After collecting the bloom from the Troll (which happened to be a necklace of tiny pixies trapped in little cages, immediately broken free of said cages and released to be with their, conveniently, related pixie sister we had back at the castle), we made a unanimous decision to travel to the Thousand Breaths, using the power of our collected blooms.
Cara was very confident in her ability to get home and Oret seems to have developed enough trust in her to let her do as she wished. Who am I to stop her from travelling that was when I would have done so myself?
Our goal was the very same elven ruins we had been too not so long prior. This time however, we were aware of the illusion so it did nothing to distract us. Khan pulled out the blooms and as suggested, a portal whomphed into existence.
The trip through was rough. It was as though somebody had grabbed me by my intestines and yanked me through a door. I was pleased to be through…although the whole area was totally suffused with, probably, a thousand voices, all talking at the same time. It was distracting.
But not as distracting as an additional voice in my head. It turns out that the trip into the Thousand Breaths imbued Briar with more power and now it was able to communicate with me telepathically, as well as cast some spells. It appears that at this stage, Briar and I are moving in the same direction, but I have a feeling that it will continue to attempt to dominate me and we will be forced to part ways in some manner. While I am here though, Briar is an invaluable ally, providing me with an accurate map as well.
I do feel weaker while using the blade, but Briar assures me that this is offset by it’s own increase in power. This is also not a promising sign, but I believe in Iomedae and she will protect me.
Our first decision, back up by Khan, was to ensure that the gate closed before heading off into the wilderness. No point leaving an easy back door into our realm while we are not there to protect it.
From there, we moved through the only path available, directly ahead, leading to a lake with black swans swimming on it. The eagle eyes of Learion spotted some differences in the trees here and he called out, warning us that these were actually treants.
The fight was brutal. More so than expected because the treants were casting lightning spells that were hurting us more than we expected and healing them at the same time. It took lusty blows and powerful healing, along with some magic to bring these things down. At least we were able to procure the payment for our druidic researcher in the form of the lightning touched bark.
We were in better shape than we perhaps had any right to be and so we carried on towards what looked like a grave site in the map Briar provided me.
We found ourselves face to face with a large, four armed frost giant. He called us over, telling us he had been waiting a long time for this since we had killed his kin. Oret gladly accepted his challenge and tore across the battlefield, pummeling the giant with blow after blow, but the monster remained standing.
In fact, it simply looked angrier. With no other real way of saving my monk friend, I resorted to a spell I haven’t used. The power of Iomedae switched Oret and I and he was left looking a little confused as he returned to his place back with the party, while I was now standing in front of the giant.
I’m glad I managed the spell, because as much as the giants mighty blows hurt, several did not get through my armour, but I think that Oret might have been in a significant amount of trouble if he had been there still.
Io held the beast in place while others wailed on him with a fury borne of the understanding that this giant would be able to kill any of us in a matter of seconds should he be allowed to strike again.
With his death came a collective sigh of relief, and some more healing from Io was required…