After defeating Nicodemus and narrowly escaping the destruction of the Lance of Triegenes, the party passed through a portal and found themselves suddenly in the Dreaming. Kasvarina Varal was mysteriously absent, but the unconscious Andrei Von Recklinghausen was still with them.
An ugly pixie (later identified as “Thicket”) swooped by and called out a battle cry. Two opposing forces of fey began to do battle, each assuming the heroes were part of their enemy’s forces:
The Hedgehog Court’s army to the west consisted of a phalanx of satyrs with tower shields and bows. Behind them, a herd of centaurs held the tethers of a two-headed treant, its trunk split by lightning.
The Unseen Court to the east fielded a front line of formorian giants with thorny clubs and massive bows, backed up by lance-wielding elves mounted on deers. A back row of giant tortoises carried light trebuchets operated by gnomes.
The party tried to clear up the misunderstanding with Thicket, but moments later it no longer mattered. A dozen or so riders of the Great Hunt came thundering through the battlefield, scattering the Hedgehog Court’s forces while pursuing a steed-sized fox carrying a gremlin rider (appropriately named, “Bait”). A few of the party were trampled while the rest ran out of the way—but Talon “Doge” Silverhawk expertly timed a complex manuever with his vine arm, teleporting into the saddle of the head rider and then using his vine arm to bear them both to the ground.
De-horsed, trampled, humbled, and suitably impressed, the archfey Riffian became instant friends with the Warden, despite his total inability to speak. Talon’s tongue had been cut out less than an hour ago by the ghost/temporal manifestation of Lorcan Kell.
The Huntsman introduced the group to a large sentient caterpillar named Clausvald, one of many fey spectating the battle in the chessboard-shaped forest the party had appeared in. He provided Talon with a tongue made of Fool’s Gold, and paid the heroes handsomely in exchange for a painting they received from Giovanni in the Crypta Hereticarum.
He and his servant, Mista Nyves, also filled the party in on recent goings-on in the Dreaming. The Courts were at war ever since Thisraldion’s lover, Rock Rackus had been found murdered. Each blamed the other for the bard’s death, and attempts to resurrect the unfortunate celebrity had so far failed.
Following up on a debt to Beshela, the party struck out for Thistle palace to first pay a visit to the Hedgehog Court. The capricious fey couldn’t answer many of their questions—foremost among them, why travel to the Waking had been cut off. But the party seemed to make good strides in making peace with the various archfey. Hugo even earned a boon for allowing Lavac to destroy his arcanoscientific blaster, despite the fact that it caused the uncouth gremlin to explode.