Hesper’s Web

Gwendolyn Conli had been asleep for a month when the party had arrived in town. Famously, Gwen had recently had an encounter with the spider devil, Hesper. When Asher had turned up that information, Mariel and Dimitri had pushed to visit the town of Redstone to see the young girl. Mariel was sure that the devil-touched young girl might provide them with a link to the devil or at least a lead on how to get at her. The team had traveled to the sleepy little town and had made their way to the bedside of young Gwendolyn. The rumor mill had clued them into the connection to Hesper but not the poor girl’s seemingly eternal slumber. Now all six of them stood at Gwendolyn’s bedside along with the town’s mayor and the girl’s parents.

“Is there nothing to be done for Gwendolyn?” the mayor asked.

“None of us are especially skilled healers,” Dimitri said. “We have some skill but we’re more defenders and eliminators.” Dimitri could call upon his connection with Lathander to heal, Fern could use the healing power of nature, and Asher had some healing ability through his music. Luther, Mariel, and Dina were mostly on offense in tight situations.

“That’s the truth,” Luther said. “We’re very sorry. However, we do want to get our hands on the creature that did this.” Hesper’s corruptive effect was well known and the call had gone out for adventurers to send the devil back to Hell.

“But how are we going to get any devil info out of her if she’s still so sleepy?” Dina asked. Obviously, Dina was a bit more goal-oriented than the rest of the team. The worried looks on the mayor’s and the parents’ faces

“Dina!” Mariel scolded. “Have some respect. There must be a solution here that can satisfy everyone.” More often than not, Mariel found herself falling into the role of team mom. She really had not wanted that job but she could not stop herself. Besides, she was decades older than most of her friends.

“Right,” Luther said. “We never give up. A magical problem must have a magical solution. Do we have any ideas that might work here? Even crazy ones.”

“We only have crazy ideas,” Asher said with a smirk. The whole party seemed to think about their wild, adventurous history.

“He’s not wrong,” Mariel said. “However, I have been doing some obscure research. Mrs. and Mr. Conli, it would not be without its risks but almost all of those risks would be to us.”

“Uhh,” Dina said. Everybody looked nervous. Well, Fern did not really look nervous but she was not very expressive. Fern may have actually been asleep in the corner.

“It should be perfectly safe,” Mariel said. “I just don’t think this has been attempted in over three centuries.”

“Why don’t you explain your idea, Mariel,” Luther said. “Then we can decide whether we’re doing it.”

“Oh, we’re probably doing it,” Asher said. “We always do.”

“I have been studying some texts written by worshippers of Somnus,” Mariel said. “What I propose is a ritual where we enter Gwendolyn’s dreams. We would be exposed to her dreams, her nightmares, and a landscape more unpredictable than the Faewild. Also, somewhere in there is probably an avatar of Hesper.”

“We’d have to have your permission,” Luther said, looking at the parents.

“Know that we would rather be harmed ourselves than allow more harm to your child,” Dimitri said.

The parents looked at each other for a moment. “Please help our little girl,” Mr. Conli said. “If you do nothing, she might stay like this.”

“We’ve heard of you,” Ms. Conli said. “We trust your reputation.”

“I’ll prepare for the ritual then,” Mariel said. “Rest up everyone, this will be difficult.”

“What can we do?” the mayor asked.

“Seal off this house,” Luther said. “Defend this family while we go in. We’ll handle the rest.”

“I’ll take Asher to go get supplies for you,” Dimitri said to Mariel.

“Actually, I will have to go with you but I could definitely use your assistance.”

“Great,” Luther said. “Meet back here in a few hours.”

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