From the writings of Moe'uhane, T'skrang Illusionist, 6th Circle, Messenger Rank 4
The day started rather non-descript, I met with Kain at the offices of one Edvird Mennanir had recently had recently had some issues getting information on a new True Fire mining opportunity. Apparently his windling scout first went missing, and the adepts that went to retrieve them were unable to further secure the area and contact the kaers in the area. He was asking Kain and I to go scout and secure the area so that further expeditions could go and secure trade. The location was in the Marrek Valley. It has become more accessible with the increased boat travel between Sosanopa and the Cliff City. Our employer arranged for passage upon one of these ships, affording us a launch to get ashore.
We travelled a day into the valley, following the proposed trade route that would be, and then we came across our first bout of trouble. A corrupted wood beast came crashing through the underbrush and squelched at us. Kain loosed and arrow and fellback to a better position. This enraged the beast further, it loped towards Kain as a corrupted tendril snapped up a large fallen branch. It engulfed the branch and then spewed it towards Kain, knocking him down. Finally I gathered enough concentration to unleash a fireball upon the beast as it attempted to ravage Kain. It writhed and bucked in it's natural fear of fire. The belief that it was being burned further enhancing the illusion. It turned towards me, freeing Kain. Around this time a Troll and a Windling wandered into the battlefield. As I heard my name called by familiar voices, a second Phantom Fireball overwhelmed the creatures senses, the sheer terror caused it to convulse in death. Looking up, Azurea and Nez had arrived, not the location that I expected to find comrades on a constitutional.
They both had been sent independently to the area to prove themselves to groups they hoped to join. Nez to the windling protectors known as Windmasters, he had been a staunch defender of windling companions in the past and wished to do that for all windlings in the future. Azurea was most pleasantly surprised to see Kain, apparently it was his fault she was out here. In their last adventure, Kain had a very real brush with death, Azurea indicated that as she worked upon his stony lifeless body, she was struck by visions of the earth reaching out and bring him back to life. Obviously Thystonius unlocked a secret within this innocent childs pattern to help save his devotee. She had inquired far and wide as to the meaning to this. She was apparently approached by the Purifiers and sent here to try and determine and remedy the poison in the land. Ominous, but perhaps it was just as good that we met up. If there was a greater danger, none of our groups would have been able to handle it individually, and with the recent rash of adventuring deaths, Throal could ill afford to loose experienced and proven Adepts such as ourselves.
We took some time to rest and made camp, then proceeded on to the destination our trade map had indicated. This led us to a hilltop with a series of standing stones, in the center of which was what appeared to be a open portal. It was rather dark inside, but none of us could assess any threat. After dropping a torch inside to confirm, Azurea and Nez made their way down on my Flying Carpet, while Kain and I provided ranged support. They advised us that it appeared to be a Windling Kaer, and there was some sort of sealed door that they could not enter. It also appeared that someone less level headed had the same issue and had attacked the door, putting a crack into it. I could see the telltale signs of rope fibers around the opening, so it was obvious we would find nothing of interest here. The party made it's way down the hill and towards the direction of the other kaers Kain and I had been briefed upon. This lead us down into a luscious green grove with what appeared to be mushrooms spread throughout the grass. Azurea took a closer look at one of the white growths, and realized it was, in fact, a tiny finger bone. We did our best to assist Nez in collecting the remains of his brethren, until the scope of it hit him. Upon realizing that this would be too monumental a task, he conceded that we would need to comeback and deal with this location. As we were consoling him, movement from the grass caught our attention. Bones shot from the grass and into the trees opposite where we were standing. It increased in frequency and force, in fact pulling bones from Nez's hands. Everyone quickly hid themselves and we moved to get into a better position. As I snuck around the trunk of an old growth tree, a giant writhing mass of windling bones surged forth from the treeline, cutting through loose branches like a bolt of lightning. It writhed forward and lashed out at Kain and Sagarmatha. I tried to blind the creature so my allies could maintain the element of surprise, but it had little effect. That fortunately did not keep Azurea from leaping forth from concealment in a twisting fluid motion draw a handful of shadowed blades from the river of reality and launch two paired salvoes at the construct, piercing the corrupted core as it crumbled. A pair of small Windling ghouls also bounded forward, and we finished them off in short order. As the last of the ghouls fell, another Windling wielding a two handed sword flew into the grove and landed close enough to speak with us. Azurea rushed to her aid, ensuring that she did not need further care. The Windling introduced herself as Nelavyn Venlyn, and assured us she was fine, and to tend to our own injured first. She explained that she was one of the protectors for the survivors of the Windling kaer we had found. The survivors were not far from here, but she had circled back to try and assist us when the commotion was noticed. She gave us directions to the survivors encampment and agreed that we should rest and catch up with them. Azurea tended to Kain, and attempted her new trick, which I must admit was rather impressive looking, and will be incorporated into my own future illusionary performances.
After a needed rest, we attempted to catch up to the Windlings. We felt we were getting near as dark descended upon us. I opted to try and disguise our movements from notice as we decided to push on to our destination. We made it to the cobbled cross-road landmark Nelavyn had given us and started across their uneven heave as a mist descended with the night chill. We headed in the direction we felt the survivors must have made camp and were set upon by demiwraiths. Their chittering skulls foretelling doom for whomever they touched. Battle was joined while the mist swirled around us. A pair of ghouls joined the fray, and then the mist began to chill and spoke to each of us trying to induce Terror. Luckily, my diligent use of Assuring Touch was for just such a reason. Some of us were rattled, but we slowly shook it off. I provided a distraction by generating Phantom Warriors for everyone, and then tried to help take care of the minion creatures so we could focus on the mist. Claws, arrows, and blades cut the last of the ghouls and demiwraiths down. At this point as people attempted to attack the coalesced mist, it would quickly rush to their side chilling and attempting to fear them again. Judging that this may be a more canny opponent, and that a physical illusion may not be as effective, I unleashed True Ephemeral Bolt after True Ephemeral Bolt. I could tell that my party was becoming exhausted, but we battled on. An offhanded taunt drew it's attention to me giving Nez and Sagarmatha the opportunity to strike and finish the creature.
We made our way to the survivor encampment and rested. Nez spoke further with Nelavyn, and she advised that he had proven his prowess and skill, but now he needed to prove his leadership. These Windlings needed to be lead to a new home. He must find that location and come back to lead his people there. Kain and I finally reached our destination and did not come across anyone more than the Windlings. I'm sure Edvird will not be pleased, but the area is clear for further exploration and mining, thus he paid our increased party in full. The entire trip back to Throal Azurea kept saying how she felt 'tingly', and the ground was funny. I suspected a possible Horror mark after the encounter with The Mist, but every test seemed to indicate differently. Perhaps this is the manifestation of her Purifier powers. I will need to follow up in the future to be sure.