So, the party had found itself on Baba Yaga’s front porch.
(For reasons of group flexibility, the Tabaxi Bard has always been there, and suddenly is a Gnome…)
Baba Yaga invites the group inside because she likes distractions and she’s in a good mood. The inside of the hut is bigger than the outside.
There are a bookshelf and a bunch of alchemical stuff, and a bit pot of blue soup sat on the stove.
The Gnome Fighter decides to take a whiff of the soup and is forcibly dragged outside into the fresh air to help him wake up again.
The Kobold is very interested in some books on the shelf, as they appear to be written in the dead language of Venatan… which he happens to be able to read.
When questioned, Baba Yaga explains that she might be able to help with Kolschei the Deathless’ soul and getting it back out of the egg it’s stuck in… if they brought the egg back to her and maybe let her keep the soul.
For some reason, everyone is okay with that.
When the Gnome Fighter wakes up, he thinks he had some kind of dream about walking through the forest, but in reverse. He has a sense of déja vu about everything for a while.
The group goes back out into the forest. Following the compass, the group enters deep into the forest. Climbing up to the top of one of the taller trees, the Tabaxi Rogue sees the forest stretching off in all directions (despite the fact the island was much smaller when they arrived…), and a clearing in the direction they were heading.
Travelling on, nothing much happens. The Gnome Fighter decides to leave a track by scoring marks into trees as they pass. The Tabaxi climbs another tree and doesn’t feel the group have made any progress.
Then they come across a tree with marks on it. On both sides. Neither of which is in the direction they’re travelling.
Someone decides they should walk backwards, watching their steps through a mirror. Some of the little forest spirits appear on a branch in the mirror but are gone before anyone can react.
The Tabaxi Rogue is carrying the mirror and spots them again, takes aim over his shoulder and shoots one in the chest. He is deafened for the rest of the fight.
The fight goes well. The Kobold throws out Eldritch Blasts that pop a few of the spirits, several take daggers to the chest that knock them off tree branches, and one or two are hit with a spear with the same effect.
After winning the fight, and yelling their frustration out into the forest in trader’s tongue, primordial and Venatan, the leaves on the trees seem to reply, and a new path opens up in the forest in front of the group.
They walk to the clearing and see a large lake, with a single tree on an island in the middle.
The tree is instantly recognisable from the Kobold’s vision – equally gaunt and horrible bloated in strange ways, sickly looking, its branches hang down at odd angles.
From out of the water rises a huge walking mass of moss, vines, tree roots, brambles and fern fronds. Speaking from some invisible mouth, the party realised this was the leshy, a powerful forest spirit that Kolschei had fought.
He didn’t seem hostile to the party but didn’t believe they were seeking the king’s soul for a just reason.
The Tiefling Cleric agreed to trade her most sacred possession, her holy symbol, for safe passage. The leshy was happy with that and summoned a bridge of plant roots out of the water, and allowed crossing to the island.
Digging beneath the tree, the group eventually found a small chest wrapped around by tree roots. Managing to yank it free and break it open, they found a large white egg sat on the remains of a silk cushion.
When someone thought to investigate further, they also found a small blue egg under the silk.
Returning to Baba Yaga, suddenly having free passage through the forest, the old witch was ecstatic. She had no clue whose soul was in the large white egg but pulled the king’s soul out of the small blue one.
Loving the idea of eternal torture of the king’s evil soul, she offered the group a reward.
The Kobold got to read an old Venatan book and increased his magical understanding.
The Tiefling Cleric got a new holy symbol.
The Gnome Bard got a sentient dagger… but a brand new one without a name or much of a personality yet.
The Tabaxi Rogue asked if the Tsarevna would have rewarded him at all – the answer was of course not, he’d have been brutally tortured and then killed.
The Gnome Fighter asked if Baba Yaga had anything to do with the disappearance of Ys – the answer was no, sometimes the Endless Sea changes for no real reason, and the island might show up again. Sometimes they do.
And that was the end of the session.