The Devil’s Riddle: Session 51

A few thorny tendrils squirm under the door. Tomas stamps at them, growling, and they soon retreat. After a few minutes the clicking sounds from behind the door fade, and there is only silence.

“Help me get this in front of the door” Rufus calls over, and between them Rufus and Fyn block the entrance with the heavy trunk. With no further sign of activity from the hallway the group sit, their backs against the walls, and rest.

As adrenaline ebbs away the shock of the battle begins to set in. Some, such as Fyn and Tomas, retreat into silence. Others feel the need to express their fears.

“Source preserve us, what were those things? What Pit-spawned horror did we stumble into?” Cayleb gulps, running his hands nervously through his hair.

“I can’t speak for the winged man, but those things that came after us were plant spirits of the Greenwald, the forest that lies to the north of Tylon. I’ve encountered their kind before.” Idril speaks quietly, her voice soft and somehow reassuring after all the recent traumas they’ve faced.  “It is said, they grow in deep briar patches in forest clearings, or else along sunny hillsides and riverbanks. Though it is said also that they spawn whenever a sorcerer or magical creature’s blood is spilled on the forest floor. I can’t be sure of the truth of it.”

“What I can tell you is that wise men flee when they hear their clicking in the underbrush, for the children of the briar have all the capricious wickedness of spiteful children and a taste for blood.”

“They have been known to creep far and wide to spy on the forest’s inhabitants, sometimes using spiders, monstrous centipedes, even giant dragonflies as mounts. It is not unknown for the fey to engage them as servants, and I heave heard they are able to travel freely between this world and the Feywild.”

“When approached with caution they will on occasion converse with travelers bearing interesting news. But the wise are wary, for the words of the briar-kin are thorned with gleeful malice, jealous bile, and lies. As you have seen, they are not above murder. Though I have never seen such a blood-lust upon them. Normally they trade news and gossip for trinkets, favors, and drops of spilled blood.”

If Idril spots the look that passes between Rufus and Lisandra at the mention of the fey she does not show it.

Lisandra speaks. “As for the dark angel, I can only speculate. That cry as it died haunts me still.  Unless I miss my guess it was a powerful creature of the Source, an angelic being born of the  Light, though those chains that bound it were undoubtedly Pit-spawned. I think it had been corrupted. Perverted somehow, turned against its true celestial nature through some unholy rite. Perhaps it was summoned to this world in a similar way to that in which the Jesters were called. However those abominations came willingly. If the angel tried to resist the summons but failed  perhaps it was weakened when arrived. It may have been vulnerable, allowing creatures of the Dark to capture and enslave it. I cannot say for certain, but that was a creature of power; I cannot imagine how else the Jesters would have overcome it and worked their unholy binding. I wish we could have freed it. I am just glad we were able to help in providing it release from its torment.”

Idril nods. “That makes sense, my dear. I imagine it was left here by the Jesters as a guardian. Though I cannot for the life of me say why the briar children came here, or fought it, or us.”

Cayleb holds his head in his hands. “What a disaster! We’re trapped down here, I’m down to my last arrow, Rufus and Tomas are half dead, Fyn’s lost his swords and you spellweavers are as much use to us now as a hog in a hailstorm! Those things are out there, just waiting for us. We’re done for!”

Rufus glowers, ready to administer some military discipline but Lisandra silences him with a calm gesture. She places a hand on Cayleb’s shoulder, causing him to look up and meet her eyes. “Do not despair Cayleb. Any of you. What does not kill us only makes us stronger. The briar children are held at bay, perhaps even have left entirely. More importantly we have faced a powerful weapon of the darkness, it has been destroyed and we are still standing. With rest our vitality and resolve will return. Take solace!”

2 Responses to “The Devil’s Riddle: Session 51”

  1. What do the Children of the Briar do next?
    Other (Detail)
    Q: Are the party interrupted in next 8 hours? (50/50) NO
    Idril Nature: 19
    Lisandra: Religion 15

    Long Rest. Everyone levels up!

  2. The party finally catch a break. If ever a D&D party needed a long rest this was it!

    Of course the down side is what may have been happening while they rest. What have those dark Jesters been up to I wonder, and what has become of poor old Jeden?

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