Dovienya reveals the secrets of the Xan-Hyrkanic Codex. He admits to Daisy and Nim that he paid a street urchin that morning to deliver a message to the paladin Sa‘ramae. Something along the lines of:
It was an honor meeting you this past Bright Night. My friends and I appreciate your assistance in our endeavor and we hope our actions have Justified your help as well. A mutual friend has asked me to deliver a package into your safekeeping. I may not be able to attend the theater again anytime soon, but perhaps you will meet me at [name of a tavern near the inn we are meeting Midribin at] at two hours after noon today.
Nim and Daisy agree it’s a good idea to hand the Codex over to Sa’ramae and the Paladins of the Pure. But you decide to rip the out the pages pertaining to the doomsday spell known as the opprobrious axiom first. You don’t see any reason why anyone should have access to a recipe that would mean destruction of all life within this plane. Then you use Nim’s starknife to shred the pages into tiny strips. You’re not sure what to do with the strips yet, so Dovienya stashes them in his stuff.
You leave the inn to meet up with Sa’ramae at the place Dovienya outlined in his message to her. Dov hands the Codex over, and she checks it over carefully, taking a deep breath when she’s done. “So this is it, huh? … Did you read it?” Dov admits he did.
Sa’ramae continues: “I was visited by the ghost of your Nightwatcher friend last night. He showed me where he’d stashed the evidence he’d collected about Balek’s murder, which proves your innocence. He asked me to submit it to the Courts even if you didn’t deliver the Codex to me. But here you are. You did as he had hoped, as I had hoped.”
The paladin pulls a rapier from her belt and places it on the table between herself and Dovienya. “Your friend wanted you to have this. It’s a Nightwatcher’s blade.”
Around the hilt of the magic rapier can be seen a depiction of the various phases of the moon, and on the pommel, there’s a small white orb representing the full moon.
“I think he might want you to use it to avenge his death. Any idea who murdered him? He wasn’t sure.”
Dovienya nods – indeed he does know. He accepts the ghost’s gift, says goodbye to Sa’ramae, and departs, hopeful that she will be true to her word and help clear him of his murder charge.
Back at their rooms at the inn, Nim is sitting with Daisy, working on identifying the properties of Daisy’s newly acquired thistle-marked dagger, when she suddenly hears
Mouse’s voice whisper in her ear.
”Oh Nim! There you are. I’ve been trying to find you. Is now an okay time to chat? Area seems clear on my end.”
Nim responds in the affirmative, then she feels small claws pressing into her shoulders and she’s suddenly transported to a gray world of fog, which she recognizes as the Ethereal Plane. She can see Mouse hovering in front of her. Meanwhile, to Daisy’s eyes, Nim just vanished into thin air. A thorough search begins on the material plane side, resulting in a sound trashing of the room.
To Nim, Mouse says, “I figured you and your friends might want to know that I got the two halflings out. I found them wandering around the City Unfair with the fan lady fighting off kenku left and right. Once I got them back in your home plane, they took off running. The boy one was arguing, but the fan lady insisted they leave the city altogether, just the two of them. Just thought you should know. That’s the last I saw of them. They didn’t even say thank you, but what are you going to do?”
Mouse thanks Nim once again for rescuing him from Trimphid and for helping him settle the score. Although he’s heading out into other planes, he offers to look for a cure to Nim’s haunting malady. The two new friends then say their farewells.
Nim returns to the room to find Dovienya and a distraught Daisy, and a room entirely in disarray.
In the evening, everyone meets up with Midribin at the appointed place to meet the fallen druid Fairweather.
Madam Dutafrayan seems keen on getting her stolen milpreve back. But she’s shocked to have someone bring up her true identity of Fairweather to her.
“What? … How?” she asks. Then she goes slack, expressionless, and seems indifferent to even getting the druid’s stone back. It seems she doesn’t want to have to deal with the guilt of what she’s done.
“Eehhh, I don’t care. That name ‘Fairweather’ means nothing to me now. I have a new life and I’m never going back. I wasn’t just going to sit there forever. So I left. Not my fault… I never really liked trees anyway”, she says unconvincingly, her face unable to mask the pain.
You ask Fairweather about the location of the Tree of the Dead. She sits back and speaks openly about it. She isn’t interested any more in keeping the secret.
“Sure, I’ll tell you. What does it matter now? You want to go there and see it? Build a carnival on top of it, I say. Sell tickets. Cut me in, will you? … It’s in Coile Ithle, the Jolly Wood, but … “, she chuckles a little to herself, “You won’t find it. It’s sealed in by the nemeton.”
Then Fairweather goes on to describe druidic lore – the kind you non-druids are forbidden to know about, using actual words in Ogham, the druids’ secret language.
You learn the following:
Hidden deep within the great forests, one of the main duties of the druids is to tend and guard the nemetons – the seals between our world and the other planes, keeping unwanted outsiders (fomoiri) out.
“The fomoiri are like weeds, right?” Fairwather explains. “And you know someone has to pull out the weeds so the right plants grow? To make sure they don’t get in to the soil. That’s what a druid does. The natural purity of this plane has been largely left unmolested because of the secret vigilance of the druids. Why do you think all this time there aren’t demons and fire elementals walking around? Well, this is not going to last. All the tuathal spit on druids.”
You’re all aware how much the druids have been cruelly persecuted on this side of the world by non-druids (tuathal), and as you learn from Fairweather that one result of their dwindling numbers is that the nemetons here have been compromised.
She explains how she abandoned her post and fled to the city, but held onto the milpreve though – the special druidic tool of the nemeton – the ortha or magic item that is tied to that gateway.
“You are planning to go to the nemeton? You need it. Keep it. I don’t care any more.” She hands the milpreve back to you.
You learn from her that – with the thinning of the druid guardians and the weakening of the seals, the celestial animals, the triorie (Tree-Ore-Eye), have taken up residence in the forests to keep evil at bay. You met one yourself in the Forest of Arsel – the golden fox.
You learn there is one in the Jolly Wood. His name is Odyphaidron. Fairweather suggests you seek him out and show him the milpreve. He will recognize it. The triorie can point you to the nemeton and the druidic temple of sorts that houses it. Deep below the nemeton is the Tree of the Dead.
She tells you the temple itself is meant for druids, and not tuathal like you. There is Ogham writing hidden in the walls to read and to instruct newcomers to the nemeton. She warns you that you will not know how to read it. Also, the front entrance only opens if a druid is in wild shape – a person turned into an animal, what she calls an athdholb. And she tells you that a nascmhíl – an animal companion, like Daisy’s dog, won’t cut it.
Plus, the milpreve is only one part of the key. You apparently use it to craft a bogun, whatever that is. And it’s the bogun that leads the way down.
“You are not druid,” Fairweather tells you, dismissively. “I don’t see how you will do this.”
After the meeting with Fairweather, you sit down with Midribin and tell her everything. About the City Unfair and the Codex. About the Sower and the Bloodboat Jewel, as well as what you know about Trimphid, the Sovereigns, and the Shepherd Prince. You also tell her what you learned from Mouse – that the body of the Wick’s founder – Primwizard Artivole himself – was sold at the Infernal Auction to someone named “Zefuloria”.
Dovienya gives Midri his new magic boots as a gift and asks for forgiveness for being so rude earlier.
Midri is touched, and waves off any offenses. She seems truly grateful that you are finally telling her all you know (particularly the bit about Primwizard Artivole’s location). She pledges the that the Order of the Wick and the Flame will do all they can to help them.
Midribin says she can get the party to Gridea through a portrait of Primwizard Artivole. From there, she should be able to arrange for you to travel to the Jolly Wood so you can find the Tree of the Dead.
To Be Continued…