The party, in an attempt to discern where the portal goes, find themselves sucked through instead. On the other side, they find themselves in a forest clearing with no way home and under attack by harpies and dryads.
These dryads posses a very strange ability, however. When struck down, they rise again brimming with necrotic energy for a short time before falling lifeless. Swain was incredibly confused as to how these fey creatures became possessed by such strong necrotic energy, and wanted to investigate further.
They follow a faint energy trail up the hill to a nearby ridge. A trail leads into a cave going through the ridge. Before entering the cave, the party finds a poem inscribed in Elven upon the rock face. It reads:
The wise know where they stand;
While knowing not the time to shun,
The fools must find themselves undone.
Like lustful swain or panicked child,
Who beg another’s gentle hand,
The fool delves heedless through the wild,
The wise are not so soon beguiled.
When darkness falls and dreams portend,
The risking of a fearsome foe,
The fool, swift-striking, meets his end,
The wise know foe from friend.
Let art and image point the way,
Abandon all you think you know,
For common sense leads fool astray,
The key is simple: obey.
The wise must ever strategize;
They never play, unless to win.
They see the harm in comfort’s lies,
And seek to open weary eyes.
You’ve fought your way, you’ve risked demise,
To view the ivy heart within.
Now as the soul within you dies,
This knowledge is your only prize:
You’d never have come, were you truly wise.
Inside the cave, they are faced with three statues of a young woman, mother, and old crone. Swain recklessly put a coin into the hand the young woman, which caused the crone to spring to life and attack. Upon defeating her, she returned to her place next to the other two statues. Adrian gave the crone a gift this time, which caused all the statues to move out of their way, allowing the party to progress.
On the other side of the cave, they find an abandoned campsite with a strange obelisk in the center. When they move to inspect the obelisk, they are hit with an overwhelming sense of lethargy as the campsite itself springs to life and attacks them. They manage to destroy the animated tools and tents just in time to shut down the obelisk for good.
They then decide that this site is as good as any, and make their own camp, resting for the night.