Ander Longfoots has been wandering in the woods the last few days. He figured out quickly that being close to the ruins in the middle of the forest at night was not a good thing. For one thing, the animals are not friendly, even to one used to dealing with woodland creatures. For another, the undead are apparently kinda hungry around there. And finally, the spiders in the trees are about twice the size of his head.
On the second day he is in the woods, he runs across the ruins of the town during daylight. He pokes around the ruins a bit, checking out the various rubble piles. He runs into a pretty little wooden bird dangling from a tree branch on what looked to be fishing wire. He cuts it down and puts it in his pocket; it is pretty and might be useful for trading later or something.
On his third day out and about, he finds a farmstead. It is a curious little farmstead especially since it looks like it is still inhabited… except for the dust inside when he looks through the windows. The barn is obviously infested with those spiders from the woods, so he avoids that. As he is exploring, Ander hears voices coming from the road heading south towards the town ruins. He goes and hides just inside the treeline not far from the house so he has a clear view of the front of the house and the road.
Coming up the road, whistling a bawdy tune is another halfling. Dressed in leathers without a cloak, the halfling moves towards the house. Behind the halfling, chatting and discussing amongst themselves are 4 other people. A very tall human with long black hair wearing leather armor and a brown woolen cloak is followed by an elf wearing scale type armor with a long billowing cloak stalking along with a spear and shield casually held in his hands. Behind them are a woman walking with her cloak hood down casually spinning thread while talking with a lanky human teenager about various magical theories.
The others follow the halfling towards the front gate of the yard and they watch as the halfling checks around for a minute before declaring it safe. They go to the door of the house where they repeat the procedure before opening the door of the house. Anders sneaks quietly up behind the group and stands just outside the doorway looking in curiously as the others spread out a bit and check out the house.
Someone in the group finally notices Anders and they all begin talking. Anders recognizes the lanky human teenager from the Inn at the Top of the Mountain as Saul. Anders had spent some time with Olga and Duroth a few years back while he was learning various trades. He learns from the group that Olga has been taken and Garret Stormrider is somehow behind it all. He decides to go with them to help save Olga because she had helped him out during a tough time in his life. Also the group learns that Ander has the missing bird for the circle. When they put the little falcon close to the severed rope it naturally knits itself back together forming a perfect circle of birds.
Zeek points out the tunnel leading from the house to the path to the shrine. As the group investigates the table, Saori notices a few faint notches along the top of the table that form a circle. She gets the circle of birds and sets them facing each other on the table. The table drops along the short edge and slowly raises on its own along the long western edge of the table. There is a shimmering portal underneath. The group stands around discussing what could be down there, so Zeek steps through. After a few minutes, the group follows.
A set of gradual steps wide enough for two people to walk comfortably side by side goes down into a well lit corridor. Along the walls are carved a continuous nature scene showing trees and woodland creatures frolicky in the underbrush. The corridor is not too long and ends in a circular room with 6 archways carved into the walls. Above each archway in a small indention.
The group stands around discussing what to do. They decide to go back and get the little bird figures off the table. Tahir heads back to do that and Ander follows him to see if they can find the trigger to let him back in. After examining the wall designs near the entrance, they find a series of birds that if pressed in the right order will open the entrance. Tahir goes up and grabs the birds which causes the table to drop and Ander opens the entrance back up again to let Tahir back down.
When they get back to the room, they present one of the little bird figures to an indentation. one of the little figures slides off the rope and snaps into the indentation. The archway below the indentation shimmers and clears showing a deserted cobblestone street apparently at night lit by lanterns. The street looks to be clean and in good repair. There are no people.
They begin discussing what to do. They toss a rock through the portal and it vanishes. They also dont want to lose the figurine by going thru and not taking it with them, but it has to be up there to activate the portal. So they decide to tie a string around the bird figure and yank it through once they decide to go through the portal. Tahir decides to try to see what is on the other side. He sticks his head thru the portal and dwarves materialize outside walking by. Several stop and look at him oddly. He looks back and sees he is half out of a boarded up door to an abandoned building. He sees the rock on the ground further out and pulls back through the portal. The group decides to tie a rope around Zeek and send him through the portal with the rope on. Zeek goes through and the dwarves materialize around him. Many stop and stare at him. He sees the rope going back into the boarded up door. The group can see Zeek outside the door but cannot see anything else around him other than the street. Zeek slides the rope off and the group loses the connection; Zeek vanishes from their sight.
Zeek asks one of the dwarves what the date is and what town he is in. The dwarf answers that is it the 25th year of the rule of Haldur Graniteshard and this is Brodger’s Ferry. Zeek then asks where he can get a place to stay for the night. The dwarf directs him to The Lace and Sword. Zeek grabs the rock, ties a bit of rope to it, scribbles down on a piece of parchment where he is going, and ties the other end of the rope to it. He climbs up and sets the rock so it dangles the paper over the doorway so it will hit the next one in the face when they come out. He heads off to the inn.
The group finally decides to go through the portal. Tahir is the last one through and he pulls the string fast and hard to get the bird out before the portal snaps closed. The little bird flies out and they replace it on the string with the other birds.
Saul has the note from Zeek since he ran into it first. The group then heads off to the inn where Zeek is waiting for them. Zeek has purchased rooms and is drinking some good dwarven ale in the common room. There are 2 dragonborn sitting at a table together, a female tiefling off at a table alone, 2 elves sitting together, an eladrin at a table in the corner, and various dwarves.
Kaeth goes to the bar and buys a couple of drinks for the elves. He heads to their table and chats with them for a bit. He finds out the shorter one in robes is a cleric of Corellon named Droseth Halas. With him is a tall well built elf lounging in his chair. Eliri Purnue is a guardian for Droseth. Zeek chooses this moment to try to challenge everyone in the room to a drinking contest. The group manages to keep him from challenging everyone, but not Eliri. Eliri accepts the challenge and in the name of honor tell Zeek they will meet the next night to drink to give the halfling time to let the current alcohol wear off. The group finds out through all this that the tavern owner is a former pirate. They also learn that there are difficulties at the docks.
The group decides to retire for the evening.