As Geoff, Frederick, Jerich, Traveler, and the Elf heal their wounds Bilgar, Echo, and Harold finally make their way to the clearing at the center of the maze. As they do a door opens in the side of the Dryad’s tree. Inside is a room (a room much larger than the tree itself) with an ornate throne, a feasting table, and a writing desk (although the writing utensils were birch and charcoal rather than proper paper). On the table was a feast, a vegan feast unfortunately but its better than rations. After much careful thought Bilgar and Geoff entered the tree and began eating. When the rest of the group decided that the tree was safe they joined in for the feast, except for the Elf, who had come quite attached to the name Tim Horton and who didn’t trust the fey food. Through careful experimenting they also learned that the throne was safe… and quite comfortable. On the table Echo found 4 potions of healing and 6 roots that she didn’t recognize. Frederick was able to determine that the roots weren’t poisonous, although he didn’t recognize them. Echo and Geoff each tried one and found that the root granted huge boosts of energy with, something akin to ginseng and cocaine. Naturally neither felt the need to sleep for the entire night. The group took shelter in the tree and slept for the night, although Tim slept outside, still not trusting the tree. He made an attempt to sleep in the tree, spending a good amount of time climbing 50 feet to the nearest branch but quickly found the wind and height too terrifying to allow him to sleep.
The next morning they prepared to set off until Geoff and Tim noticed a glow coming from behind a curtain inside of the tree room. Geoff investigated and found a cradle full of twigs, moss, and leaves similar to a birds nest. In the center of the cradle was a ball of golden light, around an inch in diameter. Geoff took not only the orb but also the cradle. As he left the tree a quartet of vines reached out for the crade to return it, prompting Tim to hurl a firebolt at the cradle, alighting the dried moss and quickly setting the cradle ablaze. This of course prompted Geoff to hurl the flaming cradle at Tim. The vines quickly shot out to retrieve the cradle and its contents but Tim managed to retrieve the glowing orb and store it in his pack using mage hand. Thus began a fight against the only might the tree could manage to muster, four solitary vines. Needless to say these were quickly hacked apart.
Having dealt with the tree and its mysterious contents the group once again made its way towards Eggintoft. The maze proved easier to navigate while the hedges were no longer moving themselves. Through Traveler’s guidance and help from Frederick who scurried along the top of the hedge as a spider they managed to exit the hedge maze by early afternoon.
They don’t travel far before they are stopped again. By late afternoon Echo hears the sound of large shapes approaching. Calling out in greeting she persuades them to come out of hiding. Breaking from the tree line on three sides come five huge Bearfolk. The leader, a huge bear with war paint and a long braided mane, tells the group that they are tresspassing on the Bearfolk’s territory and have brought their enemy, an elf, into their home. Given the menacing tone and unsheathed weapons, a warhammer and axe, he doesn’t seem to interested in being persuaded. Goeff, Echo, and Tim have different plans however and they manage to convince the leader, Fionnaghal, that he should send Gormal, one of his scouts, to guide the party from the forest. In return for help Tim offers the golden orb they found in the Dryad’s home to Fionneghal as a gift. Greatful for this following of ancient tradition of Elves offering gifts in return for safe passage Fionnaghal agrees. However, the trade was made between Tim and Finneghal in secret and Tim lied about where they found the orb, no longer shining and now a gold saplike orb within a clear glasslike ball, saying they captured it from a goblin horde.
They travel the rest of the day with Gormal, the Bearfolk scout, and Echo and Geoff are able to learn more about the Bearfolk through talks with him. Echo makes more headway using her ability to speak as a bear.