? – ? (For the characters over a year passes)
The group begins the adventure camped for a few days, deciding what to do next. During this time some foraging/hunting as well as crafting (of crude clothes, sandals, and holy symbols) takes place. There is a brief encounter with some hunting Velociraptors (with viper fangs), but the group dispatches them quickly.
They travel a couple more days. They seemingly have no direction to go and no leads. They begin to brainstorm. The song from Quinn’s dream at the base of the Old Sycamore is remembered. When he begins to sing it a path cuts through the forest like a knife, the path is soft on their battered feet. They discover the path will disappear after 15 minutes if the song is not being sung.
Along the way they come across an outcropping of strange bright blue obsidian (freshly exposed surfaces glows slightly for a week). They take some, Wan-Fu uses shape stone to craft some better weapons out of it. They meet a huge dire bear across a clearing eating berries. It stands, letting the group know that the berry patch is his. They decide not to provoke the bear further and keep travelling.
After 6 more days they come across a strange row of thick stemmed dead rose bushes, the path leads through them. Beyond signs of ancient civilization can be seen (stones from an old path, old irrigation ditches, etc). Sweet potatoes and raspberries that have returned to the wild are also seen. After a night of camping and foraging the group continues on. Over the next few days more of these rows of dead rose bushes are passed through. The forest around them is becoming more “normal” by their standards, and less crazy and harsh..
Eventually they see a clearing ahead. They come out looking over a bucolic valley. They pass through a row of bright red thick stemmed rose bushes (the path disappears behind them). The valley itself contains farmland and pastures. A strangely shaped hill rests in the center (in the shape of an enormous prone woman!), into a village is built (with round wooden doors dotting the side of the hill). Humanoids can be seen tending to field and sheep.
Nearby, in a wooden watchtower, a watchman jumps to his feet. He grabs his bow and a horn, the freezes in his spot. He drops the items, zips down the ladder, then rushes forward. He stands there, mouth agape, disbelieving what he is seeing. The group finally snaps him out of this state. He is overjoyed and overwhelmed. He speaks a strange pidgin of ancient Common, Elvish, and Sylvan. They find out the valley is simply called Home. Artanis (the watchman) begins leading the group toward the center of the valley. Other join along the way, equally amazed as Artanis was, and there is quite a crowd by the time the group arrives at the village. Through the crowd comes an ancient half-elf man, who is the spitting image of Quinn! He hugs Quinn, saying “Welcome Home!” The group looks around and notices many of the people here have a family resemblance to Quinn. They also notice every last inhabitant is a half-elf.
Eventually someone known as the “First Speaker” is summoned. She arrives along with the “ruling council” (for lack of a better term); the Painter, the Crafter, the Wise Man, and the Guardian. Clothes and food is brought for the group.
The group tells the people of Home of their journey. Then they hear the story of Quinn’s origin. He was born in Home and raised by his parents until he was a small boy. His mother was a special figure in Home’s history, the most gifted Painter ever. At some point a Fey Queen and her entourage came to Home. They were powerless to stop her and so let her stay with them for a time. She was a cruel and wicked woman. She eventually grew bored and left. A few years later a messenger from the Fey Queen came back, he told them that she would be visiting Home in a year’s time and that she wished to be presented the dead body of Quinn (then known as Laervaeth) upon her arrival. The people of Home did not know what to make of this strange request. If they fought, Home would be destroyed. But they would not give up one of their own so easily. It was decided that the boy would be taken away, and the remaining people of Home would throw themselves on the Queen’s mercy. For the next year Quinn’s mother tattooed the child and his father composed a song that would bring him Home again. The plan was to leave, take their chances in the wilds, and hopefully return someday after the Queen had forgotten about their valley (Fey are notoriously fickle). The small family left with little time to spare. Unfortunately the Queen returned early. Many in Home were killed. Other were tortured. After waiting as long as they could the village eventually gave up the direction the family went. The Queen left and did not destroy Home (not out of mercy but out of inconvenience). That was the last they saw Quinn’s and his parents or the Queen until now.
The next year whizzes by. The group has equipment custom made for them by the Crafter. The Painter possesses a unique form of magic which can permanently bestow magic upon a person through a tattoo. Each of the characters also get one of these (along with other tattoos by the Painter’s apprentice). They begin to settle in, though always with a desire to get back to Innisfree.
During this year: Quinn connects with his family, Iola is courted by the First Speaker’s apprentice (an athletic young man named Nolaquen), the males of the group are pressured to marry (the Wise Man does this, obviously he is in charge of keeping bloodlines from getting to weird), the group’s martial prowess is noted and they are given an area of border to patrol, people hang on every word and note of Quinn’s songs and stories, and the two cultures generally get to know each other. Everything is provided for the group during this time.
It is also discovered that one very infrequent visitor is an old woman who comes from a world known as “Tuskwater Loch”….the group figures out it is the Old Beldame! With this the only lead the group waits and hopes for her arrival.
((OOC: This is a very broad stroke approach to what happened during that year. Please feel free to add in side stories, forum roleplay, etc.)