15th Rova, morning
Refreshed after their last excursion into the Dreamlands, the amnesiacs relaxed as the boat made it's way into the Glass River, and began travelling towards the Sellen River proper. In their easy state, they were a little surprised to see an enormous turtle breach further forward in the river, and begin to aggressively swim towards them. Thinking quickly, Cailyn began calming down the clearly agitated turtle. It responded, and it's massive bulk ended up swimming by the barge, continuing towards Lake Encarthan.
15th Rova, evening
Feeling rested and confident, the group once again performed the Dreamlands Excursion Ritual, but this time using the passphrase for the Enchanted Woods. As they again emerged from the staircase, they found themselves on what seemed to be a giant treebranch, near the top of the canopy of a giant forest. As they stood, looking around, the group was suddenly assaulted by a strange creature, invisible at first, that became visible after charging through them. The creature looked like a horse, with elongated front legs, ending in clawed hands rather than hooves, and having a vaguely humanoid cast to it's features.
The creature bellowed angrily, as it ploughed through the surprised group, knocking over several of them. It immediately turned around, and charged back through the group, attempting to trample, and injuring several. With limited room to maneuver, the group did their best to get their melee fighters adjacent to it. River made use of lunging attacks to get to the thing around Taber's punching form, while Cailyn and her rhino attacked from the other side. The creature, sensing it was in trouble, stepped back and cast a Fly spell-like ability, but was then cut down in the next flurry of attacks.
As the group caught their breath, the rodent-like forms of a tribe of Zoog emerged from their hiding places, and congratulated the group on their victory. Without waiting, the Zoog immediately set to eating the creature, which they identified as a Tikbalang. Their leader mentioned that the creature normally hunted territory further away, but it had come hunting them.
Cailyn asked the creatures if they knew of any Pards in the area. The Zoog leader said that there had been a pard den in the area, but that they had attacked and wiped out the creatures not long ago. When asked, they revealed they did still have a tail left over, and would gladly trade it for a new meal of exotic feline. The Zoogs knew several tigers hunt a higher, sunnier portion of the Enchanted Woods canopy, and readiy gave clear directions to them. Cailyn enquired about their numbers, and the Zoogs said there was a pack of five, led by a larger, stronger tiger.
The group followed the directions of the Zoog, climbing along giant branches, and crossing from tree to tree, never quite able to see the floor of the woods, but steadily moving further towards the top of the canopy. About halfway into their journey, the amnesiacs saw a strange sight – on one of the giant leaves, there was a man, lying unconscious. Looking more closely, they could see the man had been bound and gagged, and was tied to the leaf by sturdy vines, tied to a stake made from giant thorns, driven into the leaf.
While the rest of the group looked on, wondering where the catch was, River moved out to examine the man. As he did so, the leaf collapsed, and both River and the man plummeted down. Taber quickly cast Feather Fall on River. Almost as quickly, Scorcher cast Fly, hoping to be able to reach River before he fell further, but finding he was just short.
As the aerial display started, the rest of the group was now attacked by four invisible creatures. These creatures appeared to be quite small, but their blows were dealing a significant amount of damage. They initially began attacking Scorcher, Lekovi, Taber, and Cailyn, although over the next few rounds, as they shifted about, their attack targets varied. The creatures could fly, but when they did so, the flapping of their wings caused them to become partly visible. Their precise pinpricks also applied a toxic substance that appeared to drain the strength of its victims. Both Taber and Cailyn were hurt quite badly, and Lekovi was knocked unconscious, followed soon after by Cailyn. Cailyn's Rhino and Taber fought on against several of the creatures, waiting for their compatriots to return.
While this was going on, River impacted a pile of acidic fungus below the leaf trap. Scorcher, flying in to rescue the warpriest, also was burned by the acidic spores, After applying a flying spell to River, Scorcher succumbed to his wounds and fell unconscious, but was soon healed by River. River, loaded down with gear, found it difficult to keep up with Scorcher, as the pair ascended to the action above.
Despite having knocked down one of the unseen creatures, Taber slumped to the ground from his wounds and died just as River and Scorcher re-entered the fray. River was well-armoured enough that the creatures had trouble harming him, but they were able to deal damage on occasion, and could hurt Scorcher. Still, the fight was over fairly quickly after River arrived, and things went quiet. After River had healed Lekovi and Caiyn back to consciousness, searching the area turned up a finger with a ring still on it tied to the trapped leaf. Neither Lekovi nor Scorcher were able to determine what the platinum ring with large emerald did, but were sure the magical aura was strong. The group then shook themselves awake, to rejoin Taber in the waking world. There, they found Taber had become afraid of heights.
16th Rova, midday
During most of the next day, Lekovi performed some further research, into their next target, the Skull of Ghoul Royalty. This required much reading through the volumes The Codex of Three Prescriptions, Manual of Silence, and The Unified Manual of Understanding. According to a folio regarding extraplanar undead, the ghouls of the Dreamlands were far more social— though no less wicked— than their bestial kin in the waking world. They had rich histories and large communities led by royalty. A discourse on the dread Plateau of Leng explained that a more powerful form of ghoul inhabited regions where the Dreamlands connect to Leng. These Leng ghouls are shrewder than their lesser kin. Lastly, Lekovi learnt a passphrase that would direct the Dreamlands Excursion ritual to travel to an underground location in the Dreamlands.
Later in the day, the barge was rocked by an impact. As the amnesiacs rushed out of the cabin, they found they were being assaulted by four River Giants. Two of them had hidden, crouched on a sandbank, and were now smashing the barge with great hammers. The other two were shadowed among the trees on the river's edge, rocks in hand.
Cailyn, Taber and River quickly rushed to the prow of the barge, and began attacking the giants in the river. Scorcher launched fireballs at the Giants on the shore, who retaliated by throwing boulders at him. Cailyn was soon knocked to the ground by the massive blows from the Giants in the river, while Taber and River avoided most of the blows, dealing harm to them. Lekovi assauted the minds of the creatures, while Scorcher continued to trade missiles with the giants on shore. River was soon required to fall back from the front lines to heal Scorcher, who jumped down behind the cabin to avoid further harm. The shore giants had also started wading towards the barge, and soon climbed up on the deck, just as their other kin were felled. After another short struggle, these two were also knocked down.
That night, the group again prepared to enter the Dreamlands.