The Three-Trees Spirit
Delving into the center of the desecrated forest, the party arrived upon three trees, intertwined together, which rested on a key focal point of the local leylines. The tree had been cut down at the base, and now a thick oily substance covered the tree. When they approached, two sacred elk stepped forward to block their approach.
The three trees were the embodiment of the forest god Hikki, a young forest spirit of Middle Valley. The elk explained that a horde of men had done this, desecrating the ground. Enraged, the forest god Hikki emerged from the desecrated stump and attacked the party. After a fierce battle, the spirit was defeated and destroyed, severing the desecration from the other leylines of the area. In time, a new path will be created that will revitalize the destroyed ground, restoring balance.
Te-Jia and Ji-Bao
Deciding to follow the regiment of Shogunate soldiers, the party followed the obvious trail they had left, and passed by Te-Jia, one of the druids of Huijin’s circle. In a hopeless attempt to remove the greensleeping Ji-Bao from his meditations, Te-Jia had cut him from his tree, killing Ji-Bao.
Though distraught, Trogga and Lu Bu’s persuasion managed to give her the will to take Ji-Bao back to the circle to be properly interred. Without returning to check on the safety of the Princess or the circle, the party continued to pursue the regiment.
Birchburn the Innkeeper
The party found the regiment encamped around a roadside inn not far from the Sacred Grove. Sending Trogga and Ivellios down into the inn, the party found that the regiment was exploiting the hospitality of the innkeeper, but were not overtly hostile. From the innkeeper, Trogga and Ivellios learned that a man called ‘The Butcher’ was leading the regiment, and was searching for something he believed was hidden in the Sacred Grove.
Meeting up with another patron of the inn who had a deep interest in confronting the Butcher, the two began to return to the rest of the party, and overheard in passing two men discussing their plans for the area. Still searching for Princess Akemi, the regiment was responsible for despoiling the Three-Trees god, and intended to continue to assault the forest until their quarry was forced into their arms.