Over the River and Through the Woods

The first days of the journey were uneventful; Damir made arrangements for light horses so that they could make better time (promising a rancher he knew a 10 GP down payment and 5 GP per week they would be away), and the trip across the pains saw no random encounters. Damir even came up with a name for his horse, a mare; he calls her "Rhythmic" in Elvish. Once in the forest, however, the party saw some large dogs following them. The dogs behaved oddly, more intelligently than normal dogs; also, they had a limited teleportation ability and could flicker out of this plane. The dogs followed the party along the trail for a while; without Peregrine's keen eyes, in fact, the group would never have seen them. Peregrine, believing them to be pack animals on the hunt, fired and injured one of them; in retaliation, the dogs spooked the horses and surrounded the group. Peregrine was dumped to the ground; Damir quickly ran to grab his horse, then stood looking at the animals surrounding them. As soon as Emby saw them, she began to exclaim that they were Blink Dogs and are normally not aggressive toward travellers, especially without reason. The injured one was quite angry and seemed ready to attack, but the largest barked commands at him that held him back. Damir took this as encouraging news; he gesture-asked to tie up the horses, then did so slowly. Afterward, he called the injured dog over and healed it, then allowed the biggest to sniff him and the others. Seemingly satisfied with this, the dogs then left and the group remounted their horses and rode off. A couple nights later during Peregrine's watch (first watch), Peregrine spotted a large shape moving toward the camp. He woke Damir and Emby and began to stalk off at an angle to it; Damir armed himself and told Emby to get behind him. Damir then cast Dancing Lights on the creature so that they could see it. The creature turned out to be a huge plant-monster with tentacles flailing out of it (tendriculus carrying two assassin vine parasites). Damir told Emby to stay behind him and watch the horses; this pissed her off, and she resolved to attack if he did. Peregrine began his attack, and Damir fired at it as well; however, it closed on Peregrine and swallowed him. Damir immediately dropped his bow, then ran toward the creature, drawing his sword. He carefully parried its attacks and made a lucky slice that tore the gut open, spilling Peregrine onto the ground. Damir grabbed him, helped him to his feet, and they ran off. The group rode off down the road, then carefully returned and attacked the creature from a distance, using arrows carefully. Peregrine, in fact, nearly ran out of arrows. At one point, Emby accidentally shot Damir in the back with one of her arrows as he was trying to stay between the creature and her. After the creature finally died, the group looted what they could from the tangle of vines (gaining Peregrine a magical longsword) and returned to camp. In an amazing stroke of luck, the pearl that Malicor "needed" was also in the pile of loot the creature had eaten (well, he requested a pearl worth 100 GP, but they found a black pearl worth 500). The next day, Emby apologized for shooting Damir in the back, but spoke little of anything else; they then continued on out of the forest and into the foothills.

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