Malatra Redux

Web of Destruction
The Year of Great Change #46

From the Memories of Aah
The Village of Big Chief Bagoomba
The Year of Great Change
“Take care of your business, or it will take care of you.”
I had come to the village of Big Chief Bagoomba to help celebrate the 25th anniversary of his becoming Chief of the Saiyama people. In honor of the occasion, a simple race was set up. The aged korobokuru, Bengoukee went past all potential contestants and assigned each of us to groups. I was with the noted heroes Alyssa of the Huroola, Ziss, and Booki as well as the veteran heroes Koroth, Terra Chaos, and Brismarck. I was a bit intimidated to be in the presence of such well known heroes!
After listening to the boring rules and setting out on our race, we found ourselves a bit lost and having to make us some time. We were still doing well for ourselves at the second of three checkpoints though, when Terra Chaos decided to mess with another group’s minds a bit. They ran off in the completely wrong direction.
When we made it back to Big Chief Bagoomba’s we were disheartened to discover that we had come in second. The snake katanga Sithana’s group had won the event, though Terra Chaos mumbled that they must have been cheating. Unfortunately, one of the five groups—the one that Terra Chaos had scared off—didn’t return. Several hours of celebration passed, and still they didn’t return. It was only when one of the contestants from that group made it into the village, dying of multiple bug bites all over his body that we had any clue as to what had happened to the group. Unfortunately, the man called Hanta expired prior to us learning anything, but Bengoukee was able to invoke a power which allowed us to speak with the dead man since no shaman present could cast such magic.
From Hanta we learned that his group led by the old warrior Jonga had been attacked by giant spiders, as well as spider katanga. He didn’t know what happened to the others in his group, as he fled. We were unable to learn more of use before the spell gave out. Bengoukee then asked us to attempt to find the bodies of his comrades.
So soon, our group had once again set out. We didn’t get far at night, as tracking at night is far more difficult, but we pick up the slack in the day time. After tracking the group to the site of a battle, we followed the nearby trail hoping to find them alive, but fearing to find their bodies. As it was, we were ambushed by a trio of spider katanga and their pet giant spiders. Alyssa bravely took on three of them, while most of the rest of us only had to deal with one. It was a little amusing watching Booki trade flaming arrow spell volleys with their caster and it nearly proved too much for us, but thanks to Koroth’s eliminating his own threat quickly, he was able to help others which soon gave us the upper hand. We were able to fight off the creatures and kill them all.
Not finding any sign of the missing contestants, we eventually gave up and began to head back to Big Chief Bagoomba’s. Along the way, we discovered a still burning body of a jungle tam’hi, who looked as if he had been killed recently. Tracks nearby were nubari footprints, though when they came to the river it was obvious that they changed into spider form.
When we made it back to Big Chief Bagoomba’s, Booki showed Bengoukee a ring he had taken from the pyre of the tam’hi, and Bengoukee identified it as having belonged to his former companion Garalo. He was saddened to learn of his death, and told us a story of youth.
Long ago, the warrior Jonga, the tam’hi Garalo, Arkari now greatest shaman and chieftainess of the Wise Ones, all had encountered a tribe of Black Leopard Katanga whose leader T’kaba had become corrupted by a vile artifact she had found somewhere. The group was not able to destroy the artifact, called the Statue of K’lel’al, so they had hidden it away, hopefully never to be found. With Jonga’s disappearance along with the other contestants, Garalo’s death, and recent news that Arkari herself had died from apparently fright, Bengoukee believed that the corrupting power of the statue was again at work. He asked us if we would be willing to travel to the statue and destroy it. We, of course, agreed.
Soon, we were off toward the distant Forbidden Mountains. Bengoukee accompanied us as far the Zantira tribe, as he had yet to finish making the potion we needed to destroy the wicked statue. Along the way, we discovered that something or someone was playing with us. We fought off a magically enhanced garuda. Bengoukee killed it with a powerful spell, but told us it was almost as if the artifact sensed its danger and was attempting to protect itself.
When we arrived at the Zantira, Bengoukee gave us a balm which he said needed to be rubbed all over the statue. When we were done with that, we needed to use but a single drop of berry juice to activate the magic to destroy the statue.
We set out, and after days of travel made our way to the foothills of the Forbidden Mountains. Once there we were attacked by a tyrant garuda. Alyssa stood bravely against it, but Booki’s spell caused it to quickly lose interest in us and leave us alone. We made our way to our destination without further incident. Once at the cave which Bengoukee had described as looking like a garuda head, we began to investigate within.
After killing a guard spider, we discovered that some spider katanga were preparing an ambush for us. Koroth moved forward stealthily, and we were able to deal with the ambushes very effectively. When we found the sealed chamber, Koroth again pulled his weight with our group by moving the massive rock from the entrance.
Behind the rock we saw the wicked Statue of K’lel’al, as well a trio of spider katanga waiting for us. This combat was no challenge for us, as we were able to target down their leader quickly, and mop the remaining two up within seconds.
After applying the balm to the statue, we watched as the wicked artifact was soon destroyed. It took us several days to get back to the Zantira, where we could report to Bengoukee. A few days after that we arrived back at Bagoomba’s to discover that Bengoukee’s hut had been destroyed by a bolt from the sky while we had been gone. It seemed that fell magic had been trying to end Bengoukee after all, but he believed that we had accomplished something great by destroying the statue. Not only was the the artifact kept from the clutches of Tiger, but we had prevented Bengoukee from being killed as well!

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The Courage of a Coward
The Year of Sorrow and Hope #45

From the Memories of Aah
The Village of Big Chief Bagoomba
The Year of Sorrow and Hope
“Courage is often lack of insight, whereas cowardice in many cases is based on good information.”
A group of heroes including the oscray Go Gin, and Koroth, the monkey katanga Black Chaos, Groot the plantman, and I were called before Bengoukee. The aged korobokuru kept us waiting in his hut for a long time. food was brought to us by Traduk, but we were left for several hours by ourselves. Eventually, Go Gin’s impatience took over, and Bengoukeep appeared before us revealing that he had been watching us, testing us the entire time.
Bengoukee then told us that we would need patience on the mission he was sending us on. He wanted us to track down Boo Dos, the cowardly leader of the Boo tribe. Bengoukee said that he needed a symbol of ‘courage of a coward’ to be used as a spell component for a complex spell he was working on. He believed that the hand that Boo Dos had used to grab the Necromancer’s Stone from the Forgotten Father and had become withered because of it would be a suitable component. Failing that, a feather from Boo Dos’ headdress would be fine. Bengoukee then told us that the Boo’s tribal lands were secret, even from most Boo’s themselves, but they also had roving tribes that could be found periodically. Boo Dos was with one of these roving tribes and speaking with Abu the Lackey might be a good place to start to find information on them.
So we were tasked with speaking with Abu the about the Boos. We arrived at Abu’s cottage some time later. It was a strange conglomeration of various structures and styles mixed in with the huge collection of junk in the jungle. Most of us had met Abu before, and his overly-helpful-if-you-are-wanting-to-trade-something personality was something of an acquired taste. We eventually were able to learn from him the location the Boo tribe had last been seen…it was not good news as they apparently had entered snake county.
Setting out, we decided to first check in with the Tenanga who were located near the Swamp of the Snake Men. As we neared their territory, a monkey katanga suddenly ran form the jungle directly for us. As we watched, it was clear that she was running from some giant spiders, and she pled with us to save her. This combat was almost beneath most of us, but the katanga seemed to be very pleased that we helped her. Her name was Boo Two, and yes, she was a Boo. She immediately surrendered to us, and told us that she had become separated from her tribe a few days earlier. This at least meant that we were on the right track.
After that, we couldn’t get rid of her. She was deathly afraid of violence, including hunting, and wanted to be in the middle of the group at all times. The next evening when she offered to go on watch, she fell asleep on duty. It was a good thing Go Gin had stayed up with her. Even then, the next morning she went to gather berries and somehow incurred the wrath of a leaper garuda! After we were forced to kill the beast, we were sure to give our new companion some dark looks.
That day we entered into snake country. Upon seeing the firsts snake man, Boo Two ran forward and immediately surrendered to them. Since the snake men seemed to know of the Boos, we convinced their leader, Illissek, to take us captive so we could be united with them. The snake men took us toward one of their villages, but before we could see it, another snake man named Korress met with us and told us. He informed us that the Boo’s had been kicked out of snake country, as they were not appetizing, and were a real nuisance. Illisek should have never brought us so deep into their territory, he would be punished for doing so, but we would have to be put to death. Black Chaos gave a rousing speech about how we would help ensure that the Boo’s never bothered the snake men again, and that was enough to convince them to let us go.
We continued our pursuit, and soon saw signs that we were gaining on the Boos. We even encountered a few of their stragglers, a pair of shus named Boo Deux and Boo Tres. They surrendered to us of course, and Boo Two went to work explaining to them how good captors we were, as we kept them safe from garuda, and fed more than enough food.
Finally we saw Boo Dos, as well as a large group of other Boos. When Boo Dox saw us he shouted for all the tribe to scatter, which they did. The number of Boos running to us to surrender actually impeded our movement and Boo Dos took off running. We eventually were able to catch up to him, as he backed himself up to a ravine which had a tributary to the River of Laughing Idols running through it. He threatened to jump, and actually did when Go Gin told him we wanted to cut off his hand. He used a fly spell to make it to the far side of the river near a cave.
Black Chaos was forced to use a spell to create a vine for us to zipline down to the cave. Unfortunately, it was too late. Boo Dos had entered the cave and been captured by the demons of the deep. A pair of them even tried to capture us, but Koroth and Go Gin killed them quickly. Black Chaos led the way, and we watched as more than a dozen demons of the deep prepared Boo Dos for some sort of sacrifice upon a stone altar. Koroth and Black Chaos struck fast, killing their chieftain and sending the others into frenzy. Most retreated, but the Go Gin Groot, and I had to deal with two subchieftains. It was a very scary battle, but Boo Dos was greatful to be rescued, and immediately surrendered to us.
Upon the surface, we convinced him to come back with us to see Bengoukee. We figured it would be the old korobokuru’s job to convince him to give up a hand, and if Bengoukee couldn’t he would have to settle for a feather from the headdress. In thanks, Boo Dos let Koroth keep the dagger he had recovered from the demons of the deep, one of his apparently.
Back at chief Bagoomba’s, Bengoukee thanked us for retrieving the courage of the coward, and soon he and Boo Dos had disappeared into a hut to perform whatever strange magic Bengoukee needed. Traduk, was more appreciative of our efforts, and presented each of us with some rewards.

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The Necromancer's Stone
The Year of Sorrow and Hope #44

From the Memories of Black Chaos
The Village of Big Chief Bagoomba
The Year of Sorrow and Hope
“The young are often underestimated.”
On invitation from the Council of Elders, many heroes had come to the village of the Rudra. Bengoukee and Ffft told us of the insane Ancient called the Forgotten Father. The Forgotten Father had remained in Malatra when all the other Ancients died out, in order to keep the Spirit of the Storms, Ngemba from being freed by the Tamara. He accomplished this with the help of an evil artifact called the Necromancer’s Stone. Now, he was loose upon Malatra with the Necromancer’s Stone. What was worse was that it had been discovered that Ngemba had been the cause of the earthshakes and stroms that had recently plagued Malatra. Heroes were needed to find the Ancient, and destroy the stone.
That was where we came in.
Alyssa of the Huroola,The Crocoshaman, Booki the Chaotic, Brismarck, Kahulae of the Windy Place, Broke-horn, and I formed just one team of many to help hunt down the Ancient. We were not expected to fight the Ancient, and would likely not survive the experience if we tried, but we were to contact a group of more powerful heroes and elders to deal with him when we found him. With so many groups going out, it was unlikely that we would be the ones to find The Forgotten Father, but we had to be prepared.
We soon set out. Our first few days off the expedition was rather uneventful. It was only when we came to the falls along the dreaming river, that we had our first bit of excitement. Having to abandon the canoes, we continued down river toward Sleepy Lake on foot. Late in the day, Broke-horn was able to rescue a small nubari girl from the Huroola tribe. Young K’michi was named after the great chieftainess of the Huroola, Kimichi. She was hoping to one day be a chieftainess herself, and had left the safety of her tribe in order to gain some much needed hunting practice.
We were unwilling to leave the girl alone after that, and she accompanied us. Late in the afternoon, we encountered a water gnasher garuda. Booki scared it off with a spell. We began verging away from the river at this point, and eventually we had started heading directly east. Our plan was to complete our circuit once we got due south of the Rudra, by heading there.
It was the next day where things started to get real interesting We came across some tracks in the undergrowth that belonged to nubari, and decided to follow them. Sure enough, it lead us to the remains of the elder party that was meant to deal with the Forgotten Father. Ffft the Great Sage and tiger katanga was literally supporting Mali the Great Hunter who was badly burned over more than half his body. Booda, the shu chief of the Simbuki and powerful shaman was supporting Boo Dos, a nubari witch doctor and abject coward. Boo Dos’s hand was a shriveled claw which clutched around a stone that radiated evil.
We asked them what had happened and Booda explained that he had gotten lost from his own search party, and had found the elders encountering the Forgotten Father. With a word the Forgotten Father had turned Uubarr, the tiger katanga guardian of the Jungle of Lost Tribes to dust. He then sent fire at Taronee, Witch Doctor of the Koshiva, amd incinerated him as well as hurt Mail. Boo Dos was uncharacteristically brave and able to grab the stone from the Forgotten Father’s hand, but his own hand became the desiccated claw when he did so. The Forgotten Father would have destroyed Boo Dos, but Ffft managed to hit him with magic missiles. In response Ffft seemed to become incredibly stupid when the Forgotten Father looked at him. Booda and Boo Dos both called for a retreat, and they had escaped while some sort of garuda was fighting the Forgotten Father.
We debated what to do for a time, but eventually we realized that the Forgotten Father was likely still after them. We took the amulet from Boo Dos, Kahulae carried it, and it wreaked him to do so. But we opted to finish the quest and destroy the stone, while the others returned to receive medical attention. Ffft had a moment of lucidity and told us that we must go to the Mountain which Cannot be Seen, where we must find the Three Fingers Cave and the River of Fire. When he did so, a location, direction, and distance of the cave appeared in my mind. We set out immediately.
We soon had crossed the borders into the Jungle of Lost Tribes. Although the jungle was still taboo, we could only hope we would be forgiven as our mission was of vital importance. We traveled for three more days, occasionally catching distant sight of The Forgotten Father as he pursued us. When we witnessed a gnasher attack the ancient nubari from a distance, we had hope that it would kill him, but he seemed to summon a giant red winged garuda that breathed fire on the gnasher and killed it instead before vanishing.
The Mountain that Cannot be Seen was named such because of its odd placement at the bottome of a natural crator, as well as some strange magic upon it that made it not only seemingly invisible, but easy to overlook. We would not have found it if not for the directions in my head.
We followed my mind’s compass, and soon arrived at the cave we sought. Blocking our path into the cave was a group of lizardmen, including a massively large one with only three fingers and wieldling a trident. We tried to parlay, but they were more interested in fighting. Using a spell of to create fog, and some fire magic, allowed most of us to sneak past them after their king was killed. Brismarck, however, had gotten scared by the lizardmen, and opted to hide in the nearby jungle and watch. He was apparently the first to witness the arrival of the Forgotten Father, who simply poped out of existence upon seeing the Mountain that Cannot be Seen.
Meanwhile inside, we discovered a barrier that permitted only Kahluae and myself to pass beyond. The symbols near it were otherwise incomprehensible to us. Broke-horn and Crocoshaman struggled against the invisible wall, but eventually went to help Alyssa and Booki hold off the remaining lizardmen.
The next chamber Kahluae and I entered had a trio of statues in it. They seed to want us to justfiy our preseence there. It took a bit of work for us to get past them, but eventually we did.
Beyond was the Cave of Fire, and standing before us was the Forgotten Father blocking our path.
We knew that we had to throw the stone into the fire, but it seemed to resist any attempts to do that. We would have to drop it in from close range. The Forgotten Father seemed crazed and tried to use a spell to blind me. My spells were ineffectual against him, and my weapon seemed to bounce off his hard skin as well, so I didn’t know what to do. Then one of the ancient nubari’s spells caused Kahluae to be turned to stone. I took the chance and retrieved the stone amulet from Kahluae, and put it around my neck intending to sacrifice myself. But suddenly, I felt a strange otherworldly consciousness enter me, as I lost control of my body. I removed the stone and held it aloft cackling with glee.
Outside, although I did not know it, garuda from far away were being summoned to the area, and many many undead had pulled themselves from the ruins in the jungle as well. Brismarck returned to the others, and a temporary truce was made with the lizardfolk to fight off the undead.
Meanwhile, the Forgotten Father had used a stunning spell on my body. I fell stunned, but the stone bounce on the ground and into the pit of fire when I fell. Suddenly, a massive powerful air spirit filled the room. As Crocoshaman, Alyssa, Broke-horn, Booki, and Brismarck all figured a way to reach us, the spirit asked us what it should do with its former captor. We told I that it should help rehabilitate the Forgotten Father’s madness, and it acquiesced. It then granted us each a boon for helping it escape. I used mine to restore Kahluae, though something must have gone wrong as only a few days later the shaman inexplicably vanished into thin air! Other good boons were asked, such as knowing more about how to defeat Tiger, or attempting to fix the broken taboo the Huroola had done. But in the end, Ngemba, the great spirit of the air left us and we found ourselves ready for a break.
We returned to Bengoukee, and learned that Ffft had been restored to his own, obnoxious, intelligence. Unfortunately, Bengoukee told us that with the Stone destroyed, the earthshakes would now stop. Prophecy said that meant this was the time for Tiger to return.

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Monkey City
The Year of Sorrow and Hope #42

From the Memories of Brismark
The Village of Big Chief Bagoomba
The Year of Sorrow and Hope
“Great achievement is usually born of great sacrifice, and is never the result of selfishness.”
I was once again stuck training new heroes. This time Content Not Found: null, a butu hunter from Chief Bagoomba’s tribe and a sorry excuse for a hero if I had ever seen one.Boo Moge, a warrior from, of all things, the cowardly tribe of the Boos! Lastly, there was Deia, a warrioress of the Huroola, who seemed eager to prove herself and for good reason. As the first new hero the Huroola tribe had offered since the unfortunate loss of the abilities of their great warrriors several months ago, she had some big expectations to meet.
We were near the Huroolan village of Valpana, when we heard the summoning of the Jungle Drums of heroes to that village. Since we were relatively close by, we decided to investigate. After Kodey and I left our weapons with Boo Moge, who was too afraid to enter Huroola territory, we headed with Deia toward the village. Once there we were greeted by Alabbe, a village warrior, who took us to her leader, Ambeela. Ambeela told us that recently most of the village’s warriors were killed by a Big Thunder Garuda. The survivvors were able to drive it off, but since then several Little Thunders had been attacking the village itself nearly daily. She needed heroes to hunt down the Little Thunders and deal with them, so they couldn’t continue to threaten the village. Since it was the heroic thing to do, I volunteered us. Kodey wasn’t thrilled about the idea.
We returned to Boo Moge and collected our gear. Collecting the cowardly nubari was a little more difficult. But soon we were tracking garuda.
The group that we follwed seemed to be a group of four at the beginning, though at least two had ben injured. Twice along our journew we discovered signs that the garuda were attacking eachother. two of them had even been killed by the others, likely due to some sort of pack mentality about removing the least useful from the group. We eventually caught up to one that had been wounded, and confronted it. While we were engaged in combat, a nearby pangolin revealed itself to be a katanga. It was the hero Percival, who had competed in the Dohi’ri Festival of Masks! With his help, we survived fighting the beast.
Percival agreed to accompany us to find the last known litte thunder, and was even able to help Kodey track…much to Boo Moge’s annoyance. We tracked the garuda into a mountainous area, where we made an amazing discovery. In a hard to reach valley we discovered the remains of a city of the Ancients!
We spent some time exploring the city, which appeared to have several homes made to accomadate many families each. In the first one we explored, we had to deal with a poisonus snake, which we dispatched quickly. The next building we looked into was unlike the others. It had four sides that ended in perfect right angle corners. It was an odd sight o see. Inside this building was a centrally located strange long table made of stone. For some reason, Percival got a funny feeling when he looked at it, and really liked it.
The next hut was another family dwelling. While exploring it however, we encountered a six-limbed reptile with a powerful gaze. It turned poor Deia to stone! Thankfully, the position of her body actually trapped the creature in the hut so it couldn’t get to us. We listened for some time outside nearby, and it soon settled down.
As we pondered what to do about our petrified friend, Percival felt the same type of feeling about her stone shape as he did the table. He briefly believed the ancients had been using creatures like the one we had encountered to turn people into tables, but we laughed away his foolishness. Finally, Boo Moge decided to grab Deia’s stone shape and drag it back and place it upon the table. When he did so, the spirits of earth must have smiled upon him as Deia was returned to flesh!
Shaken from her experience, and with no desire to return to face the creature, Deia said we should contine to explore elsewhere. After two more houses being explored, and only finding a small tablet with several repeated symbols on it which we took to be some sort of child’s learning tool, we headed toward the last and one of the largest buildings. In front of the massive ediface though, was what looked similar to a plantman. It wasn’t hostile and seemed slightly intelligent. It could even communicate with us in our trade language, though it wasn’t very bright. It didn’t like the little thunder garuda and had killed many of them. But recently, the big lizard had chaseed more away. It wanted to kill the big lizard, but couldn’t’ get to it inside the cave it lived in. We surmised it meant the thing that had nearly killed Deia, and Deia decicded to lead the lumbering mass of rotting vegitation toward the proper hut. Then daringly, taunted the creature within to come out.
Her gambit payed off, and our new plant friend made quick work of the lizard. We then had the oppurtunity to explore the large hut, which seemed to have more than one level to it, although it looked far too dangerous to explore the upper level. Inside we found a small ceramic box, inside of which were 16 ceramic tiles, in pairs of 8 distinct characters. When the box was closed, the tiles fit on top of it while perfectly in a grid pattern. It was a fascinating discovery, and we took it so we could learn more about the ancients.
As we were leaving, a group of nine little thunder garuda approached our only exit from the hut. We had no choice but to fight. Kodey was very smart and able to scare several of them away with some imitations of other creatures, but Boo Moge was seemingly driven mad by being trapped. He charged the creatures and was ripped to shreds after killing one of them. We fought more intelligently after that, but the remaining two were able to kill poor Deia before we had dealt with them. Our party now reduced to just three, we returned to the Huroola to inform them of our success against the garuda, our discovery of the ancient city, and the death of our companions. Only one third of my new recruits survived their first real training exercise. If this trend keeps up Tiger will defeat us before they even arrive.

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Forgotten Father
The Year of Sorrow and Hope #43

From the Memories of Brismark
The Village of Big Chief Bagoomba
The Year of Sorrow and Hope
“History repeats itself. So you might want to pay attention.”
It was at last time for Bengoukee’s An-Kwah-Zoh, a celebration of his many years of service. During this time we held a search for the most knowledgeable person in the jungle. Although I think I acquitted myself well, the honor eventually went to that annoying tiger katanga called Ffft.
Next came the general celebration, a feast, an impromptu dance, even smaller competitions of strength such as arm wrestling. Everyone who was anyone was there. Even the Council of Elders had all made an appearance. As the night wore on Ffft was formally inducted into the Council of Elders…against the apparent protests of several elders and seemingly the entire village of Big Chief Bagoomba who would have to deal with him the most. In addition, two provisional members were also announced, Lana the tiger katanga, and Flood the river tam’hi.
During all the activities rumors were swirling. Some people claimed that the Huroola had been visited by an evil spirit which drained the life from its warriors; others said that the Jungle of Lost Tribes was full of servants of Tiger, or that the garuda-people called Lacerials were to blame for the earthshakes and other dark omens. It was commonly known that Simbara had a legend that their tribe would be destroyed when the met the Tamara in battle, though some believed that the Golden Child was actually Lion which could potentially save all of Malatra. Many people were afraid that since the Ancients were more powerful than any current tribes but they themselves had been defeated by Tiger, there was concern that the elders would simply surrender to them. The biggest rumor concerned our ongoing treaty with the snake men, as some felt that Tiger did not in fact exist and it was just a trick the snake men had concocted with their lizard men allies to enslave other tribes.
As we relaxed and conversed, there was a commotion coming from the edge of the village. Apparently a group of snake men had arrived. We investigated along with seemingly half the tribe, and discovered over a dozen of the snake men. Their leader was brusk and unfriendly, and demanded to see Bengoukee immediately. We were cautious, but allowed for them to meet with the aged witch doctor.
Several heroes listened as the snake man called Leuren spoke to the Council of Elders. Apparently, the Snake-Mother had seen in a vision the source of the earthshakes. She said it was the spirit called Ngemba. The powerful air spirit apparently resided somewhere within the caverns beneath the Jungle of Lost Tribes. The Snake-Mother had dispatched Leuren to Bengoukee’s An-Kwah-Zoh in order to acquire some heroes closer to the blood of the Ancients in case they were needed within the Jungle of Lost Tribes.
Big Chief Bagoomba, who had been listening to the proceedings jumped in at this point and suggested more than just a few heroes. He wanted to send an army to the taboo area. Begoukee tried to protest, as did the rest of us, but many were swayed by Big Chief Bagoomba’a speech. Soon a massive strike force had assembled.
Grey Shadow, Reesta Nifari, Ffft, M’tarn, Ahg, Gwalk’maur, Ziss, Bluescale, Sss Ta, Go Gin, Facebones, Vor, Gerk, Snarl, Triceracop, Gar Azor, Katan, Malinsar, Taru, Spike, Kong, Koroth and I had all assembled. Additionally, all the twelve of the snake-men were going including the leader Leuren. Command of the expedition was given to Pure Chaos known as the “Voice of the Lion”, which seemed to be a good omen.
After the entire force being anointed with a foul-smelling paste by Bengoukee and other members of the Council of Elders, we set out toward the Jungle of Lost Tribes. Before we left, Bengoukee cautioned us not to bring anything from the Jungle of Lost Tribes, as ‘the secrets of the Ancients were not there for us to plunder’. Although things started out well, it soon became apparent that with such a large force we would be travelling very slowly. Pure Chaos made the decision to split our forces for the travel.
Three groups consisting of a mix of various heroes and snake men split up to approach the Jungle of Lost Tribes at differing angles. My heart went out for Pure Chaos as he had to deal with the unpleasantness of Leuren as he traveled. My sympathies were also with the second group, who had the incredibly talkative and annoying Ffft with them. Each group had a bit of a problem crossing a river when we individually came to it, but through use of some spells and ingenuity most of us managed to cross without incident. A few of us like Gwalk’maur, Gerk, and Ziss all got wet enough to wash off the anti-taboo paste though.
After a midday torrential rain, which required most of us to stop as we had to avoid getting wet using palm fronds or huddled under blankets, my group was greeted by Uubarr, the guardian of the Jungle of Lost Tribes. With his help we gathered all three groups together before entering the taboo region. Uubarr was able to point out the totems of warning left by ancient ancestors as we passed by them.
Soon we arrived a ridge which overlooked much of the valley of the Jungle of Lost Tribes. Below us we could see what appeared to be small leathery hairless winged eyeless grubs feasting on the body of a dead garuda. We investigated, while chasing the creatures away with some magic and well aimed attacks. They made little ‘meeping’ noises as they fled.
The dead garuda appeared to have been completely exsanguinated, we assumed by the creatures. But oddly, that was not what had appeared to have killed it had slash marks on parts of its body. We looked around the area and saw no lost weapons or any other evidence of combat, but we did find a strange patch of green fur which we couldn’t explain.
We soon entered the Village of the Ancients. Most of the discipline of our group began to fade at this point. Several groups of heroes explored various ruins. Even my group consisting of Koroth, Go Gin, Triceracop, and Pure Chaos himself couldn’t resist the temptation. Only Ziss amongst us seemed not to care about anything. There was even some attempts to take some of the more interesting items, though Pure Chaos put an end to that fairly quickly.
As we exited the ruin, we felt like we were being watched. A quick search led us to discover a large green-furred saru-like creature with four eyes and single horn on its head. We tried to calm it, but it appeared to not understand any language we could speak. When we started treating it like an animal we had more luck. We had the creature follow us, as Koroth had taken a liking to it.
When we arrived at a passage that Leuren told us would lead to Negemba, Pure Chaos decided to take Ziss, Triceracop, Go Gin, Koroth, Reesta, Bluescale, Gerk, and Gar Azor with us. Of course Ffft came along unbidden. No sooner had we entered, then an earthshake trapped us inside. Those outside could hear us, and began the process of digging us out.
Within the passageway was a set of stairs leading downward, at the end of which was a door with a six-fingered hand imprint on it. We were going to be stuck, until Triceracop had an idea to use two hands to fill in the imprint. The door opened, and we moved inside. Along the walls of the room were several shelves, which were immediately investigated by Reesta, Gerk, and Bluescale. In the center of the room was a massive chair, upon which sat a living ancient! The ancient appeared to be in some sort of coma, a strange helmet was upon the ancients head. Triceracop wasted no time in removing it. Suddenly the ancient was awake!
He was very confused, asking repeatedly where his wife was. His language was a bit archaic, but recognizable. When he began to understand his surroundings, he made a comment about how we were all savages and said that the garden needed weeding. Suddenly, though he became very alert and stated that the servants of the Tamara were approaching. We asked him if he was Ngemba, but he seemed to laugh at that and stated that he was not, and that Ngemba was HIS and he would not relinquish him.
Suddenly, the green-furred creature Koroth had been keeping with us moved in to attack. The ancient simply raised his hand and spoke a word and the creature fell dead. He then seemed to turn his irate glare upon us. Shouts from the outside revealed that our passage was clear again, and that more of the green-furred creatures were now attacking the expedition. We considered barricading ourselves inside, but another earthshake made us believe that idea would lead to us being crushed to death.
We reached the surface in the midst of a pitched battle. A few of our group were already beyond help, with Katan, Taru, and Kong all dead, the strange bug creatures draining them of blood already. The snake men told us they would defend us as we made our escape, but one of the green furred creatures called us ‘pathetic primitive savages’ before waving his hand and causing all the snake mens’ spears to become ropes.
We fled. In spite of efforts, it was anything put organized. Most of the expedition had made it back to Big Chief Bagoomba’s by the time we arrived there. A few more trickled in afterward. Of the Forgotten Father, which was what Bengoukee called the Ancient, we saw no sign. News of the creatures we had encountered allowed the council to deliberate and eventually name the green creatures as’ Kretch‘, ancient servants of the Tamara. The insect creatures were also known to be called ’ Akathasa’, and they were thoguht to be servants as well.
Bengoukee quickly studied all of those who had returned and confiscated several obvious items some of our expedition had taken from the ruins. Others were pleased to have gotten away with their items. He then inflicted a terrible punishment upon those who had broken the taboo by permanently dying one of their hands blue. This was greeted with a great deal of disgruntlement by those so affected led by Reesta, and even some of those who hadn’t gone with us sympathized with them. Surprisingly, Triceracop had his hand dyed as well, as he had one item, a small jade figurine, which he was unable to be rid of and hadn’t realized he still had it.
After the expedition’s failure, there was great resentment and animosity between many tribesmen and varying tribes themselves. Bengoukee quickly dispatched several members of the Council of Elders to find and deal with the Forgotten Father if they could. In retrospect, this was the end to the happy times of Malatra, and the opening salvo of a horrible war.

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Spirit of Ash
The Year of Sorrow and Hope #41

From the Memories of Booki the Chaotic
The Village of Big Chief Bagoomba
The Year of Sorrow and Hope
“Life is anything that dies when you stomp on it.”
I arrived in the village of Big Chief Bagoomba. I had never been there before, but had been called by runner and jungle drums for some reason. Also summoned were the saru chief of the Ratikaya called Ook, a nubari warrior of the Huroola called Alyssa, the Simbaran nubari warrior called Blaquesmith, a pangolin katanga warrior from the Wise Ones called Percival, the caiman katanga Shaman called The Crocoshaman, along with my friends Broke-horn of the lacerials, Groot of the plantmen, andTerra Chaos from the Tribe of Big Chief Bagoomba. It was an odd and eclectic assortment.
We were soon greeted and asked to go see the witch doctor Bengoukee. We were led to his hut, and Chief Bagoomba himself greeted us and wished us well. Bengoukee then told us that hunters from the Huroola tribe had discovered a large space where the tall grasses had turned to ash, similar to the Yaku Plains. He then said that once in a generation a seed fell from the tallest tree in the forest, this ‘Seed of Life’ had apparently recently fallen, and is magic was potent. If it were to be planted in the ash that the Huroola had found it could prevent its spread and restore life to the area. We were chosen to find the seed and plant it. Luckily, the seed was somewhere near the Huroola, and moving though Bengoukee couldn’t tell exactly where. We were told to speak with Speaker Harano, in the main Huroola village.
We soon set out on the ten-day journey to the Huroola village. We were very fortunate, in that we didn’t encounter any gardua along the way. When we arrived in Huroola territory however, we hear the clash of weapons from somewhere. As we approached, we discovered a tiger katanga training two young boys in the use of weapons. Seeing as how they were so close to the Huroola, they could only be from that tribe. Alyssa seemed a bit peeved at this notion, but did nothing to prevent the situation. The tiger katanga, called Niano told us ‘the tale of the lost cub’ as a means to justify his helping the two young boys break taboo. We left the tiro and continued to walk for a few hours.
Entering the Huroola village, we were met by a female Speaker, named Nathani. She asked Blaquesmith, Brokehorn, Terra Chaos, Crocoshaman, Percival, and I to leave our weapons behind if we were to enter the village. We soon were able to find Speaker Harano, but due to our complete misunderstanding of what your mission was, a likely result of not asking Bengoukee any questions before we left, we didn’t even know enough to ask the speaker helpful questions. As a result, we concluded that the sead must be somewhere to the south in the village of the Kuamu. We set out there immediately.
We soon arrived at the Kuamu trader called Tu’ifu’s hut. The trader was only able to tell us that he knew that a man named Joru had found the Sead of Life. He had gone north to the Huroola some two moons earlier. This meant that we had traveled an entire two days out of our way for nothing. We made the most of it, and traded with the traveler.
Soon we were returning to the Huroola. This time we had some bad luck and encountered a Great Tyrant Garuda along the way. The creature got in a lucky strike and swallowed poor Percival, killing him instantly. At least we defeated it eventually, and brought some meat back to the Huroola as trophy.
When we arrived we again turned over weapons, and this time did some investigative work. We soon found a woman name Pathina had recently broken a taboo by entering the Yaku Plains, we spoke to her and learned that she had done so in order to try to recover a sead that she had a vision of, but succumbed to the taboo before she made it there. The other Huroola were osteracising her somewhat for her indescretion. But her story meant that somewhere to the east within the Yaku Plains we would be able to find the Seed of Life.
Once we knew where to go, we decided to prepare to go to the Yaku Plains. Harano was gratious enough to create a paste using supplies from Tu’ifu which he applied to us to remove the taboo temporarily. We then tried to figure how to travel the area safely. We realized that with Groot along, we needed a lot of water; thankfully Terra Chaos had a canoe which we were able to fill with fresh water. Carrying a fully swamped canoe made our journey that much slower, but it did allow us to survive the grueling environement.
It took several days, during which time the paste began to wear off, and our water became precarioulsy low. We had only begun to feel the effects of the taboo when we found a dead traveler burried in the ash. Before we could search the body though we were attacked by a group of Ash Spirits.
Combat was annoying, but we hadn’t weakened sufficently enoguh for the creatures to be real threats to us. In the dead man’s pouch we found the sead. Thankfully, leaving the Yaku Plains was a faster trip than our slow searching entrance into it.
We returned first to the Huroola, though only long enough to learn where the new blight of ash had sprung up. Harano warned us that he sensed a greater growing evil in that region as well, some sort of hungry spirit not related to the spirit of ash.
We traveled for a day before we reached the perrimeter of the ash, and just as Bengoukee had feared it appeared to be growing. It took nearly the rest of the day to reach the center. Once there, we were confronted with a strange spider-like nubari which we figured from its shadow was a spider katanga! It claimed to be a servant of Tiger, and it seemed to control some horrible Hu-ta-ku a spirit of life destruction, as well as several lesser spirits of ash. This combat was deadly, with both Blaquesmith and Terra Chaos paying with their lives for our victory. Eventually though, we were victorious.
We planted the seed and watered it with the sacred water Bengoukee had given us. The effect was almost immediate, as the ash began to sizzle and wash away and delecate shoots of green came from the ground everywhere nearby. Sadly there was nothing left of our friends’ bodies to even retrive as they had been absorbed by the sudden regrowth of jungle.
We returned first to the greatful Huroola, who celebrated our success with a great feast and some rewards. Days later, we made it back to Big Chief Bagoomba’s. Bengoukee greated us, congratulated us, and thaked us for our help. He said that with our efforts the seed will one day help overcome the folly of Nubari past.

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To Catch a Feathered Shu
The Year of Gathering Darkness #37

From the Memories of Brismark
Near the village of the Jengi
The Year of Sorrow and Hope
“Flying is hours and hours of boredom, broken by a few seconds of sheer terror.”
We were sent form our various tribes and villages to help the Jengi after one of the great earth shakes. Kito, the shu from the Jengi had gathered first the aarakocra shaman called Salleek and then me, the greatest warrior of the Koshiva to travel there and help them in any way we could.
When we arrived we discovered that the village was a wreck, as there were barely any huts left standing. Five young shu warriors approached us as we entered, and spoke with respect though mostly they spoke to Kito.
After a brief exchange, we were led to a small hut where the chief called Futori lay recovering from a broken arm and leg, nearby his wife was recovering from two broken legs. The injuries were sustained during the last earthshake. He told us that the key to the tribe’s revival and his own recovery lay with the village witch doctor Kumon Ubok, though currently he was apparently stuck in his hut, which a tree had somehow grown around, trapping several shu on the highest branches. To make matters worse, a jengi called Jumanga had tried to heal Kumon Ubok, but had sprouted feathers and flown into the jungle. They also told a tale of a nearby hill where the shu called Morilee was flying throughout the air after Jumanga had failed to heal him as well. There was also some Jengi that hadn’t returned from the Lake of Giant Flies, and worry that some garuda might be eating the crops.
It was clear we had several things to take care of, but Salleek thought it best if he remained behind to try to treat Chief Futori and his wife. Kito and I set out to find Kumon Ubok within the tree that had grown through his hut.
Our first task however, was to get the five young shu who had been trapped on the tallest branches of the tree down. Kito was…not very good at climbing, but I helped where I could with a few thrown spears which he used as handholds or makeshift ledges. Eventually, he had made his way up to the five shu, all of whom were terrified and didn’t know how to get down. He used his rope to lower them from branch to branch before descending himself. We then returned and started to cut our way into the hut so we could get to the witch doctor who was trapped inside. Once there we saw what that meant, apparently the house had partially collapsed when the tree had grown up so suddenly, and a beam had punctured right though the old shu’s body. We were surprised when he was alert enough to be able to tell us how to heal him, a process that required a blossum from a plant which grew near the lake. So we set out to retrieve one.
Kito and I made our way toward the lake, but on the way we passed a group of three-horned garuda eating the Jengi’s crops. Kito was able to scare most of them away, but we had a real tough time with a remaining one especially after it became hostile. Luckily, help arrived in the form of a wandering Saru called Kong who came from the jungle to help us. Kong was very interested in our story after the garuda had been scared away, and decided to join us on our quest.
We soon arrived at the lake where we saved some trapped shu from killer eels. Since night was falling, we decided to return to the village rather than try to find the flower in the dark. Along the way we encountered a shu named Kormba who was flying around in complete terror and seemingly out of control. I stood on Kong’s shoulders and held Kito aloft to reach him, and kept him tied down until we could get someone to remove the magic on him.
We then met Jumanga, who apparently had been the cause of much of the chaos in the village. He said he was desperate to try to save people after the earthshake and unwisely used Kumon Ubok’s fetishes without the training. Strange magic was loosed in the process, creating a tree in the witch doctor’s hut, causing one shu to fly, and now he believed that he was turning into a bird.
That evening meal was sparse, but adequate. We were honored for the help we had already given the village, and the history of the Jengi was relayed to us. It was then pointed out that the red comet in the sky seemed related to the comet mentioned in their history, and it was a bad omen for all of Malatra.
Kito, Kong, and I returned to the lake the next day searching for the flower. We eventually found one, but Kito was captured by a giant carnivorous plant before we could retrieve it. I was able to sever the plant’s stem, but it was the surprise appearance of a large black bird to help us. It was Jumanga, the spirits of the jungle had transformed him into a bird to help the tribe.
We returned to the Jengi and helped heal Kumon Ubok, who was eventually able to fix all the remaining problems. For our help Kong, Salleek, and I were all granted membership in the tribe.

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The Sickness
The Year of Sorrow and Hope #40

From the Memories of Pure Chaos
Deep in the Southwestern Jungle
The Year of Sorrow and Hope
“The solution to pollution by dilution when it comes to radiation is fallacious.”
I was deep in the southwest jungle near the Dreaming River with a few other heroes including Triceracop, Ziss, Broke-Horn, Groot, and Booki the Chaotic. We were hunting for something that would make a suitable birthday present forBig Chief Bagoomba, but not having much luck of it.
Suddenly, we heard the cry for help from nearby, and raced to investigate. What we found surprised us. A plantman had used magic to call to us as she writhed in agony upon the ground. She said her name as Nari of the trees, and claimed that horrible creatures were crawling all over her body, rocks were crushing it, the sun was running, and the entire jungle was somehow moving. She wanted to be taken home.
Since she seemed insane, we obliged and traveled a day out of our way to take the plantman back to her village. When we arrived, we discovered the place seemed deserted. The plantman shaman of the village, named Staedt came to speak with us. He told us that the village was suffering a great plague and tried to get us to leave, unfortunately it was too late. It was likely one or all of us had already been affected, though we couldn’t tell. Staedt asked Nari if she had found a cure, and she claimed that there was something wrong with the water. Staedt grew concerned, he asked us to wait for him while he went into a hut to do some meditation and research. This took some time, so we helped out the best we could around the village, including protecting the village from the inevitable garuda attack.
When Staedt came and found us, he told us that in his vision he had seen a great beast sit in the water, breathing fire from its back. It had long spines like a garuda, but it was not a garuda. He believed it was the cause of the sickness, and asked us to investigate it. He also warned us of something else in his vision that seemed very powerful with magic. Unfortunately, helping the plantfolk meant giving up on ever reaching Bagoomba’s with a present in time for the party, but we decided it was worth it.
So we began following the river toward its source. After a few days we discovered several small piles of dead fish and other animals along the river bank. As we investigated, we were attacked by a gnasher garuda! Thankfully, I was quick and able to escape. Broke-horn was the true hero though, using his magic to distract the creature. We found some odd items in some of the piles of dead fish, which we kept as curiosities.
Soon we arrived at a small lake. Broke-horn used a spell to scout out the strange garuda-like thing from a distance. This worked for a bit, but when the tall figure which seemed to emerge from the thing in the lake noticed the spell, Broke-horns surprise was apparent to all of us. Broke-horn was able to tell us that the fire that came from its back was in fact a pair of flying lizards perched there which occasionally belched flame. This made us a little less apprehensive, so we approached cautiously.
The two lizards seemed to get spooked by us, and tried to attack us before the massively tall blue skinned thing, called them off. We immediately suspected that the tall creature was an ancient. With a wave of his hand he was able to speak to us in our own language.
He introduced himself as L’riyt, of the Gobi bank, and asked us who we were and which city we came from. This confused us for a bit, but after a while he asked us what had happened to the city of Donen. Much more confusion followed; all the while we were trying to convey that there was an illness which might somehow be caused by the ancient’s water garuda, which I now realized was of similar design to the ships the oscray had arrived upon. L’riyt confirmed my thoughts when he todl us that the craft had come from the stars. When Ziss asked "How?’ he explained that ‘using the Dermor principle, it takes magical energy and focuses it through the Duolateraiate Cantupal, then using the Moron ossilator, it contrives it the Fifth Level’…and that is about where I fell asleep.
We again tried to explain about the sickness, but he told us that he couldn’t move his craft until he found something he called a Trilateriate Knowledge Converter. When we stupidly asked what that was, he again put us to sleep by telling us that a Trilateriate Knowledge Converter was used in the Fernate Nublate for converting the sum of the quasi elemental fields that are produced from the axionating of the somniparticle matrix. It uses multifermile strands to pinpoint the fields of summit trancing that magnify the reverb of the zutrate maximum. Or more simply, it finds things. He assured us that only with it could he cure the sickness and stop it from spreading.
We asked what it looked like, and he told us it came in all shapes and sizes, but that he would know it when he saw it. He also knew that it had been in a great village which was not far, though it would take some time to walk there. He asked us to join him, as the garuda scared him.
The journey was long, it took several days in fact, and on the way the strange ancient scarcely spoke. When we came to a massive clearing, we were forced to confront a pair of adult nasher garuda. The creatures would have easily killed us all, if not for the strange magic sticks L’riyt pulled from his cloak. They didn’t make the combat easy, but it did make it survivable. After dealing with the creatures and passing through a powerful mirage, we arrived at a massive strange tree. L’riyt used his crystal upon the tree, and then covered first himself and then the rest of us with some glowing goo it produced.
The next morning, we came to the outskirts of a city of the ancients. We can only presume it was Donen. The area beyond was strewn with many stone statues of ancient nubari apparently wearing strange armor. L’riyt used his crystal and directed us to one of the huts. As we approached though, a strange voice spoke to us, out came a massive snake with strangely hypnotic eyes. Broke-horn’s spell allowed us to kill the creature quickly, which was good for I had no doubt that otherwise it would have killed us all.
L’riyt quickly found the thing he was looking for, and told us that was all he needed there, and we could return. Seconds later, we found ourselves again at his craft. He thanked us for our help, and poured something into the lake. He then gave us a little vial to use on the plantfolk with a large amount of water. He claimed that the sickness would never be a problem again. He entered his craft again, and as we watched, the strange craft rose into the sky like a misshapen bird and flew silently out of sight. We were left wonder if he was truly one of the ancients of legend.

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The Sound of Silence
The Year of Sorrow and Hope #39

From the Memories of Booki the Chaotic
The Village of Lilac
The Year of Sorrow and Hope
“One vision can have many interpretations.”
I was in the jungle with my companions Broke-horn, Grootand Triceracop and an aarakocra that I hadn’t met before called Fierce Chaos, when we received word in the form of a small bird that village of the lacerials was in need of our aid to help stop the periodic earthshakes. So we began heading to the village of the lacerials, which lay some distance east of the Rudra on the River of Laughing idols.
We were a day away from the village and camped for the night, when we had a strange experience. We began to detect possible danger just outside our campsite. Fierce Chaos took to the skies to keep a watch out. After some investigation, we found that a group of Rudran warriors had approached us in the dark. They spoke mostly to me, as they seemed almost offended by the two lacerials, and didn’t seem to notice our plant friend. They told us that their shaman had a vision that what we were doing was going to bring destruction upon the Rudran people. They asked us to not travel to the lacerial village, or agree to help the “garuda people”. We thanked them for their concern, but since they were being civil, we were not at all worried that violence would erupt. They left without incident.
We entered the village called Lilac the next day and were welcomed by Trueblood the village’s hornhead witch doctor and chieftain. Through use of magic, for the benefit of those who didn’t understand Lacerial, he told us that we should speak with Starr, the bladeback shaman. Starr told us that he had a vision that the village would be destroyed unless we could somehow learn what sound silence makes and recover it. Retrieving it, would have the effect of protecting the area from the earthshakes that had devastated Malatra recently. For this to be accomplished, he would need to go with him to the Forbidden Mountains, on the far side of Malatra. Since he did not know the way, and feared the various dangers of the jungle, he needed our help.
Soon, suitable supplies had been provided, and we had set out on our quest. We hadn’t been out of the village of the lacerials for more than a day, when we again had an encounter with some Rudrans. Once again, hostilities were avoided, but this time their dire warnings were closer to outright threats.
A few days later we experienced an earthshake in the afternoon. By evening, we discovered an injured bladeback garuda. Thankfully, it responded well to our attempts to calm it, and we were able to administer some basic first aid. It left us without any hostility.
At the end of two weeks of travel, we reached the edge of the Yaku Plains. Of all of us, only Fierce Chaos had crossed the plains of ash before. On his advice, we spent some time making additional water skins and preparing for a tough journey.
It took nearly two hands of days to cross the waste, but we finally began to see the Forbidden Mountains on the far side. Entering an area of the jungle that was much less dense at the foot of the mountains, we soon discovered the body of a shu in some underbrush. To our surprise he was still alive enough to give us a message. “Help them.” he said “My friends have gone on… the prophet of the Huroola said… must destroy the sound of silence or tiger will return…help them…” Although we had treated his injuries, he died of poisoning immediately after that. Months ago, Triceracop had met the so-called prophet first hand, and he was revealed to have been a fraud. Apparently, this shu and his friends had not heard the news yet. It made us wonder what other mischief the prophet could have instigated before being destroyed.
Starr wasted no time as we began to climb the mountains. Fierce Chaos was able to fly most of the way up, and take me in monkey form as well. The rest had a bit of a slog. But at least no one died from the ordeal.
Once we crested the mountain, we discovered a hidden glade more beautiful than anything we had seen in Malatra. With Groot’s help, we were able to find the tracks of the shu’s friends. Coincidentally, they were headed in the direction that Starr wanted to go. When we found them, they were standing around a large floating white crystal. The saru of their group hit the crystal with a club and got knocked back into the nearby pond for the trouble. Meanwhile, the reverberation his blow caused mad all of us deaf. This was less of a problem for the lacerials or Groot, as they communicated so much with sign language already, but it really hampered communication with the opposing group which also included an oscray and lizard man. They eventually seemed to think we were ok, when we rescued their unconscious saru friend from drowning.
After a bit of a debate, we were allowed to take the crystal. For this Starr had us enter the Dreamland and perform a ritual. It was a surreal experience. When we were done, Starr took a portion of the crystal and left the rest for us. He told us that with it we would be able to protect a village from the earthshakes for a single year. We were grateful for the reprieve. This would not immediately solve the problem of the earthshakes, but it was a good start.

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On the Lookout
Year of Gathering Darkness #36

From the Memories of Ziss
The Deep Jungle
The Year of Gathering Darkness
“The fiercest serpent can be overcome by a swarm of ants.”
I was traveling through the jungle with some friends including Pure Chaos, Triceracop, Broke-Horn, Content Not Found: null, and Booki the Chaotic. Suddenly, we heard a loud scream and we went to investigate. We soon discovered a group of Jungle Tam’hi trying to keep a pair of extremely young Saru calm. They introduced themselves as members of the nearby Jungle Tam’hi Tribe of Bright Orchid.
The chief o f the tribe called Araka, said that the children had recently been visiting their tribe with their mother, while his wife Lianna had visited a Saru village. He explained that at some point during the night the mother of the two Saru had been killed, and that the sound was just the two children discovering it. They took us to the body upon request, and we learned that she had all flesh removed from her bones. It was as if she had been dead for some time instead of just the night.
The Tam’hi were understandably worried that whatever had done this could attack their village next, so they asked us to take the two children back to their father and retrieve the chief’s wife. We agreed.
The children were named Bam-nut and her brother Choc-choc. Ban-nut took an instant liking to Groot, while Choc-choc tried followed me with fascination. Broke-horn was worried they would run off, so he fashioned a leash out of some vines for each of them, and we had them ride Groot and myself for god measure. Since the Saru village was more than five days away, Araka provided us with enough provisions for ten days. They also gave us gifts to give to the chief of the village in recompense for the death of his wife. We set out immediately.
The first two days of our travel were uneventful, and then as we were passing through some particularly dense undergrowth, we were attacked by leopard. Thankfully, Broke-Horn was able to disable it pretty quickly, and we were soon able to dispatch it. That night we discovered a dead bird, who looked plucked and stripped of flesh much like the Mother Saru had been. We opted to travel through the night, rather than rest as to make it to the Saru village that much sooner.
The next morning, we discovered a large spiketail garuda in our path that had seemingly gone insane. It was attacking something that we couldn’t see. Groot attempted to shoot the invisible enemy, and we eventually cast a web spell on the area. The web immobilized the gardua just as it was turning its attention to us, but it didn’t catch the invisible enemy. As we got close to it, the garuda abruptly died in front of us. Triceracop investigated the area, and we soon learned that several ants had been on the creature. We surmised that the creature or as it were creatures that had been killing things in the jungle had been a swarm of fire ants, much like the luroki swarms had nearly done a few years earlier.
We finally arrived at the Saru village at dusk the next day. Unfortunately, the ants had already made it there, as a massive column of ants was approaching the village. We made liberal use of several small fires to try to slow the creatures down, while Groot, Booki, and Triceracop all tried their best to get the less defensible Saru to the relative safety across the nearby river. I worked as hard as I could to keep the ants from somehow fording the river using their own bodies.
We had some luck in our endeavor when the ants began eating each other, but it was still a losing battle. Pure Chaos used some fire magic to great effect but also destroyed a few buildings of the Saru in the process and freaked out all of the Saru in the village. Broke-Horn and Triceracop helped calm them, and prevented the chief called Mokka from going on a crusade to kill all the ants when he learned about his wife’s death. As Triceracop saved the Tam’hi woman called Lianna from the ants, Broke-Horn made sure to try to save the food stores as well.
In the end, the village was mostly saved, with only a few buildings damaged by fire or ants that were beyond repair. Since Mokka hadn’t named the village, he gave the right to us, and Pure Chaos declared it Chaoshome. After giving Mokka the gifts from the Tam’hi and his children, we took Lianna and returned to Bright Orchid.

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