The road back to King’s Crest from the village of Brownbriar was almost uneventful. Kariss couldn’t shake the feeling that some of the creatures had been able to escape Happy Jack’s tent as it collapsed. As the others settled down to make camp off the road for the night, they wouldn’t be able to reach King’s Crest until tomorrow, Kariss went off in search of the possible creatures out there.
She could feel a magical presence out there in the night. The forest grew thick around her as she made her way deeper, following the faint trace of magic in the air. Before long she came to a hollow where multicolored spider string was just starting to go up. She heard from inside a familiar voice,
Kariss breathed out a sigh of relief that it was just the stichling and not something darker. She could not manage to coax the spider woman out so she went back to the party and told them about what she had found. They followed her back through the woods, back to the spiders hollow.
There was the stitchling, making herself at home. She would look at them occasionally but unless they asked for an item she wasn’t going to react. The party debated their choices. They could leave her here but she might die or be picked off by predators. She didn’t look like much of a fighter, more like a gentle soul. She needed their help not their abandonment.
Their second option was to take her back to Brownbriar and ask the villagers to take care of her. There was no guarantee, however, that they wouldn’t kill her in retaliation for what had happened there.
Their third option was to take her in themselves but they really didn’t have the facilities to accommodate her. They were mulling over their choices when Milo piped up with his own idea. He proposed they take her to Asterisks where she could be among fellow enchanters and perhaps they could help her be able to communicate more clearly.
This was a great idea and everyone agreed to help, there was just one problem. None of the city guard would allow the stichling inside the city walls. She would be attacked and quite possibly killed before she could even speak. They had to find a way to transport her into the city without walking in. The problem was that none of them had the stronger magic to teleport that far. They could move for short or medium bursts but anything longer than 500 feet was not going to happen.
Milo spoke up again,
“ What if we check for a door to Asterisks? We’re not that far from Brownbriar, we should be able to check.”
Aleera took out her membership card and sure enough it began pointing in one direction. It wasn’t towards Brownbriar but further ahead on their journey. While all this was going on, the stichling was just spinning her webs and occasionally looking at the party.
Having made up their minds, the party managed to coax the stitching out of her hollow when Aleera used her telepathy to try and speak to her. They couldn’t exactly speak but she could understand what Aleera asked of her and followed them out of the dark forest, towards an unknown door up ahead.
They reached an abandoned hunting lodge within the hour and noticed a large gold gilded door completely out of place from its surroundings. Smiling with relief they stepped through the doors to find the expectant face of Silvia waiting for them. She greeted them with her usual all business demeanor. That quickly changed to surprise when the party introduced the stitching and laid out what their plan was.
Silvia was understandably taken aback and said she had to speak with Asterisk first. They saw Asterisk fiddling around with a shelf behind her and looked at him expectantly. Silvia laughed a bit and said,
“No, that is just a copy. I need to speak with the real Asterisk.”
and left the front to find him deep in the bowels of their shop.
They heard a curse and explosion from somewhere and after a few minutes Asterisk came stomping through with a grimy countenance and soot covered clothes. They introduced him to the stichling and did their best to convince him to help.
They let him know that she could enchant minor objects and that she seemed to have a hard time communicating. He examined her for a bit and after a few moments of deliberation and quiet argumentation with Sylvia he turned around and agreed to shelter her.
He began to lead the stitching down a corridor to where she would make her quarters. The party warned him that she liked to make webs where she felt comfortable. Asterisk just grunted and sighed as he made his way further into the shop. Sylvia smiled a tired smile at them and told them not to take Asterisk too seriously, he was just a big softie underneath it all.
Having done quite a few good things in the last few days the heroes left Asterisks only to find themselves in the middle of King’s Crest instead of on the road to the city. High in spirits, they made their way to the guild hall to rest and plan their next move in their overarching mission to stop the Curse of Ash and save the city and the island.