As the sun rises on our first full day in Empire Strand we still have many more questions than answers but perhaps making friends was the best first step.

Our heroes awaken to the pleasant sounds and smells of the Line and Gaffe and descend from their lodgings to gather for a morning meal and recap. Over tea and bread Dwimmer and Zed present their findings about the Demonomicon and their conclusion that the monster haunting Bjorn’s Goat Farm is, in fact, a Bulezau. Rupert and Berte share their findings about the mysterious arrow found in Artemis’ Shack - an arrow of slaying with a fillable tip. Rupert also shares with the party that he had spent the prior night drinking in Balenport with Arlo Porter, disgruntled head of the Balenport town watch.

After a quick bite and a catch-up, the party is greeted by Connolly who was erstwhile engaged in a small hushed convening of locals; he thanks Dwimmer and Zed for their work canvasing Balenport with anti-Dwin propaganda for him and pays the agreed-upon sum of 50gp. He welcomes the party to finish their meals and join him outside at The Great Tree to observe the daily sermon to Pelor. Rupert, who decided to skip the sermon to test the afformentioned arrow of slaying in his quarters, departed upstairs while the rest of the party went outside to meet Connolly.

Upon arriving under The Great Tree, and after being directed to stand in the back by Connolly as he spoke w the Pelor priest, the party starts to appreciate the tree itself. After some investigation, it becomes clear the tree is deeply imbued with wild ancient magic and is tied in some way to the vast forests to the west. It also becomes clear that the tree itself has been gutted of something important and its magic is dying, though the tree itself thrives. The party also determines this tree to be tied in no way whatsoever to Pelor.

Connolly meets the crew and asks if they’d be interested in another job - 180gp to help him escort a cart of food to friends in need. The party agrees and meets Connolly at the entrance to the forest. They beat him there by an hour or so and spend some time becoming acquainted with the magic imbued within - Dave the Druid, and Dwimmer are especially attuned to it. When Connolly arrives they begin travelling into the deep forest.

After some miles of walking wherein Connolly explained the history of Foren, its deep magical history, and the affect of the arrival of the Dwendalian Empire - they encountered a Dwin patrol that they swiftly dispatched and Rupert was finally able to free some of the fury he’d been harboring, and they turned into the forest.

After a brief panic about being followed they are set upon by two Guardians - small creatures with the body of a tree and the soul of a sentient creature wielding a club and shield. At this point they arrive at The Grove and deliver the cargo: some food, and crates full of guns. As these are distributed they are led by a village elder to the longhouse at the center of town - here they meet Cernunnos.

Cernunnos is an ancient primordial fey god of wild nature, of birth, of death, of the seasons. He sits motionless, his fingertips and feet growing roots deep into the earth. Dwimmer kneels before the god and in touching his roots with his knee is granted a vision of his origin - once a part of the Great Tree he was transported deep into the forest and took root there.

This moment is interrupted by Deja, a half-orc hunter whose partner was succumbing to a grave illness. The party follows and finds Vala, her partner - also a half orc, losing a battle against some strange contaminant he accidentally consumed while collecting mushrooms in a nearby cavern. In a moment of distraction, the party left with Deja to discuss Artemis who - it would seem - was good friends with Deja.

At that point Vala broke out of the house and fled into teh forest where he would succumb to his infection; as the party gave chase they found themselves before a figure of primal fury roaring to the heavens. More troublingly - the call was answered in the darkness. What will happen next? Stay tuned to find out!