannot come in," Troll says.

"We can go out," says Rowaine. "Troll, what can Trina tell us about these visitors?" Trina tells Troll that there is a group. The voice calling is that of a female human. Trina is unsure what her companion is, a cause for concern.

Rowaine summons Harley, Troll takes the rear saddle position and they exit the brambles for an aerial reconnaissance. They see a fairskinned human woman with red hair, in common clothes. An eagle is perched upon a leather bracer strapped to her left arm.

"We want to talk to the person who awoke Trina!" the woman yells. She talks more quietly, but the only other visible in the area is the eagle. Could she be talking to it?

Rowaine casts Eagle's Splendour on herself, then circles for landing. The woman notices and stands her ground. Rowaine tells Harley to rear up on touchdown, then yawn, so her teeth show. Ro and Troll dismount. Everyone looks generally awesome. Neither the woman nor the eagle seem particularly offput.

"That is an impressive beast you have there, the woman says. "Is it a stone flyer?"

"Indeed it is," Rowaine replies, inwardly surprised at the woman's display of knowledge. "Lady Rowaine Kharag."

"A pleasure to meet you. My name is Aiur."

"How may we be of assistance, Aiur?" Rowaine says, Detecting Evil. She senses none about her.

"My companion and I have been looking for the Tree of Life, and have been led here."

Rowaine looks around. "Your companion? The one on your arm, or is there someone else?"

"There is someone else," Aiur says. "He does not wish to be noticed at this time. He has trust issues and that is just how he is. We have come from a distant land, and we are looking for the Tree of Life. May we come inside the grove?"

"I'm going to have to know a little bit more about who you are and why you're here first," Rowaine says.

"That might be better explained by my friend," Aiur says. "Calico!" she calls out to the forest behind her. A bird swoops down. As it lands its wings crack out of place and feathers recede into its body. The figure grows and green cloth appears at its neck, flowing down its body. It becomes a human male, staff in hand.

Rowaine fingers her waraxe. "You might want to explain yourselves!"

"My name is Calico," the new figure says. "I am a druid of Obad-Hai. I have come from another tree that I have met, and look to learn about the one that you have here." He turns to Troll. "Are you the sun elf that woke Trina?"

"No. I am a guard here."

"You don't think that we would send out the master of the house to greet two unknowns, do you?" Rowaine states flatly. "What business do you have with the sun elf that awoke the Tree of Life?"

"I am a wanderer," Calico says, "looking to experience the natural world. As soon as I heard word that this tree had awoken, I came to visit her and pay my respects. I also have heard that there is another tree somewhere else that I wish to discuss with the elf."

"Who is this sun elf that you speak of?" Troll asks.

"I don't know, that is all the information that the other tree was able to give me. His name is Harkon, the Tree of the Planes, on another continent, far from here. He sensed that another creature like himself had awoken, hence why I came."

"Are you sent on his behest?" Rowaine asks. "Are you his envoy?"

"No," Calico replies. "I only come seeking knowledge of the Tree of Life. Harkon was created by a sun elf, he thought that this tree was created by one as well."

"Does he know the name of the sun elf that created him?"

"No, he doesn't."

"Which one of you is a construct?" Troll asks.

"None of us…" Calico responds, appearing a little perplexed.

"We only sensed one out here," Troll says.

"I do not know what to say; there are just the three of us."

"What do you already know of the Tree of Life?" Rowaine asks.

"Only that which I have told you," Calico says, turning back to Rowaine. "That which was passed to me from the Tree of the Planes. Harkon had great knowledge of the world, I assumed that Trina would be similar."

"How did you travel here?"

"I take the form of that which I need to take. I befriended a large bat in the caverns where I am from, and took that form for the journey."

"I have heard of such things," Rowaine says, turning towards Troll. "I will have to consult with the master. Are there any others that we need be aware of?"

"No," Calico says. "Just myself, Aiur and Beau.


"The eagle."

"Hello," the eagle says in perfectly recognisable common, then leaps off Aiur's arm and flutters over to Calico's.

"Does Aiur turn into anything else that we need know about?" Rowaine asks.

"No," Calico replies.

"We will consult with the master," Troll says, "and you may be seeing the Tree of Life, or the Tree of Death!" Troll hears Calico whisper to Beau "I bet that's the sun elf."

"Wait here," Rowaine says. "You needn't yell any more." They remount Harley, take off and head back inside Trina's grove.

Troll and Rowaine are wary that Trina only identified one life form, and was unsure of the other. Plus this is the stronghold of a military unit force currently at war, do they allow tourists? The visitors haven't yet given any compelling reason to allow them entry. Troll consults Trina and Abbey. Trina can see that the eagle looks normal, but seems preternaturally intelligent. She can see the human male, and can sense but cannot understand the third creature - the human female that introduced herself as Aiur. Abbey senses the human female but senses that there is something else underneath.

"Troll, any spells that can do that?" Rowaine asks.

"Some. An illusion… Or an antiscrying spell."

"It doesn't do their cause any favours that they are appearing so secretive," Rowaine says, frowning.

"The last time we came across something like this," Troll says, "it tried to take out the kingdom."

"This is entirely your call," Rowaine says, "but were it me, they would not set foot in this place. I would like to see the backs of their necks for a start."

"Let's go talk some more." The pair fly back out.

"I have been sent as ambassador by my master," Troll says.

"May I call you something other than 'Ambassador?'" Calico asks.

"John. Have you ever heard of the matre and arachtria?"


"Matre and arachtria are types of constructs set on taking over this world. There is currently a small war going on between the forces of good and the forces of evil. This grove is an outpost for the forces of good in this war. A strategic location. Entry is not given to strategic positions during a war simply upon request."

"Is Trina being used as a military outpost?"

"The area is; Trina is not a place, she is a tree."

"Trina is not directly involved," Rowaine adds.

Troll continues. "The enemy forces are primarily concerned with killing all elves. As such, this location, being in elven lands and being defensible, is of strategic importance."

"Constructs fighting elves sounds very … specific."

"Don't get me wrong," Troll counters. "I figure their ultimate goal is to take over the world. It just seems that they want to start with the elves."

"Can we at least agree that the extermination of an entire species is a bad thing?" Rowaine puts to Calico.

"Agreed. They should be destroyed; they are unnatural."

"You are not being granted access," Troll says. "Constructs are foreign to Trina. Since your companion is inscrutable, we consider her an unacceptable risk."

Calico and Aiur share glances. "Is there any way we can prove our trustworthiness?" Calico asks.

"I cannot see a way," Troll answers. "My master does not see your need to enter the grove as an acceptable risk. If you require information, I will help you as best as I can."

"Your distrust seems to be based around my companion," Calico says, looking at Aiur. "Would it help if she left?"

"Perhaps you can explain why Trina is unable to sense her," Rowaine offers.

"I know why Aiur cannot be detected," Calico says. "She has magically cloaked herself - for valid reasons. I cannot safely divulge her identity."

"She is not what she appears to be?"


"Your actions are not helping us to trust you."

"I will honestly answer any questions you care to ask."

"How far away is this other tree?" Troll asks.

"I do not know the exact distance, but I know how to fly there."

"How long did it take you?" Rowaine asks.

"Two and a half weeks, to my continent…"

"You flew for two and a half weeks over water?" Rowaine says, astonished. "I cannot think of any creatures that could do that. You must have taken a great deal of provisions with you."

"I was well-prepared."

"My master does not really understand why you want to come," Troll says to Calico. "Casual interest is not going to be enough," Rowaine adds.

"I come here," Calico says, "interested in meeting the Tree of Life and wanting to learn about her, but I also have heard that she has means to reach another tree that I also want to meet. I was told that only the sun elf could get there. My motivation is only to explore the world."

"Be right back," Troll says.

"I am interested in that other tree," Troll says to Rowaine, in the privacy of Trina's grove. "Especially in light of Krag. A 'Tree of the Planes' may be able to help."

"And this other tree…" Rowaine ponders. "Is he talking about a branch perhaps? Maybe we can organise a knowledge exchange - tell you about our tree if you tell us about yours? Are you happy with that?"

"Yes," Troll replies. "The knowledge of Trina should not be held back." They return to their visitors.

"So Calico," Troll begins. "Tell us what you can, and we will tell you what we can. Perhaps start with Harkon, and this other tree you mentioned."

"You wish to know about Harkon?" Calico replies. "I will tell you what I know. As for the other, I do not know many details, only that it was a creation of the sun elf that could only be accessed at the Tree of Life and via the sun elf."

"As a sign of good faith," Troll says, "I can confirm that Trina has been awakened. In ancient times Trina had many branches that were part of her. Only five of them still exist, and only three of those are accessible. They are over time being explored. Trina helps elves and life as she can."

"These branches," Calico says, "are they extensions of Trina?"

"I don't really understand, it but I believe so. Trina has seeds. When these seeds are planted and grow, Trina can communicate with them."

"You had some questions about Harkon?" Calico asks.

"How can a tree be a 'Tree of the Planes?'" Rowaine asks.

"Harkon, the Tree of the Planes, has existed for generations in Elagor, the continent I am from. Unlike Trina, Harkon has been awake the entire time, living and growing in knowledge. He seems to be particularly interested in the planes."

"How is he accessing these other worlds?"

"From what I can tell, it is similar to Trina and her branches. Harkon has branches located on other planes."

"You said that Harkon was aware when Trina awoke; does that mean that he has some presence near here?"

"He has no presence here. I believe he heard something through another plane. I have not travelled to any of his branches."

"What connection do you have to Harkon?" Rowaine asks.

"I just encountered him in my search for knowledge."

"And your other companions?"

"Aiur led me to Harkon. I did not have Beau at that time. Then, I had Theo, a brown bear."

"You mentioned another tree?" Troll questions.

"All I know is that there is another tree that exists somewhere within Trina's grasp, and that only the sun elf can get there."

Troll and Rowaine excuse themselves, heading back inside the grove. "I wonder if they are talking about the towers," Ro says, "and mistakenly calling it a tree."

"Trina," Troll asks, "ever heard of Harkon?"

"No," Trina answers.

"How about any other trees within your grasp?"

"I know there have been other trees created, but I do not know of any at the moment. It has been some time since I have been connected to the others. I am alone."

Troll and Rowaine head back out. "Some of your story checks out," Troll says to Calico. "There seem to have been other trees in the distant past. As for another tree within Trina's grasp, she does not know of it. How do you propose that you access it? What information were you given on finding it?"

Calico reveals a necklace. "This is a necklace that was given to me by my sect," he says. "Harkon has imbued it to sense the tree."

"What is it telling you now?" Rowaine asks.

"Nothing. May I have a minute?" At Rowaine's nod, Calico, Aiur and Beau head into the forest.

"I don't trust him," Troll says to Rowaine when they are alone. "His necklace could explode when he is allowed entry. I am more interested in going to see Harkon."

Calico returns. "Thanks for the information," Troll says to him. "Was there anything else you wanted to know?"

"I wanted to meet Trina," Calico says. "Perhaps talk to her."

"Trina does not converse with people she does not know."

"May I enter the grove?"

"That would require a great deal more trust than we currently have in you," Rowaine says.

"Is there any way I can earn that trust?" Calico says.

"Give me your amulet," Troll says.

"May I have a moment?" Calico asks.

"You have given us many," Rowaine says. Calico and the others go back into forest.

"Perhaps if they first took us to Harkon?" Rowaine says to Troll. "That might be a fairly significant offering to garner our trust."

"A Tree of Knowledge of the Planes," Troll muses. "I am very interested in that."

"Might the Roielle library have some mention of Harkon?"


Calico and the others return. "We are willing to take you to Harkon," Calico says. "I would rather not give up my necklace, but as a sign of trust, you can have it." Troll beckons for the necklace and Calico hands it over. Troll tucks it into a fold in his clothes.

"I am interested in going to Harkon," Troll says. "How long would that take?"

"Many weeks, as I fly," Calico says.

"It sounds like a fairly arduous journey," Rowaine says. "Beyond your reach, John."

"Hmmm," Troll says. "Well, Calico, you are welcome to enter Trina's grove - without your necklace, and without your curious human friend. Your bird may accompany you. I will go on ahead and clear this with the master. Please remain here."

"As you say," Calico replies.

Troll and Rowaine enter Trina's grove. "We need everyone for this," Troll says to Rowaine. "I'll be right back." Troll teleports to Avarriel, finds Arrian and Lionel and tells them what has happened. He returns with them.

"Is the tree within Trina's grasp possibly a branch?" Arrian wonders.

"We discussed the possibility," Ro says.

"Perhaps Trina can tell us the location of the branches, and how far away they are. That will give us an idea of where this place is that Calico is interested in. And you mentioned that one of them was hidden in some way?" Arrian casts True Seeing on himself. All exit on foot through the brambles. Calico and Aiur are talking. Arrian notices Aiur's form is blurred and displaced, even with his enhanced sight he cannot tell where she is. To the others, she appears as a normal human female. Arrian lets the others know of his odd discovery. They approach.

"Aiur will leave if she is not coming into the grove," Calico says. "Are these the rest of your companions?"

Arrian introduces himself. "I have never met a worshipper of Obad-Hai before." Introductions are made.

"What direction did you come from?" Arrian asks. Calico points west-by-northwest.

"You may enter now," Troll says. "But nothing funny!"

"Very well," Calico says. "Aiur will leave now."

Aiur departs. The others link hands. Arrian, at the end of the chain, offers an outstretched hand to Calico. Together, they enter Trina's grove. Calico falls to the grass and buries his fingers in the turf, very reminiscent of Verithna. Troll gives him a moment and then gets Calico to confirm the direction and distance to Harkon: six weeks north by northwest.

Rowaine thinks of what she knows of Harley. "What can remain on the wing for that long?" she thinks to herself. "The risks of making such a journey…"

"Do you need the necklace for anything," Calico asks, "or can I have it back?"

"I don't need it, I just want it," Troll says.

"There is no magical purpose of the necklace beyond finding the tree. Can I have it back please?"

"Not inside the grove," Rowaine says in reinforcement. "You can have it when you leave," Troll says.

"You want to travel to Harkon?" Calico asks.

"I think that is a good idea."

"I'm going to have to go out and talk to Aiur."

Troll and the others accompany Calico outside the bramble barrier. Calico heads after Aiur.

"Two options," Troll says to the others in his absence. "Tree, or tree. Harkon, or this other tree within Trina's grasp. Which one? The other tree sounds easier. Plus there is stuff going on here, I don't want to be away too long."

Ro's equipment will take another two weeks to complete, then needs to be taken to Avarriel.

"I'd be interested to find out if this other tree is one of your branches, Troll," Rowaine says. "How do we find out?"

Troll looks at the necklace in his hand. "This is the key."

"Will it work for anyone?, do you think?"

"I don't know," Troll says. "If I Identify it, I will know more. I'm not going to rush off and do anything today, so I might as well learn what I can about it before taking it anywhere."

Calico returns. "It will be extremely hard for us all to travel to Harkon," he says. "Aiur is partially my method of transport."

"Is this necklace keyed to you, Calico, as far as finding this other tree goes?" Troll asks. "Or will it work for anyone?"

"I don't know."

"Alright," Troll says. So come inside, stay the night. You can have this back tomorrow if it doesn't blow up. Or you can stay here, outside, and I will give it back now. Your choice."

"I will return to the grove if that is alright."

"Come on in."

Troll sets up a guard for Calico. Arrian suggests paying someone to start researching Harkon at the Roielle library. Maybe Riaz can recommend someone trustworthy. Troll asks Abbey to examine the necklace. She confirms that it is magical. Calico asks who he can speak to about the lay of the land. Troll directs him to Lionel with the instruction not to give away too much.

The next day, Troll Identifies Calico's necklace. It has a permanent Find the Path spell on it at Caster Level 20, set to locate a fixed location. It is automatically triggered when the area is within walking distance. It is tailored to only work for Calico.

"This is benign," Troll says, handing the necklace back to Calico.

"Calico," Rowaine says, "what is this necklace designed to help you find?"

"I was told it was made to help find another creation of the sun elf," Calico says. "Another tree, I assume."

"There are three places we can try," Troll says. "The branches. Let's try the Underdark first, because it is the safest and the least likely." Troll briefly explains what is going to happen to Calico. Rowaine hands him a lit sunrod. "It'll be dark," she says. "Thanks," Calico replies. "I won't need it."

Trina transports the group to the Underdark branch. Calico gets nothing from the necklace. Next, they go to Aquilla. Again, nothing. Rowaine mentions that she likes the floating city, maybe they should visit. Not today.

Unlike the previous two, the branch at the floating mountain is inherently and immediately dangerous - the destination is a disembodied root that exits the mountain's underside, floating some unknown distance above the ground below. Troll casts a Greater Floating Disc, Calico, Rowaine and Troll transport. Next to them is a large bit of earth with a root growing out of it. Visibility is very poor for they are in cloud; the ground is not in sight. It is windy and fairly cold. Calico's necklace buzzes in his head. They transport back to Trina and tell the others of their success.

"Do we want to go today?" Troll asks. "I don't have my usual adventuring spells." Calico offers to carry someone. "I can take the form of a large bat." That seems a bit weird to Lionel and Arrian; they opt to travel the tried and true Disc means. All agree to wait until tomorrow.

The next day, Rowaine summons Harley and mounts up with Lionel, Troll casts Overland Flight for himself and a Greater Floating Disc for Arrian, and Calico turns into a large bat. Beau hops over, ready as well. Trina transports everyone to the floating mountains.

Calico the bat starts heading up, his wide wings taking lazy flaps.

"Shall we pop in and have a look?" Rowaine asks.

"OK," Troll says.

Rowaine lights another sunrod and hands it to Lionel. "In case it gets dark," she says again. She tells Harley to find out how far up the top is, then go out in an arc for a maximum of a couple of minutes before returning. "See you in about five minutes - or less," she says.

Rowaine, Harley and Lionel Earth Glide into the floating mountain. Five minutes later they return. Harley says to Rowaine in terran that there is a surface about 150' above their current location, where there are a large number of roots, including the beginning of the one where they arrived. The stone flyer completed the arc without encountering or seeing an edge. She saw the roots thin out at the farthest part from the root; the start of a mountain.

Rowaine does some mental calculations. "I guess we went a good 350 yards from here without reaching the other side," she says to the others."

"There must be a tree up top," Arrian says.

"I could get Harley to follow the root and meet you up top?" Rowaine suggests. The others agree.

Rowaine, Harley and Lionel travel through the earth. Calico leads the others, following the undercut earth. They break through the clouds, to be met with brilliant sunshine. The mountain extends up thirty more feet before plateauing. The group see a large expanse of land stretching out - mostly forests, broken in the distance by two mountains. Troll lets Arrian down to the surface. Now that Arrian is stationary relative to the ground, he notices that furthest mountain has moved. The island appears to be sitting on a bank of slowly drifting clouds.

Craigo dons his meteorology hat: The clouds move with the wind, meaning that the floating mountains move at a different vector than the wind. What the islands do relative to the surface below is unknown, although we are told that the islands do move relative to the world below.

Harley breaks surface. There is no tree here, just grass. Lionel mentions that the grass is different to the surrounding flora. Harley tells Rowaine that she followed the root as far as she could; it became more extensive but petered out before the surface.

Rowaine needs to talk to Sir Angus of the Order of the Silver Hand, to see if there is a way to see what Harley sees while Earth Gliding.

Rowaine and Lionel see an edge in the distance. Rowaine motions for Harley to fly in that direction. They see a large bat circling and head towards it, meeting up with the others. Calico changes to human form. Rowaine tells the others what they have seen. Troll cannot communicate with Trina from the edge. He flies back to the underside where the root exits, Arrian in tow: from there, he can communicate with Trina. He confirms with her that there is no 'tree' here, just roots. Troll returns. All head towards the area where the roots should be. Rowaine is able to lead the way. Calico turns into a dog.

Why? Because he can.

The group arrive at the area where the grass is different. Calico says that the grass here is similar to the grass that grows both at Trina, the Tree of Life, and Harkon, the Tree of the Planes. Lionel confirms this finding. Troll attempts to talk to Trina. She answers. He asks her what happened to her branch here.

"Aeons ago," Trina says, "some of the earth here fell away. The aboveground part of the tree perished, only a portion of its root remained. I sustained it, and it grew towards the surface. It is now close to the sun. Soon, it will grow again into a tree."

Troll considers constructing a platform at the end of the root, for safety!

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