Last time on the Adventures of Team BAJA! The party arrive at the town of Rivergreen, their investigation uncovers a sinister ploy with missing children across decades. The docks are under lock down due to tensions with the neighboring elves of the Durmista woods. The trail for a missing girl leads the party through the forbidden woods, when they discover an unconscious girl, danger awaited them. A desperate battle ensued against veiled monstrosities, fiery conflagrations and bolts of lightning fended of the beasts. In the aftermath, the party found themselves surrounded by elves with bows and arrows drawn. What awaits the party? Find out!

The party surveyed their surroundings, at least two dozen elves covered in leaves and foliage stood or perched from the underbrush and trees. Arrows and bows drawn, the forest became unnaturally silent, the party remained calm in the hopes to not provoke the forest denizens. An elf emerged from the group, taller than most of them and adorned with a thin, slender blade at his side, he greeted the party and inquired the reason for their intrusion.

forest night

“Why did you come to our woods?” The elf captain inquired, he surveyed each of the party members with skepticism and suspicion.

“We came here looking for this girl, she came from the town, but honestly you should be concerned with all these foul creatures that seemed to be roaming in your woods,” Jimmy stated. The elves remained poised to strike, the captain acknowledged the unconscious child by Aracelus’ side.

“Very well, leave these woods. Do not return, this is your only warning,” the captain said dismissively. With a single hand motion, a majority of the elves fade back into the shadows, a few linger to keep an eye on the party as they left the clearing.

The party had little room to parley or protest with the elf captain, normal methods of restoration did not seem to affect the unconscious little girl. Stronger aid would needed, the fight was not over yet. A silver lit trail formed through the woods, magic that the elves employed to lead their guests safely out of their dominion. Arcaelus voiced that it would be wise to keep  to the path and not deviate from it, lest they incur the wrath of the Durmista elves. Rainer noticed a figure on their tail at the top of the treeline, he ousted the figure to reveal themselves. A female elf in a dark brown cloak landed in front of the halfling, she named herself Thia, she saw the plight the party faced and wished to offer aid.

The girl’s condition worsened, high fever, cold sweats, her skin became cold and pale. Arcaelus and Jimmy deduced that it was not a normal sickness, that the child was cursed and her life force had begun to drain from her. Once back in town, the party scramble to find a safe place to remove the child’s ailment. Aydan and Jimmy recalled a small shrine of Lystrata in a tea shop run by a few devoted followers, a likely safe place to perform a ritual. Arcaelus and Thia dash off to a medicine man of some skill in town, and the Rainer and Brightiron rush off to find the captain of the town guards. Jimmy and Aydan find the tea shop owners, a pair of halflings, and secure the building for the ritual to cleanse the child.

Using the large kitchen table in the back of the shop, they cleared it and spread incense and herbs. Arcaelus and Thia return with the physician, to aid with the physiological effects of the curse. The goliath barbarian and Rainer return with the town captain and the girls’ parents, and brought up to speed of the present situation. All attempts seemed to offer no results, Jimmy decides to take a more drastic action and pleads with the goddess, Lystrata from the shine in the tea shop. A surge of divine energy fills the half-elf druid as he casts a powerful restorative spell, a blinding light engulfs the room that enveloped all in the room. Jimmy noticed three distinct shadows cast from Arcaelus, Brightiron, and Aydan that were not their own.

Once the light subsided, the girl breathed her first true breath and awoke. The girl was saved. Jimmy had fallen unconscious from the surge of power. The party was fairly spent as well, the town captain offered and recommended one of the nicer local taverns. The party retired at the Iron Wood Tavern near the center of town. It was a large tavern with decent rooms, which was rare given the current economic plight. But the prices were rather high, the town captain managed to talk down the price from the tavern owners, as a thank you to the party.

The next day, most of the party with the exception of Jimmy, went out on town to investigate more about the missing children, the apparent curse on them, and the history between the townsfolk and the Durmista elves. All of the investigation pointed toward a suspicious travelling magician who appeared in town recently, though the man had made many trips back into town for many years. It became apparent that the party speak with the magician, whom had the most interaction with the children. A slip of the tongue, and the party find their potential suspect, but the magician was crafty and sly which aided in his escape.

The party knew that time was short when evening arrived, they had lost the element of surprise. The travelling magician was not allowed to escape. As the party sat in the tavern main hall over dinner and strategization, a sudden dark chill fell on all the party members. Thia, Brightiron, and the already fatigued Jimmy had black bands form around their necks, small tiny hands began to stretch outward and tighten around their necks. It became a race against time, the party stumble out of the tavern to find themselves surrounded by children in the middle of an intersection. The children were on all fours, their clothes tattered, and for some their skin were torn and loose. A tall figure emerged out of the evening mist, with a red skin-tight coat, sharpened metal gauntlets, and on closer inspection, the face of another man stretched and stitched across his own.

The Dollmaker, Image: DC Comics
The Dollmaker, Image: DC Comics

The figure introduced himself as the Dollmaker, a figure that Rainer recognized immediately. The two were members of the Nest of Shadows, a secret guild of infamy and terror. Rainer had left the shadowy organization not long ago, while the Dollmaker was a full-fledged member. Rainer was accused of interfering with the Dollmaker’s plans and ‘fun’, and wanted to punish the party for their involvement. The Dollmaker commanded his zombified children to assault the party, and the party braced themselves for a perhaps dire fight ahead.

How will Team BAJA prevail? Who is the mysterious Dollmaker? What is the Nest of Shadows, and why did Rainer leave them? More to be revealed next time! Thank you for reading and following along, if you want to receive updates from the blog, subscribe via email or follow us on Facebook and Twitter. There is also a donation button if you want to help support us. Please feel free to leave comments down below, or even message me on Twitter. This was one of the party’s favorite moments from Season 1, find out how the rest of it unfolds. Thanks again!