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Twitch met Marius and Krolm at the base of the tree below his house. It was the first time he has seen his companions since the confrontation with Xanesha and her minions at the old clock tower, and the debrief that followed.

He had remained in Magnimar for a few days afterward, but during that time had been absorbed in his own undertakings. His research into Malfeshnekor had enlightened him a little with regard to such extraplanar creatures, but he felt no closer to being able to banish it back to where it came from. He had purchased quite a number of other books, both with relation to that and a variety of other topics to take home with him, and had planned to continue studying on his return to Sandpoint. However he quickly had become occupied with other tasks, and had found little time for reading.

“So, how do we get up there?” Krolm asked, looking upward.

Fifteen feet overhead two platforms hung suspended alongside one another, two halves of a basic elevator pulley system, and the landing platform alongside the druid’s home in the canopy sat another fifteen feet further up. Probably he should have taken the elevator down to make things easier, but had instead flown down in avian form.

Gesturing up toward one of the platforms Twitch began chanting in the strange druidic tongue, and the platform slowly began descending, water gradually trickling down through the timber as it came.

On reaching the ground the men could see that a large wooden cask of sorts sat in the middle of the platform, currently part-filled with water, though the level was steadily falling now that Twitch had stopped his chanting. He could of course have made it watertight, but then he’d need another way to let the water out once he was done, and he had found it easier to simply allow it to leak away.

“Now the same process for us to go up.” He said, beginning his chant again as he pointed at the other platform, now thirty feet above them at the landing.

It was far from the most efficient mode of transportation, his guests reflected, as the cask in the platform above slowly filled with enough water to begin its descent, raising the three of them up in the process.

“New ring?” Marius asked, having noticed the plain wooden band on the druid’s outstretched hand, and having used his newly acquired magical talents to probe it.

Twitch nodded.

“Had it made in Magnimar, just a little extra protection from attack. I had my armour enchanted too.”

He suspected they all had found various magical trinkets to spend their newfound wealth on. That was, of course, the main reason they had visited him here.

They reached the landing. It sat on a nest of branches out to the side from the trunk of the tree. Toward the trunk there was in fact nothing but more branches, until on the other side Twitch’s dwelling could be seen, the walls composed of fallen branches that had been woven together using his powers to form a solid barrier. The construction looked like nothing so much as some kind of giant bird’s nest.

“A bit difficult to get to, isn’t it?” Marius asked.

The druid shrugged.

“It’s only really a bedroom at this stage. I plan to build a room that will join it to this landing, but have not yet found the time to do so. Mostly I fly in and out, so it is of little concern.”

“Until your guests fall to their deaths coming to see you.” Krolm stated, staring down at the ground thirty feet below.

“I don’t think I’m likely to need to have guests to my bedroom.” Twitch responded “The new room once it is built will be more appropriate for the rare visitors I have, but catering for such was the lesser of my priorities.

“Now, follow this way.”

North and east a small rope bridge hung suspended from the landing to the vertical, rocky face of the hill thirty feet away. There a tunnel clearly entered the hill face itself. To either side of the tunnel entrance a long window extended around the faces of the hill, one overlooking the river and the Whisperwood beyond, and the other back across the farmland and gardens.

As they made their way across the bridge, they looked down over the lush farmland below, alongside which stood a garden filled with herbs and other plants, and the glittering panes of the greenhouse which contained far more exotic flora.

The three soon entered the tunnel in the rockface. It extended a short distance, with a doorway to each side and another at the end. Twitch led his friends through the door to the right, but in passing they noticed piles of timber and wooden benches and tools in teh door to the left, and what appeared to be a small kitchen through the end door. Marius noticed that one patch of the natural rock wall didn’t seem quite right- it was hard to say at a quick glance, but he wondered of there were some type of concealed passageway beyond.

The room they entered seemed at first glance quite small however it was very difficult to gauge the exact dimensions of the room, the shape being irregular and hollowed out directly from the rock. Further, the view through the room was obstructed by seemingly randomly placed pillars running from floor to ceiling and continuous with both, the room having been excavated around them rather than them being placed in here. The pillars contained many books, shelves having somehow been scooped into them (Krolm noticed the Shoanti texts taken from the Misgivings among the volumes on display), and ended toward the front of the room, where two large stone benches sat along the window, again the remnants of the original rock of the hill rather than having been added later. At one end of the room a small alcove contained s smaller, wooden desk, with sheets of vellum and parchment, and various writing implements sitting on its surface.

On one of the stone benches sat a tank of murky water in which two sinuous shapes slowly moved. On the other lay the sculpted leafy headband Twitch usually wore, along with his spear and the belt he had had made from the scales of the young black dragon they had recently slain.

After Krolm had brought the body into town on his cart Twitch had suggested giving the carcass over to his friend, Larz Rovanky. Larz had been more than happy to be given the opportunity to work with such a medium, and had agreed to provide the small items they each wanted at no cost in exchange for keeping what was then left of the hide. Though not much, he would no doubt turn a handy profit from it.

“Looks like you’ve been busy.” Marius observed, the comment taking in the apparent work being done at the bench as well as the dwelling itself.

Truth be told the druid was feeling extremely tired. As well as carving out the rooms (made easier my his magic softening the stone) and beginning some work on spell research and creation of enchanted items, he had spent his evenings flying over the surrounding farmland, using his abilities to boost the crops, and had also been doing similar to encourage regrowth of the Whisperwood. And he hadn’t had the chance to go back to see Malfeshnekor yet, but the monster could wait; he had little new to say to it, and it could still go plenty more time without food. Indefinitely, in fact; no point pandering to it too much.

“Yes, I...don’t touch them!”

Too late, as Krolm decided to stroke one of the creatures in the tank. A loud crack accompanied the bluish flash the briefly lit the tank as the gnome was thrown back.

“Krolm?” the druid asked in concern as the gnome stood stunned for a few seconds, before he shook off the shock of the electric jolt he had received and grinned.

“Could I borrow one of those? I know someone who would love one in his bath.”

“No.” Twitch replied. “I need to take them back where they came from, I’ve learned what I needed to from them now.”

“Learned what?” Marius asked curiously.

Twitch mumbled a few words, and small sparks of electricity began crackling around his hands. The druid smiled. Or was that grimaced?

“Hurts?”

“A bit.” He admitted “but me far less than anything I hit.”

“So you’re planning on fighting unarmed then?” Krolm asked “Seems a bit crazy. I prefer not to even touch my enemies through a weapon.”

“I had considered it mostly for when I’m in one of my other forms. However...”

Twitch walked over and picked up his spear. It had changed significantly from when he had first come to Sandpoint- the carvings telling the story of his adventures now covered fully two feet of the shaft. Less noticeable, however, was the recent addition of multiple small points of copper sticking out along the spear shaft. It looked like nothing so much as that someone had embedded copper coins into the timber all the way along, and given Twitch’s ability to shape wood, it seemed likely that this was exactly what the druid had done.

As Twitch held the spear, the sparks began dancing along the copper edges to the spear head.

“It loses a bit along the way, but it’s still useful when I am fighting with the spear.”

Twitch dismissed the charge from around his hands, his face relaxing a little as the energy dissipated.

“And these other things?” Marius asked.

“I’ve just embedded some other spells into them.” The druid explained “The belt should aid my reactions a little. And the headband I’ve added a small glamer to, er, compensate a little for my lack of knowledge of “civilised” etiquette.” He finished, a little embarrassed.

Twitch had felt the need to do the latter since realising that the superior knowledge and ideas he often had seemed to be lost in interpretation by some of his less informed listeners, to their obvious detriment. He felt therefore that it was only right that he should make the effort to make himself more accessible to help solve the problem. He missed the grin that passed between his companions as he continued.

“Anyway, enough of my activities. What was it you both wanted?”

Krolm produced a collar from one of his pockets, made again from the hide of the dragon (why not? There should be enough to go around for small things like that).

“Any chance you can make this so it enhances Fido’s bite? Like the rest of us he sometimes finds it hard to chew your cooking. I have an enchantment I can use, I think you know the same one, but no training in how to put it into an object.”

“I’m very familiar with the enchantment.” Twitch replied, ignoring the fact that nobody ever seemed to show appreciation for his imaginative, efficient use of carcasses in cooking. “And as such it should be easy to do. I could probably have it done by tomorrow.”

Marius produced a backpack.

“I gather it’s possible to make this open into an extraplanar space so I can fit more in and carry it more easily. If we keep finding such loot as we have so far it could come in handy! My arcane training hasn’t really progressed far enough yet that I can attempt it.”

“Probably more Jon’s area than mine.” Twitch admitted.

“I asked Jon. He went into a very detailed explanation of planes and extradimensional spaces. I got a bit confused as to exactly what he was talking about.”

“It’s pretty simple really. You want it to be bigger on the inside.”

“Exactly what I said to him. He gave me a dirty look. Then started looking for some sonic energy something-or-other, so I left and came here.”

“Besides,” Krolm added “He’d probably prefer the dimension it opened into wasn’t Hell.”

“A valid consideration.” Twitch nodded. “I should be able to do it, but it will be much harder than Krolm’s collar, and will take me far longer- it’s not the kind of thing one wants to make mistakes on. I’m confident I can do it though, just give me a few days.

“In the meantime, perhaps you could help me with something Marius. I’ve built some cells for those occasions we may need to detain someone; our adventures so far have proven that we could use somewhere to do so, and the town gaol is not always the best option. I thought your familiarity with such things would be helpful.”

Marius looked exasperated.

“Why is it that just because I have a few more clandestine talents everyone thinks I must be familiar with the inside of a prison?”

“I meant your skills with locks. Did you not say you were a locksmith?” Twitch asked, confused.

“Er, yes. I can help with that.”

“That would be very helpful, thank you. Also the doorways leading there are concealed but I’ve been having a few issues with the mechanisms.”

“That too I can help with. Will probably have it all done by the time you’re done with my backpack.” The rogue-come-wizard replied.

“Excellent, we’ll get to work then.”

“Hey, don’t you want me to help with anything?” Krolm asked. “I could take those electric eels back for you?”

“Yes, that would be great.” Twitch replied distractedly, already thumbing through tomes on the shelf.

Marius headed back to the corridor to investigate Twitch’s prison, while the gnome regarded the eels and grinned.

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