After destroying the map in the Forgotten Barrow, Jevel, Haleth, Lykourgos, and Lalae saddle up Ryros and head into the Great Cloud Forest.
Dense fog blankets the area every morning, and only occasionally does the sun burn through as the fog settles into the valleys over the course of the day. The forest is cool and damp, and the trees are draped with mosses and lichens. Hundreds of small brooks trickle through these woods, flowing into larger rivers, down steep hillsides, and into the sea—the constant sound of running water fills the air along with the calls of birds and beasts muffled by the fog.
The party heads for a large river leading into the heart of the forest, but they set out late and soon it is too dark to navigate through the fog. They make camp, Jevel kills and antelope. Haleth cooks the meat, and smokes some for jerky. Lalae finds leaves for Ryros…triggering a major withdrawal episode from Jevel.
First watch passes uneventfully, as Haleth tends the fire and listens to the sounds of the forest. Soon it comes time to wake Jevel for second watch. Unable—or simply unwilling—to climb Jevel’s tree to wake him, Haleth instead decides to wake Lalae and have her wake up the spacey Hen’yab.
Jevel’s watch is…a nightmare. Lalae agrees to watch the fire while Jevel goes out into the woods to find some…leaves…where he becomes hopelessly lost. Lalae can’t keep a fire burning because she can barely lift a twig, so the fire goes out, compounding Jevel’s problem. Lykourgos awakens to find Lalae sitting on the back of Ryros and the sounds of Jevel stumbling through the dark forest in the distance.
Lykourgos manages to get the fire going again, and eventually the firelight leads Jevel back to camp. As dawn breaks, Lykourgos, Jevel, and Lalae are wiped out and grouchy, and Haleth is left wondering what got them so upset as he packs up Ryros.
After breaking camp, the party continues heading northeast, towards a large river. After a couple of hours of walking, they are getting very close, when the forest grows quiet, punctuated by the creaking of the trees and the trembling of the leaves. From the north appears one of the forest’s guardians: the golem known as Arborus.
Arborus appears as a man, ten feet tall, made completely from vines, moss, and soil. In the soil of its you can see the faint sparkle of crystal. Arborus is clad in thick armor made from bark.
Thanks to some quick thinking and ingenuity, the party brings down the golem: Lykourgos and Ryros bring it to the ground, Jevel tears off its helmet, and Haleth delivers the fire arrow to ignite its viney body.
After the battle ends the air is split by the screech of a terrifying hawk, and wolves howl in the distance…