Confronted with the little Sylvan-talking dragon, I asked: “Do you speak common, little dragon?” It cocked it’s head to one side, not entirely sure if it had understood, but then responded in a language I didn’t recognise. Clear that we were trying to find a language that we both understood, I tried Elvish, to which it shook its head, then finally conceded to Sylvan, just to make some progress in conversation.
Having established our language of communication, I figured my best option was courtesy. This could be his home, but if we apologised for breaking and entering they might decide we’re friendly and divulge some information about the obviously missing items. “Sorry if we’ve intruding..” I started, but the dragon cut across me, “whatcha lookin’ for?”. The jig was up and it was worth it at this point to see whether the dragon was going to help or not. Any information might be useful, even if it was in a roundabout messing with us for amusement kind of way. “There was clearly something on this cushion here,” I said, trying to take the focus off of our true goal “and in this picture frame too. Do you have any idea where they might’ve gone?” “Maybe” the dragon responded, clearly not trying their hardest to be helpful.
Realised the little dragon might have his own little hoard, I offered a trade. He’d obviously been watching for a little while. “I want what was in that little coffer”. Easy come, easy go, I thought, at least we could get a lead on the painting and perhaps something else as well. At this point, a voice piped up in my ear. Melech had cast some sort of spell allowing us to communicate in secret and wanted to check everything was fine. All he and the others could hear was babble in Sylvan. While making my best thinking face towards the dragon, deliberately over the aspects of the deal, I indicated to Melech the current situation and that everything seemed to be fine.
Turning my attention back to the dragon, I agreed to give him the items from the coffer in exchange for information, but, not entirely trusting the usefulness of the information, offered one item now and the rest later. He picked out the Ewer from the assembled items, swooped down to collect and returned to the rafters. “Try over there” it smirked, pointing towards the corner of the room, opposite the door that led downstairs. I did as it said and eventually found a secret door leading to some sort of storeroom. Still not entirely trusting the situation and half-expecting to get locked in a musty closer, I announced what was going on in elven, so that at least Melech and Beiro could understand and come help if necessary.
The room contained a bunch of fabrics and robes and a heap of dusty old incense-burners. I started sifting through the fabrics, looking for anything with a pattern or better yet, a design that could indicate it was the painting canvas. The majority of the fabric seemed to be faded ceremonial robes, but as I unfurled some more towards the back, something heavy fell out with a thunk and started rolling across the floor. Quickly scooping the object up, I found it to be some sort of ornate crown, intricately designed. As I scooped it up, it started shrinking slightly, until it reached a size that would make it perfectly onto my own head. Poking my head out the storeroom door, I motioned to the dragon “Is this what I should be looking for?” I said, waving the crown. “Perhaps” replied the dragon, launching itself off into the air from the rafters and out of sight. I guess I’ll keep the rest of the treasure…
I clambered back up the rope and we regrouped at the base of the back of the hall. I showed the others the crown and passed it to Melech. Having the biggest head, I expected that, if the crown were to change size again, it would have the most obvious effect in his hands and I was proven correct. We all watched as it grew large enough to fit onto Melech’s big ol’ horned head. Clearly magical. We took a break over the next hour, starting lunch, while Melech examined the crown more closely. Suddenly, he triumphantly announced he had a breakthrough. This was the crown of the Forest Queen, a symbol of the agreement referenced in the folk tales we had read back at the library. Once “attuned” to a wearer, it would allow them to speak Sylvan and fey would be generally friendlier to them. As the only human in our group, it seemed best to have Baldwin wear the crown and I would be able to keep my own Sylvan linguistic abilities hidden until appropriate again.
The party was split on what to do next. I was confident in my searching abilities and declared that there was nothing left for us at the hall. Baldwin, on the other hand, was certain that there was more to find and wanted a proper look himself. We all clambered onto the roof and into the back room again. After another brief search of the altar room, which didn’t turn up anything novel, we proceeded down the stairs, Baldwin first, to see where they came out. A proper look indicated that the entrance on the other side was hidden and came out just beside the cracked fountain. Baldwin burst through the door and was immediately lashed out at by a violent shroom and the incessant screeching started up yet again. Baldwin replied in part and hacked the shroom down, with a little help from Melech’s magical fire. There remained a screeching from the other side of the room, so Beiro showed off some of his cooking expertise and made a mushroom skewer using his javelin.
Seeing that the others had the shrooms under control, I decided to get my feet wet, quite literally, and examine the fountain. In the centre there was a little statue of a humanoid creature with wings and sat atop its little head was a tiny stone replica of the crown. It was clearly quite worn down from the years since its inception and did not seem to yield any more secrets. As I was inspecting the statue, the screams were suddenly silenced, leaving only the soft babbling of the water and the drip from the damp. This was shortly disturbed though by a large splash, as Baldwin came wading in to look at the statue too. He took the crown from his head and tried to put it on the statue. Nothing happened.
Back outside the hall, we took another short rest, allowing the gashes the shroom inflicted on Baldwin to stop bleeding. After a brief discussion, as to whether it was worth heading back to town (I was interested in whether any of the village folk of Westpine knew of the crown and to have a comfy bed to sleep on for the night), we started following the river upstream. After about an hour’s walk, I heard an “ooof” sound behind me, as something had careened into Melech’s chest at full pace. A clearly flustered small humanoid figure with wings picked itself and quickly stuttered “Hide!”