The party is alone in the Feywild. Connections to the material plane have been cut. Andrazel, born and raised in the Feywild, child of the forests, believes he can find a way.
Andrazel was born far North of the party's location, in the Northern Shining Lands. He's not familiar with the surrounding landscape. But like his Eldarin peers, he has a knack for direction. He knows of a town called Neifur, the modest seat of the Kingdom of Padeon. It should be located to the South-East, deep within the Woods of Valinde.
But finding the path will be difficult. Eladrin build to not be found. Paths are subtle, marked by sigils and directional marks imperceptible to outsiders. There are often foreign scouts and other dangerous parties that move through the woods, testing the vulnerabilities of kingdoms. The Kingdom of Paedon and its larger neighbor, the Kingdom of Anasmirirs, are often in conflict.
Andrazel asks the party to follow him and everyone sets out.
It takes Andrazel several days to lock onto a path, but he finally finds a sign indicating a route to Neifur. They follow the path. Some markers are hidden. The party backtracks and restarts from their last sign several times. Progress is slow but they continue moving. It's a long three weeks of travel.
Abruptly the understory thickens. Small bushes of brambles grow over the space of a few large strides into large vines with finger-thick thorns. The trees thin out until only the understory remains. Andrazel says they've reached the outskirts of the city. This isn't obvious to the rest of the party. They're having difficulty moving without injury. Visibility is low. Carefully, they proceed.
As the party moves, with brief moments of line of sight through the coils of vegetation, they begin to make out a large wall of stone and vegetation fifteen to twenty feet high. They have reached the city of Neifur.
They pause to gather and arrange themselves in a new walking order to approach the city, Hardy in front to greet, Edwyn behind for muscle and all others behind the pair. As they discuss, Orryn notices a camouflaged figure with clothing that matches the vine and bramble pattern of dark and light. The party has just enough time to raise their weapons as they are attacked by a Weretiger and two tiger animal companions. Andrazel identifies the attackers as likely Anasmiris scouts.
The party quickly dispatches with one tiger and gravely injures the Weretiger.
The crash of the intense skirmish alerts watchers within Neifur. A compact squad of Satyrs and Eladrin scouts, fully geared, rush from the city entrance and towards the party. The party notices them a hundred yards away. Hardy steps forward to hail the group and speak for the party.
The Neifur scouts capture the Weretiger and leaves the second tiger, now receding into the brambles, alone. The head of the Neifur scouting party, introduced as Celore, remains with the Hardy and the rest to discuss. Hardy gives a short synopsis of the party's background and events of the last couple weeks, and convinces Celore that they should have an audience with the Head of Council. They have valuable information on events outside the Kingdom.
The party, accompanied by the scouts, moves towards Neifur, under an stone archway with a suspended portcullis, and into the city itself.
Given the scope of what they see, the party estimates the population must be around two to three thousand, mostly Eladrin but with a significant minority of Satyrs. Buildings are an artful and seamless merger of live growth, wood, and stone. Most are colored either deep yellow or red. Springs and creeks emerge and slide through shallow, stone-lined canals.
The party continues to walk, under several more stone archways and into the interior of the town. They arrive at the stone wall periphery of a set of grouped buildings. They pass through an open gate. Celore says welcome to Central square. This is the central community and governing center of the city.
The party is taken past an open courtyard, with a old, broad tree of golden-red leaves and a brisk stream, which emerges from a covered conduit and then drops through a open cleft in the courtyard. Benches and a ceremonial altar mark and accompany the path of the stream. Beyond the couryard is a small, red building, inlaid with black ironwood. The party will have their conference there.
The party is brough to a warm, wood-paneled room and are asked to sit in a semi-circle around a low, wide desk, staked neatly with manuscripts, vials, and other magical and administrative paraphernalia.
A middle-aged Eladrin walks in. Her name is Niserie. She greets the party. She's wearing a small coat-of-arms broach signifying her governorship over the town. Hardy starts the conversation. Niserie sits behind the desk, quill in hand.
The party tells their story, starting with the cataclysmic events at Ellon, the recent rift and the portals in reality, and the escape of the monsters. Niserie is captivated. She tries to capture everything.
After the party has done reciting their story, Niserie speaks. She has a few thoughts about the events. Given the description of Krisyra, Niserie wonders if she might be a LeShay. The description fits, although it would be a most amazing circumstantial meeting. They are ageless beings. Their presence is reassuring and alarming. Why would they be drawn to this area?
She says the events described explain some of the bizarre creatures their scouts have found and driven away.
She disengages with the party to consult with Celore and another Satyr guard outside the office. She re-enters the room and says that the town does have a problem that they are hesitant to address, but that the party might be able to solve. If they could help, they would be very grateful and there would be a reward.
The party is interested and asks for information, so Niserie continues. She says that the courtyard outside is used for town ceremonies including ceremonies of the liberation of death. Bodies are put on a wooden float and sent over the lip of the drop into the unknown space below. It is believed that magic physically transports the bodies into the afterlife. They have believe this to be true.
However, this area is sacred. Niserians will not venture below. That's only for the dead.
To their great embarrassment, one of creatures of the void evaded capture and dived into the space for safety. They cannot follow into the holy space but are hoping the party can. They've consulted with their library and mages and they think it may be one or two Gricks, perhaps a Grick Alpha.
The party accepts the mission. They believe they can handle the challenge.
The meeting concludes. Everyone retires happy and the party is led to a comfortable, two-story, city-run guest lodge where they stay the night.
The next day they gather their supplies, rest, and plan.
With a day of planning and two nights of rest behind them, the party groups in mid-morning in the courtyard, surrounding the ten-foot opening to the Neifur sacred grounds. A long rope ladder is gently dropped down the opening until it reaches the ground below.
Niserie, Celore, and other scouts wish the party well and watch them descend.
Orryn goes first. He steps onto the cavern bottom and scans the area. The water falls behind him into a deep pool and then meanders as a deep stream further into the cavern, around a bend and out of sight. Orryn has dark vision and full field of view. He carefully scans the area, listens, but he sees and hears nothing. He feels like the best plan of action is to hide.
The rest of the party follows, one-by-one, down the dropped later and into the cavern.
The last to descend is Edwyn.
Edwyn is ambushed. It's an Grick Alpha and it leaps from the stone. It's campaflouge was nearly perfect. Its a large beast, a monstrosity, and it hits hard. Orryn gets in a sneak attack, Beldroth fires a bolt. After several rounds the Grick is killed.
The party pauses to catch their breath and examine the corpse. They are still on guard. There is still more of the cave to explore.