From the Memories of Kahluhae
Deep in the Jungle
The Year of Gathering Darkness
“The more hidden the venom, the more dangerous it is.”
It was the middle of the night when some creature bit me while I slept. I could not find the beast, in spite of our best efforts. The bite was very bad, possibly due to venom. Jadescale, Ziss, Snarl, and I decided to head to the nearest shaman who was knowledgeable in the ways of snakes and venom. Matula, the saru shaman lived closest to where we were. He had told us that he could not provide the correct antivenom without knowing exactly which snake had bitten me. He asked that we travel along the Stream of Shadows until we found the Tree of Life, where we could find the woman called the Dark One, or the Ageless One, or the Ancient One, or the Serpent Charmer. He said that she knew about poisons, and could help. In order to assist in finding her tree, he gave us some fruit that allowed us to speak with animals and plants.
We set out immediately, and soon we came to the Stream of Shadows. We began to start speaking to the wildlife, and narrowing down our search for the Tree of Life, but it was slow going. I climbed a tree to get a good look around, but couldn’t spot it. Finally, we found a helpful pair of pangolins and a leopard. They directed us to the Tree of Life, which was old and very rotted. Haning from its limbs were small trinkets. We decided to gift the tree something before we entered the hole in the trunk.
Inside, we were confronted with a giant bushmaster, who we were able to speak with to avoid fighting. It told us that the she who was called the Earth Queen, the Black Mother, the Snake Charmer was deep within the tree. It allowed us to pass, as long as we agreed not to try to harm the tree or the Black Mother.
In the chamber below, we discovered the Black Mother. She was a giant black mamba of unusual size and intelligence. She was not unfriendly though, and told us that the venom in my blood could be counteracted by using an egg of the type of creature that produced it. We were looking for a certain type of reptile that could be found on a high ridge some distance from there. We thanked the strange creature and set out at once.
We had not traveled far before we were attacked by a group of bullywugs. Combat was horrible, but we managed to defeat them all in the end.
We soon reached the ridge where the reptiles liked to sun themselves, only to find that we were at the bottom of it. There was nothing else to do but climb. Jadescale fell once, but luckily we were close to the ground. After that, we were surprised that as we climbed hand and foot holds appeared for us—almost as if the ridge itself were helping us!
At the top, we discovered many different types of reptiles and amphibians, and had to use a bit of logic, and the information we were given by the Black Mother to figure out which one we wanted. It didn’t take long after that for us to follow the lizard back to its eggs. Retrieving one was a challenge, but we eventually were able to trick it with a rock duplicate.
We returned to Matula, but before we could reach him we were attacked by a hostile force of fire toads. Snarl nearly died in combat, but I was able to tend his wounds quickly.
When we reached Matula, he was able to make a brew to save me from the slowacting venom. As a reward for telling him all about our adventure and the Great Tree of Life, he gave us additional doses of the anti-toxin. Perhaps it will come in handy some day.
The Year of Gathering Darkness #30
From the Memories of Kahluhae