I wake up screaming. It was all a dream. My head hurts and everything looks fuzzy around the edges and I feel like I have been trampled by a stampede of trolls.
Where am I?
I take a look around at us and we all look like we’ve all escaped a tar pit in this forest. We look an awful mess.
FOREST? Wait a minute what?
Is this the Ardeep?
This is the Ardeep!
Hahaha I’m home!
How did we get here? Wait, I DON’T CARE! We’re free from that terrible swamp window! My adventuring days are over! I can go home to the Honey Hollow and eat until I explode! I can’t wait to tell Ma and Pa about these maniacs I’ve met. Like Mister Bird. Who looks so angry he is going to hit this black wall. Wait. nononono NOOOO. I wish I was swifter than Mister Bird’s anger but before any words come outta my mouth, Mister Bird strikes the tree that has cursed my life since it showed its ugly black head in Garrett’s forest. His dumb staff hits the dark hard bark and the loudest gonging possible rings throughout the trees, through my body, through my soul and shatters my mind and scrambles my brains. People are shouting and I’m trying to scream across the muted muffling of it all and then Mister Dakin makes a face I’ve seen Garret make when he’s trying to comune with the plants and he’s screaming- as if his whole world has shattered into thousands of tiny shards of glass and he’s inhaled it all into his lungs and is trying to scream it all out but it won’t matter. Nothing matters now.
This damned tree. This damned tree is wrong. This can’t be the same tree. It’s grown in sickening size. I haven’t been gone that long, have I? It’s tripled, no quadrupled in size. What the hellebore has happened since I left? It’s miles around! Nettles and Nightshade! I can’t fix this. There’s no way I can fix this. Who did I think I was to try and fix this? I’m just one tiny little person and I’m trying to take on the impossible. I can’t save the forest, I can’t save the town. I tried to find help in Waterdeep and now they’re here and we have just as much knowledge of it as I had before I left. There’s nothing I can do. We’re done. I am helpless and hopeless and useless and I’m so sorry Garret. I wish I was better than this. And of course I start crying. Stupid, big baby.
Pull yourself together Blossom. Home isn’t very far and crying isn’t going to do much good, is it? Nothing like a good home cooked meal to help you get your senses back. At least I’m home and the least I can do is show my tired friends the hospitality of a Blossom family meal. After trying to convince Mister Dwalin there’s not much else we can do we head the few miles south to the Honey Hollow and at least I feel that much better.
As we are making our way home, there’s something not quite right. We must have a visitor because there’s that gnome I first saw in Waterdeep! What’s he doing sitting out front, smoking a pipe with Briar! Ma and Pa don’t seem bothered by it at all, but boy is he strange. He sees me and starts talking t me as if I’m his best friend. He might be touched in the head because he keeps talking like he’s lived here his whole life too, although I wouldn’t put it past Ma and Pa to let the poor thing think what he likes.
Mister Dwalin seems a bit put off. It’s probably the gnome making him feel unwelcome. He’s saying he wants to trek into town-that’s 4 miles back! Mister Dwalin is stubborn as a mule and totally refuses to stay. Pa’s got plenty of room here. But off he goes.
We try not to trek muck into the house, at least I’m not, bcause we are still covered head to toe in that awful filth back from the swamp. There’s a bit of a kerfuffle as Ma tries to find some new clothes that’ll fit these big and awfully strong men and Mister Mopan thinks it’s decent to just strip off his things in the hallway! WHY IS HE ALWAYS GETTING NAKED! The only thing I can do before the only thing he’s wearing is a smile is to magic a grass skirt onto him. Now Mister Mopan is walking around our home in nothing but a grass skirt and a mustache. Dear me.
to be continued…