Dwight informed us that he'd been having some trouble with his argument- and that he had had to fight one of the ogres barehanded. The ogre moderator, Tonk Treestump (whose name we quickly learned as he prefaced every statement with "I am Tonk Treestump"), explained that outsiders are not allowed a voice unless they win a fight in single combat. Ghost tried some sort of elfy magic to convince the ogres that we were there to help, but it did not work. Instead, Sten, the priest of Apollo who joined our group recently, volunteered to be our champion. Seeing that his opponent was a good three feet taller than him, I passed him a potion of heroism in the hope that it would help. After wrestling for a while (I'll admit to not paying much attention as I was attempting to not be sick from the thought of the "food" the ogre vendors were plying- "crapcorn", ugh!), Sten managed to bring the ogre down; unfortunately "down" meant "landed on top of him", but the priest seemed alright.
Since our champion won, we were allowed to stay and have a voice on the moot. We learned that the last of the tribes sans Big Bob's (oops) arrived two days before and that the discussion had been about moving west because something was threatening to the east. They called it an "eye tyrant" and "floating eye" and said it had killed and enslaved many of the monsters. Said monsters were of differing opinions, varying from "wanting to stay and fight", "wanting to go west", and "wanting go west and kill all the humans".
Vordb asked about the eye and Tonk explained that it came "many suns past in the woods to the south, takes many ogres, ruins land" and that the ogres fought back, but it didn't care, and the ogres fled. He went on further to say that the eye was very powerful and that in order to win, they would need all the ogres to fight. This, however, did not seem to be a possible solution, as the group of leaders couldn't come to an agreement about what to do. Dwight spoke up then, saying that he understood that they wanted to flee, but did not want them to flee to where the humans live; he volunteered to help and then Ghost chimed in her agreement that our group would help, much to my dismay (crapcrapcrap). Tonk then drew in the dirt a rough drawing of what we would be facing: a beholder (double crapcrapcrap).
The moot broke up after this and the following day we were ready to go with a very large party: our group, Dwight and his knights, and Tonk Treestump, who explained that he would come along to represent the ogres. As we were leaving, however, we heard a bellow coming from the southwest: "REVENGE!" There was Big Bob, covered in scars and welts. Tonk informed him of why we were there, but still Big Bob wanted satisfaction for the ogres that we killed (in our defense, there would have been none killed if he had left us alone...). He pointed to Linora in a challenge, uprooted a nearby tree, and returned to where she was standing to issue the fight. Phlegm- sorry, Clem (now they have me calling him that!) cast a blessing spell on her while I targeted his "club" in the hopes that my randomized magic would cause it to hurt him rather than her; this worked well! Linora did her warrior thing, much as Sten had done earlier, but armed with her sword, she was able to chop off Big Bob's arm. He fell to his knees, begging for his life. Linora spared this in return for his promise that he would never attack us again. Sten healed the ogre a bit, then the other ogres carried him away to strip him of his rank and exile him to the life of a hermit. He wandered off north, leaving his arm behind.
Able to finally leave (most of) the ogres behind, we headed southwest back towards the Walled Valley in the hope that we would be able to dig up some information there about beholders. We stopped by the abandoned temple of Seiryuu first; while the stronger members of our group dragged off the dead ogres, I tried a spell on the temple to see if I could pick up a memory of why the priests had left. The first vision I received was no help: Big Bob's memory of meeting with us the other day. The following day I had better luck. I picked up the memory of one of the monks of Seiryuu and learned that gnolls had attacked the temple some time ago, but some of the priests had managed to get away (fortunately including the one whose memory I shared; experiencing death in a vision is not something I would enjoy!). After we had barred the door from the inside, I wanted to protect a Good temple as best I could, so I set a spell on the door, as well. (Later I sent a letter to the priest of Seiryuu we know to the south west explaining what had happened and letting him know to what I had set the password.)
As we traveled southwest to the Walled Valley, we met with a wagon train. We warned them about the ogre moot breaking up and they wisely turned around so as to not meet any ogres. (As it is, Tonk frightened their poor horses.) At the Walled Valley Tonk was once again a bit of a problem as the guards would not let him into the city. While Linora, Shocko, and Vordb headed out to gamble, Ghost and I set off in different directions to try to find some information on the beholder we would be facing. My trip took me and Clem to the temple of Apollo where the abbot kindly found us an old scroll with drawings almost like a diagram, which had been found with the remains of a late scholar. He said they had some idea of the symbols, but could not read much into it. Knowing that Ayman has some knowledge about old writing, I later Gated back to Woodland, where the wizard is currently staying to work on some experiments. He recognized the script at the top as saying "field of null/no magic" and that the symbol underneath that was a measurement of the antimagic from the big eye, but didn't know anything about the pictographs.
Fortunately we did have someone who could help! When I brought the map back to our group in the Walled Valley, Clarence, the bard who recently joined up with us, recognized the drawings as a pictograph script of a people who live on the coast. The symbols were actually spell names, and with his help, I wrote these onto the drawing I had copied from the scroll back at the temple of Apollo.
Now armed with some information about what we would be facing, we set out the next day. After a few days of travel, we met with a group of brown bears at just the spot where we would have to cross the stream we had been following. Linora wanted to kill them, but thinking I could get them to allow us to pass- peacefully!- I cast my favorite Speak with Animals spell in order to ask one to leave us alone, promising that we would not take any of his fish. This worked and they let us pass with only some growls. (Monsters may leave me somewhat indifferent or even frightened, but animals? Animals I understand, although I always feel strange conversing with them when others are around to hear me.)
After a few more days Oakskin, another new member of our group, informed us that there was a village nearby. Sure enough, we soon reached the village of Greenhill just on the edge of the forest. Here we found a rather baffling assortment of townsfolk: humans, gnomes, centaurs, and wood elves, all intermingling peacefully. At the Ivory Branch Inn, we discovered that the wood elf working the bar was actually Zyquis, the mayor and also the one who runs the general store. He told us that he knew of the eye; it was several miles into the woods, it would send out minions into town every few weeks to take villagers, and that the attacks weren't consistent as sometimes they were men and sometimes beasts. He also said that the eye has power to turn people to stone (after having my picture translated by Clarence, I fear this is true) and showed us a picture of the sigil that all of the eye's minions wore on their clothing; this looks like an eye in a circle with little eyes around the outside.
(Another update later, as this does end rather abruptly, doesn't it?)
~Cyneric Conroy, Order of the Fleet Fox
October 21st, 3rd day of Gladmoon