The group opens at dusk, breaking over the path to Dardun to answer the call of the rangers located there. Grunch empowers the movements of the party with some raw sorcerous energy, befuddling Marek in the process. When the party approaches Dardun, the calls from the town fade and are called off. Mysteriously, the reavers are breaking into the woods despite the lack of moonlight for vision. The party scouts the town cautiously with Grunch scouting the surrounding habitation. Marek tries to glean whatever he can about the magical energy in this night, and in a moment of clarity happens upon a quote hidden away in the recesses of his mind, “There are three things all wise men fear: the sea in storm, a night with no moon, and the anger of a gentle man.”
Rollie enters the town and deftly talks his way into The Old Blood, the main human inn, and gets the innkeeper to send some of her workers out to scout the road for help. Marek opts to break into a nearby elven house and while he does alarm and offend the owner, he’s able to talk his way into confidence and get some information. Morgoth and Grunch are less successfull as Morgoth attempts to assist in the fire-fighting and manages to incite a riot of the townspeople through a series of bungled assistance attempts. Grunch offends a homeowner by chewing on a tree, only avoiding a fight on that front to save Morgoth from the townspeople.
The scene and surrounding confusion is broken by the peal of screams from one of the scouts sent out by the innkeeper as he returns from the easterly road. He throws himself into the inn complaining about being attacked by a ranger. The innkeeper throws all the newcomers out onto the street to fend for themselves, her trust exhausted. In the dim light, the party sees a figure approaching at a casual walk from the east. Morgoth moves to intercede while the rest of the party gathers behind. The figure is indeed one of a ranger, but the eyes are completely jet black. The figure looks at Morgoth quizzically, but when impeded and questioned, he smiles widely and attacks, breaking into multiple copies of himself. Dark energy pulses off all the copies in tandem and lashes out at the surrouding targets. Quickly, Rollie and Morgoth find themselves on the back foot, fighting to stay alive. Marek, Tiarshus and the rangers join the fight a moment late, and Tiarshus screams “Face-Dancer” when he sees the figure and is momentarily overcome with his fear. Grunch and Marek however waste no time and unleash attacks from distance, damaging greatly one of the shades of the ranger. Upon being bloodied the copy is approaches the original ranger and his body cedes into the original, revitalizing it. It’s at this point that the ranger senses blood from the dwarf in front of him and focuses all the swiping blows on him. He’s beaten down once, only to be revived by the combined efforts of Rollie and Tiarshus. Confused upon seeing him arise again, the ranger engages Morgoth again. This time, through the blows and with exhaustion in his voice, Morgoth pleads with his party to retreat. The party prepares one final ranged assault in coordination to hopefully break the attack on their dwarf friend. The tactic falls short sadly and the dwarf is felled at the feet of the shade. During the retreat, the party sees the copies resorb into the original ranger as he kneels toward Morgoth and shoves a hand underneath a fold in the breastplate and into Morgoth’s abdomen. The features on the corpse blur and fade as the exterior of Morgoth seems to melt like old wax into the skeletal frame. The husk of the dwarf is left on the roadside as the figure casually walks on down the road to the west.
The party flees into the woods and finds a place nearby to rest for the night after the adrenaline subsides. In the morning, the party returns to bury and Morgoth and pay their last respects. Tiarshus is questioned about what he knows about “face-dancers” and the answer is apparently not very much and only from second hand accounts in books. The creatures are of Fae origin and only respond to the iron and particular the name of iron. Intrigued, the party questions Tiarshus about naming and, with some coaxing and an established trust in Rollie, reveals that Illithor, the leader of the druid grove, is indeed a namer and knows the name of stone. The party wastes no time in proceeding to the grove and upon arriving sees the shambles of the grove being mobilized. Everyone is in motion gathering belongings and shoring up from the most recent assault.
The party approaches Illithor after brief aside in which Tiarshus gives his account of the battle with the face-dancer and reveals his divulging the fact that Illithor is a namer. A unspoken rebuff passes between mentor and student, and Tiarshus retreats from the group. Illithor answers all question put before him quite openly. He says that he has no personal experience with skin- or face-dancers as he calls them, and admits that his knowledge of naming would not have helped in the battle much. Marek and Grunch press further for information about naming. Illithor responds opaquely that naming is an affinity or sympathy with an element, and that knowing the name will allow you to coopt it to your service. Grunch presses further gruffly, and Illithor, with a hint of amusement gives Grunch a demonstration with a nearby rock. He picks it up and into his right hand with his left positioned directly beneath the right. Leaning over his hand, he whispers gently with a voice that strangely carries beyond what volume should allow. The rock vaguely shimmers for a second, then relaxes into what looks like very fine but congealed sand as it passed between Illithor’s fingers to reform in the palm below. Grunch is visibly impressed, and Illithor’s gifts him the rock which he thoroughly inspects.
A pale cold voice on the wind blows over the party in Morgoth’s memory and the party decides to ask Illithor what he knows of the Chandrian. His response is delayed as he collects his thoughts. Before proceeding, he secures a cryptic promise from the party that they will in no way vocally repeat the information they are about to hear for 100 days. The party nods gravely and leans in. Illithor responds that The Seven are known by many names throughout the lands, but that the truest account of them and their sings is the following:
Cyphus bears the blue flame.
Stercus is in thrall of iron.
Ferule chill and dark of eye.
Usnea lives in nothing but decay.
Grey Dalcenti never speaks.
Pale Alenta brings the blight.
Last there is the lord of the seven:
Hated. Hopeless. Sleepless. Sane.
Alaxel bears the shadow’s hame.
And with that he recedes from the party, requesting their leave. During the conversation the grove successfully gathered all their belongings and assembled at the waystone. Turning back to the party, he asks that they not repeat what they are about to see here, and walks to the gate speaking softly in a similar fashion as with the rock. Several runes on waystone shimmer and vaguely glow as they hum in resonance, and a sheen of slowly undulating light passes between the arches of the gate. The residents of the druid grove pass through the gate solemnly and their forms disappear in the slow wafting waves of transparent light.