Rov and a few others in the tribe want to go to the main city of the high elves, to try and figure out why they had sent someone to them.
As the team make their way through the jungle and get to the main city Rov is approached by a friend. She is a bastet in half form and seem very worried. They talk and Rov comes back frowning and in deep thoughts. He tells them his friends has been a mediator or diplomat keeping track of the centaurs living south on the island. They keep monsters and other secrets at bay but have recently started fighting,sometimes to the death. They are notorious for fighting among themselves but not like this. Rov wants to help and Nell quickly volunteers all of them to help out.
They spend some time checking out the city before moving out. They discover that a tournament is coming and everyone is training for it. Bianca finds a group of monks working out and recognize on of them. But he pretends not to know her and she kicks his ass in a small fight. The girls get ready and head out into the wild.
As the fight their way through the jungle they camp out under the stars. The bastet climbs a tree to keep watch but as they wake they can feel tiny legs all over. A huge spider swarm has found them and they try to get it off them with little successes. But as they start to panic soft beautiful flute music floats through the air and a creature is revealed.
The centaur smiles carefully and recognize the bastet as her friend. There’s four of them in a small camp, they have left the main village to try and figure something out. They talk but the team can’t seem to figure out what is happening.
As they get to the village and meet their leader they are given a drink to toast with.
Nell explains that she doesn’t want to drink, skeptical of the strength of the brew and what might be in it. She puts on a pleasant face and carefully explains that she acts crazy when drinking and that it wouldn’t be a good idea. She doesn’t want to insult them. The leader looks at her questioningly and doesn’t seem to understand.
“What do you mean about effect? I don’t understand, this has no effect on us”
The team look at each other and the whole thing seems to make sense. On the barrels given to the centaurs there’s a mark and it looks familiar to Bianca. It’s the symbol of the house that trains monks. They talk to them and figure out that one of their usual traders brought them the barrels right before the fighting started. It takes a long while before the effect kicks in and they have no experience with booze.
Mystery mostly solved they have a feast together and try to prove to the centaurs what the theory is. They give the bastet a lot from the barrel but as she gets drunk she gets uncontrollably and it’s only thanks to Biancas strong grapple she is kept under control.
But it proves their point and the team decide to head back to town to try and figure out why someone would be doing this.
Making their way through the jungle they meet two angry lamia. Fighting them off takes a lot of energy and blood, and as they think they are winning they hear huge wings flapping above. A roar shakes the trees as a huge green dragon lands in the clearing. Numb form fear they try to think of an escape when someone runs in from behind. He is dressed like a cleric but in half-bastet form and runs in front of the dragon, snarls enchantments and make the illusion disappear by the power of Irori. He tries to get his breath back and greets the girls, his name is Dar.
Aisha just stares and tries flailingly to flirt. Bianca is impressed with his skills and tattoos, the others are just happy to not be eaten. Aisha tries to show off her swordplay in an attempt to impress Dar and he responds kindly. They camp and talk a little, Rov becoming increasingly worried about his sister acting odd. Nell distracts him and they go for a walk, and Aisha asks Dar “Do you want to have sex?”. He smiles and takes her for a walk as well, leaving Lilith and Bianca to tend the fire.
As they get back to the main city they ask around about the tournament and find out that a huge gala will be held for the victors and the teams that get the furthers.
Eager to prove themselves they enter and start the competition by fighting on their own. Bianca meets another monk and fights him off in the arena. She tries to intimidate the crowd but is not quite successful.
Nell is challenges by a paladin on a unicorn. She’s mesmerized by the beast and gets excited about facing them in the ring. Thick wooden “monsters” are set up and they have to ride around the ring and hit them without falling off their mount. Nell does ok but falls off a few times and feels a little embarrassed. Still, she can continue.
Lillith is challenged secretly and wins, not telling anyone how and why she won.
Aisha is challenged by two fighters and tries to impress the audience but they seem unimpressed. But with a strong fight and almost blood spilt she shows them a good time.
The team is up for their first challenge and decide to call themselves the Roses. They are first to fight off a team of trained monks. They are quite easily taken care of and the win the favor of the crowd. Dar and Rov cheers them on from the side and they move on to the next challenge.
This is a breaking contest, and a few different things are lain out in the arena. The team decide that they will all try to break as many as they can, and get as many points as possible. The things are: a coconut, and ice block, a metal bar, a quarterstaff, a river stone, stacked boards, stacked bricks and some stacked clay tiles. Bianca and Aisha break most of it easily and the team gets the crowd to cheer for them. They get healing from the clerics and Dar helps them as well.
They feast and join the others at the pub. They get some clues for the next challenge.
The next competition is an archery challenge and the team do very well. In the same day they have to climb a tree each, without branches and climb to the top as fast as possible. Nell only makes it half way but with some invisibility and cleverness the three others climb the tree fast, to he crowds enthusiastic cheer.
The last challenge of the day is to fight the oracle Ganyavesha. The have to fight her in two large towers, which makes it hard to use Snowball. She uses spells and trickery against them and they are all hurt badly until she finally gives up. Dar and Rov help them recover for the day. On their midnight stroll Rov and Nell find to cages with guards in the outskirts,and in them they find a bear and a dire tiger. They wonder what the next challenge will be.
The next day they find out that they need to choose a challenger. One of them will have to be chained to a wild animal and try to kill the other champions’ animal. They discuss how to approach this and decide to let Nell take on the challenge. She is chained to the tiger as the fight starts. immediately she uses her charm animal ring to make sure it doesn’t attack her. The opponent, the druid Nearadei, uses wall of thorns to protect her bear and wind walk to fly 15 ft up in the air. From there she shoots at the tiger. Nell tries to fight back but decides to use rod of wonder and something unexpected happens….
They switch bodies and Nell first puts up a wall of thorns around her tiger and starts killing off the bear. The strategy works well and she wins but the crowd is silent as a mentor comes down to them. Nell uses dispell magic to get back into her own body.
She is taken aside and asked what happened, her use of the rod has confused the crowd and complicated the stakes and polls taken by the audience. She is given orders to not use the rod again and the fight will be tied for the sake of the bets.
The next challenge is the Battle of the Embers. The team face off against chanters (bards) that have specialized in using their voice for harm. The whole arena is filled with coals and only three stones to stand on. The girls decide to try and trip the bards down into the coals, and with that tactic they soon surrender. But they are still very hurt and don’t look forward to the next day. Thankfully Dar helps them a little.
There are only three teams left and to make sure the can win they have to take on another challenge. There is a dragon like creature out in the jungle that has been given a bracelet with rubies to protect. It will fight to the death to protect it.
They head out and start looking for it. It is huge, blue and has 8 legs, making it a formidable foe. Escaping with scratches and other injuries just barely Nell uses her tiara to sniff out the gems and they win the challenge.
The final day approaches and the last test will be the hardest. The two remaining teams have to go through a test of will and constitution. They will be put in cages and will have to suffer the Iron Body Test.
First they are drowned, then put on fire, then tortured with nails, then poisoned and lastly put in the freezing cold. Everyone does their best, and some excel almost to the end. Bianca refuses to let herself be tortured with nails but to no avail the girls try to force her. But she removes her fear of fire and stands in the flames for them.
As they recover on the side of the arena the next team is up. They struggle through the test but can’t manage it as well as the Roses and the girls win the tournament!
The gala is up next, and it will be exciting and interesting for sure.