Episode Thirty - Handmaiden of Hjotra
Episode Thirty – Handmaiden of Hjotra (Level 13)
*The party travels from beach into the jungle for 3 days, searching for the red arrow tribe, so Ichtaca can tell them of Glenmeldur’s honorable death, and so Vash can ask them to help them find the local plants they need.
*They find the tribe of the red arrow somewhere north of Gilvinggroth, and Ichtaca is made an honorary member of their tribe, and given an elvish name.
*The tribe tells them that the flower “lady’s slipper” grows near the feywild gate in the gardens of the gate-city of Imminaron, but that the other plants are unknown to them. (The fact that these nature-savvy nomads don’t know suggests that the other two plants may grow only in the feywild.)
*The tribe asks for the hero’s help. Five young women have been abducted from hunting parties, and they are sure the humans of Gilvinggroth (Captiol of Dorgard) are responsible. They can’t get close without being shot at, however.
*The party travels with the elves through the jungle to avoid notice, and visit Vash’s home, two days north of Gilvingroth. This trading post is on the edge of the Alfyrstock jungle, and at the northern edge of the nation of Dorgard.
*Vash’s family friends are delighted to hear that his mother Inalenderil is safe, and they have alarming news for the party. King Enarran Amraseth and his wife, Queen Linwe, are on a diplomatic mission to the gate-city of Imminaron, where the party must go. Also, war is brewing between humans of Dorgard and this city-state, and Gilvinggroth has its own set of missing villagers (mostly girls), the latest in a long line of excuses for a war.
*The party approaches Gilvingroth, where they are searched, and an untalented priest manages to expose Carmenith as no human, but a jhareth. In a bid to protect her from being burned at the stake as a witch, Tobias declares her to be the mouthpeice of Hjotra, the Anse humans’ goddess of health, harvest, fertility and war. The party are brought into the village and taken to the temple, where the women, including Darius in disguise as an Iljerker girl, are treated to a day of pampering and preparation for a great feast. Vash is treated as a slave-vassal, and Tobias and Ichtaca are assumed to be “consorts” of the exotic ’handmaiden of Hjotra.
*Ichtaca “reads” scripture while Vash “translates” his interpretations to a crowd of Hjotran priests and priestesses, when a priest catches on that he may be an impostor. To protect their ruse, Ichtaca has the man taken away as a heretic, hoping the consequences won’t be too severe.
*Vash and Ictaca search the town and interview families of missing persons, and find that most of the victims are healthy young women, many pregnant, and some hardy young men. The disappearances appear to be centered around the temple district, specifically the temple of this city’s other patron god; Guddrek. They search the temple, but are not allowed below the second floor. They decide to return later that night if they can. They also learn much about the local Ansë humans’ reasons for war, and of local customs. They return in time for the great feast being readied in the honor of the handmaiden, where they will meet King Ozar himself.