The peddler was pulling odd things from his pack, extolling each as he laid them down – one shoe that changed colors, a knife carved from wood, a mummified bird. “And this,” he said, pulling a 1 foot square box of stone out of his pack, “is all the friends you will ever need.” He opened it up, showing the carved stone statues of warriors inside. He took one out and stood it on the ground, where it changed to flesh and blood, stretched, then pulled the sword from its sheath and saluted them with it. “An army in your pocket! For a mere thousand gold! A bargain!”
The High King is dead. He died on a quest to find the stolen Crown of Destiny. As he died, he activated the ability on his armor, Fly To The Four Winds, which randomly transported his sword, Cut-Steel, and his shield, The Shield of Hope, to far-off places so they would not be taken by his foes.
The party has found the source of the strange creatures roaming the countryside. The rift in this reality glows with a silver hue, rippling with the wind but never moving. They step through and are immediately assaulted with the scent of rotting meat, some have to muster all their strength not to vomit. Strange cries similar to the beasts the party had faced before can be heard in the distance. Looking around, they see they are in a forest of grey and red rather than the normal brown and green. The trees are sticky to the touch and writhe, perhaps to get away or perhaps as a warning.
The deeper the party goes, the more the forest seems to slither and move underfoot. The cries get closer and more numerous. Creatures lurk in the shadows, all the same color of their surroundings. Whatever the party came in here for, they had better do it fast.
The forest of flesh is waking up, and it is so very hungry.