"Well, they're welcoming you... They seem to like you. Or...know you... I can't tell with them." - he speaks as the path appears before the group, almost as if the wood made way for them. "Same goes for Aranel. Zyara and Daxio... Well, don't get too far."
"May I ask though, is it only the satyrs falling prey to this strangeness? I had heard the elves living in this area had also been suffering."
"Elves as well. But we make no distinctions here. We're one... and the same." - the observation is filled with a sense of fondness and humanity, but he seems to accidentally suggest something more with the last words. It's not even what he says: the look on his face seems to force his manners and words towards a sort of libidinal frenzy every time he sets his eyes on someone that interests him. Aranel heard of such aspects of satyr live. Lust and pleasure are addictive to them, and the elves that live in Alessia are not very different, for all accounts...
Daxio shook his head and followed Goliath into the thick woods. “I told you you should have left the city alone,” he told Goliath. “Sounds like you pissed off the wrong entity. How long has this been going on?” he asked.
"By... the gods, Daxio, I had nothing to do with it! I... think. Anyway, how was I to know that the mage girl was fondling around with her master... And in my defense we were just testing
that spectral hand staff. He misread everything... Clearly!" - he falls silent once more, as the woods begin to rescind, falling behind the heroes to give place to the ruins of the old city center.
"Oh, everything is very recent. It began two, maybe three years ago. But the sickness and numerous disappearances happened in the last few months." - longevity has it's perks. Certainly a strange notion for humans, but elves and satyrs would say the same about the brevity of human life.
"I had also heard that the humans living here have, so far at least, not been troubled by it."
"No, the humans haven't been targeted, as far as we know. We manage to stay close to them, even though they don't receive us well these days..." - he continues as the heroes advance. "Some still remember how life was before... well... never mind. The fact is that only our people get affected for whatever reason... And our seers and oracles are incapable of finding out why. We've sought out the help of the nymphs... You know, their divination spells are
pretty strong... And the elves among us did try to find out what has been going on... At least those intimate with magic. None has obtained an answer."
"And then the rumors started... Oooh boy, the rumors... Some say that demonic powers are in place... Others speak of human treachery. Others yet distrust the very nymphs that once helped us... But it seems that everyone has an agenda nowadays, and opinions are as unreliable as ... well, dreams..." - he shakes his head, unsure of his own inclinations on the matter.
A small walk later, the heroes are conducted to what used to be the innermost area of Alessia. Now, the city's been taken by a rich wood. The walls sunk beneath a wealth of flowers and vines, and old houses crumble beneath the heavy hand of nature. Still, another city seems to work where the first one once stood. The houses are now inhabited by a number of children, both satyr and elfic in nature. The sound of laughter is crossed by that of animals, birds and insects being the most present. Here and there, diminutive pixies mix their flights with those of beetles and dragonflies. Entire streets sunk into ponds and channels, now covered in water lilies and brimming with life. Goliath takes the heroes trough less crowded areas, avoiding the inevitable glances of the reclusive inhabitants of this world.
"Here, he indicates a house in ruins, crossed by an oak that might have been there for centuries, judging by it's size. "The last one to be targeted by the disease is here. You might want to take a look at him." - he gestures towards the house. A couple of pixies fly around the group, curious about their presence there. The small, whispered voices debate, in a fast pace, how inappropriate is to have outsiders within Alessia, specially human outsiders. As soon as they find a chance, they begin to harass Goliath about the topic in quick whispers.
[If you decide to follow in, this is what you see]
Within, the oak opens up, embracing the many pavilions that once were the house. At the center, a bed of leaves and straw was set, covered in silks and skillfully made to fit the natural hall. A red canopy covers the area made to lay down the sick man, and as the heroes enter, two elfic maidens - one of them pregnant - leave the sick man to talk to the arrivals. Laying underneath covers they find the figure of a bronze-skinned elf, thin and tall by all accounts. His red hair is carefully combed and still wet, as if he had just bathed. He holds a noble visage, but his eyes are sunken and his arms, frail, stretched alongside his body. He receives the arrivals with a smile and a hopeful expression, forcing himself up as if to greet them.
"They're here, Alanor. These are allies. They'll help, I'm sure." - Goliath's comical expression vanishes and the pixies fall silent for a second, still surrounding the satyr's head.
"Thank you, my friend..." - the elf's voice is soft and old, so very distinct from his apparently youthful image - no more than forty years old.
"I take it that Goliath has updated you on our predicament." - he pushes up, clearly trying to leave the bed in order to greet the heroes.