Walking Backward Through Darkness

A Fey Worse than Death

Forcing their way through a narrow passage cut through a thorny hedge, our heroes found themselves in a midnight garden, where neither sun nor moon shone and the only illumination came from the bright stars and the strangely glowing fruit on the trees.
Following the thorny hedge, they discovered the garden to be a square mile in extent – and filled with creatures whose forms disguised their true natures. Battling butterfly-stirges, unicorn-nightmares and blink-wolves, they completed a circuit and discovered a second portal on the far side of the garden.
Resting after their battles and wandering, they soon discovered that even the sky was not as it seemed – as the drow’s eyes and skin began to burn while resting under the stars. The starlit sky itself was an illusion, hiding the risen sun but even knowing this did not allow their eyes to pierce the veil.
Further dwelling on this, however, was cut short when a huge plant creature attacked their camp. Our heroes battled manfully – or, at least, humanoidfully – maintaining their resolve even while listening to the telepathic pleas for help from the summoner’s eidolon who was swallowed early in the combat and was paralysed and being slowly digested (rather than being dismissed by his master).
After another extended rest to recover from this battle, the party finally struck out from the edge of the garden to search it dark heart. Here they, eventually, discovered a dark manor and, despite the warnings of a dryad, made to enter – pausing only to exchange words with the pair of heads mounted on spikes on either side of the gate.
Battling their way past the topiary and other thorny guardians, they forced their way into the manor and attacked its master – a shadar-kai illusionist. His minions defeated, however, he fled into the garden while the heroes debated the pros and cons of freeing or killing his prisoners and charmed servants. Eventually deciding on the former, they puzzled out the operation of the portals in the manor and sent everyone through before summoning a pack of dogs and tracking the shadar-kai down – eventually cornering and killing him with the last of his blink-wolf pack.
Triumphant, they took his black key and made their way to the portal on the far side of the garden and crawled through – to find themselves back at the portal by which they had first entered.
Cursing tricksy fey, they made their way back to the manor and exited via a second tapestry portal.



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