The drow, Za’kazhin Blackthorn, introduced himself as the custodian of “garden” that surrounded them. Disturbingly hansom, the dark elf appeared oddly non-pulsed as Samnymian and his companions challenged him to explain himself and his garden. Za’kazhim instead studied Gretel intently, stating that he wasn’t expecting any non-elves. The dwarven priestess found herself suppressing a shudder as is red eyes bored into her intently, a wide smile forming on his face. Samnymian persisted and eventually Za’kazhim responded to the question about the missing Beloveds. He said they were his work now, and he was going to find the confrontation between the two groups most amusing. The elven wizard pressed the drow druid, challenging him to bring them forth now. Za’kazhin pondered, and that is when Alluvian struck, her demon infused sword struck out, and the drow’s staff spun out his his hand and clattered to the ground. As he bent to pick it up, the Fey’ri’s follow up swing caught the drow in the chest.
Za’kazhim exploded in a cloud of ravens that fed skyward and Alluvian found a single dead bird impaled on her blade. Suddenly the ground erupted in fire, fire that didn’t burn any plantlife, but leap and clung to the group. The party scrambled to uncover where the drow druid had fled to, quickly concluding he was likely on the top of the tower like rock from whence he first came. As if to confirm their supposition, another spell struck down from the tower’s apex, and Gretel suddenly found herself transformed into a small rabbit.
The base of the tower was surrounded by 12 foot tall plants that appeared to be quite capable of attacking anyone who approached. Alluvian activated her Cloak of Chaos and took wing, assendly swiftly upwards. Ven’Rail and Samnymian made use of levitation, moving slightly slower. Phandria wild shaped into a great bird and was able to begin carrying Ragnork upwards. However, the encounter at the top of the tower like shard of petrified wood was anti-climatic, the drow druid had summoned a large beast while flying into the darkness.
Returning to the ground, Gretel’s condition was reversed and the group turned once more to finding their way through this twisted creation of dark elven manipulation. Exploring westward, the path led into a lake, some quick reconnaissance revealed a strange collection of plants that together resembled a large house and odd trees along the shore that were all spaced in a disturbingly uniform pattern.
No to eager to cross the lake, the group chose to explore the eastern path. As it winded its way through more of the Singing Trees, three of the missing Elven rangers ambushed the group. It appeared that the Beloveds and their Unicorns had become corrupted, the unicorn’s hides turned black. As the healer, Gretel was targeted first, and fell before anyone could really react. Samnimyan was grievously wounded by one of the charging Unicorns. Alluvian blew the whistle given to her by Vandora, which rendered two of the Beloveds unconscious and with them, their unicorns. Samnimyan rendered his attacker unconscious as Alluvian blew the whistle a second time, that rendered the third corrupted ranger unconscious. The fight was over rather swiftly, but to their horror, Gretel was dead.
Phandria attempted to heal Gretel, as they moved the unconscious elves to a central location, but the magics would not take. Then, without warning, Gretel sat up, her health restored. She explained to her surprised companions that she had received a warning, that there was someone else, outside this immediate threat, that was moving against them. And perhaps targeting them in particular.
With their friend restored to health, they turned to the challenge of what to do with three unconscious Elven women and unicorns. They used a Sending spell to contact Vandora, informed her of what was happening and she said she’d come watch over her sisters. Alluvian escorted her past the pool and other possible dangers, and the Beloved of Ehlenestra joined the group. When it was revealed that the true spirits of the other three was held somewhere else, it was decided that they would camp together for the night, then in the morning Vandora would stay behind with her sisters while the rest ventured toward the center to set things right.