The heroes gathered together at the call of a local dwarf lord, hired for the task of defending Westdown, a rather pathetic village, from the bandit attacks they’d recently been suffering. The heroes struck out for Westdown forthwith and came upon its battered walls in a few spare days. There they found a rather cold welcome, the desperate villagers urging them to make haste away from the village walls and get about destroying the bandit camp. The heroes did as they were bade, striking out to the North and West, tracking their quarry to a clearing beside a small lake.
A lengthy discussion of tactics ensued which culminated in the Wizard using his Ghost Sound to set the ring of steel and cries of battle from a nearby tent – drawing several of the bandits inside. Upon drawing in their enemies the Wizard cast out a sphere of fire that blasted many of their foes to cinders. With shouts of fury and the screams of the charred battle was joined. However, after several furious seconds a woman charged out into the encampment – a tremendous blade resting on her shoulder. The leader of the camp she arrested the heroes in conversation – calling a halt to the sudden carnage.
The leader, Jiselle by name, corrected the mistaken impressions of the heroes that had sent them on their quest. She explained they were no bandits but rather Black Iron mercenaries and that they were attacking the village in order to liberate it of a malignant force, a strange plant that was dominating the minds of the villagers and spawning terrors to defend itself. Intent on investigating this the heroes returned to town, the Hexblade summoning his invisible servant to scour the walls of the city and report back in an hour.
However the minion had been within the walls no more than thirty seconds before an unearthly shriek arose from its throat, its master quickly feeling its destruction and dismissal from the material plane. Somehow the creature had instantly been detected and destroyed. This was enough to raise the villagers against the heroes and confirm the dark suspicions about the village’s abnormality. Fleeing from the town’s archers, who were firing with astonishing skill for such simple folk, the heroes ran for the hillsides whereupon they met the remaining Black Iron forces.
Joining with their former enemies the heroes split into two forces, striking the town from both directions. The Wizard helped force one door open while the Hexblade slid through the very wood in his phantasmal form and undid the bar from the other side. However, the Wizard had made himself vulnerable and was quickly driven near to death – saved only by the Paladin’s quick action and incredible defense. Under the combined forces of the heroes and their allies the tide soon turned against the town and the many strange plant-like minions inhabiting it. The monsters were destroyed and the villagers stricken unconscious.
But the struggle was not yet over. The Wizard’s familiar leaped from the Eladrin’s shoulders and stalked over to the village fountain – noticing a strange smell coming from it. The heroes and gathered Black Iron mercenaries hefted the fountain out of the ground, discovering a network of green tendrils coating every inch of a gaping tunnel beyond, sloping down into the earth. Upon casting magic missile at the darkness of the tunnel it struck a tendril covering one side of the tunnel’s walls… Red blood leaking from the ruptured vine. Another prod with a blade at one of the tendrils close at hand proved the same… Blood leaking out of the tendrils to seep into the tunnel floor.
Stirring on and down the tunnel the heroes eventually came upon a tremendous plant-creature whose roots and vines had spread out so terribly. However, after speaking with it the heroes learned there was yet more to this situation than met the eye. The creature claimed to be only three months old and to have been created and planted there by an Eladrin Psion with rich, flowing white hair down to her waist, entrancing multicolored eyes that whirl in an almost hypnotic pattern and one massive crab-like claw where her right fore-arm might once have been. It believed that it was this Psion’s plan for it to come into conflict with the villagers, the villagers seeking to destroy it and the plant protecting itself in the least violent way it knew how. It did not wish to kill anyone, and thus a subtle mind manipulation was the best option. However, it had been too gentle in its domination at first – some escaping its hold to run screaming of their peril to nearby towns where the Black Iron had first caught wind of the dilemma.
The heroes decided they could not kill the creature, prompting the Black Iron to reveal they had come for more than a good deed… They wished to take the plant’s seeds, using its power for their own ends to plant these creatures. The plant refused and the heroes turned against the Black Iron – though not before persuading Jiselle to break ranks with her comrades and fight alongside them.
After swiftly defeating the remaining Black Iron the heroes brokered a temporary agreement with Jiselle for her to accompany them and lend them her sword in exchange for thirty percent of the heroes’ spoils for as long as they would have her. With this agreement in tow the heroes set out for the Laboratory Arcane on the outskirts of Heron’s Gate – the domed city between the mountains that overlooks the Wavebreak Cliffs on the Aurianis Sea. As the official arm of the Spellcircle, the arcane caster guild of Turenevad, in matters of magical research – the Laboratory Arcane promised answers to how the situation could be resolved peacably between the incompatible factions of the plant and the villagers. With this as their goal the heroes set out for Heron’s Gate and the Laboratory Arcane.