The party made the journey home without incident as the weather began to clear, and were met with a hero’s welcome back in Loudwater. The joy was dampened when the townsfolk noticed the absence of one party member, the lovable dwarf. They suggested the party visit the temple and see if Sister Linora could set things right. When they got to the temple, Sister Linora said she was able to perform the resurrection ritual, but could not afford both the ritual and the 500 gp reward she had promised. Upset by the thought of haggling over the life of his friend, Pel stormed out. The rest of the party remained and agreed to forgo the reward so that the money could be put towards the ritual. The adventurers decided to remain in the temple for the ritual, out of curiosity.
Sister Linora began by taking parts from the eight trees that stood at the cardinal and ordinal points of the temple. She gathered berries from one, bark from another, leaves from a third, and so on. She placed these in a chalice in the center of the room, along with the lock of Beef’s hair, and lit a small candle beneath the chalice. She then knelt before the chalice, near the statue of the goddess Chauntea, and began to chant. She was chanting in a mixture of languages, from Common to Elven to Supernal. As she chanted, the statue of the goddess began to glow with a faint green light. Linora’s chanting became more intense and insistent, and the green light intensified.
Suddenly, a small breeze seemed to emerge from the temple walls and converse in the center of the room. As the breeze became a wind, it began carrying with it small bits of organic matter: twigs, leaves, cones, and grasses. Linora continued to chant and began rocking back and forth, as if in a trance. The wind became a gale, and it carried with it small song birds. The birds began to collect the debris from around the room and appeared to build a nest on the floor beside the chalice. As the chanting continued and the statue’s glow pulsed, the nest grew larger. Eventually, it became to take on a vaguely humanoid shape. Eventually, the shape became a dwarf and the dwarf became a startling likeness of Beef.
The wind died down more suddenly than it had begun, and Sister Linora slowed to stillness and silence. She rose from her position and approached the statue, putting her lips near the lips of the goddess. The green glow seemed to flow out of the goddess’s lips and into the mouth of the priestess. She then knelt before the effigy and breathed into his mouth. Slowly, beginning with his face and spreading to his whole body, the twigs and leaves and branches became flesh. As Beef coughed back to consciousness, he caught a glimpse of Sister Linora’s glorious cleavage as she murmured, “Welcome back,” just before she passed out from exhaustion.
The party welcomed home their fallen comrade, and averted their eyes as her dressed himself and gathered his belongings. They moved Sister Linora onto some cushions in the corner of the temple so that she could rest more comfortably, and returned to the Green Tankard for some food and respite. Pel had slept and was having his breakfast and morning ale, and greeted his friends. He volunteered to keep watch by Beef’s room while everyone else got some rest.
After Gord and Immeral awoke, they approached Pel, who was still guarding the door of his beloved friend’s room. Gord described the resurrection ritual and said he thought it would be funny to play a prank on Beef by putting twigs and feathers in his bed that he would discover when he woke up. Pel was reluctant to put Beef through further trauma, but decided it was too funny to pass up. Gord gathered some chicken feathers from the kitchen scraps and some twigs from nearby trees, then Pel unlocked the door and sent Posket in to distribute the detritus. One by one, Posket dutifully carried each item into Beef’s room and placed it on his bed, even placing a few pieces onto his sleeping form.
When finally woke up, he was puzzled by the mess of feathers and leaves in his bed. He brushed them off, collected them, and tossed them out the window. He emerged from his bedchambers and confronted Pel about whether anyone had been in his room while he was asleep. Pel assured Beef that no person has entered the room, and he’d been there the whole time. Beef visited the temple, concerned that this might be a side effect of his resurrection. Sister Linora’s pert bosoms heaved as she explained that, while resurrection rituals differ depending on the diety, there shouldn’t be any side effects, since his friend had performed the gentle repose ritual on his body.
The party split up to gather information about the tip they received from the mist gnome about trouble in a nearby village. Pel remained at the inn and assists the innkeeper and his head chef plan for an upcoming banquet (held by Lady Moonfire, naturally) by sharing one of his rustic vegetable stew recipes from his upbringing on the farm. The rest of the team learned that the mayor in the coastal city of Daggerford was about to implement an unreasonable tariff. Depending on whom they asked, the tariff may have involved slavery, prostitution, human sacrifice, body parts, or large quantities of soft, imported cheese. They deduced that the most reliable informant was one of those who suggested body parts. When they return to the inn, they find a note from Yaffa, explaining that Melthos was called away to an emergency at his monastery, and that she insisted on going with him. She relays the intel that managed to gather and promises to meet up with the rest of the party soon.
As they dined on the hearty stew, Beef approached Pel again and told him about the feathers. After having some fun with him, Pel admitted to being a part of the prank but suggested that they counterprank. He said he would convince Gord and Immeral to forgo any further feather placement, but that Beef could continue to place the feathers himself, confusing the original pranksters and causing them to worry whether they’d done any real damage.
Thoroughly creeped out by the possibility of body part taxes, the party decided to pack up and head out to Daggerford, taking the road towards the coast. They arrive close to nightfall, and see a fairly unassuming city, similar in area to Loudwater, surrounded by city gates which stand open and apparently unmanned. After a thorough visual scour of the area, Beef spots an ugly, used up looking lady of negotiable virtue, and approaches her for information. She insists that time with her, however spent, doesn’t come free and, knowing that adventurers have money, demands a price of 10 gp. Beef attempts to renegotiate, but Pel laughs and tosses her the money, telling Beef to make it worth the cash.
Beef chose not to avail himself of the lady, who gave only the name “Barbarella,” in her usual capacity, but instead asked her for information about the mayor or any new tariff. She was less than helpful. In fact, all the adventurers could gather from their thorough investigation of the city’s pubs and night market were that the mayor had his quirks and the tariffs were high but fair for a port city of such importance. They ended up renting the penthouse at the Silver Snake, an inn near the docks, and crashing for the night, resolved to visit the mayor the next day.
At the mayor’s office, the party was shown into his private conference area immediately. The mayor leveled with them, explaining that he had started the rumors himself, and that although there is no such tax in Daggerford, no would there ever be one, there is such a tax proposed in Luskan.