Malatra Redux

Revenge of the Exile
Year of Discovery #12

From the memories of Mowgli
The Ratikiya
The Year of Discovery
“The popular belief isn’t always the correct one.”
I had been minding my own business; traveling through the jungle from the Simbara to Big Chief Bagoomba’s. Then suddenly I wasn’t. I was trapped in a net and being carried through the jungle on a stick by some nubari. I was not alone, there were several others also being carried. I must have been caught unaware and imprisoned somehow. It was almost a day later before I got a look at my fellow prisoners. One of them was Kalameet, whom I had traveled with to fight the last headshrinker. The others were known to me, but only by reputation. They were some of the Heroes of Fire Mountain; River,The Crocoshaman, and Ook. We all were unceremoniously tossed into a deep pit, and left there for two days.
There we got to know each other a bit, and I found that their stories were all similar to mine. We waited for an explanation as to why we had all been kidnapped. When we were removed from the pit one by one, and again bound in nets, a nubari who spoke our language did tell us that his cousin, the chief of a tribe would tell us why we had been captured.
We passed through a small village, of a tribe I couldn’t recognize. All the villagers came out and soon we were at the head of a procession. At the top of a hill, my heart fell and some idea of why I had been captured came to me when I saw Rakid, the Koshiva traitor who. Apparently, he was looking to get revenge upon me for getting him temporarily exiled.
The chief of the strange tribe, along with a shaman came and pronounced sentence on us and Rakid even made a point of gloating to me. We were then individually pushed into a hole in the ground. When we hit bottom, it was squishy and smelled like rotten fruit. We were in total darkness. Before we could even move, horrible smelling creatures which made strange guttural sounds grabbed us and dragged us to deeper into the darkness. We were left in a different dark room, where we heard the sound of stone sliding upon stone.
Kalameet and I could see somewhat, but after some protestations from River, we were forced to light a torch to help the others see. The room we were in had one exit; a massive stone slab was blocking the way. Ook alone couldn’t move it, so The Crocoshaman and I both helped. When it did start to move, it moved easily, as if it were on guided tracks.
In the room beyond, six of the strange creatures attacked us. Now that we could get a look at them we were repulsed by their appearance as much as their smell. They were hunched and scaly, lizard-like in appearance with fins upon their heads and long tails. They bore spears, and were very proficient, but otherwise only seemed to have loincloths.
After a bit of combat, we killed one of them, and River who nearly had died panicked enough to grab the torch from The Crocoshaman and used a spell to make the creatures flee. We then began to explore, all the while realizing that more of those creatures could come back at any moment. Passed the original chamber where we had fallen into, we found a passageway and what appeared to be a shut door. We entered the room beyond and did our best to secure the door, as we had started to hear them behind us.
The room seemed to be a storage room of some sort, within we found several wondrous devices of the ancients including and most importantly some sort of small flat object that was tied to the wall. It had symbols upon it and when Kalameet touched one he caused the nearby wall to seemingly eat itself. There was a different chamber beyond, in which several blue lit panels covered the walls and a chair regal enough to be a throne sat in the middle of the floor. Ook unwisely decided to sit upon it, and suddenly restraining straps held his arms down and some sort of crown lowered onto his head.
Ook discovered that he had more finger sized indentations with symbols covering them on his near his fingers and began to experiment, hoping to be let loose. One of these caused the blue panels on the wall to be replaced with several pictures of the jungle outside, pressing it again caused to pictures to change, a third time changed them back to blue panels. A different symbol caused a loud blaring noise to sound everywhere nearby. This at least caused the creatures at the outer door to flee and try to find their courage again. The most useful one Ook found seemed to open a door in the hallway past the storage room to the outside. We found a hidden switch on the back of the throne which released Ook from the seat, and we all headed toward the new exit.
Once outside, we were surprised to discover that we were right in the middle of the strange village we had encountered. The people were called the Ratikiya, and they were not so bad. They immediately thought that we were returned from the dead, and that “the spirits in the darkness” had returned us. They were so convinced of our special blessing, that soon we were blessing their weapons, healing sick babies, and performing marriages.
We kept insisting on seeing the chief though, and soon Chief Karatila was before us. Soon we were convincing the chief that Rakid was not his friend, and sending 10 of his best warriors after him. The chief gave a long speech, in which he apologized to us for his tribes’ part in Rakid’s scheme and asked us—the blessed of the spirits—to share our blessing with his tribe. At the end of which, he offered the mightiest warrior amongst us…Ook, the position of tribal chief in his stead. Ook accepted.
Before we could do much more, we realized that the entrance to the underground was still wide open, and that the creatures within would likely come out at nightfall. Kalameet shot one who went so far as to look down the tunnel at us, but we figured that something more must be done to deal with the threat. We had limited time before nightfall, and decided our best bet might be to go back in via the pit we had entered originally.
We had one warrior lead us to the pit entrance, and we were eventually able to get down into the underground again. The whole excursion was a mistake. We were soon confronted with a horde of the creatures in darkness. We fled of course, but River fell underneath their relentless attacks. Making our way to the top of the pit, the four of us who remained returned with our guide to the Ratikiya and prepared for a battle.
When night came, although woefully unprepared, we made good use of my entanglement spell and the town’s warriors used bows to kill the creatures as they tried to exit the tunnel. When day came, after some debate, we decided to attempt to clear the rest of the complex. We used the warriors and took things slow. Eventually we were able to kill the last few warriors the creatures had as well as their women and hatchlings. The biggest surprise of the excursion was finding River alive somehow. She truly must be blessed by the spirits.
The warriors we sent after Rakid, returned soon afterward. He had made good his escape, along with some followers, but we had no doubt he would show up again. Ook retired from adventuring to concentrate on being a good chief to the Ratikiya.

Searching for a Flower
The Year of Discovery #11

From the Memories of Malinsar
The Tenanga
The Year of Discovery
“I have the true feeling of myself only when I am unbearably unhappy.”
I was visiting the small tribe called the Tenanga. Several other heroes were about as well. Kahulae of the Windy Place, Alyssa of the Huroola, The Crocoshaman, Pure Chaos, and Kalameet were all there, along with the Mighty Duba, Tal, Boo Deux, and Fatman. We had all been helping with the recent harvest and the tribe was going to throw a feast in our honor. Suddenly, Chief Watowa’s wife began to scream that her daughter Lotus Blossom was missing. Soon enough the whole village was looking for her.
When we discovered evidence nearby that she had been abducted; The Crocoshaman, Pure Chaos, Alyssa, Kahulae, Kalameet and I headed down the trail in pursuit. We hadn’t traveled far when we encountered a strange snake-man blocking our way. He obviously wasn’t going to let us pass, so Alyssa attacked him. He was quite a handful to defeat, but we eventually succeeded. When it was over, Po the shaman of the Tenanga came and spoke with us. He told us that the snake-people came in 3 varieties, and had likely taken Lotus Blossom either for food or for a sacrifice. He didn’t know where they came from, but said that the trail further was not well known to his people. He asked if we would retrieve Lotus Blossom and of course we agreed.
For a few days we followed the trail, with no real luck. One morning as we were breaking camp, we encountered a hungry flesh ripper Garuda! Through our valiant efforts to hide and attack it while it was preoccupied trying to eat Kahulae in a tree, we were able to kill it. Unfortunately, what we didn’t know at the time was that this garuda was merely a baby; soon its full grown and very angry mother came after us. What followed was a chase scene that could have been considered comical if it wasn’t life threatening. After making to safety across a rope bridge, we hid and rested for a bit.
A few more days of travel got us to a small bog that we hadn’t known was there. Thankfully The Crocoshaman was wise to the ways of swamps and helped us avoid a patch of quicksand. Proceeding into the swamp, we found what appeared to be a village of strange stone domes. They all faced the center of the village however, and so we surmised that was where we needed to go.
While most of us debated, Pure Chaos charged inside. We followed as soon as we could, but by then he was already in a pitched battle against two nubari-looking snake people, a snake-looking snake person and five nubari who seemed to worship the snake people. Combat was straight forward until one of them created darkness in the hut. This was complicated by Pure Chaos’s liberal use of his fire spells. I did the smart thing and rescued Lotus Blossom from the pile of sticks that one of the snake people had transformed into snakes.
Once I was safely outside the hut the chaos inside it eventually followed me. I was able to help to kill the last snake man. Then we began to deal with our injuries. The biggest surprise to us was Kalameet, who at first we couldn’t locate. Eventually, we found him, at least from what we could tell. It appeared that one of the snake people had changed him into a mouse. We collected him and set off back to the Tenanga. We hadn’t even traveled a day before we ran into another snake person and his three nubari companions.
Pure Chaos was able to capture the nubari in a magical created web spell. We all attacked the snake man, and took him down, but not before he had transformed both Pure Chaos and Kahulae into mice. We likewise collected them and continued on our way.
When we arrived at the Tenanga, Po was able to restore our friends with some spells over the next few days. We all were given a feast in our honor for saving Lotus Blossom.

Until the End of the World
Year of Awakening #5

From the Memories of Pure Chaos
The Simbara
The Year of Awakening
“When we rescue others, we rescue ourselves.”
I was visiting the Simbara tribe for their annual contests of skill. Several other travelers had also come; I recognized some of them including Black Chaos, the enigmatic Crococshaman, Reesta Nifari, Ochkee Gooneygoogoo, and Ook. Everyone watched the challenges for a while, and it was apparent that there were two contestants who were heavily favored to win: M’Giri Far-Thrower and Kachi the Gazelle. The two had been rivals for many seasons, and their rivalry was known far and wide. M’giri was a clever, strong, and skilled warrior; while Kachi was a swift and sharp scout. Now the two were looking to best each other in the contests.
As I watched, there were several cries of alarm as a large group of lizard men came rampaging into the village. The Crocoshaman and both Ook and a saru I didn’t know tried to fight, but the two saru were scared away when I cast a spell against one of the lizard men. The pair returned after a few seconds, and they were able to stop some lizard men from killing the Crocoshaman. Meanwhile the group of lizard men were damaging the village and attacking villagers indiscriminately. Eventually though, we killed a few of them and the others fled.
When the unknown saru, who I learned was named Harambe, the Crocoshaman, Ook, and I were asked to speak with the warrior woman called Krida. M’Giri and Kachi were arguing in front of her. Kachi challenged M’Giri to find the home of the raiders and punish them for their attack. M’giri agreed. Krida then told us that we had been chosen to accompany M’Giri, and help him on his trial. We all agreed.
Krida leant Ook her powerful spear to help us in combat and we soon set out in search of the rampaging lizard folk. None of us were very good at tracking so having M’Giri with us turned out to be a great boon. Soon we met a pair of leopard katanga, who were surprisingly rather freiendly with us. They spoke with Ook. They had seen the lizardfolk. They had eavesdropped, and overheard the name “Sah-shik” who they were apparently worried about. Since the female was injured, The Crocoshaman healed her. With their help we were able to get back on the lizard folk’s trail.
The next day we arrived at Hebika River, and began to travel down the banks toward the distant Dokuba Swamp. Along the way, we met some nice little frog people called grippli. One called Pokureek was able to translate for us. He said the lizards had captured many of their tribe in addition to some other races. We accepted their help as guides, and soon arrived at the lizard folk camp.
With the help of the Crocoshaman, we successfully parlayed and met their chief, Sahshik. He explained that it was his group that had attacked the Simbara. He did not wish to do it, but the leader of a different group of lizard folk had instructed him to. The new powerful lizard king called Hrshnash had taken over the tribes of Dokuba swamp with the help of his “Snake God”. He somehow talked us into trying to depose Hrshnash in exchange for his grippli prisoners.
We decided to go to the Temple of the Snake God first, in order to try to deal with this malevolent spirit. We figured we would be able to deal with such a creature somehow. It was a mistake. As we approached the strange overgrown domed structure of the ancients, the Snake God made an appearance before us. The creature was a writhing mass of swarming snakes, and we quickly realized that we couldn’t take it on unprepared. Our saru friends Ook and Harambe fleeing every time I cast a spell didn’t help. We soon optioned to head to the new lizard king Hrshnash. Since we arrived in the village with Sashik, we were escorted directly to Hrshnash’s hut.
Hrshnash was monstrous in sized and boasted fully functional wings. He spoke with Sashik who claimed to be delivering us to him as sacrifices. Before we could react, Sashik left the hut and ensured that we were sealed inside with Hrshnash. Battle commenced, but at least we were much more prepared for this one. The confined space made it so that when the saru fled due to my spellcasting they couldn’t go far and were back in the combat sooner. Soon, with M’Giri’s help and the aid of Krida’s spear, we were able to defeat the creature.
When Sashik was Lizard King again, he told us that he would release the other prisoners that the tribe had captured, but only if we dealt with the Snake God. He considered the temple to be a potential threat to his rule a well as to the worship of Semuanya, the Lizard God. We agreed, and to show his good faith he released the prisoners before we departed. So we were joined by a pair of grippli, a bullywug, and a shu called Ferrek. The grippli wished to return home, so we let them go. The bullywug who didn’t speak our language, we kept with us to keep an eye on him. Ferrek was unwilling to try to return to his village on his own due to his racial fear of being alone, so said he would stay with us until we reached a civilized tribe.
We headed toward the Temple of the Snake God again, this time resting before we arrived and making some plans. In the night the bullywug ran off on us, and in truth I couldn’t blame him. When we arrived at the Temple the next day, we were prepared. With some luck, we managed to hurt the Snake God, but it was able to kill Ferrek and almost kill Ook. When I cast one of my spells, Harambe discovered in his panic that the dome which the Snake God had emerged from was hollow. This provided us with a direction for my next spell. Soon we had defeated the Snake God, though there was no guarantee we had destroyed it.
It was then that we noticed that the dome was sitting at the edge of the world. We were standing at the edge of a cliff. It appeared as if our world was somehow high above another different jungle which existed far, far below us.
We decided to explore the Temple of the Snake God, and quickly found the entrance. It was mostly empty, except for some bone fragments in one corner and a nubari male in passed out in the other. In the center of the room was some sort of dry font made from a porous ceramic material. A bowl shaped depression topped the font, and strange symbols were along the bottom. Next to the font, on the ground were a number of snake eggs and amongst them was a blue-green orb.
On impulse I decided to pick up the orb and place it in the depression. As soon as I did, I found myself standing near the others in clearing. We were out of breath, and we had a vague recollection of running all the way from the dome. The sleeping nubari we had seen running in a different direction. We thought about heading back to the temple, but the more we thought about it the more we realized we had other things to do first. We figured we would get back there someday…
It was just over ten days later that we made it back to the Simbara. The villagers greeted us, and Krida came to speak with us and retrieve her spear. With her was Kachi, who brazenly asked if M’Giri had helped out enough in our quest. We discussed it amongst ourselves before deciding that his skills at tracking at least had been invaluable. He was also somewhat helpful in combat. Kachi was satisfied with our response, claiming that M’Giri proven himself a true warrior. She would not dismiss his challenges in the future. Krida thanked us for a job well done, and asked that we all share our tale.

Into the Valley of the Spirits
Year of Awakening #3

From the Memories of Alyssa of the Huroola
Koshiva Tribe
The Year of Awakening
“When in doubt, go to the source.”
The few of us who had been the Heroes of Fire Mountain were doing as Bengoukee had suggested and traveling to different tribes in Malatra, and were currently staying with the Koshiva. River and our saru friend Ook had been raised in Koshiva villages, so this was not a new place to visit for a few of us. Terra Chaos, The Crocoshaman, Shinola the Fateless and I were enjoying ourselves in discussion with new friends and visitors to the area, Fern Gully a jungle tam’hi and Sawtooth Longclaw a caiman katanga. Meanwhile, River met a new friend, another river tam’hi called Eliza Strawberry.
Suddenly, we began to feel the ground shaking and heard someone shout a warning that garuda were stampeding. The Crocoshaman, River, and Eliza Strawberry did their best to hide within the nearby river, while Terra Chaos, Fern, and Ook did their best to rescue helpless villagers from the stampede…with mixed results. Shinola, Sawtooth, and I all took a very direct approach to the threat, and tried to attack the beasts as they came. We even managed to take down two of them before being forced to leave our position and hide.
It was rather scary, as more than two-dozen long necked garuda crashed through the village, trampling many ground structures, crops, and people indiscriminately. Before we knew it though, it was over. Then the warning from Fern who had taken refuge in the tree village above us, about the creatures chasing the stampede came. Four knife-footed garuda charged into the village. We concentrated on taking one of the creatures down, but once it was badly wounded enough, it fled from us. The remaining ones likewise fled, two of them dragging the corpse of one of the long necked garuda with them as they went.
When things had settled down, Kunda, the village elder came to speak with us. With her was acting chief Shubak. The pair told us that ever since the eruption of Fire Mountain, more garuda had been seen than ever before. Kunda knew that many generations earlier, the Ancients had locked most of the garuda away within the Valley of the Spirits. Now, it appeared as if they had found a way out of the valley. They wanted us to travel down the River of Laughing Idols and learn why the garuda had left their home, and also try to find a way to stop them from leaving. Kunda told us that she could remove the taboo upon the Valley of the Spirits for us, but only for a short while. We were taken to her hut, where we stared at the fire as she applied strange symbols to our heads with some paint before calling on the spirits to remove the taboo for us. When she was done, she told us that the taboo was removed for us, but only for the next moon.
The nine of us then set out down river. We used two canoes of three people each, while River, The Crocoshaman, and Eliza Stawberry all decided to swim as much as possible. After eight days of traveling downriver, we began to approach the region controlled by the Rudra. We were soon stopped by a river tam’hi and several Rudra in boats. The river tam’hi was named Virada who acted as the Guardian of the River of Laughing Idols. She told us that one of the other guardians was a giant crocodile, called Ohmuho. It recently had gone insane and killed several Rudra and even a few river tam’hi. The Rudran hunters wanted our help to kill it, and she wanted our help to heal it if possible.
After a day more of traveling downriver, we found him as he attacked one of the Rudran boats. Combat with the creature commenced, and although we were able to determine that the reason for his insanity was some sort of rock that had been gotten lodged into his forehead. The Crocoshaman was able to remove the evil spirit infecting the wound, and Terra was able to remove it. With Fern and River’s help, they guessed that healing the wound would benefit the creature the most. After healing the creature, he thanked The Crocoshaman and left. We learned later that Virada had died trying to save Ohmuho from injuries sustained in our combat.
A few weeks later, we were forced to abandon our boats as the river had slowed to become what amounted to a swamp. We had only been moving by land a few hours when we encountered a saru named Kukachalla who was being chased by a tiger. Terra Chaos was able to get the tiger to back off, and Ook befriend Kukachalla. Kukachalla had poked the tiger while sleeping, and had run to us when chased. Kukachalla was heading to the Trees Who Remember in hopes of learning what had happened to the saru’s family. We allowed the crazy saru to join us.
After two further days of travel, we had arrived at the Taboo Totems which marked the border of the Taboo Lands. As we wondered what to do, a voice spoke to us telling us that the Valley was forbidden to our kind. It also asked why we had come. Fern recognized that it was a tree in a nearby copse that was speaking to us, and soon we learned that these tree-beings were the Council of Trees, the oldest and wisest trees in Malatra.
They told us that a short time earlier, as they understood it, a group of Black Leopard Katanga had lived near them, but that they had left the region when the garuda started coming from the Valley of the Spirits. They also told us that long ago another race, which we called the Ancients, but who called themselves Nubari had trapped many garuda in the Valley of the Spirits. Before then, those Nubari had communities within the valley. They told us all this freely, but asked that we sing to them as it relaxed their roots and slowed the flow of the sap within their trunks. River and I agreed to the request. They then called a spider from their branches and had us follow it toward the actual Valley of the Spirits within the taboo area.
Since Kukachalla couldn’t enter, they told the saru that all of the saru in the region had been killed by wicked Black Leopard Katanga nearly twenty rainy seasons ago. This meant the saru was without a family, so Kukachalla left us to find a new one. The rest of us quietly followed the spider.
Once we reached the valley, we could see that it was more than a valley…it was a massive chasm, of which we could not see the other side. The chasm’s bottom was one nearly fifty nubari heights below us, and the cliff face extended for many miles in either direction. A massive waterfall, where the remnants of the River of Laughing Idols fell into the Valley of the Spirits was to our north, and created a mist in the area that made it hard to see even this far from the falls. We could however see that the trees below us must be enormous, and nearby was one massive tree, which had fallen over the edge of the cliff creating an artificial ramp by which the garuda had been accessing the rest of Malatra.
We looked upon the fallen giant tree, and quickly determined that if we could remove the tree, the garuda would no longer be able to reach our part of the jungle. Unfortunately, cutting the tree wasn’t much of an option, as it would take many days longer than the time we had left within the taboo area. Eliza permanently scarred herself both physically and emotionally by performing a spell to create fire to try to dislodge the tree. Unfortunately, the mist in the area made such magic much less effective.
Eventually, River realized that she could sing to the tree, and it would relax. We watched as the tree fell in to the deep valley, briefly disturbing one of the massive garuda that lived there. We had succeeded in stopping the garuda, so we returned to the Koshiva.
When we arrived a few weeks later, they gave a feast in our honor. Acting Chief Shubak gifted us with many items in thanks. When we spoke with Kunda however, and told her our story, she told us that it was obvious that many garuda of different types had escaped from the Valley. Although not previously common, they were now part of Malatra’s ecosystem, and we would have to get used to them… or die trying.

From the Gods of Fire Mountain
Year of Awakening #1

From the Memories of River
Big Chief Bagoomba
The Year of Awakening
“Wisdom is born in fools as well as wise men.”
The Year of the Fleeing Ebar had come to an end, and the annual Council of Tribes was gathered in the tribe of Big Chief Bagoomba. The aged korobokuru witch doctor Bengoukee welcomed everyone and Big Chief Bagoomba himself gave a speech. In it, he explained that his daughter Vee Jaa was to take a husband from among one of the men present. Several candidates from various tribes all wanted to compete for her hand.
Several tests were then given to determine the competitor’s worthiness to marry young Vee Jaa. They were entertaining, but for the most part unremarkable competitions. One however, was different as Bengoukee included every person present in the Test of Honor. We were each asked a hypotheical question and asked how we would each respond in the circumstances given. I wondered what the old korobokuru was up to with this, but never got a chance to ask anyone. When the final test was over, everyone waited patiently while Chief Bagoomba and his advisors including Bengoukee sequestered themselves to discuss the results.
When Bagoomba at last emerged and made to announce the decision, there was a terrible fire in the sky, and the ground shook uncontrollably. As people scattered, as we noticed that the nearby Fire Mountain was erupting! As a river tam’hi, I watched in horror while others seemed in awe of a flaming spirit from Fire Mountain as it seemed to float gracefully down beams of light from the sky toward the village. It announced that we had insulted the god of Fire Mountain by failing to deliver a tribute for the year, and demanded the most precious possession of the chief in recompense. It quickly departed in as much of a dramatic flurry as it had arrived, leaving only stunned silence from those who remained in the damaged village. The silence was soon dispelled by Bengoukee berating Chief Bagoomba for forgetting to send the tribute.
When the shouting stopped, Bengoukee spoke to me and introduced me to several other people. Alyssa of the Huroola was an amazon warrior of some skill, also from the Huroola tribe was the female tiger katanga beast master called Terra Chaos. From the Rudra was a female thief named Shinola the Fateless. From no particular tribe was the female caiman katanga shaman known only as The Crocoshaman; and from my own tribe of the Koshiva was the dimwitted saru male warrior called Ook. Bengoukee told us that we should offer to help Bagoomba, as he couldn’t be trusted to make wise decisions without prompting.
We spoke with Bagoomba when he was finished speaking with a tribe called the BooToos. The group of primarily saru quickly left on some errand. Bagoomba and Bengoukee told us that he wanted us to take the sacred Staff of the Ancients to the top of Fire Mountain and present it to the God of Fire Mountain. The Staff of the Ancients was presented to Ook to carry, and we soon had set off for the Mountain. I was against this for many reasons, but when Bengoukee appointed The Crocoshaman our leader, I was forced for the second time in my life to go there against my will.
We had been traveling only a few hours, when we came to a glen where we were ambushed by some monkey katanga who played a prank on us by spraying us with some sort of sticky substance. Alyssa wanted to kill them for their impertinence, but wiser heads prevailed when we noticed a trio of leopards approaching them from the tall grass. Combat with the creatures was quick, and we were able to kill two of the vile predators and scared the third off. The monkey katanga were friendly to us afterward, and told us that they had seen another group going to Fire Mountain earlier that day.
After resting for the night, and having Ook stop me from running off, we continued our travels the next morning. Late in the day, we encountered a group of korobukuru from the Katimaya tribe. Although they wouldn’t admit it, they were lost. After the customary boasting, The Crocoshaman was able to impress them enough that we were asked to drink and celebrate with them. Never ones to turn down strong drink, many of my companions indulged. When the morning came, we showed some sympathy for the lost katimayans and gave them directions to Bagoomba’s. They in turn mentioned that the other group going to Fire Mountain also had a Staff of the Ancients… We were rather confused by this information.
The next few hours were particular torment for me. We came to a massive lava flow, and had to come up with a way past it. The others would just not listen to me when I tried to explain that the god didn’t want us to continue forward! Ook unceremoniously threw me over the lava, before everyone else made their way across by similar means.
After ascending a very difficult slope, we came to the opening in Fire Mountain. There was another group already there. It was the BooToos. We spoke with their leader Boo Dos who confirmed that they had tried to give their Staff of the Ancients to the god of Fire Mountain, but it had laughed at them and said that the staff was not the real one before destroying it. Now Boo Tue, Boo Deux, and Boo Too were convinced that they needed to go collect Vee Jaa to be sacrificed. Boo Da and Boo Dos were trying to convince them otherwise, and Boo Two seemed to argue both points. They wished us luck, and said they were going to try beseeching the god from a different location.
The Crocoshaman performed the proper rituals, and soon the God of Fire Mountain appeared before us. We all paid our deepest most terrified respects to him as he noticed the staff with us, he commented that the chief had chosen the staff instead of his daughter, and that he must not be as big of a fool as the god had suspected. He accepted the sacrifice with bemusement, and let us return to Big Chief Bagoomba’s.
We arrived late the next day, being spotted of course by the diminutive shu called Daplane. We saw the BooToos there, and were a bit confused that Boo Two was not with them, though we figured we would hear their story later. Bengoukee explained to us that Bagomba had foolishly given the BooToos the fake Staff of the Ancients Bengoukee had given him, not wanting to risk the real one. He then thanked us for performing a heroic deed on behalf of all of Malatra, and Bagoomba told us that he had decided that his daughter Vee Jaa would only marry for love. A feast was then held in our honor.

The Year of New Peoples #22

From the Memories of Malinsar
The Jungle between the Koshiva and Katimaya
The Year of New Peoples
“Deceit is the weapon of greed.”
My group consisting of the korobokuru Kalameet, the shu Mowgli, the three nubari called Alyssa of the Huroola, Yamboya, and Pure Chaos, and I were visiting the Koshiva tribe. We had been asked by the Council of Elders to meet a River Tam’hi named Flood and do whatever it was he wanted. It turned out that Flood had recently appointed himself the guardian of the River of Laughing Idols, and needed help dealing with a problematic river denizen. He introduced us to Gwalk’maur, a Caiman Katanga who seemed to only have his stomach on his mind. Hoping that we might rub off on him; Flood asked us to, for lack of a better word, babysit him.
Flood also told us that a Tiger Katanga downriver needed help, and asked us to look into it. We eventually came to the decision to travel on the southern banks of the River of Laughing Idols, though when we came to the place where we were to meet the Tiger Katanga, we had to cross the river. This was the most difficult for Kalameet, and Gwalk’maur’s comments didn’t help the matter.
Soon we met the Tiger Katanga called Indibubo. He told us a strange story about meeting a female Saru the other day who was on the path of Chee’ah, the ancestor spirit or god that sometimes guided the ape-people. She claimed to have met the mighty Lion, the spirit which when it comes will bring destruction to Malatra. Lion warned her that it was seeking Tiger, and when it found the spirit of Tiger, it would bring devastation the prophecy foretold. Indibubo asked us to find the Saru, whose name was Molessa Who Likes Coconuts, and investigate the rumor or Lion. She was heading toward the Katimaya lands. He intended to go to Big Chief Bagoomba’s and inform Bengoukee about Lion so the Jungle could prepare for the terrible war which was to come. Indibubo also warned us that he had recently encountered abominable creatures who were dead-yet-walked, and guessed that this had to do with the Lion gathering strength. He cautioned me in particular that I should remain in nubari form on the off chance that we actually did meet Lion.
All of this meant that we had to cross the river again, to try to find the trail of Molessa Who Likes Coconuts. Crossing the river proved just as annoying this time as last, but we made it and started off towards the Katimaya. After two days of travel, we lucked upon Molessa Who Likes Coconuts. She was rather pleasant as she described her encounter with Lion. Apparently the spirit had a high-pitched voice, but she didn’t see him at all. He spoke from behind a bush. We convinced her to come with us, as we suspected something was amiss.
That night we were attacked by a dead gorilla. We destroyed that creature, but at dawn Pure Chaos, Mowgli, and Kalameet fell for a horrible trick and were covered with sticky smelly sap. Yamboya talked to some animals and learned that a few men had been the one to play the trick. They had hidden in the bushes afterward and subsequently vanished.
Later that day, we came to a village of Nubari, these were Koshiva by appearance, though they were far removed from the central tribe. When we spoke to them they claimed to pay homage to Big Chief Bagoomba. The villagers told us that Lion had appeared to some women in the tribe, much in the same way he had appeared to Molessa Who Likes Coconuts. We were very skeptical, and when Pure Chaos attempted to show that Lion could really have been anyone, soon the entire village began to believe him some sort of god. He had some fun with that for a bit, but eventually we put a stop to it.
We ate and rested with them that night, but in the middle of the night, a group of Korobokuru attacked us. Kalameet got himself a bit clobbered, and Mowgli nearly was killed during the incident before we realized that it was a ritualistic mock raid, that the nearby Katimayan tribe must do frequently. The Korobukuru were actually pretty nice, and following the feast and a bit of boasting, they told us of two troublesome Monkey Katanga they had encountered called Ik’k’lam and Beersto Way. They suggested that the pair may be behind the “Lion” rumor.
Sure enough at the communal breakfast, the pair of Katanga arrived. We questioned them, and they admitted to creating the rumor in order to get free things from those they duped. However, the walking dead had not been them; they suggested that it was a lone hermit called Ak-Habivad who had created them. They believed him to be the actual Lion. With the help of the Nubari and Korobukuru we were able to figure out the most likely location of Ak-Habivad’s lair as a cave near the river. We set off for the cave immediately.
When we arrived later in the afternoon, we discovered Ak-Habivad in the cave along with two other men, and a pair of walking-dead-lizardmen. We decided to attack them, and combat was long and hard. We were holding our own for a bit, though the wicked man kept using magic to send Mowgli running from us, and did his best to keep me in place. Gwalk-maur was pleased that he could actually eat someone for a change, and did his best to take out the two men. When Molessa came running back to us to help, she was bathed in golden light. We killed the wicked men finally, and returned to the Nubari village to rest.
The next morning, Indibubo met with us. He told us that Bengoukee had known that this “Lion” had been a trick, as the “time was not yet right” and the Lion was no myth. Someday the prophecies may come true. He would be very pleased to learn that we had killed the priest who was trying to deceive death itself. Molessa said goodbye to us, as she now felt that Chee’ah was taking her toward the Valley of the Spirits, where we could not yet follow. Upon our return to the Koshiva, Gwalk-maur promised not to try to eat EVERY living thing he met from now on, but said he reserved the right to change his mind. I guess that is as much as we could expect from the single-minded warrior.

Mantu's Sacrifice
The Year of New Peoples #21

From the Memories of Mowgli
Tribe of the Koshiva
The Year of New Peoples
“The wise benefit from a second opinion.”
Heroes from all over had come to visit the Koshiva, as they celebrated a bountiful year of hunting. The new chief, Teela, was doing a great deal of showing off, as his tribe had undergone a period of prosperity in the few months he had been in charge. I retired for the evening in the hut assigned to the heroes, and was awakened early when there were screams. Chief Teela spoke to us all and said that his youngest son Tiboti had disappeared, and one of the boats was gone. He asked for help in locating his son.
The famous heroes Black Chaos and Shere Kahn took a group downriver to search, while Freya of the Huroola and Yamboya Mosswalker took another group to the southern banks of the river to check there. I was asked to go with a group of heroes including Malinsar, Kalameet, Pure Chaos, andKahulae of the Windy Place. We planned to head upriver, in hopes of finding the lad.
Soon we were on a boat. We even got the water-phobic Kalameet to join us on the ride, though he insisted on sitting in the middle at the bottom. After a few hours hard paddling upriver, we came to a place where a troupe of monkeys had taken over small copse of trees on the southern shore. They shrieked at us and started throwing poo as we passed. It was a major annoyance and even incited Kalameet to throw some of his back at them. This was a bad idea, as the shrieking creatures followed us for almost an hour afterward.
Further down, we encountered a pair of nubari on a Koshiva-made boat heading downriver. We recognized the pair as members of the Rudra tribe, though one was wearing a smaller sized cloak which signified he was royalty of the Koshiva. We intercepted the boat, and questioned them. They claimed to be traders returning to the Rudra after unsuccessfully trying to trade with first the Koshiva due to the celebration then Big Chief Bagoomba. They said they had found the canoe near Big Chief Bagoomba’s lands, and had kept it and the cloak so they could return having accomplished something on their trip. Pure Chaos tried to demand that they return the items, but they seemed to understand that finders were keepers. We let them go on their way, but steered them toward the angry monkeys as a joke.
As the rain began to fall, we were soon attacked by a giant caiman. A few well placed shots from our spears were able to dissuade it, but we did have to make landfall along the western banks of the river when our canoe was damaged. Coincidentally, we were near where the Rudra had said they had found the canoe, so we decided to look around for a bit. Nearby, we discovered a river of black rock, flowing down the hillside. Kalameet was stupid and attempted to poke it. His finger burned away due when he discovered it was lava. We helped bandage him, and then headed for some smoke nearby which we hoped would some help.
The smoke led us to a small cave, where an old and crazy Korobokuru hermit named Korroc lived. He was singing a song about how the lion and the tiger should be friends. He had a hard time remembering things, and the conversation got off to slow start. Eventually he revealed that a nubari man had passed by earlier dragging a young boy. We figured it must be Tiboti, and that he had been abducted for some reason. Korroc was able to give us a vague direction that they went, and soon we found a trail which ended in a hole in the ground where the black rocks had hardened and become brittle.
We avoided combat with a spotted lion, and entered into the hole when we discovered a piece of cloth of obvious Koshiva origin. There were strange sounds coming from the tunnel, but we had decided to check it so we continued onward. Soon enough, we met a pair of diminutive creatures brandishing spears. Since we were unable to communicate with them, we thought it best if we just scared them away. Malinsar was not very successful at intimidating them, but Kalameet was. The pair fled down the tunnel we were exploring.
Soon we came to the source of the strange cries. Somehow, a shell-back garuda had gotten stuck in the passage. There wasn’t enough space for it to go forward and it didn’t want to back up. After exhausting several options, we decided to help it out. Kahulae and I got to the front of it, and pushed it back while everyone else pulled its tail. This frightened the beast quite a bit, but eventually worked. It turned around and moved toward the tunnel entrance, which meant we would have to deal with it later.
We continued further on, and came to a large open area. There we discovered nearly three-dozen of the little humanoid creatures we had met as well as an old nubari wise man from the tribe of Big Chief Bagoomba whom we had all seen at the Koshiva party. On a stone slab in front of him, was the young boy, Tiboti, tied down as the creatures prepared to eat him. We realized that there were too many creatures for us to handle alone, so we opted for some distractions. Kalameet began to dance like an idiot, soon enough I was able to sneak over and talk to the old man, who was called Mantu. I was followed soon after by Pure Chaos, and eventually Kahulae.
We learned that Mantu wanted to sacrifice the boy to the Angry Spirit of Fire Mountain, in order to appease it. Fire Mountain had been very active lately, and it was likely because of this that the Koshiva had been able to be so lucky at hunting. Mantu told us that he had eventually used his last spell to befriend the creatures, which he called “beloks” but that he wasn’t able to get them to understand that they shouldn’t eat the boy. Now they intended to feast. Our arguments with Mantu were able to make him reconsider his original plan.
Some quick thinking on everyone’s part allowed us to get several of the creatures doing the same dance that first Kalameet, and now Malinsar was doing. We freed the boy and then began to dance toward the entrance. Soon the entire group of creatures was in a line, dancing that way as well. Since I was at the rear of our group, and many of them followed me, I did my best to turn the dancing creatures around and begin heading the other way. We soon made it to the entrance, which was surprisingly garuda-free, though it appears as if the beast had eaten our vine on the way out. Malinsar scared the remaining three beloks away, and they went yipping down the tunnel calling for their friends. Kahulae climbed his way to the top, and got a new rope for us.
We escaped the tunnel, and put some distance between us and the entrance. When we made it to our canoe, we noticed that someone had done a passable job of fixing it. We assumed it had been Korroc, though we figured he would have forgotten about it by now. We headed downriver for a few hours, and passed a pair of Rudra covered in monkey poo near the copse of trees the creatures had been at before. Their purloined canoe had swamped and run aground.
When we arrived back at the Koshiva, Mantu was taken to task for his crime. Although his intentions had been good, he had still abducted a child and intended to sacrifice him without the parent’s consent. He was banished for his heinous crime. Teela also seemed very grave, as if the burden of being chief was getting to him. We were all awarded some minor trinkets for our efforts, and a feast was thrown in our honor!

Beats of the Jungle Drums #2

Beats of the Jungle Drums.
More sad news today, with the death of Mikan, the Great Sage. The elderly nubari had acted as sage to the friendly tribes for more than a hand of decades. His body was found crumpled at the bottom of cliff near the Katimaya, whom he was visiting. His death determined to be of natural causes.
With Mikan’s death, the position of the Great Sage is open for the first time in most nubari’s memory. A contest will likely be held to fill the position, after a suitable mourning period of course (typically 1 year or about 6 games). Bengoukee has stated that the new sage will be given a great honor, which he has yet to reveal. Everyone knows though, that merely competing in the contest will be an honor, and likely beneficial in other ways. Not much is known about the competition, but it is assumed that competitors must be knowledgeable about Malatra.
Burial services for Mikan were performed by Kural, the witch doctor of the Katimaya.

Beats of the Jungle Drums #3

Beats of the Jungle Drums
Breaking all convention, Cheif Teely resigned from his position as Chief of the Koshiva today. Citing wanting to spend more time with his family as his reason. This of course, may have to do with the recent abduction of his youngest son Tilboti, and his subsequent rescue by the renowned heroes Mowgli, Malinsar and their apprentices.
Former Chief Teely has fully endorsed Trade Cheiftain Katar as his successor. For his part Presumptive Chief Katar just agreed to a new trade deal with the reclusive Rudra, where the xenophobic tribe will provide new spears to the Koshiva in exchange for Date Wine. He is reportedly planning a great celebration ‘in honor of spears and all things pointy’—an event for which Taronee, witch doctor of the Koshiva, when informed of, was quoted as saying “Oh, Spirits help us!”

Lair of the Headshrinker
Year of Awakening #8

From the Memories of Freya of the Huroola
Big Chief Bagoomba
The Year of Awakening
“Evil is not born, it is taught.”
I had been summoned to the village of Big Chief Bagoomba to speak with Bengoukee, the witch-doctor of that tribe. Also present were a saru called Goku, a shu called Mowgli, a tiger katanga called Malinsar, and another nubari called Yamboya. Bengoukee told us that the spirits had told him that a great evil had returned—the Master of Yonik-taru, or the Magic of Head Shrinking. He explained that long ago yonik-taru was the bane of the ancients, and they fought against its wielders eliminating them. But some survived and among them was Hodulla, the former witch doctor of the Saiyama and Bengoukee’s former master. Hodulla had controlled the Saiyama for hands-of-hands-of-hands of years before Bengoukee had deposed him and Hodulla fled into the Valley of the Spirits. The elder witch doctor had thought his master long dead, but now it appeared as if he had returned. Bengoukee then told us that the spirits had chosen us to deal with the problem.
Apparently the headshrinker got its power by draining the life force from other races of Malatra, and turning them into horrible non-living-but-still-walking things called topi. He suggested dealing with the headshrinker’s phal-torren, which was the receptacles of their power. Without the phal-torren, the headshrinker would be powerless.
The spirits had also informed him that the lair of the headshrinker was within the Jungle of Lost Tribes. This presented a small problem, as the area was taboo to all races of Malatra. Thankfully Bengoukee was the only person in Malatra to have powerful magical paints, which could protect the wearer from the taboo. He also told us that one of his lesser apprentices, a tiger katanga named Ffft would be joining us, since we didn’t have a witch doctor in our ranks. A different tiger katanga named Uubarr was the guardian of the Jungle of Lost Tribes and would meet us along the way to show us the path there.
Bengoukees assistant, Mirmirani, came forward with a great bowl, into which Bengoukee added several unknown ingredients. What resulted was a thick paste, which Bengoukee spent several hours applying to all of us and added intricate symbols of power. He told us that the paste would only last for so long, and warned us not to get wet or risk washing it off. Ffft snuck a small sample of paste when it was being applied to me.
We set out soon afterward, escorted to the edge of Big Chief Bagoomba’s territory by two of his warriors; a Rudran named Grey Shadow, and Bagoomba’s guard Reesta Nifari. It was obvious from their demeanor that they were very pleased to see Ffft off.
Along the way we learned why Ffft was so disliked; he was really, really annoying. He would prattle at us constantly, and sometimes not even make any sense. He used obnoxious nicknames for all of us that seemed to change on his whim. He poked Mowgli with a stick repeatedly and talked about our companion’s relative height compared to other members of the shu race. Most annoyingly, he whistled all the while we spoke to him.
After several hours of walking we began to hear the sounds of flowing water ahead, even though there was supposed to be no river or stream nearby. Soon we had discovered the stream, and determined that we would not be able to cross it without washing off some of our markings. Ffft annoyingly just used a spell to jump across the obstacle. Mowgli, Yamboya, Malinsar and I had a much more difficult time of it. Goku used some vines to swing across, and used a vine he had brought across to help create a rope bridge with one of my arrows tied to a vine.
Once we were all across we were greeted by a male korobokuru. He said his name was KalameetKalameet. Ffft immediately said that he looked trustworthy, and proceeded to tell him everything about our mission and even invite him along with us. We were less eager for him to join, as we figured our mission was important and that we were the ones that the spirits had chosen. I really didn’t like the idea of another armed male in our group. Malinsar pointed out that it was impossible for the korobokuru to join us, as he didn’t have the special protection against the taboo of entering the Jungle of Lost Tribes. Ffft had this one covered however and proceeded to do his own painting of our new ally with the pigments he had purloined from Bengoukee. The symbols were nothing like Bengoukee’s and I had the distinct impression that Ffft was making some of them up.
When Kalameet was partially covered, we continued on our way. As we rested for a few hours at night, we had a close encounter with a dying horn-head garuda, as well some runner garuda who had come to feast on it. We helped it escape the creatures, then fought them off before we rested for a bit. As soon as light came, we set out again. It didn’t take us long before we were greeted by the tiger katanga called Uubarr.
The katanga told us that the Jungle of Lost tribes was taboo for everyone. He, and his family going back several generations, had enforced that taboo. Now he felt that he had failed, as evil lurked within the region once again. He inspected our painted symbols and surprisingly even gave Kalameet an all clear, though he did warn us that there was a chance that the symbols would not be fully effective. He then led us to the trail into the Jungle of Lost Tribes. Finally, he warned us against taking anything from the Jungle of Lost Tribes, as he put it: “the secrets and devices there are for the ancients and we are not ready for them.” He told us he would grieve for us when we didn’t return, which made us even more reluctant to enter the region.
Upon reaching the Jungle of the Lost tribes, we were awed but discouraged to discover that the entire region was the ruins of a city of the Ancients. This meant that the headshrinker could be anywhere. We set to work looking for him, and soon had to contend with several chicken garuda. After dispatching these, we were soon attacked by a group of dead-but-walking nubari! These creatures must have been the topi. They proved that we must be getting close to the headshrinker’s lair, but fighting them was horrifying. They were all but immune to my arrow shots, and their shrunken appearance misled us to believe they might be rather slow…instead they caused us to become slow! We were eventually able to destroy them though. Unfortunately, at this point both Kalameet and Yamboya had begun to feel the effects of the taboo that was on this place and began acting strangely.
We found some tracks which helped us find the lair, and soon enough we had to fight more of the horrifying creatures. In the next chamber we discovered all sorts of herbs that Ffft was able to tell us far too much about. In short, they would be used for some sort of spell components.
The next chamber had some sort of Black Art about the wall. The symbolic gibberish was fascinating to Ffft, who wanted to copy it somehow. We prevented him from doing so, but failed to notice him slipping away from us when we were looking at the gourds in the next chamber. The gourds we discovered there were of interest to Kalameet, who thought they might be valuable. He even opened one to check if anything was in it, but discovered it empty.
In the next chamber was a sleeping young boy, not quite of age to be a hunter. We revived him and asked who he was. He said his name was Xot, and he was a member of the Rudra. He had been taken seven cycles earlier, and it was his job to sweep the floor and clean the dishes. We told him that we would ensure that he made it back to his people.
In the chamber beyond, we found the headshrinker. To all our surprise, it was a woman! She was rather attractive, and only about thirty summers old. She temporarily imprisoned me behind a wall of bones while she and her dead minions began to attack the others. Ffft used his powerful ‘do what I say’ spell on her and she became our willing slave. Then Xot ran to her and asked her to drink something, which immediately freed her from Ffft’s control. Xot quietly began sweeping the floor. Ffft was so frustrated to lose her, and didn’t have any spells left so he changed into tiger form. The woman was enraged and began to attack with powerful magic. Goku, of course, fled.
By the time he had returned to us, I had freed myself from the bone prison, and we had destroyed a few of the walking dead. When she sprayed a spell into the room it knocked everyone except Mowgli, Yamboya, I unconscious. Next she created darkness in the room, while her one remaining topi nearly killed Mowgli. When I was at last able to counter the spell of darkness, I discovered that my unconscious companions had been removed from the room by Ffft. Now that they had a chance to catch their breath, they came back in and attacked with a vengeance. Even Goku was able to help, as the woman didn’t have enough flashy magic to cause him to flee. Malinsar switched to tiger form and killed the last topi, then was able to get the last strike in on the headshrinker.
After this we dealt with Xot, who claimed that he had to give a potion to his master. We realized that there was a more lasting effect on the boy than we had initially thought. Perhaps getting him back to his people would help him heal. We destroyed the black art upon the wall, as well as smashed the gourds which we now realized were the phal-torren of which Bengoukee had spoken.
Kalameet wanted to keep the trinkets the woman had on her body, but we were against the idea. So he did what any thief would do and grabbed them and made a run for it. We attempted to stop him, but he was too fast and was able to get away. We tracked him from the Jungle of Lost tribes to the stream, where we lost him.
The next day we made it back to Big Chief Bagoomba’s. Once we arrived, Bengoukee spoke with us immediately. After ensuring that we were all cured of our madness. he wanted a full report. When he learned that the headshrinker was a woman, he asked for her description. It turns out she had been Toka, another apprentice of Hodulla a century earlier. Bengoukee had thought her dead. With her gone, he hoped that his former master, Hodulla, had also passed.
He was only mildly disturbed by the tale of Kalameet, and said he would get word to the Katimaya, which would allow for the purloined items to be tested for taboos. He was more interested in finding out who Xot was. When asked, the boy stated that he was an apprentice headshrinker. Bengoukee was disappointed, but since the boy was a Rudran, he had no choice but to send him to the Rudra with a message warning them to watch the boy. He then discovered that Ffft had copied some of the black art scribbles from the wall upon his arm using some coal. He was furious with Ffft, and removed the offensive marks immediately.
A few days later word reached us that Kalameet had escaped the taboo. Yrbom had been rather angry with him, but Kural had made some sort of deal to cure the thief’s madness. We also received word that the group going to the Rudra had arrived without Xot. No one was sure where the boy had gone.


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