30th Lamashan, morning
After several peaceful days further down the river, the a pair of Chuuls climbed on board and attempted to drag the group overboard. Despite them grabbing hold of River and Cailyn, the foul creatures were quickly destroyed, and the threat averted.
2nd Neth, afternoon
A few days later, the amnesiacs saw a trio of well-dressed men on shore, waving and calling for help. After checking with the group, Captain Freeling stopped, and brought the men on board. All three men were wearing expensive courtier's clothing, ruined by weather and exposure. One of the trio had a bandage on his arm, blood seeping through showing the wound underneath. The three thanked the group and crew for stopping, and pleaded for assistance and passage for themselves, and one other person. Despite being wary, the group agreed to help, and the trio led the group ashore, and up to an abandoned old barn.
Still expecting trouble, Cailyn and River checked for signs of tracks, and ambush, but found so obvious signs of anything other than four men. Entering the barn, the group were introduced to the occupant, a Senator Emilio Daldamane of Galt.
A handsome and pleasant man, despite his current state, the senator explained how he had fled from his home in Galt a fortnight prior, after learning that the Revolutionary Council suddenly wanted him dead. for no reason that he could fathom. He was sure he had worked tirelessly for the Galtan people for his whole career. Shortly after learning this, Daldamane received a strange missive from a group calling themselves the “Stardust Augurs.” These Stardust Augurs expressed sympathy for the senator’s unexpected reversal of fortune and offered to shelter him within the northern Verduran Forest, in Taldor, if he could reach them. Lacking any other options, the senator fled Isarn with a few trusted courtiers. He felt that reaching the Stardust Augurs was his best option. After being robbed of his funds by bandits 3 days ago, the Senator had been holed up in the barn, while his companions tried to secure him passage. Senator Daldamane promised to repay any help he was given once he could contact his associates in Taldor. Impressed by the Senator's honesty, and sympathietic to his plight, the group agreed to escort him back to their vessel, and carry him to his destination.
As the group escorted the senator back down the slope to the river, an armed band started attacking them. The band consisted of 4 bowmen, and the same masked Gray Gardner the group had encountered several days prior in Dabril. The amnesiacs defended themselves, and were quickly able to slay the bowmen, followed shortly after by the Gardner. River ensured the Gardner did not survive the encounter.
4th Neth, early evening
Over the next few days, the Sellen Starling sailed futher south. The Senator and his allies stayed out of sight, and Captain Freeling avoided the border town of Woodsedge. The day after passing the border, the group observed magical lights in the sky over the Verduran forest. The Senator identified this as the sign he had been told to expect, and asked to be let ashore. Again, although the group was suspicious, they directed the Captain to stop, and accompanied the Senator into the woods.
Not far from the river, the group encountered a group of six humans. The leader, a fiery human
Taldan woman with smooth features and short dark hair, welcomed both the Senator and the amnesiacs, saying she was expecting them all. Introducing herself as Hadranna Ibren, she welcomed the senator, and informed him that she wanted to escort him to her contacts in Taldor, where his compassionate political skills would be put to good use. The senator agreed to stay with the Stardust Augurs.
Hadranna spoke to the amnesiacs next, and explained she had experienced the powerful visions of the group's dream quests, and asked a number of questions about their journeys in the Dreamlands, as very few of them had ever actually been able to travel there. One of the other members of the Augurs introduced himself as Nestor Bindlay, and thanked the group for releasing him from the Dreamlands – he was the man who had been restrained, unconscious, on the trapped leaf in the Enchanted Wood. After some further chatter and storytelling, the group retired to the Sellen Starling to continue their trip.
4th Neth, evening
Bolstered by their successes, the amnesiacs again enacted the Dreamlands Excursion ritual, and descended the staircase. As they stepped off the bottom of the staircase, they knew no more…and then all awoke, on the floor of the cabin, the bright morning sunshine streaming in through the cracks in the doors. Confused by what had happened, the group checked themselves over, and looked out of the cabin, but found no immediate explanation. Scorcher attempted to pierce a suspected illusion, but found nothing. Lekovi checked to see if he was carrying his dream equipment, thinking they may actually be in the Dreamlands, but found only his normal, waking possessions. River and Taber went to talk to the captain, to find more information. The captain was dreamily staring off to the horizon, and constantly tilted her head to one side as she spoke to the amnesiacs, and could not offer anything new. She had just eaten second breakfast, and wasn't interested in the apple River offered her.
Looking around further, Scorcher noticed that the river was unusually clear, and fairly teeming with strangely iridescent fish. On shore, Cailyn and Taber noticed some grazing animals, but upon looking closer, identified them as Buopoths, waddling quadripeds not native to the Inner Sea. Lekovi looked around the barge, and discovered a chest inside the cabin he did not recall seeing before. Opening it, he discovered a cache of magical items…their own dream equipment, by the look of it, meaning they were indeed in the Dreamlands. As he called the others in, the captain appeared at the door to the cabin.
Captain Freeling's mouth opened, and quickly kept opening far beyond it's normal range of motion, until the entire top half of her head flopped loosely against the back of her neck, and her skin dropped, intact, to the deck. A dark, hulking shadow Welled up out of the skin, exuding a palpable sense of terror, and began tearing into Lekovi. The creature's incorporeal claws sailed effortlessly through armour, somehow inflicting horrible wounds on the flesh beneath. Even worse, the wounds began oozing out Lekovi's very soul, and his force of personality was much weakened over the next few seconds. The creature also demonstrated an ability to teleport around, moving outside of the cramped cabin and beside Taber. Thanks to the support of his divinely-inspired weapon, and his training at using the weapon at long range, River was able to hit the creature reliably, and quickly hacked it apart.
As the group recvered from the disconcerting attack, they saw that the vessel with the blood-red sails they had seen earlier in their trip was approaching, and ready for boarding. Grappling hooks were thrown, and the two vessels slammed together. The pirates on board stood ready, firing crossbows at the amnesiacs. The captain, another denizen of Leng, gestured, and his first mate, a shadowy wraith, flew across to attack River. River quickly demonstrated the error in this decision, destroying the creature in a single mighty blow. Taber leapt across to the deck of the enemy vessel, behind the pirates, and began fighting them, while Cailyn and her companion locked up one boarding plank, and River the other. The captain moved around the melee, and attacked Taber and River. The captain was clearly a magus, protected by swirling mirror images, and dealing out blasts of electrical energy from his sword. Despite dealing some fearsome wounds, the captains crew were cut down, and he quickly afterwards.
Once the fighting had died down, and healing applied, and the downed foes were looted, the group began to explore the vessel, which appeared to be named the Bloodwind. While looking over the loot for magic, the group noted that the whole ship was, in fact, enchanted with transmutation magic. Lekovi had been expecting some form of teleportation magic, and was confused, but unable to tell exactly what the ship was capable of. Initially, it appeared to be a folding boat, but there were clearly some other threads of magic woven into the enchantments that he could not identify.
While trying to decipher this meaning, the bowsprit suddenly swung around, knocking Scorcher overboard. A quick fly spell corrected this accident. Taber was a little confused by this, as he felt no sign of wind, which would normally be the cause for this movement. Shortly afterwards, one of the oars swung around in it's oarlock, trying to knock Cailyn overboard, but Cailyn was too nimble.
The group searched the vessel, but found no other valuables. They had already recovered the captain's tricorne, and a pouchful of flawless but strange rubies. As they went to enter the Captain's cabin, the door swung shut of it's own volition. Lekovi tried to open the door with a telekinetic cantrip, but realised it wouldn't work on the enchanted ship. River walked over to open the door, and the door suddenly slammed open into his face. He instinctively blocked it with his shield, but was disconcerted nonetheless.
Disconcerted, Scorcher yelled at the ship to behave. Lekovi tried another solution, and attempted to cast Calm Emotions. Feeling the ship resist the effect, he cast again and again, the third time finally working. The ship stopped trying to harm the amnesiacs, and they completed their search, finding nothing more of interest.
Returning to the deck, the group began attempting to pilot the vessel, River having hope of using the ship to sail back to their home, carrying them and their dream possessions back. Alas, the folding boat began to fold in upon itself. Seeing no alternative, the group abandoned the Bloodwind as it compressed to a small box, and sank to the bototm of the river, River being the last to reluctantly let go.
Back on board the dream Sellen Starling, the group found a portal in the cabin. Disconcerted further, some of the group tried to awaken themselves normally, and other stepped through the portal. With a familliar sense of deja vous, they all awoke back in the cabin, feeling very uncertain as to where they were.
5th Neth, evening
The group spent the day resting and recovering from their ordeal on the dream Sellen Starling, trying not to imagine that everyone around them was another nigthmare creature.
Having gathered all of the items the Yellow King had asked them to, the group again enacted the Dreamlands Excursion ritual that night, to return to the Forsaken Caravanserai. Arriving again in the heat outside the abandoned building, the group made their way towards the front entrance, Cailyn asking if maybe they could just climb straight up to the Yellow King's rooms, and wondering if the Formless Spawn was still in the baths. It was then that a pair of unearhtly howls rang out, although each of the group shook off the feeling of foreboding. Approaching more cautiously now, Taber saw the split door of the guardpost partly open, and barely catching a glimpse of the inhabitants, slammed it shut and held it. Cailyn moved up, and rammed a stake in at bottom of the door, holding it fast. Scorcher hasted the group, while the others moved forwards to face the threat.
Lekovi heard a voice from inside the guardpost ordering someone to stay, in Aklo, and claws swiped under the door, unsuccessfully trying to clear the obstruction. Taber then hauled the top half of the door back open, revealing a denizen of Leng standing inside the guardpost. Reacting quickly, Taber then tried unsuccessfully to haul the humanoid out of the room. As this happened, a flock of large Nightgaunts unexpectedly burst out of the stables, and flew towards the group, three of them flying up and over the roof. Lekovi quickly confused one of them, while Scorcher blasted apart another with fire. At the guardpost, the Leng denizen forced his way out, as did a pair of Yeth hounds. Over the next few moments, the group fought off the hounds and Nightgaunts, and finally slew the Leng denizen as well.
While healing and contemplating their next move, the group next heard a pack of dogs howling and rushing at them from the corridor opposite the guardpost. Reacting quickly, the group rushed into the corridor to head off the dogs. These creatures looked similar to the hounds from the guardpost, but larger, and somehow more shadowy, despite the bright light in the corridor. River, Taber, and Cailyn all moved to engage the beasts, hacking them apart. Lekovi followed them, and they all moved around the bend, expecting more opposition, while Scorcher stayed at the corridor entrance. Not wanting to be ambushed, Cailyn threw open the curtain the others had moved past, and moved into the ruined shop. Blazing into life on the wall was a magical symbol, and as the light shone out, Taber and Lekovi felt the strength drain from their bodies, Lekovi actually falling to the floor, unable to support his weight.
While this was happening, another Leng humanoid had snuck up behind Scorcher, and bit him, dealing a horrible wound and draining his reflexes. Now facing this new threat, the group rushed back out, while Scorcher backed away into the corridor, and Cailyn guarded Lekovi. As Scorcher came within sight of the symbol, it flared again, and he also felt his stremgth drain. Despite his weakness, Taber joined River in engaging the slippery humanoid, who rushed out of sight towards the stables. Expecting his opponent had become invisible, River used his speed to move methodically around the stables, trying to find the enemy, only to have him jump out of his hiding place, and ineffectually bite at him. Taber and River surrounded the creature, and were eventually able to finish him off with little further injury.
Deciding their situation had become untenable, the group forced themselves awake to rid themselves of the various hurts to their bodies.
6th Neth, morning
Rather than return straight to the Caravanserai, the amnesiacs decided to prepare further first, and instead took a trip to Dylath-Leen to procure more dream supplies. They then steeled themselves for the next trip, to the Caravanserai.