Session 28: Swamp Things
The circle chased down the sounds of combat, finding a small horde of Arczeckhi warriors descending on a helpless human village. One of the hideous wolf-like mutants rode a tyrant lizard, while the others ravaged and slew as they saw fit. The circle entered the battle without a second thought, driving the Arczeckhi before them like grains of wheat before a cyclone.
As the battle turned in the circle’s favor, Ven requested that one of the mutants be captured alive so that she could test her brand-new invention: the mutation suppressor. Gideon made no promises, blasting away at the feral mutants with his Twin Dragons, and Snapdragon could only concur, reaving amidst them with her Grieving Blade. These monsters were hardly even human, and destroying them felt righteous. Still, Red Lion was able to help, knocking out the tyrant lizard with a punch to the jaw and trapping the hordemaster beneath its fallen bulk. He then punched out the mutant and tied him up, so that Ven could test the device on him once they recovered the Lion’s Roar.
The villagers expressed their deepest gratitude to the circle, confessing that lately it seemed as though the world itself had turned against them. Blazer noted that their homes were all partially flooded from the swamp and asked why they hadn’t built their homes on stilts like most swamp folk. The headwoman, Glass Whisperer, informed them that the swamp was new—until a few weeks ago, their village had been on the shore of a sandy-banked stream. In the course of a night, the swamp seemed to just appear around the village. Glass Whisperer’s niece, Alazne, had gone missing in the swamp a few days later.
Blazer was disturbed by this. More than just the sudden appearance of a new swamp, he thought he had seen a girl by Alazne’s description as they entered the village. But that was impossible, given what the headwoman was saying. On the other hand she might be a ghost, hoping to reveal what had killed her. In the meantime, Ven and Red Lion were doing their best to keep the villagers from killing the Arczeckhi prisoner they had taken, a hordemaster called Kervassi.
An investigation by the circle eventually led them to explore the interior of the swamp, leaving Kervassi tied up and locked inside a hut on the edge of the village. Ven warded the building to keep him from getting out—and the villagers from getting in—while they were gone. While exploring the swamp, they found that the vegetation kept acting in highly unnatural ways. Finally, they were attacked by shambling corpses covered in moss and vines—but which did not seem like the undead to Blazer’s sorcerous sight.
A more thorough review of the creatures revealed that they were plant-like monsters using preserved human corpses as structural support—like ivy growing on a pillar. Alazne appeared to them again and pleaded for release; she was indeed a ghost, and she could not rest until her body was given a proper funeral. While out exploring the new swamp, she had been attacked by the creatures that had ambushed the party; now her body was being used by them as a host for such a creature.
The circle asserted that such a thing could not be allowed to pass. They assured the poor dead girl that they would lay her to rest and set off in search of the center of the swamp. Upon arriving there, they found themselves face-to-face with more of the swamp creatures, as well as a number of beautiful women with vines in their hair, all of whom spoke in unison with a single voice.
“Who dares disturb Mother Bog?”