Starsday, 11th of Nerth, Year 3033
Early that morning, the party gathers their things and sets out eastward towards the location of the Bleeding Tooth. The Heirophant lays out the quickest route through the Sporest – follow the main road through Mitrula Fen, take the river south to Lake Muscarine, then follow the stream eastward to the cliffs of the Maw. After traveling through the tunnels of the myconid colony, they part ways with the Heirophant and emerge on the surface of the Sporest floor.
As they travel northward through the dense, fungal forest, Kvothe spots a pool of water that they could use to refresh their waterskins. After Alonwyn blesses the water, they drink their fill and refill their skins for the journey ahead.
Barkley, who has been following the party loyally, begins making a commotion and sniffing around something nearby. Alistair finds that it’s a deer carcass, stripped to the bone of almost all of its meat. Kvothe investigates the corpse and finds that it was like killed by a massive predator, likely a bear, but the bite marks show signs of a massive, raptor-like beak. This leads him to believe it’s a different beast altogether – an owlbear, a hulking monstrosity with a bear-like body and the head of an owl. He explains that it is unknown how owlbears originated, whether by the experimentation of some mad wizard or the curse of a god, but that they are fierce beasts and not to be trifled with.
Leaving the scene of the mutilated deer, the party keeps moving northeast through the woods, eventually coming to the main road a little after noon. Taking the road east, the party soon grows travel-weary and discuss whether they should attempt to reach Mitrula Fen or stop and rest before. As they talk, they begin to hear the approaching sounds of cartwheels on the stony and weathered road, causing them to abandon the road and hide in the dense trees and brush nearby.
A caravan of Mushburrow gnomes atop carts pulled by giant badgers come into view, likely heading east to the faraway cities that buy their mushrooms. Lilith thinks they can hitch a ride with them, but the party tries to stop her, saying that they would obviously recognize them as the group that “attacked” Mushburrow and turn against them. Lilith changes her appearance using her sorcery, turning herself into a gnome of similar stature and garb, and steps out into the road to get their attention.
She begins talking to them and asking if she and her companions can have a ride, and the gnomes look extremely confused and speak to her in gnomish, which she cannot speak. She tries to interact with them, but they begin to become more and more confused and irritated. Alistair disguises himself as Raff and intervenes, trying to get the gnomes to turn around by saying that they are in danger of being attacked by the evil intruders from before. His lies do not work, and the gnomes, extremely flustered and sensing something is off, speed off down the road, disappearing.
The party travels further east along the road, eventually entering an open glade where the dense forest and giant mushrooms have grown more sparse, allowing thick grass, large flowers, and other plants to thrive. They notice the heavy thrumming of huge insects buzzing around. Upon further inspection, they find that the insects are giant wasps. Worried by their presence, the party decides to push forward, but Kvothe insists that the wasps will be harmless if they are not threatened, harmed, or intruded upon.
With evening approaching, they decide to set up camp instead of pushing on and possibly getting stuck somewhere even more dangerous. As they set up camp, they notice distant orange glows that they have seen throughout their time in the Sporest – the fire beetles that roam the forest at night.
As the party spends their evening eating and resting, they hear the bellowing roar of what can only be an owlbear echoing through the glade. They realize that it isn’t as far as they would hope. The group also notice that the previously dormant and scattered wasps seem to be flying from the north side of the glade to the south, gathering together. Soon the party notice two large animal figures moving towards them in the moonlight from across the glade, and realize that the two figures are owlbears, a mother and cub, followed by an angry swarm of giant wasps.
Lilith flies into the air and unleashes a ray of frost at the swarm of wasps, freezing about half of their numbers dead, causing a frosty insect hail. Magnus opens his eversmoking bottle, releasing the magical smoke into the glade and enveloping the party. Kvothe summons a gust of wind, blowing the smoke into the wasp swarm and causing them to scatter, and Alistair uses fire to pick off a few of them. Using another frost ray, Lilith takes out another swath of the frenzied wasps, but is stung twice in the process. Alonwyn raises her shield to protect from the wasps. Kvothe summons a flaming spear, sending it through some of them and turning them to ash.
During the chaos, Alistair notices the owlbears being attacked and stung badly by the remaining swarm, wasp honey covering their faces, the mother trying to protect and cover its cub while swinging its huge claws and roaring, but clearly losing the battle and succumbing to the venomous stings. Alistair attacks the assailing wasps and attempts to calm the owlbears, managing to soothe them and keep them from attacking him.
Lilith, now badly hurt by being repeatedly stung while flying in the midst of the swarm, falls to the ground and crawls under her blanket to hide. Kvothe, seeing the damage dealt to his friends as well as the owlbears, uses Foxfire to cast a mass healing spell to cure the wounds of the party and the injured creatures. Kvothe then attempts to charm the owlbears, which begins to work, but wears off as quickly as it began.
The party decides that they should escape, as the wasps are still in a frenzy and stinging them badly. As they step out of the cloud of smoke created by the eversmoking bottle, they are all swarmed and stung repeatedly, and the paralyzing venom of the wasps begins to set in and affect everyone but Kvothe, Korag-Gora and Alistair.
As the wasps begin to close in and swarm worse than ever, the healed owlbears return and slash through the wasp swarms, sending the surviving wasps scattering into the night. The owlbear matron and cub hesitate for a moment, and perhaps send a look of gratitude towards the party before disappearing into the night.
Sunday, 12th of Nerth, Year 3033
After about an hour, the paralyzing effects of the wasp venom wears off and the party cleans up their camp and make their beds, exhausted.
Early the next morning, the party awakens and notice the wasp carnage that surrounds their camp. Magnus harvests a vial of venom from one of the stingers of a fallen wasp. Over breakfast, they discuss whether they should attempt to gather some of the honey from the giant wasp hive, a delicacy worth a lot of money and highly valued for its incredible properties. They decide it best not to tamper with the wasps again and pack up for the day’s journey.
After many hours of traveling the road under a dull, grey, overcast sky, the forest begins to change as the ground becomes wetter and muddier, giving way to pools of stagnant water and bog, the only safe path being the main road. The air begins to befoul with a putrid stench of rot and decay, of stagnation and standing water. Soon they find themselves in the swampy confines of Mitrula Fen with a thunderstorm on the horizon.
As the journey goes on, they begin to notice strange, pulsing orbs of light dancing above the black, murky surface of the fen’s waters. As they walk, they notice the orbs bouncing nearer, their hypnotic movements almost drawing the travelers into the swamp. One of the orbs draws close to Alonwyn and Lilith, who feel it begin to “pull” at them in a strange, sinister way. Magnus tries to stab at the wisp, but the blade passes through it. Alonwyn swings her glaive through it, but the orb is unphased, sending a powerful arc of energy at them and shocking them both.
Alonwyn attempts to catch the wisp in a bottle, but it phases right through the glass, floating over their heads and into the faces of Kvothe and Alistair. Pulsing with gentle, hypnotic light, the orb beckons them both to follow it into the black waters of the fen, compelling them to leave the road. The wisp succeeds, and they both submerge themselves into the putrid water, unaware of their own actions and under the spell of the sinister dancing light.
Horrified, the rest of the party watch as the pair wade further into the water after the wisp, shouting at them to turn around and get out of the water. Lilith flies over to them, trying to grab and pull them backwards and snap them out of the wisp’s charming spell.
Suddenly, the surface of the swamp is broken as a hideous, rotten and overgrown corpse rises from its depths, hidden beneath moss and plants, a putrid stench and hissing sound bursting from its gaping jaw. Before they can react, a torrent of undead leeches, putrid bile, and mud explodes from its mouth as it vomits, dousing Kvothe and Alistair and covering them with leeches.