PARTY: Nag’ini Snek, Tramenor, Rose, Shozhu, Perbin, Rae
Rae, the Halfling ranger, was going on her second expedition from White Moon Cove. Her mission partners this time were Nag’ini Snek a Yuan-Ti paladin/warlock, Tramenor a Furbolg cleric, Rose an Elven cleric/warlock, Shozhu a Yaun-Ti bard, and Perbin a Halfing barbarian. They were an eclectic mix of races and classes and shared that they were all relatively new explorers. Upon meeting, they decided to make Rae the scout, Nag’ini the leader and Tramenor the trailblazer, and with their roles determined, their quest was about to start….
The inexperienced group starts off with a little difficulty. As they were all new to the traveling ways of White Moon Cove, not one of them knew how to work the portals that would be delivering them to their desired location. Not being afraid to ask for help, Rae walks to a nearby guard to request assistance, hoping that the guards here were friendly. The guard, Maren, was kind enough to explain travelling through portals and the elements needed to operate them. The team follows his instructions and obtains portal stones, and learn the correct order to use them in. Now, they may travel to the portal to truly begin their journey.
Upon reaching the portal and having successfully opened it. The group walks through one by one. Rae asks nervously, “No chance we can go in pairs, huh?” Perbin and Tramenor shake their heads and offer a comforting smile. Rae gulps and walks through the portal. Upon reaching the other side the team appears to be fine, that is except for Rae. The poor halfling is frozen stiff and needs to be healed by a teammate immediately. While coming to, Rae hears someone mention, “That’s some pretty bad portal sickness…” and decides she does not like portals.
Finally reaching the town of Ruined Oak, the adventurers find a tavern-inn to stay for the night and take a long rest. The next morning, they search for a mission from among the flyers they received in White Moon Cove. One of the party members happens to overhear some grumbling farmers and enquires about their discontent. Rae does not understand everyone’s fascination with a “missing beer” but when her group decides to aid the farmers, she shrugs and follows along. “As long as I get paid…”, Rae thinks.
They travel from the town to the coordinates provided for the tavern that the “missing beer” is supposed to be at. As they approach the building, Rae feels a deep sense of dread. The tavern appears well-kept, but the front door is ajar, there is no sound coming from the building except an impossibly faint childlike cry, and a lone, scraggly horse is tied to an empty feed and water trough in the front yard. “This is unnatural…” Rae voices.
Being a ranger, Rae’s first instinct is to help the beast. Tramenor, the furbolg, offers to assist as well. Rae smiles, she always did like people who were kind to animals, and she wasn’t keen to like many people at all. Casting Speak with Animals, Tramenor and Rae seek information about the very creepy tavern and while questioning the beast they provide rations and water from their own packs. Unfortunately, the horse is unable to provide much in the way of answers, other than saying that his owner has gone for a while.
Rae and Tramenor finish tending to the horse as much as possible and go to rejoin their group that inside the tavern. Rae learns that they found flyers for a carnival five nights prior and no living soul appears to be in the tavern. Mulling over this information and feeling like her skin is crawling, Rae mentions the faint, childlike cry she heard earlier, “I honestly don’t know if that is really a child or something…else…”.
Upon hearing that there may be a child in distress, Rose the elven cleric/warlock rushes up the stairs in the tavern to look for said child. Rae moves to stop her, still convinced that they should all just leave this place but pulls her hand back. She was not about to chase this powerful looking elf into danger, “She will probably be fine…” Rae reasons to herself. After thoroughly inspecting the ground floor and again hearing a faint cry from back of the tavern, Rae mentions this to Shozhu, who currently is rifling around the bar. Shozhu assures Rae he had searched the interior backroom and found only a few unspoiled sausages but no children, crying or otherwise. Rae worries her lip, “Perhaps… there is a shed behind the tavern?”, she offers hesitantly. Shozhu tells Rae that they should share this with the rest of the group. After explaining her idea to the full group and all unanimously deciding to check the back of the building, the team starts to move outside. That is except for Rose, who was still searching the upper levels of the tavern. One of the members leaves a message floating at the base of the stairs for Rose, telling her to rejoin them when she sees the note and explaining they are going to the back of the tavern.
Upon turning the far corner of the building, a large circus tent is seen and appears to have popped out of thin air. “Did any of you see that before?”, asks Nag’ini. They all shake their heads in the disbelief. How could a huge tent the size of the tavern itself just appear? A sobbing sound now reaches the whole group. There indeed seems to be a child somewhere in the large tent. After much debating on how to approach to tent, if to approach the tent, and determining what is in the tent, and if the tent and child are safe, Rose finally rejoins the group. While Rae and Shozhu play creeper peeper through a hole that Rae cuts through the side of the tent, Rose and the rest try to convince the child who is uncontrollably crying to come out of the tent. After some time, Rose manages to calm and beckon the child out of the tent and away from a odd wagon with the name, TASHA’S KISS.
After Rose tends to the child and sends him to the tavern to eat and recoup, Shozhu, Nag’ini, and Tramenor decide that the team should investigate the odd wagon. Rae firmly believes this is a horrible idea, “I don’t think we should go, this seems really sketchy,” insists Rae. Tramenor suggests that one of them can go in and tie a rope to their waist to make sure they can be pulled back by the team, in perchance that the wagon is a portal trap. Tramenor then offers to go himself. “No offense big guy, but I don’t think we could pull you back… you’re a little on the large side,” Rae cautions. Unfortunately for Rae, Tramenor does take offence and shuffles despondently to the back of the group, mumbling about diets. Rae feels awful… Shozhu then offers to be the one to go in and fastens a rope around his waist. The team all agrees on a signal system of tugs to determine when to pull Shozhu out if needed. Shozhu then enters the wagon. After looking around and playing a prank on his team by cutting his rope, he come outs and proposes they go further into the wagon where there is a mysterious door. Rae hesitates and asks to be at the back of the line, ready to bolt at the first sign of trouble. The team opens the door in the wagon and a dark staircase looms below.
Rae considers turning tail and leaving again, as her party is obviously walking into a trap. The group reaches the bottom of stairs and a door opens to a wide room revealing a faceless women and tables. Rae starts to back out of the room, only to find the door they came through has disappeared, and she subsequentially starts to panic. “Rae, calm down, just play along…” Shozhu whispers. The faceless woman explains that they are in a fun house and directs everyone to sit at a table and be given a direction to go. The others do so obediently, while Rae stays by the vanished door not wanting to go near the faceless woman and tables. After the others have been given a door to enter, either east or west, the faceless woman approaches Rae, “You must sit and be assigned.”, she says with a hollow cordiality. Rae hedges and asks to use the bathroom; the faceless woman repeats her instruction with a bit more steel to her tone. Again, Rae tries to ask to leave, the faceless woman now starts moving toward Rae and the unnoticed “workers” start to shift toward her as well. Rae understands she doesn’t have a choice and sulkily sits at a table. “West,” the faceless woman directs. Shozhu, Nag’ini, Rose, and Perbin are also sent to the Western door, which is shaped like a grotesque gargoyle head with a gaping mouth. Tramenor is sent to the eastern door, also in the shape of a grotesque gargoyle head. The “workers” and faceless woman herd the selected members into the Western door. The last thing Rae hears is, “Have fun…”, before she enters the maw of stone door.
The adventurers find themselves in a room of mirrors. As Rae gazes into her mirror, she sees herself! Though not quite herself as she is now. The Rae in the mirror is in a forest, walking along a road. She notices that it’s the pack and supplies she was wearing before she entered White Moon Cove. “Perhaps this is me if I never went to White Moon Cove… still travelling and safe…” Rae mutters, as she looks at her companions. The others seem to be seeing an alternate image of themselves as well and their reactions vary on what they see. Quickly, they all try to turn from their images. It’s never good to think too long on the what-ifs or what-could-have-been. The group decides to prevent each other from being separated and use a rope they have with them to leash themselves in a train of sorts. Rae ties herself loosely and stands at the end of the train, she doesn’t want to be sucked into something with them if she can avoid it. As they wonder through the maze of mirrors, Rae feels her concentration and awareness becoming fuzzy. After hitting a dead end the group turns, and Rae is now leading to her chagrin. Right as they come to another mouth door, hoping its an exit, Rae starts to uncontrollably laugh and beside her Shozhu also starts to uncontrollably laugh. “Hahaha! It’s a mouth! Hahaha!”, Rae and Shozhu giggle and chuckle.
Rae can barely think, barely move, as the laughter is ringing inside her head. She feels herself shifting into another room but can’t pull herself together enough to understand what is going on. Beneath the incessant laughter, she hears her team debating which door to take and when she’s able to hear through the mad laughter again she is lying on a strange floor next to Shozhu. Looking up as best as she can, Rae sees her team fighting a large tentacled blob monster with many eyes and mouths. “Hahaha! Look! A, hahahaha, snot, haha, monster, hehehe….” Rae gasps at Shozhu, who also starts laughing louder. Rae’s consciousness drifts, sometimes she can hear a terrible screech through laughter. Other times she hears the pained cries and gasps from her team. At a final moment of clarity, Rae looks and see the horrendous seeing creature before her, “Hahaha, oh… hahaha… no, teehee hahaha…” and then everyone goes dark and Rae feels pain and can’t breathe, and then nothing…