After resting and regaining their strength, our heroes moved up to the massive oak tree in the swirling mists. When they approached, three huge, man-shaped roost clusters rose up from the ground to block their path toward the trunk. Dark eyes in what [passed for faces seemed intelligent, but they did not speak.
They did learn that the creatures were no fans of the spiders, and the heaps of arachnid corpses surround the tree attested to that, but could learn little more. Boomah tried repeatedly to engage them, but all he received for his troubles were stares.
In the end, he decided to stretch his new wings and find an alternate method. As he rose, he could see knot holes and other rents in the tree opening at his passing. Finally, a large get in a branch opened and a massive manticore climbed out to intercept the goblin. Not wanting to fight alone, Boomah returned to the party and tried to speak with leonine beast.
The monster responded, and once the party assured it that they were enemies of the spider and Menso, it agreed to let them speak to Pale Mother. A long seam in the huge oak’s trunk opened up, and a 15-foot-long slug-like creature with the head and torso of a bloated woman squeezed out.
She spoke thickly and seemed a little erratic, but the group found out that she was the apprentice of Sciao Si’ang, who came to this land more than a thousand years ago to find the Well of Infinities and ascend into some kind of draconic being. The noted that Pale Mother was in fact a simulacra, but they did not learn the fate of the original.
He knew that in ages past, a group of dragons called the Bloodwyrms had tried to merge with humans and gain the power of free will, but were defeated by the other dragons and an order of outer plane spiders known as the Weavers of Fate. Some of these Bloodwyrms were imprisoned in the new world, under the guard of the Firstborn.
Apparently, she said, without the Firstborn these seals were weakening. She did not know what would happen if they Bloodwyrms returned.
When questioned about how someone might have dragon-blood without these rituals, she suggested that bloodlines from these wyrms may still exist, but the Weavers had always worked to root them out and kill them if powers ever presented themselves. She added that it would be best if Celeste kill herself right away, to save another spider assault and the collateral damage it might cause. Celeste declined her offer of assistance.
About Kallius, Pale Mother merely said he was “something else”. And that he too should be killed at the first opportunity.
They told her that their priority was the destruction of Menso, and she endorsed the plan. To aid them, she taught them how to work the symbols that Great Master had placed throughout the Vale and how to travel between locations.
Returning to the lab, they went through Menso’s scattered notes to find a clue about his destination. Among the blood magic and dragon-breeding madness, they found more mundane notes about his business dealings and contacts in Gilt Hall and in the port town of Otterdam.
The decided to follow up on the name Beryl, who was reportedly a ’squib’ who disguises and alters stolen ships in the pirate haven.
But first, the group used the symbol to return to the mongrel village and let the creatures know of the fate of Pale Mother, and not to worry. Boomah then taught them the secret of the symbols, and how they could travel around the Vale quickly.
Then they moved on toward Otterdam, the former holding of Hammich Lutro the Otter. Lutro now sits on the throne at Cyr Regus, in defiance of the returned Aerinorn crown prince. They found themselves in a murky pool in a coastal jungle. The smoky haze above the trees showing the location of a village.