-19 Days, Morning
Early in the morning, the inkeep knocks on Chronik’s door. A group of travelers has issued them a challenge for The Standard of Eternal Battle. It is a pair of changelings, a human crossbowman, and a dragonborn sorceror. This was a party almost as odd to see in Senaliesse as the avatars. It would seem The Standard lured the challengers.
After the street fight, they prepared for a journey to Shinaelestra by doing some research. Chronik easily charts a course, finding the way that is stable, near the destination, and an acceptable amount of temporal distortion. Then Xan reads up on Shinaelestra:
- Shinaelestra (DC20): It is called The Fading City. It is a city of Ihniko Elves who escaped to the feywild when the Aeristhyde Empire carpet bombed Ihniko Forest in the mortal world during The War of the Three Forests. The Fading City was already an uninhabited ruins when the Ihniko migrated to the feywild. The elves allow the forest to reclaim the city of Shinaelestra. Trees grow through walls and roofless mansions. The ranger Lord Calenon Thray governs Shinaelestra lightly. The elves of Shinaelestra, warrior for warrior are amongst the most skilled in all the feywild, specializing in skirmish tactics.
- Shinaelestra (DC26): Every midnight, Shinaelestra shimmers into existence into the ruins of Ihniko in the mortal realm. The warriors of Shinaelestra take advantage of the savage and twisted hunting ground of Ihniko, pitting themselves against the mortal and primordial beings within it. When dawn comes, Shinaelestra worldfalls back into the feywild, and thus is only accessible from the feywild during the day.
- Shinaelestra (DC32): Calenon welcomes all who manage to find Shinaelestra, since the dangers skulking about Ihniko kill all but the most excellent warriors. An archfey roams Ihniko, a huge humanoid boar known as The Urscumug. The Urscumug has been slain once by Calenon; however, the archfey returned to life the next day. Something in the forest resurrects The Urscumug, who prevents the Ihniko from returning to the forest of their birth.
-19 Days, Midday
The southern avatars step out of the fey circle to find a firbolg named Pyradan had setup a camp near the portal. After making sure that the party were indeed the avatars he was looking for, Pyradan informed them that he was very recently hired to hunt them down. He could have trapped the avatars, but did not, allowing them to reposition themselves to where they first saw the firbolg. After being defeated, the firbolg felt he could reveal that the one who hired him was an eladrin of the Summer Court. The party asked him to carry a message to the Master of the Hunt, which the firbolg agreed to do without charge.
Chronik knew the easiest route to the ruined city was by following a winding river, though it could take less time to trek through the forest in a straight line. Xan summoned phantom horses to severely cut the travel time down and they were off. Until the gnome named Teek stepped across their path.
Teek wore the tattered and muddy clothes of a laborer, sifting through dirt trenches for emeralds. The steel collar around his neck indicated it wasn’t his choice of profession. He knew Svendil, natch, and he told him all about the village and how they were gathered up by fomorian slavers. Some were with him in the emerald mining camp, but the others were in Inbharan. Teek also overheard the eladrin in the camp mention some of the gnomes were being sent to Inniskalva, a town which Chronik knows by reputation as a research center.
The camp was guarded predominantly by Cyclops, but a pair of eladrin lycans and a fomorian were also problems. The Standard was displeased with the avatars’ performance in dispatching with the slavers. In the end they freed the gnomes, which caused Svendil to bid his companions adieu. He had to track down his kin to help corral the goblins. These were all tasks important to the quest. The eladrin can’t be allowed to take advantage of gnomish ingenuity after all and rampaging goblins are bad. Perhaps one day Svendil will ride in when circumstances are most dire and help shift the tide of battle. Until that day, he will be missed. Svendil and his kin depart.