Awaking refreshed, most of the party broke their fast while Asade Nar went in search of Tai the Blacksmith. Finding him already hard at work with his apprentice, she drew him aside and requested the customary provisions due her station; after the completion of a ritual, a town traditionally puts together a travelling sack of vittles to feed the druid as he or she wanders to the next stop on their pilgrimage.
To her surprise, Tai was unusually bashful, and told her that the town had, in fact, put together packs for her entire group of companions. After learning she could pick them up at Tyrik’s tannery, Asade assured Tai that he’d done just fine at the ritual the previous day, hoping to assuage what she interpreted as worry.
Returning to the tavern, she collected the rest of the group, and they made their way to Tyrik’s shop, finding the grizzled lady out front work, tanning deer hides. Never stopping in her task, she motioned behind her with a shoulder and told them they’d find them leaning against the wall around the back. Following her instructions, the group found a provisions pack for eat of them, containing salted meats, vegetables, some travelers bread, and two canteens for water. Stating he didn’t need his, Keshin offered the canteens to the rest of the party; Asade and Xarrai took them.
Vahn noted that his pack was of particular size to his frame, made of a deep, burgundy leather, with two pairs of loops on the back. Noting that the straps fit his broad shoulders perfectly, he wondered what they might be for.
As they traveled, they noted a number of shacks that seemed to belong to prospectors. Faelar stopped at each one to talk to the people inside, hoping to glean any information he could, either about the road ahead or the possibility of running into the Galeb Duhr. While the first few didn’t have any real information (though one woman did make up fantastical stories of forest beasts in what seemed like an attempt to keep them around…she seemed lonely) they finally did run into one promising person.
An elderly gentleman, thin as a twig with a wispy white beard and bad teeth, the prospector was happily and tunelessly whistling to himself as he panned the river near his hut. Approaching him, Faeler noted an enormous pile of lumber next to his hut…though the wood didn’t appear cut, but…ripped…apart. Asking him where he’d gotten such a strangely gathered material, the man proceeded to tell him there were all sorts of bits of trees lying around upriver, and that he just collected them. Once conversation initiated, Faelar realized that this old man might be more than a bit crazed, but braved the conversation to ask how far upriver the falls were. The response he received was “When the light in the sky is about…this far!” Looking at the sun and showing him three fingers worth of movement, Faelar guessed that it was likely a few hours walk upriver. Thanking him, they continued on.
As the forged upriver, they saw trees blasted apart, and lots of deadwood on the banks. Wondering if this was the work of the Galeb Duhr, they kept a careful watch during the night. Xarrai noticed the trees shifting around camp during his watch, and woke the druid. Asade shifted to wolf form and went to investigate. While her canine senses allowed her to easily track what appeared to be a burrowing creature that was disturbing the roots of the trees, she found herself torn between duty and going out to hunt. She was filled with an intense bloodlust, but managed to stay on target. After tracking the burrowing signs several hundreds yards away from camp, she determined that the creature was moving away, and returned to the others.
The following day they continued their journey toward the mouth of the falls. Having not reached them in the estimated “several hours” Faelar began to wonder if the nutty old man had been thinking about the moon’s phases, instead of the sun, and was indicating “a day or two.” Crazy people; go figure. Finally, though, they saw the mountain peeking above the treetop canopy, and realized they were close to their goal.
As they approached the base of the mountains and the mouth of the falls, they slowed to a walk. Moving in formation, keeping a wary eye on any boulders lying about (of which there were many) they eventually came to a grotto at the base of a thundering waterfall. An island stood in the center of this grotto, and, moving closer, Vahn spied a glint of purple. As he stared at it…he watched it blink. Poking the genasi and mentioning this strange artifact, Ke’shin called out in Primordial to what he assumed was the Galeb Duhr.
Attemping to be disarming, Ke’shin explained that they wanted to trouble and simply wanted to talk. As the rumbling and gritty words of Primordial issues forth from the genasi, they were answered by a cracking and grinding as the boulder unfolded itself into a massive humanoid shape.
As the creature unlimbered its massive frame composed of rocks and boulders, the adventurers saw that it was indeed missing an amethyst eye. More than just that, however, was a deep furrow extending from the empty socket and reaching back to the top of the head. Slim daylight peaked from between those cracks.
As Ke’shin continued to talk, the Galeb Duhr appeared impassive, listening to his words with head cocked. In an attempt to make a connection, Ke’shin pulled forth the amethyst eye, which finally elicited a response. With a roar of rage, the Galeb Duhr became MUCH more animated, making threatening gestures and hunkering down in what looked like preparation for a massive leap.
Worried, Faelar insulted it, telling it that they wanted to AVOID a fight, while Vahn disappeared in a swirl of mist and reappeared nearby it, rushing in to fight.
After vaulting to the shore, the Galeb Duhr began to flail around at the group, attempting to slam its massive stone fists into them. A constant barrage of bardic insults, druidic moonbeams and sorcerous fire soon wore it down, however, and it called upon its innate powers to infuse a pair of nearby boulders with life. Suddenly the group was faced with three Galeb Duhr, as opposed to one.
Faelar approached one and with a wink, dispelled the animating force keeping it whole, and it crumbled back into a pile of rocks. Vahn infused his maul with divine energy and ran to the other, shouting for the rest to focus on the main one, and beat it nearly to dust with a few mighty swings.
As Xarrai dispatched the second summoned ally with a well-placed firebolt to the eye, the original Galeb Duhr began to feel threatened. Rolling itself into a ball, it careened downhill away from the mountain, disappearing into the surrounding foliage (some of it still on fire from Xarrai’s burning rays and Ke’shin’s flames) quicker than they could pursue.
Mostly uninjured, the party stared at each other in the wake of this unexpected turn of events, wondering if they should pursue the wounded construct, or press on.