By Joe (Dominic)
This session began in another cavern, though this wasn’t apparently immediately. They emerged into a forest, though it wasn’t long before it was pointed out that all the trees in the forest were of the exact same type, which confused many of them. Wandering through, they saw no end in sight to the trees, though they didn’t get very far before they heard a voice, babbling incoherently at them.
Fortunately, Dr. Collins understood the voice, which was commanding them to strip naked so that it could inspect them for something it called the Blight. Doing so somewhat reluctantly, the group proved that they had been touched by no such thing, and the voice allowed them further entry. Upon reaching a clearing, the group met three Elves, one of whom had been the one talking to them. The Elves were Galadín, an excitable young man who seemed pleased at the newcomers, Nimrié, the one who had spoken to them earlier, and Imir, who appeared to the leader and the eldest among them, though they couldn’t be sure, given alien physiologies and all.
They found the Elves amicable, and asked them several questions regarding both the Blight and the Bloodswarm, though it disturbed the Elves to hear of the latter. When asked to help the group, the Elves refused, claiming that they had to stay with the grove to protect it from the Blight, though the group was welcome to stay with them for a short while to rest and recover. The group agreed, glad to have a place to rest their head, and Dominic, Langdon and Peter went off to bathe, much to Dominic’s displeasure. It became even worse when they got to the small lake to bathe, when Langdon was pulled under the water by some dark presence. Peter went under to fight it with his bare hands, somehow managing to not die from suffocation, and proceeded to actually beat the dark water to death with his bare hands, astounding Dominic. Unfortunately, his incredible victory was somewhat diminished by almost immediately drowning, but Dominic managed to keep him and Langdon from dying.
As it turned out, the dark water that Peter had fought was a manifestation of the Blight, which had somehow infected the grove. The Elves asked for the group’s assistance in hunting down the Blight, and the group agreed on the condition that the Elves accompany them to the fortress of the Bloodswarm. The Elves said that Galadín would accompany them, but the others would stay. The group agreed, and proceeded to assist the Elves in their search for the source of the Blight in the grove.
After splitting up into five groups, it was Peter and Dominic who found the first sign of the Blight, when they stumbled upon an entire herd (or perhaps flock?) of the Amputee Apes from Hell, which Peter and Dominic attempted to murder with great prejudice before realizing how sorely outnumbered they were. Retreating to a nearby clearing, they found the others and managed to destroy the rest of the AAHs, with surprisingly little trouble.
Moving deeper into the infected area, the trees became more and more obviously infected until, after reaching some kind of critical mass, the group came upon an area that appeared to not be infected at all. The elves revealed that it was not possible to burn branches from these trees, and thus that these trees were at the final stage of the Blight. At the Elves’ behest, they burned the healthy remainder of the grove, rather than let it become infected, and Imir and Nimrié remained behind to guard the Blighted Grove, while Galadín made preparations to leave with the party.