Malatra Redux

From the Memories of Terra Chaos
Tribe of the Rudra
The Year of New Peoples
“You’re not allowed to call them dinosaurs any more ~ It’s speciesist. You have to call them pre-petroleum persons.”
I was traveling down the River of Laughing Idols on a much-needed rest. With me were some other heroes who also had the same idea: ”/characters/yamboya-mosswalker" class=“wiki-content-link”>Yamboya Mosswalker, The Crocoshaman, Kalameet, and Alyssa of the Huroola. We had been intending to stay clear of the xenophobic Rudra people, but when the Jungle Drums began to sound the alarm and request for assistance from the Rudra, we headed there immediately.
When we arrived, we discovered their village in complete disarray. A fire was destroying several homes and watchtowers, many boats were destroyed or being carried away by the river current, there were wounded everywhere, and several Rudran’s about to drown in the river. We got right to work trying to save them all. Alyssa was very effective in helping those in the burning buildings, while I concentrated on the boats. The others mostly dealt with the wounded.
When things had settled down, and the immediate danger to the Rudrans was dealt with, their tribal shaman called Com’lak, asked to speak with us. We were told that a group of monsters that looked like garuda-men had attacked them. Chief M’t’lak had been poisoned by one of the weapons of the garuda-men, and he would soon die unless a cure could be found. What was worse was that the garuda-men had kidnapped many women and children including the chief’s own daughter. Com’lak had divined that the creatures had come from and returned to the Valley of the Spirits. He wanted us to go there to retrieve the kidnapped tribesmen.
We set out immediately, and traveled by boat downriver. This required some finesse, as Kalameet was pretty adamant about not getting into the boat. We convinced him and by getting him very drunk putting him in the boat once he passed out. We hadn’t traveled far downriver before we were almost attacked by a giant crocodile. Yamboya and the Crocoshaman convinced it not to attack us, and I fed it some food to get it to go away. It seemed rather content, but also a bit irritated that it didn’t get to kill for its meal.
We continued on our way, and eventually came to the taboo lands bordering the Valley of the Spirits. The trail was fresh there, and we knew we were only a few hours behind our quarry. Our first problem was that we had to climb down a set of large vines which led down into the valley. When we arrived almost a hundred feet below on a narrow ledge, we discovered a trail we had to follow. Soon we came to a rope bridge, which looked horribly unstable. Poor Garudabait gave his life to make sure we were able to cross.
On the other side we found a tunnel, which we were able to travel through. There was a fork about half way through it, which led into deeper darkness with strange sounds coming from it. We avoided that path. When we exited the other side of the tunnel we encountered the largest long-neck garuda we had ever seen. It stood on the valley floor looking up at us over thirty nubari heights above us, but its body and neck was so big its face was only inches from our feet. Kalameet was the most daring of us and jumped on the creature’s neck and slid to the bottom. The rest of us took the cliff path to the ground, which took us almost an hour.
We had just reunited with Kalameet when the massive garuda began to run from a huge gnasher garuda. We fled as well, and thankfully the beast wasn’t interested in us. The prevalence of garuda in the valley surprised us. Within an hour of stalking our quarry we had seen more garuda and garuda types than most of us had ever seen. We occasionally had to scare some of the more predatory ones away from us, but overall it was pretty peaceful. There was also a lot of ruins of the ancients. Many of which would likely have been worth exploring if we had the time.
Soon we came across a group of the same garuda people we had seen corpses of in the Rudra village. They were fighting a battle with other garuda people. The only difference between the two groups was one group had tattoos on their forearms of black flame. We opted to help the ones without the tattoos.
When combat had ended, we discovered the strange garuda people couldn’t speak, but they seemed friendly. We followed them for some time, and soon came to another group of garuda people. One large three-horned one used a magical pendent to speak with us. He said his name was Whiteheart. His people were called Lacerials, and they had arrived on this world on accident after escaping some powerful evil spirit. Whiteheart explained that both he and another powerful witch doctor called Blackflame had tried to find a way to return their people to their world, but had given up recently. Blackflame had decided to search the ruins and had awakened an ancient unliving creature who he had allied with. Now Blackflame had taken control of most of the Lacerials. The unliving creature had Blackflame abduct nubari from the jungle, and bring them to him. So it appeared that our causes were aligned.
Whiteheart assigned a bladeback lacerial to lead us to the Blackflames, and their open air temple. When we arrived, we saw the captured Rudran in cages. We attacked immediately, and were able to take the enemy captain out quickly. His men proved more of a challenge, but after recovering the antidote to the poison M’t’lak was suffering from, and freeing the captured Rudrans, Blackflame himself showed up. Thankfully, so did Whiteheart with all of his remaining forces. Whiteheart and Blackflame entered into a magical duel, though Whiteheart ordered us to leave the valley with the remaining lacerials of both groups, as the creature allied with Blackflame would arrive soon.
We were halfway up the cliffside when a magical stick Whiteheart had created to keep the garuda at bay failed, indicating his death. We did our best to seal the entrance into the Valley of the Spirits behind us, as we exited. The remaining lacerials went off to found a new village of their own, though we were declared their friends. The Rudrans returned to their village, and M’t’lak was saved. The Rudrans though, did not forget what had happened at the hands of the horrible garuda-people.

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