|“||“That was... Wow...”|
|— Fern, after lay on lips was applied|
|Do I see any maps?|
|Social Standing||Meta-Corps charter member, rebel|
|Class||Druid 12 (Circle of the Moon)|
Fern's mother is a dryad. What more needs to be said?
Well, I suppose it's worth mentioning that Fern calls the glade home with her mother and her aunts in the Forest of Pendleheim. And that she would love to get away to see the wilder landscapes of the Empire. She maps. She draws. She grows flowers in her hair. She takes care of her little half-brother.
What more needs saying?
Her hair changes with the season, indicating her heritage. She keeps it tucked under a ratty red scarf. She is clothed in a mix of scavenged traveler's robes (gifts from what Phineas found left behind by random bandits) and natural materials woven or wrapped to fit.
She has the appearance of any halfling - that is to say, she looks like she's ten years old. Though not overtly strong, Fern still has the capability of packing a punch while in beast shape. Fern would most definitely rather be a squirrel than in her normal form.
Armor and Weapons
She carries a staff and a sickle. Never any good with a sling, Fern trusts Phineas to the things that are out of immediate reach of her spells. She prefers the sycamore to all other species of trees.
From the Dryads, she learned vanity. Fern hates having to hide her hair, and would rather be in beast shape than judged for her background.
From her father, she has a happy-go-lucky attitude. Rather seeing the silver lining in all things, she is nothing if not grateful for all she has. She doesn't look it, but she knows quite a bit about legend lore and the mythical beasts in the further reaches of the Empire.
Before the Empire
Her mother, a dryad named Oriana, enticed a charming halfling into the glen. For three years, he stayed among the branches of her sycamore, until she finally tired of him and sent him away. Fern never met this halfling in person, though she knew his name to be Jerry. Or Jim. Or Jethro. Or Joja.
The only good thing that came from that halfling was Fern's younger half-brother, Phineas. The child followed his father into the woods when he was but a toddler, stowing away to follow him wherever he was going. Jethro made it to his destination, but was slain on the spot for demanding an audience with Oriana. Oriana very nearly slew Phineas if not for Fern's insistence. Oriana allowed the child to live, but insisted Fern find a place for him in the forest away from the dryads - their grove was no place for such a halfling. The toddler was adopted by a brooding sow - with a little convincing from Fern - and so the child was introduced to his brother, WarRibs.
Fern and her half-brother became close. She would go afield and find trinkets for him as reminders of the world not very far away from the forest. Though her mother never approved, Fern took it upon herself to see her brother almost every day. She taught herself cartography so Phineas could always show her where the herd of wild boars would be staying, and so that they could stay in touch. Eventually, she came to realize that her baby brother needed people in his life, and encouraged him to seek out the settled lands of the burgeoning Empire.
Fern sells flowers and herbs to nearby townsfolk and villagers in an effort to support her brother. People seem to be more interested in her maps, though, as they tend to indicate where ruins may be found in the forest; yet she prefers to keep the best ones for herself. One day, she wants to set out far from the grove to see the stranger biomes for herself and map them out for her brother to ponder.
When Phineas told his sister he wanted help eradicating a goblin horde, Fern had her reservations. However, it seemed the coalition commander in charge of the fight had thought to bring help from the Council to aid with the subterfuge. Waltom the Ranger and Pug the Druid hatched a plan to draw out the goblin warriors to face the coalition, while they and the halflings infiltrated the warrens under Dernvale to hunt the goblin queen. A sound plan, it seemed; until the enemy forces came crashing right into the war camp.
Following the plan as laid out for Commander Gravert, the four heroes (plus WarRibs) sneaked into the maze-like tunnels while the real fight began on the surface. Using their natural abilities, they followed a friendly local bat into the heart of the warrens. They expected to see a reserve force of elite goblins, but only found the queen's remains in a bloody pile of ice.
A Narrative at the Sycamore Grove
"It's been wild, Mother! I helped Phin stop a goblin invasion not even a week's travel south of here.
"It's true! It all started when Phin investigated some happenings at a human mining town they call Dernvale. 
"I don't see why they would call it that...
"Goblins had somehow gotten past the orcish barricades to the south, and they were building a hive. So the locals needed help destroying the goblin queen, and I met a man named Victor Gravert (which is a good name for a commander, don't you think? But his maps were rubbish...), and I met the Metas.
"Lemme take a second to tell you about the Meta-Four. There's Waltom the Ranger. He's got a chip on his shoulder where goblins are concerned, but he seems kind, if a bit... simple. Then there's Pug. He has a great respect for nature, and is very interested in you and other Fae, actually - but no, you cannot keep him, Mother. I introduced him to old Harrison (the hackberry tree) that needs some attention out of your reach, so there. He's a bit old for your tastes, anyway... And then there's Phin and WarRibs and me!
"So we start planning a battle with the goblins, but suddenly, all of the delvers run from the hives and the fight is on! The five of us slip away to find and assassinate the goblin queen using our plan from earlier. Phin befriends Bruce (the bat) to scout for us, and I'm making my maps of the tunnels and Waltom shoots stragglers, of which there are None. The queen was already dead: frozen to death by something we'd later learn was called Tarn. I'll get to him in a moment.
"So we have to wait a week to kill the other goblins 'cause the Imperial Council thinks we need another who knows the Aether. His name is Thorkel, and he is a bit strange about trees, but he's good. Although, he came highly recommended by a traitor.
"Getting down in the warrens, we bump in to some delvers. Our spells make surprisingly quick work of them and we try to save one for questioning. I tried to inspect the Aether affecting the sigil on its head and it starts pointing us deeper into the warrens, but it escaped and Phin killed it, which ended the spell.
"So Thorkel leaves, we know some weaknesses of the goblins, and we know it's bigger than just one little goblin hive. The Council sends us a dragonborn paladin of the Lich Pig to stop this possible undead presence. We go to another endangered town, Gudrael, and catch an overseer and its team by surprise. This time, we follow the path led by the icy blue arcane mark on a survivor's head. The mark wasn't the only thing that was icy: as we went down, the tunnels got colder and colder. Painfully cold. And that's where we met Tarn.
"He stood tall, frozen and formidable. We fought him, but he brushed us aside like nothing. That's when he clamped his hand over Phineas' shoulder and ripped it off! As you can see he's okay now, but Torinn used his Lich Pig magic to heal him and it did not look friendly. And we got out of there. When we came back topside and deliver our reports to the capitol, the general idea was Torn was a primordial. So we needed to enlist some help. We traded Torinn, thank goodness, and went off to the Gilgani Free Blades and the Rek'Shar Orc Tribe. First part was easy since they were young and honor-hungry. The second part of persuading the Orcs would be difficult since their leader Luga just died, and they were deep in discussion of succession.
"Also, Phin's arm started growing a Sycamore limb - thanks, mother.
"So I took that good news south to Waltom, Pug and our new friend Nazdrak. He's a big orcish fighter guy and didn't amount to very much in the eyes of his people when I first met him. So, it's a good thing I went, since being a druid means they call me a spirit talker, and would listen to us a little about helping the Empire. Though Luga's son, Druga, was still not impressed since we were asking him to fight our war for us over a rumor, his rival, Pecasa the spirit talker, knew they had a responsibility to hunt down all rumors of goblins. Waltom was known among the orc tribes, so and he and Pug accompanied Druga on a hunt for what he called a Shadowstalker. Instead of finding that drake, they got ambushed by goblins, which somehow made Druga withdraw his bid for chief. Meanwhile Nazrak and I go looking for a spirit the Orc tribes call Shemorak as a sign that Pecasa is the ancestors' favorite to lead. And I found Chessie instead! And Chessie followed us back to join the orcs, and Pecasa became chief, and we went back north. On the way, Allie popped up with nothing but her scales on. She's a strange one, but she means well.
"In the north, we came across a valley where the Coalition had been fighting a grater goblin hive. We jumped into the fray. Waltom and Nazdrak were the cavalry, breaking the lines. Pug, Phin, and WarRibs ran to find wounded soldiers that had been isolated. Allie even helped me get to the more remote ones by flying us over the fight. But the ground caved in from beneath us and half of us fell into the lower hive. When we woke up, there were these stone orbs covered in Aether and arcanic writing which told some story and kept men inside. When the men leave the orbs released by an overseer, they have the same blue mark on their foreheads as the goblins did. So we snuck out of there and Waltom, Nazrak, this Snake-monster and the Freeblades had just killed a goblin ravager. This bought us a little reprieve from the fight.
"We reported our findings to Jaedis Averian. Nice girl, rubbish singer. Broken-hearted, poor thing. Reinforcements come in the form of the Rek'Shar and Chessie and the Orcish Earthshakers. Phin, Allie, Pecasa and I join the Earthshakers to route the goblins to the surface by communally wielding the Aether of the earth. I almost didn't come back! It's a novel experience, and I wasn't afraid of falling in to the ground, 'cause I couldn't really feel myself on the ground so much as feeling the entire ground beneath me. So as we fought with the veteran orcs to defend the Earthshakers, the battle with Tarn began. 
"Jaedis, a battlerager dwarf, and everyone else fought by Druga's side to stop Tarn from opening a portal to the primordials or something. The battlerager is too stubborn to die, Shadyr - Nazdrak's new panther friend -helped swat Tarn down. Druga died fighting the good fight, but Tarn fell first! And he forgave Nazdrak for leaving home, so there's that.
"Now Tarn's dead, Nazdrak is welcome among the orcs again, Waltom is busy building a homestead for us in the south near Cimmeria, And Jaedis is head of Military Intelligence or something. And she's in love with a traitor. Pug will be staying with Harrison in this forest, Allie is going to see some sights, and Chessie said it'll follow me around the Empire as I map it out in places... What else... Phin's breeding boars for the Meta Corps... That can't be everyone...
"Oh, Pecasa's pregnant with Druga's babe.
"Chessie says you knew its mom. Do you know where she went? Or how she knows primordials like Tarn?
"And how has the grove been?"
"It's been a little strange, Mother. No, very strange. I took a walking tour of the Empire. Or a swimming tour, where the great lake was concerned. I joined Waltom and Alerith on a boat. We were going to deposit foodstuffs on an island in dangerous waters to make things safer out there and explore it. Lots of maps exist of around where we were going, but... None really of the real thing, and for good reason.
"It was dumb to think we could do it. The Lascarii were kind enough to lend us a ship with SIX of their augurs. Which are kinda like ship captains, but kinda like druids. And a bit like dryads if the ocean was their home. Another half-dragon named Xelrond came with us, and a pyromaniac Gnome named Damon. Of the crew we met Z'ven, Kaalu, and the captain of the Silvergill, Keylani. It was a few days before we saw the island. But that's when everything started falling to pieces. 
"Half of us went on shore to discover the island wasn't completely uninhabited. Some half-magic-half-metal monstrosities that made steam and leaked oil attacked the landing party. That, and some great roaring from the center of this cursed island made them come right back. In the mean time, the Lascarii Tenth Fleet arrived and forced us to scuttle the Silvergill! Kaalu dove for the shallows so she could recover... we did not see her again. Meanwhile, Keylani, Waltom, Z'ven and I went to go find the scattered Lascarri of Angwar's Fleet so we could gather our numbers and try to escape together. AND the volcano was erupting. At this point, our mission was well and truly screwed. With effort from the remaining 3 Augurs and the few crew, we overtook one of the corrupted vessels... Losing all of the augurs in the process. Z'ven tried to navigate the ship... And we ran into even MORE trouble with this... THING! A real behemoth. One to rival any would-be augur as they swim far across the shattered isles. But so far from there, we never should have seen such a creature. OR the one controlling it, Drasthmas.
"She wanted to meet the Emperor. She had that THING eat our ship and the Lascarii inside. I sent word to Surgot to expect us... And Waltom, Z'ven, the Emperor all died fighting it. Not that I knew until the next day! People were saying Surgot conspired to kill them, that the Lascarii were in on the behemoth entering the bay!. The people were rioting, the Ashen - short-sighted war hawk racist idiots - were taking military positions in the streets and preventing any demi-humans from entering or MOVING in the city... And some MONEYED JACKASS named Tiberius became acting emperor. No sign of the Empress... Thank goodness that I found Nazdrak. He was talking to this recruit named Toboggin and he had this orc friend stuck at the gates.
"We knew we had to leave the Capitol. Little fuzzy on the how since three out of four of us were prime targets for the Ashen. That's when some imperial guards came to us with some coded message telling us we needed to come with him. Nazdrak followed, and we all came along... To the shadiest warehouse. All the cloak and dagger apparently is Surgot's specialty. He told us to find Rufus, and that a rebellion needs to begin with his help.
"So, I guess I'm a rebel now."
Raging Against the Mechanics
The following are messages sent to Oriana in the Sycamore grove via winged messengers...
"Hi, Oriana. So, the honeymoon's over, Empress Timsah wants us to find a primordial that served a death god. Bringing back the Emperor's soul. Love Ya!"
"Oriana, Doing well, learning -and forgetting- my Orcish from Nazdrak. Us, Tom Oggins, Lyle, and his rhino Scruffy say hi. What a weird name."
"Hi. Found our guy. Came at a cost. There's a tweetie DRACOLICH here! Killed some undead killing the forest slowly. Much love to my aunts."
"Were going west, back to the Shade nation. Found some trouble. Diplomats murdered in Gilgani. Now going south. Maybe Orc involvement? Will see nephew! Love!"
"Hi! Found the orcs, were under orders from a new guy: Warmaster Grishnak. They've never had one before. Delivering the lost message to ALL Orcs." Addendum: "Tom Oggins is doing Nazdrak proud as his squire. He makes friends among them as easily as Waltom did. Lyle left us for the north."
"Lyle had known Phin! But now we have Corlath again. So, it's a hero among orcs, his wife, Naz's shield brother, and one of them."
"Grishnak isn't... impressive like Nazdrak, but he does have lots of sway. Dogmatic, a bit. Very clever. Much love, we're fighting their last war. Together!" Addendum: "Oriana, Pecasa suggested we get started on a family. Not yet, I think, but... Would the dryad part be... limiting?"
"The captured goblin queen can be dominated to our will. It was a close thing, though. Grishnak was almost overcome, fighting Nazdrak 'til I helped." Addendum: "Saw Chessie again. Still likes Nazdrak better. She's such a good fighter, though so young at heart." "Imma catch the birdie." "Chessie no, don't eat-!"
"The Tenth Fleet! They are allying with THE TENTH tweet-tweet FLEET of Lascarii! Grishnak is trading one despot for another and I have no-" Addendum: "... - no IDEA how they intend to repay those tweeter-tweet tweet ABOMINATIONS once payment comes due! I'm scared. Kaalu hinted Derwan grieves for Angwar's fleet." Addendum P.S.: "I think I'll talk to her."
Skills and Strategies
She favors her beast shape, and when she's trying to protect her friends, she's prone to start an actual confrontation. Even if she interrupts a grandstanding idiot while hidden in bird shape. She doesn't think she can deny Phineas anything, as a protective big sis.
- She and Phineas Deen are half-siblings and have a common father. She saved him when he was young and had him adopted by a sow.
- Until she gave him the reading book that gave him his name, Fern called her brother "Boy."
- She likes to pretend to be half her age. Easliy done, since her halfling heritage allows her to pass for a 10 year old.
- No longer just a "thing" with Nazdrak. They got married at the Sycamore grove by Pug. Phin didn't show, and Waltom sadly had already passed.
- Them Thar Hills
- The Dread Swarm
- Into the Depths
- The Spreading Corruption
- A Bitter Cold
- The High Bluff Renegades
- The Good Earth
- Dust in the Wind
- In Memoriam
- Quests/Week 11#Crossing the Shattered Sea
- Quests/Week 12#Crossing the Shattered Sea Pt. 2
- Quests/Week 13#The Wrath of Shadows
- Quests/Week 14#Lost But Not Forgotten
- Quests/Week 16#A Desperate Gambit