Ergot seeds and elven feainneweed originally brought the five of you into the Czenhurst, also called the Black Forest by villagers. Your supposition, based on traces of the seeds and flowers in “Old Nan’s” magical mortar-and-pestle, was that when mixed in the right proportions in her mortar, these herbs would open a portal. It was the best lead you had so far on finding “Old Nan”, who was starting to seem more village myth than actual flesh-and-blood.
However, a few hours into your search in the woods west of Lower Posada, you spotted the agitated white raven familiar of Margarita Laux-Antille. Think what you like of the haughty sorceress, something didn’t seem right, so you elected to follow the white raven which led you to the base of a hill, an ancient stone henge. This was once the Circle of Tagha Bough, druids who used to tend the woods. It was there you found a misshapen creature, barely humanoid and barely sentient, Talashia deducing that it was indeed Margarita.
Tamaran scouted out the hill, finding a lumbering ogre – or perhaps a troll as witcher Fergus believed – downwind to the north. And Barakor Bloodbarrow recognized crescent-and-dagger-like symbols etched into the trees from the darkness that had overtaken Mahakam. Despite Elora’s best efforts, she was unable to remove the curse afflicting Margarita – in fact, the curse had been cast long ago by an evil sorcerer while Margarita was yet a girl, yet Margarita found ways to mitigate its effects through her own ingenious magic, and only recently had some fell magic-user dispelled Margarita’s efforts so the original curse could resume it malignant course.
Leaving the mewling Margarita by the base of the hill, you cautiously ascend beneath the alders in the diffuse light of the cloudy afternoon. Passing through the first ring of menhirs, you see no sign of any creatures. The engravings have been eroded by rain and time. From this vantage point you can make out a small stone sepulchre or shrine at the western edge of the hilltop. However, as you approach the middle ring of menhirs…
[SECTION]A whisper in Dwarven comes from the woods, ”The hunter has the advantage.” Were it not for the heavy trodding of human and dwarven feet behind him, Tamaran might have noticed the lithe pale blonde-haired woman slipping from the inner ring of menhirs. Her cat-like eyes bore into the elf with preternatural intensity, as if she’d stepped from the very stone itself. Only another elf had ever surprised Tamaran before. Those of you who traversed the Blue Mountains together recognize witcheress Kynee. Before you’ve had time to recover from her sudden appearance, she locks eyes on Talashia and crosses her hands across the hilt of her rapier.
”You’ve known enough of betrayal, and for that I am sorry,” are her only words (speaking in Common) before her fingers start etching a subtle symbol even as ‘sorry’ leaves her thin lips…
As a gust of wind plays through the alders, a shrill whistle comes from the the hilt of Talashia’s dagger, Windsong, the note snapping your attention to imminent danger.[/SECTION]