Session Log 2022-03-10
The party lit some of the branches alight to burn the magebane and better read the runes it obscured. However, Ignis wasn't able to clearly make out the glyphs squinting past their light, so it fell to Robin to study and scribe the runes in the dirt for him. Fully translated, the text read "And though each of us bear but one essence, our lives fill with the medley of our fellow-bearers."
Robin wandered the paths of the pavilion, winding through the portal-arches, to see if anything noteworthy stood out. As she passed before and behind the branch-mounds, her torch cast their large forms into larger shadows on the walls of the bowl.
Meanwhile, Klaitos lifted Ekkels overhead, attemption to "bear" his fellow as much as possible. From his elevated vantage, Ekkels realized that the shadows on the walls resembled the silhouettes of reclining people, drinking wine and lying around. He realized that the branch-mounds were not simply piles of brush, but instead the dried husks of large, dead topiary sculptures.
Ignis attempted to put various objects in the stone bowl near the portal-arch to the anthill. He found little response to drops of blood or sticks. His unending magic liquor, poured onto the dusty floor, served only to attract an eyeless ant the size of a pony. It lapped up the flavorful booze and chased after him for more.
Robin, Klaitos, and Ekkels combed the topiary for clues. Robin found nothing inside the topiary bottle and climbed down over the odd arch-like hand. Klaitos found the dessicated remains of a large flower in the "mouth" of one topiary. Ekkels found dried stems, suggesting distinct fruit had once grown on each sculpture.
Ignis, losing interest in the chase as the ant was overcome by intoxication, used his magic liquor to restore pale, unhealthy-looking fruit to the dead branches. Robin tried some and found it bland and unappetizing. Ignis pitched some into the magebane, which devoured the restorative magic greedily.
Ekkels wanted some of the flower to braid, and had Ignis restore it too. It bloomed into an even larger peach-orange specimen with a strange opening in the center and vine-tendrils entangling the surrounding topiary. Ignis put his hand in the hole, and the flower closed around it. He removed it, finding it newly sticky with yet more organic slime. He then fed the collected fruits of the topiary into the flower, causing its vines to twist and pull at the topiary, revealing a hidden portal archway to a new room.
The party found a narrow hallway of lacquered, woven wood, leading to a hill of the same material resembling an upside-down wicker basket. Above the hill, hovering fixed in the air at about the height of a human head, they could see a wreath or bough of similar material. Higher still, a dim source of light provided the first non-torch illumination they had seen since entering the stone archway.
Ekkels climbed the hill first, and spotted more Old Elven script woven around the hill with lighter wood. He also spied magebane slime bubbling and roiling under the bough but unable to form enough structure to reach. Further magebane dripped and trickled within the hilltop, so the wary Ekkels stayed well clear. Ignis was tasked with his usual job of translating the script: "At dusk, at our fullest-lived, our one fate seems woven tight."
Robin and Klaitos, their night vision disrupted by torchlight, were unable to make out the light source above. Ekkels, held aloft by Klaitos, spied a floating portal back to the Knotted Tower, a thin beam of moonlight reaching into this room from an arrow-slit window.
Considering the possibility that the time of day was important to solve the puzzle at hand, Robin tried filling the room with dusky light. While this did reveal the arching wicker walls and roof, it did little to alter the room around them, and she quickly dismissed the illusion to avoid attracting the magebane. Ignis, considering the poem thus far, decided that the allusion to "dusk" was more metaphorical than literal.