Malatra Redux

Along the River of Laughing Idols

The Year of Awakening #2

From the Memories of Black Chaos
Big Chief Bagoomba
The Year of Awakening
“Courage makes heroes, but trust builds friendship.”
I had been chosen by Big Chief Bagoomb to act as one of the guards for the Council of the Tribes. I was speaking with other guardsYamboya Mosswlaker and Mowgli of the Simbuki, when someone approached us. It took me a minute to recognize him as the Witch Doctor of the Koshiva tribe, called Taronee. He told us that he needed to speak with us immediately.
We followed him to his tent where he revealed that both Yamboya and I were somehow stricken with a bad disease which could become life-threatening. He said that his own chieftain, Radumti of the Koshiva also has the disease and he was not doing as well as the pair of us. He wanted us to head down the River of Laughing Idols and find one particular idol. This idol was supposed to have great healing powers, and if we discovered it we could use it to save both ourselves and Radumti,
I asked how we had contracted the disease and he admitted to not knowing. I then asked why Mowgli had been invited to join us, and he said it was because he believed a shu would be useful on our trip. Yamboya asked about some boring stuff about how to find the idol, what it looked like and so on, I was more interested in how we would get down the river and back. Taronee told us that his apprentice Samsong would take us to a canoes he had procured for us. Taronee also told us that tales of the idol say that when the leaves were blue, the idol laughs, though he did not know if this would be helpful to us. He also warned us against ‘hidden eyes’, as he believed the wicked Rakid, Radmundi’s nephew, hoped for Radmundi’s death so that he could become chief.
Samsong appeared when called, and led us to the river bank. Sadly, Mowgli wasn’t much help with the boat, as it had been built for nubari, so he had to sit in the middle. The three of us set out down the river in silence. The first few days of the journey was uneventful, by the fourth day we had entered Black Leopard Katanga country…the area between the land claimed by Koshiva and Katamaya or Rudra. It was unsurprising when we were attacked by a hunting party of Black Leopard Katnaga when we rested that night.
We killed most of them, and managed to take one prisoner. He told us a wild tale about us working with Taronee in a plot against all Black Leopard Katanga, which he had been told of by Rakid. We let him go in order to prove our good intentions. He promised not to try to eat us that day. It seemed obvious that Rakid had to be wicked due to his association with the Black Leopard Katangas, but that might not be convincing to the people of the Koshiva should Radmunti die and Ratik remain as sole heir.
The next day, we came upon some rapids, and had to decide if we wanted to go overland or continue on the river. We opted for the more fun if dangerous method, and it was lucky we did. As we traveled we saw a young child stranded on some rocks near the center. It looked like her boat had capsized and she was now incapable of getting back to shore. We immediately decided to rescue her, and Yamboya steered us that direction. I was able to scoop her up before we passed and we made for shore.
The girl introduced herself as Kat’i, and we discovered that she was a korobokuru. Before we could question her, we discovered that we were surrounded by other Korobokuru, members of the Katimaya tribe. Kat’i vouched for us, so there wasn’t any worry and we discovered that she was the daughter of the chief Yrbom. We were taken to their village as heroes.
Chief Yrbom gave a feast in our honor, though the shaman, Kural tried to say that we should be killed as spies. Afterward, we participated in the tribe’s boasting contest, and did rather well.
Apart from the obvious bias against saru, who they felt were gchild-killing monstersh, the other boasts were rather varied. One, however, was of particular interest. A Katimayan hunter named Itzapam boasted of finding an Idol like those upon the river, but far inland. It was wreathed in a blue plant he called Idolflower, and he had taken one which had become a good luck charm for him. We questioned him more about his story afterward and we learned more about the location, which was after a region of the river that was almost stagnant and was infested with crocodiles.
We were allowed to stay the night, and set off again in the morning. After another few days travel, the river became almost lonely. When we camped for a night near the area where it was getting stagnant, we began to hear something in the jungle brush. We assumed it must be a garuda, but when we investigated we discovered a very odd sight, some sort of hut that was perched high upon giant dancing mini-garuda legs. As we watched it vanished from our sight. We slept lightly that night.
The next day we set out overland toward where the idol was supposed to be. It was slow going, as the swampy land was very hard to navigate and dangerous. When we encountered a knot of giant toads. They nearly killed us, but thankfully, I was able to diffuse the situation by giving them some food, which allowed us to flee.
Early the next day, we saw the idol we were looking for. It was covered in a blue flower that didn’t appear anywhere else within the jungle. As we stared at it in terror and wonder, we heard a gnasher garuda make noise from nearby. Suddenly, it was obvious that it had our scent. Mowgli ran for the trees, while Yamboya and I made for the idol. There we found a hole in it that allowed us to hide, and called for Mowgli to join us. He only barely made it inside before the gnasher was able to eat him.
Within we found an old mask and a medallion of an ivory sphere containing other smaller spheres. Yamboya realized that the flowers that grew under the idol must have some sort of healing ability, though he was unable to properly mix them to help with his own illness. We decided to take some of them back with us.
We escaped the garuda, and set out back to our canoe. We were able to make good time, and had no real problems all the way. We began to head up-river, which was easy at first, but slow going and we had to take several breaks to portage when we came to waterfalls or rapids.
When we made it to the Koshiva lands several days later, we headed right to the village. When we arrived we were greeted by Rakid and four tribal warriors. He demanded the flowers form us. Thankfully, Taronee and his apprentice Bortima arrived to try to defuse the situation. It didn’t quite go like that, as Bortima sided with Rakid at first until he saw that the man was dangerously unstable. In the combat that ensued, Rakid’s allies deserting him was a common theme. When things got too dangerous for a warrior, they would suddenly decide they had something better to do and leave. Rakid was defeated, though not killed. Taronee exiled him from the civilized tribes and the wicked man left the village.
Taronee was able to brew a poultice from the flower that was able to heal Jambaya and I as well as Chief Radumti. We were all greeted as heroes of the village.



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