Where the party takes refuge in a small missionary town, escapes a bird of prey and delivers on their part of a bargain with a Giantess.
Critically wounded in the battle of the cornfield, Raven is given over to the doctors of New Tampere forcing the rest of the party to take a rest. During the following three days they learn that the town of New Tampere contains a stable mirror portal, little more than a small garden gate that `opens once a year to a crossroads in the woods just outside Tempere, a city in Finland. The gate is a lifeline, allowing trade in goods, news and people with the material world for a fortnight.
The town itself is suspended on vines and branches of what the townsfolk call The Great Hedge, an overgrown piece of flora that is part of system of delineating borders in the Giant Kingdoms. Suspended above the town is a beehive of at least the same size. Indeed, “Tamperian Honey”, a delicacy across Europe, is the town's chief export. It is unclear if the Humans of New Tampere have domesticated the Fey hive or of there is some quid-pro-quo in exchange for the honey that is harvested. When pressed on the subject, the citizens are stubbornly elusive.
They also learn that while the town has always suffered from sporadic Goblin attacks that, in the past three days goblin shore parties (from their flying skiffs) have increased dramatically. It is clear they are searching for something.
While investigating the local shops for supplies, Malagar reluctantly follows a girl who shows him, through a tiny pair of glasses that see through Faerie Glamour, that the doctor treating Raven has been replaced by a Hobgoblin who has hooked Raven to a steam powered apparatus connecting Raven's brain to that of a lobotomized Grell.
In the ensuing fight with the Hobgoblin and his Goblin allies, it seems that the while the Goblins regularly employ a number of creatures (Grells, Manticores) they have a particular penchant for creatures that turn their enemies to stone including the petrifying touch of the Cockatrice and the gaze of the Basilisk. Somehow the goblins appear to be immune to such effects.
Knowing that the Goblins were closing in the players decide they can delay no longer. They place Raven inside their portable hole and climb upwards to where an overgrown hedge overlaps the Modron tracks high above. They are warned to beware of the owl – the scourge of Human and Hare alike who nests somewhere above.
They look around for Angus, Eric, Dougal, Ewan, and Malcom. They are no where to be found and neither is Quincey Morris who, days ago, went to scout ahead and never returned.
The climb is taxing and, though they sleep in shifts none get any significant rest for three days time. While on watch they hear Goblin parties searching for them. On the third day they approach the top and begin to come across the remains of the owl’s victims — hundreds of Humans, Goblins, Modrons, Elves and others.
Malagar uses a gift from that he believed to be from his god to speak to a skull, asking it of the owls habits. It is at this point that the entire party realizes that they share this ability to speak to the dead and it comes, not from their individual sources of power, but from the artifact they cary.
The players decide to use the Pixie Dust to fly past the sleeping owl. The only problem is there are three of them plus Malania and only three pinches of dust. Kerstas decides she can ride out the flight inside the portable hole. In lowering herself in however she realizes that the space is truly extra dimensional. There is no light, no sound, no sense of time or even touch. Once closed in she will be cut of from everything from every sense. Even knowing the danger she confidently lowers herself into the aperture, confident her strength of will will see her through. She was wrong.
The owl takes off from it’s nest and pursues the fleeing party. At one point Malagar manages to drive it off by donning a Hobgoblin fear mask he recovered from the battle In New Tampere.
The entire party eventually makes it through the Modron portal where on the other side they see a mountain stronghold adorned with multiple representations of the crest of the ruling Cloud Giant family — The House of Nylund (see HouseofNylundv3.png – attached). Attached to the walls of the stronghold and surrounding town is another city – though more numerous in structures it is human sized and even at first glance it clearly lacks the wealth and sophistication of the Giant town.
Descending from the sky a Cloud Giant guard kneels and welcomes Malania and removes the spell on her – revealing her to be a Cloud Giantess herself, though still of young age. The guard informs her that her guests have already arrived including a delegation from the Sisterhood who wish to speak with her before the ceremony tomorrow. She leaves with the guard to prepare for her wedding – an arranged marriage to Lord Nylund’s nephew. Before departing she reminds the players that they have 5 questions they may ask.
The players are left to enter the town on foot.