Reticent to face the behir whelp in its lair, the heroes split up looking for dry kindling (for a fire to smoke out the monster) and rear exits. Bala the Behir seized this chance to ambush the isolated mage Serima, launching himself from his hiding place in the river. The party quickly converged on Bala. A deadly battle ensued, with Bala repeatedly pushing Slider to the brink of death. At a critical point Bala fled into his cave and escaped through an underwater rear exit to attack the party from behind and (again) trample Serima. Bloody and battered, looming over the unconscious bodies of Salvatore and Nala and Serima and Abey, Bala defiantly promised death to the remaining heroes: Slider and Saeryljana. Their blades were too much for the behir in the end though.
The party took a few hours to recover, tending their wounds, exploring Bala’s underground lair, and butchering the behir corpse for steaks, the organs that generated its static charge, and its head (as a trophy). In the mean time, Lord Hamhill Bronzebottom took the army on towards Dawnstride to break the goblin siege. During exploration, the party found magical plate armor that could be summoned and dismissed at will, and a stone tablet carved with the message: “For Bala, King of the Forest. Thank you for your mercy in accepting our food offering and letting us pass.” Oddly, the tunnel and lair appeared to have been dug using tools (i.e., not dug by claws).
Recovered, the party split off from the army to find the Glade of Peace, believing that the goblin horde intended to seize it and use the power source located there. They took extra caution to approach the glade from the northwest, in the hopes of sneaking up on any goblins in the area.
After a few hours, they spotted a crow flying towards them from the direction of Dawnstride. This time Saeryl deftly shot the bird out of the air. Leaning over in the saddle to pick up the feathered shish kebab, Slider discovered there was no note tied to the crow’s leg. Instead, a dying whisper escaped the bird’s beak: “It’s a…”
Later that day, the party discovered a marmalade cat stealthily trailing them. Serima magically caught the cat by the scruff of the neck. Inspection revealed the cat to be a familiar, and looking into its eyes showed 4 halfling adventurers sitting in a cave playing cards. Perhaps the party of halfing adventurers Duke Thorndyke sent east to investigate why trade from Rivercity had stopped coming to Dawnstride? Peering into the cat’s eyes and hoping for more clues, Abey and Serima telepathically heard a male voice say, “We have food. Please hurry,” before the familiar simply vanished.
Shortly after dusk the party arrived at the Glade of Peace to find it guarded by a handful of hobgoblins and occupied by 9 chanting hobgoblin ritualists. An odd, lethargic skirmish took place, hampered by the mystical soothing calmness that emanated from the glade. Quickly realizing that the glade dampened aggression and that blood would defile the holiness of the clearing, the party lured the guards and ritualists away from the clearing. A hidden wizard suddenly complicated matters by attacking the party AND the ritualists with pillars of flame, a gigantic hand of ice, and dazzling color bursts. The wounded ritualists snapped out of their reverie, but the party succeeded in dispatching the goblins without defiling the glade. Desperate, the hidden wizard revealed himself to face the party alone: Synechia. Outnumbered, Synechia was quickly defeated.