Malatra Redux

Death from Above
The Year of New Peoples #23

From the Memories of Black Chaos
The Wise Ones
The Year of New Peoples
“Fear is a great motivator.”
Kahluae of the Windy Place, Sherre Kahn, and I were once again traveling through the Rayana Savanna, on route to see Kahluae’s people The Wise Ones. Before we had left the village of Big Chief Bagoomba, we were given a mission by the chief to help train a new arrival to the tribe who wanted to become part of the tribal guard. He was a saru who liked to talk to animals named Goku. He Joined us in our travels.
Along the way we had a minor brush with some garuda, but Goku was able to convince some other small animals to act as decoys rather forcing the garuda to deal with us. When we arrived in the Wise Ones village, we were honored by Arkari by being given the chance to take part in the birth of a baby tontor. Unfortunately, the birth was not to be for a few weeks yet, so we had to wait.
On the third day, we were called into Arkari’s hut to speak with her. She told us that her visions had foretold that the coming birth of the tontor would be both the end of the tribe and of the tontor themselves. She needed our help to prevent that. She wanted us to go to Dokuba swamp on the other side of Hebika River. She wanted us to find and end whatever was causing her troubled visions.
When we agreed to help, she told us that her dreams told her that an enemy sought to destroy the tribe and her herself. She feared that it was Somari, a witch doctor whom she had exiled from the tribe eight years earlier when he had tried to kill her and take control of the tribe. She also told us that Somari was known to have become a hermit on the far side of the Hebika River, she said if we searched the banks there we would likely find him.
We set out immediately. We headed north first, staying within the confines of the Rayanna Savana and relative safety that it provided. After a day of travel, we came across a group of six snakehead-men. Battle did not go well for us, but thankfully we were eventually able to prevail mostly due to the timely arrival of our friend Freya of the Huroola, whom Bengokee had sent to find us after having a vision that one of our new charges was in danger. We decided to head towards the river, and hopefully avoid any more encounters with the snakehead-men. Once we reached the shoreline we were ambushed by a group of snake katanga and their Elder Giant Cobra.
This group did not attack, however, and the Elder Giant Cobra spoke with us. Its name was Sslith, and it preferred not to fight us. Apparently, it worked for the Snake Mother, and had recently learned that Somari had forged alliances with a big tribe of lizardmen in and Dokuba Swamp, as well as the hated Snakehead-men of the Rayana Savana. Sslith also claimed to see other creatures that somewhat resembled garuda working with the witch-doctor. It was clear to us, that Somari was a threat to the Snake Mother as much as to the Wise Ones. We were able to part from the encounter without incident, though Sslith did warn against trying to ford the Hebika River without a raft.
His advice proved prescient, as fording the river was a nightmare. Thankfully, we were assisted by a rather unpleasant river tamhi named Eliza Strawberry, who happened to be in the area. After seeing us across the river, the tamhi took its leave of us.
Late in the fifth day of our travels, we were attacked by a group of eight flying garuda men. Their attacks were very powerful, and battle was fierce. We were finally able to kill a trio of them, which caused the others to fly away. We had been woefully unprepared to face flying enemies.
The next day we discovered the hidden abode of Somari on the edge of the swamp. He was protected by a group of eight flying garuda men like we had fought the day before. There was also a flying creature with the body of a nubari, the wings of a vulture the claws of a garuda and the head of a jackal. It looked like it came from out nightmares. Before we could even speak to Somari, he attacked us. Suddenly the nightmare creature shot Somari with an arrow! We were now surprisingly in a three-way battle with Somari and his minions one one side, and the creature on the other.
Somari used a spell to charm Shere Khan, and our friend soon attacked us. A lucky hit from the katanga ended up killing Goku. Thankfully, we were able to take down a few of the garuda men, as well as Somari which broke Shere Khan’s compulsion. The nightmare creature retrieved Somari’s body and fled. This left a few garuda men who claimed that their treaty with Somari was over before fleeing.
We had won, but the cost was great. We collected the body of Goku and returned to the Wise Ones without further incident. We arrived just in time to see the birth of the baby tontor. Arkari ushered us into her hut to learn what had happened on our journey. She told us that her dreams had confirmed that the danger to the tontors as well as the Wise Ones was over for the time being. She also told us that the garuda men were a race called pteramen, though she had not heard of anyone encountering them in many years. Their return was not a good sign, but with Somari dead, the alliances of lizardmen, pteramen and snake-head men he had forged would crumble. She did not know what the nightmarish creature was, and thought that may be a danger for another day…

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The Great Hunt
Year of New Peoples #20

From the memories of Kalameet
Big Chief Bagoomba
Year of New Peoples
“Hunting has opened the earth to me and let me sense the rhythms and hierarchies of nature.”
We were attending the decennial Great Hunt, held this year within the Tribe of Big Chief Bagoomba. The last Great Hunter, Aarnith of the Koshiva had died in a rock-slide the previous year, so the position had been vacant for a while. We politely listened to the story of his last triumph before the introduction of the hunters began.
As Bengoukee named each hunter from the Great Tribes, he stopped when he came to the shu tribe of Yilgoma. Apparently, the tribe had not sent a hunter this year and no one knew why. So Bengoukee asked for a volunteer to stand in for the Yilgoma hunter. One man, a white tiger katanga named Mali of Big Chief Bagoomba’s tribe came forward. Still needing bearers, Bengoukee appointed Black ChaosBlack Chaos, Yamboya Mosswalker, Shere Khan, and I to help him.
The rules were we could help the chosen hunter as much as needed, but we could only get one kill and an unlimited number of captures.
Our first task was to determine where to hunt; we chose the jungle as we figured the best prey would be there. Since we only had thirty-six days for our journey, we decided not to travel too deep—but five days into the jungle we found an ideal spot in the form of a lagoon or watering hole.
In the morning we discovered that we had company, some hunters from the distant Zantira tribe had arrived and tried to claim the area. They talked a lot of smack, but gave up and moved on after the first uneventful day of hunting. The next day we had to fight off some small garuda who had found the area. They all fled, but we soon found what they had discovered: a small den of wild dogs. Most of the pups were dead, and the mother was unable to recover from her wounds even with Black Chaos’ assistance. But we did find a puppy which we were able to recuperate. Yamboya claimed it, but it followed Black Chaos like a puppy would.
A few days later we had our first real success in the form of a small herd of antelope. My awesome prowess with the bow allowed us to take two of them alive, although one needed to be killed out of mercy as it had a broken leg. Mali did the deed.
Several days later, we were attacked by a giant constrictor snake. Before we could react, it encoiled me and began to squeeze. It didn’t even seem to notice when the others began to hit it. This didn’t last long though, and soon we were in a horrible battle with it, while it tried to drag me into the lagoon. It took us a long time to kill it, I was deeply submerged by then and could see the remnants of what must have been its nest at one point now deep below the water.
Yamboya saved me with some quick thinking, and bad luck on his part. Next we had the horrible ordeal of trying to collect the carcass of our prey from the bottom of the lagoon. Even with all of us helping, it took several days and lots of rope and vines. Bringing the whole snake back was obviously not an option, so we decided on just taking the head.
With a good kill and a capture under us now we had to get at least one capture to stay competitive. The next day we were in for a real threat, when a Great Eater of Beasts Garuda appeared. We would have been killed for sure, but it didn’t seem interested in us at the moment. Instead it simply bit the trussed antelope and feasted. It then noticed our attacks against it, and after some lazy attacks against us, it decided to flee. Shere Khan wouldn’t let it go though, and a lucky shot brought the beast down.
Now with a Great Eater of Beasts as a kill, Yamboya spent some time rending so we could take the skull back instead of the snake’s head. It was a few days later before we had our next luck. This time a mated pair of lynx came to the watering hole. Some quick thinking on the part of Black Chaos casting a spell to put the creatures to sleep meant that we had two live captives now.
Our next few days there were rather quiet, that is until suddenly the lagoon erupted with a spout which spoke to us. The guardian spirit said its name was Sil’thimling, and it had been watching us. It offered us a chance to see what creature would come there next. When we immersed ourselves in the water we learned that the next creature was a beautiful white leopard. We prepared for it, relying on Yamboya’s ability to speak with animals to get it to come with us peacefully. When it arrived he tired this, but unfortunately he was not convincing enough. Black Chaos’ sleeping magic was likewise ineffective. Mali dived on the creature, and the two creatures began to struggle. Shere Khan helped as best he could as well. Meanwhile Yamboya trussed the creature up, apologizing as he did so.
Now with an awesome live prize as well as an awesome kill and a few additional live captures, we decided to start back to Big Chief Bagoomba’s village. The progress was slow as now Shere Khan, Black Chaos, Yamboya, and I were taking turns with the live captures or the garuda skull. Mali helped some as well, though some taboo prevented the Hunter him from actually touching the kill in the competition.
We were two days away from the mountain tribe, and passing through some tall grasses when the grass suddenly came alive. It restrained Mali and Yamboya, though the rest of us were fast enough to avoid getting stuck in the strange growth. From hidden nearby, came a group of nubari led by someone Yamboya and Black Chaos found familiar. It was Rakid, the disgraced son of Radumpti the chief of the Koshiva. Nearly two years earlier Yamboya and Black Chaos had stopped Rakid from becoming the new chief of the Koshiva under mysterious circumstances. With him were a hand of hunters, and a witch doctor. They also held a shu female who bore the markings of the Yilgoma tribe.
The horrible man demanded our prizes and used some additional magic in order to obtain them. They absconded with all we had caught or killed as well as Yamboya’s monkey friend Garudabait. Once we were all free, we gave chase, but were unable to find the group. We did find the shu in a stream bound and nearly drowned. Garudabait did not turn up.
Knowing that the only place that the men could be going was to Big Chief Bagoomba’s we headed there. Upon our arrival, we learned that they had already begun passing our trophies off as their own even though Rakid was not even supposed to be in the Great Hunt. We objected, and Bengoukee stepped in. He took us all on a quick trip to the Dreamlands, where we spoke to each of our prizes spirit forms. Even those creatures we had simply captured were there to speak with us. After we gave our explanation of what had happened, Rakid gave one as well. His was…far less believable. When the ghostly form of the constrictor snake assaulted him, he lost all control of himself.
When we returned to the real world, Rakid was suffering from the after effects of his up close and personal experience with a spirit as Bengoukee pronounced us the winners of the competition. The Council of Tribes declared Rakid an exile for attempting to murder the Yilgoma hunter, and for disrupting the Great Hunt. Radumpti was not pleased with his son. Mali was given a great celebration, and we were all honored as well. The best news of the evening was the return of Garudabait, who had been casually discarded somewhere when the sleeping monkey had awoken.

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Spirits of the Lake
Year of Discovery #19

From the Memories of Alyssa of the Huroola
Zantira Tribe
Year of Discovery
“Understanding is honoring the truth beneath the surface.”
I had been sent to the enigmatic and reclusive Zantira tribe by The Council of Elders. For a variety of reasons, they sent some weak male representatives of other tribes with me. With me was the renowned members of the tribe of Bagoomba: the tiger katanga warrior Shere Khan, and the obnoxious monkey katanga witchdoctor Black Chaos. Kahulae of the Windy Place, the well respected pangolin katanga shaman of the tribe of the Wise Ones, and the Katamayan korobokuru thief called Kalameet also joined us. Recently the tribe had become more willing to trade with other tribes and our trip had been a fact finding expedition if nothing else. As we approached their territory though, the jungle drums told us of a call for help, and a recent tragedy.
We arrived on the Shores of Sleepy Lake, only to discover that the small Zantira village of Karabudu had been nearly completely destroyed. The tribe’s chief, Manyuk V’Domo met us on the shoreline. He thanked us for coming and said that he had been told by the Great Water Spirit Jung’r’na that heroes would come, and in fact we were the second group to arrive. He introduced us to a group of heroes who had come only a few minutes before us. The female shu called Jakra claimed to be “The Mightiest Warrior in Malatra”, though we had never heard of her. Her silent and massive male nubari warrior companion was called Fatman. Lastly, there was a female monkey katanga who we recognized as the famed Leader of the Poo Fighters; Ochkee Goneygoogoo! They seemed pleasant enough toward me, however when Black Chaos started becoming too chummy, they seemed a bit upset and opted to ignore us and head on to some task. Chief V’domo told us that they were trying to help the village also, but wouldn’t give details.
Chief V’Domo then told us what the tribe needed. Apparently, generations ago, the water spirit Jung’r’na had told the Zantira to build their homes upon the lake and that it would protect them…such had been true until the prior night. Last night, while the village of Karabudu slept, the lake began to pitch and boil, causing the raft-homes of the village to splinter and break. Most had survived the tragedy, but three villagers had met a horrible fate when they were dragged underwater by some sort of evil creatures. There was little details given, as little was known. They wanted us to recover the bodies of the three dead villagers, so their souls could find rest.
We headed to the eastern portion of the tribe, to the small raft village of Karabudu. There we saw the destruction that had occurred in the night. We also learned that the attack had come at night, and that no one saw the creatures that caused the devastation. I was unwise and promised one villager that we would return their confederates alive and well.
We then went with V’Domo as he called upon the water spirit Jung’r’na and we sank beneath the water as the spirit embraced us. When our sight cleared, we discovered that we now had the ability to breathe and move underwater with little difficulty, but that we still could not speak with each other. Jung’r’na appeared before us, and informed us that the missing villagers were dead, but that their bodies could be recovered. It told us to go through the water forest and to seek the girl-snake who would help us. It said that if we were able to recover the bodies that we should make a circle of power around them and call its name, and we would be returned to the surface. It cautioned us not to enter the mists before placing a spell upon us which allowed us to communicate and leaving.
We were very confused as to which way to go at first, but we soon found the water forest it had spoken of. While traveling through it, we were attacked by some horrible fish. We had heard about the creatures from the survivors of the village of Karabudu, they were called s’repic fish and they were voracious predators and carnivores. We had quite a bit of difficulty dealing with the creatures and I couldn’t help but think that if I had other Huroola warriors with instead of my current companions we would have had an easier time of it.
Eventually we won our combat, but only with the timely arrival of first Fatman, who was covered in a few of the creatures himself. He did not survive the experience. I, myself, even nearly died in the exchange, and would have had not Kahulae not restored me to life. Later in the same combat, Black Chaos had the audacity to attempt to heal me by groping at my chest. I will not forget such an insult. Combat proceeded poorly, and soon a pair of lizard men showed up and were much more effective than my companions. The lizard men fled from us after the combat, seeming to not know what to make of us.
We continued on our journey, and soon came to an opening in the forest. We could either go east or west. Luckily we encountered a different pair of lizard men. These two, seemed to have been prepared to meet us, and the language barrier was something they were willing to deal with. Some bad hand gestures and pointing was enough to clue us in that there was possible danger up ahead of us, and indicated we should head to the east. We thanked them as best we could and went the direction they had indicated.
It took us another hour’s worth of travel to before we encountered the bizarre snake-girl. She was friendly enough, though rather creepy. Black Chaos made a good impression on her though, and she gave us directions to the creatures who had abducted the villagers.
We proceeded in the direction she had indicated, and soon discovered a cave she had told us about. We entered the cave and discovered the creatures which had grabbed the villagers were a pair of horrible tall and gaunt two-legged monstrosities, which somewhat resembled fish men, but which had sharp fangs and claws. The snake girl and called them ‘scrags’. They were eating the remains of the villagers. After a quick attempt to attack them, we learned that they seemed to regenerate any damage done to them. We fled the cave, and they opted not to give chase.
There was much debate on what to do next. We eventually came to the realization that these monsters could not be killed while in water, and that we needed to subdue them long enough to get to the surface. Unfortunately, we had forgotten the name of the water spirit which we had met. Thankfully, Kalameet was able to remember it for us. Combat was not fun, but towards the end we were joined by Jakra and Ochkee Goneygoogoo who had gone on the western path with Fatman, and killed the massive lake garuda they had encountered. Fatman had left in order to return to the surface after the combat, in order to get some healing magic for the pair, but had not returned. With their help, we defeated the remaining scrag and incapacitated it. We needed to hit it occasionally, or it would heal itself, but it didn’t take us long to prepare. After calling on Jung’r’na, we were transported to the surface.
After destroying the scrags with fire. We returned the bodies of the dead villagers to the Zantira, and Chief V’Domo rewarded us for our efforts. We had not rescued the villagers, but we had returned the bodies and destroyed a threat to the Zantira.

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The Curse of Fire Mountain
The Year of Discovery #17

From the Memories of Kahluae of the Windy Place
Big Chief Bagoomba
The Year of Discovery
“The journey is often more important than the destination.”
I was attending the annual Council of the Tribes in the village of Big Chief Bagoomba. With me were my friends Black Chaos and Freya of the Huroola. We were enjoying the various festivities while waiting for the Challenge of Warriors. When it finally came, all three of us decided to participate.
The Challenge this year was to canoe down the River of Laughing Idols until the twin-trunked tree, after landing the competitors had to scale the Great Cliff and use a vine to leap down to collect one of the rings at the bottom. All three of us did rather well, with Black Chaos taking first place, and a tiger katanga called Shere Kahn, finishing second. As a prize, Black Chaos was presented with a stone idol representing Eethh the spirit of the ground.
The next morning, we were awakened by guards sent by Chief Bagoomba. After being escorted to the chief’s tent, we discovered that the idol we had been given had returned to Bagoomba during the night. Chief Bagoomba pleaded with us to take the idol, which he felt was cursed. He explained that his grandfather Noburra had given him the idol before he had died last month. Noburra had been traveling Malatra, and had been found half-dead by the Koshiva tribe shortly before that. He had apparently found the idol somewhere on his journey.
He explained that the curse had been causing some mildly bad luck for the tribe, and the Koshiva had experienced similar bad luck prior to Naburra returning to Big Chief Bagoomba’s tribe. He apologized for trying to offload the idol on us, but he had hoped that someone from another tribe would take the idol, and thus the curse. Bagoomba wanted us to take the idol and return it to wherever Noburra had found it.
In order to help us retrace his grandfather’s steps he gave us the few things his grandfather had returned with; a basket shaped like a tontor, a bone carved lion, a fine pot with a water snake design on it, and a cloth with red dye on it. We immediately recognized the cloth as having come from the Rudra tribe. I also recognized the the tontor basket as something from the Wise Ones.
After agreeing to have Shere Khan accompany us, we took the idol and set out immediately, heading first to the nearby Koshiva tribe on the way to the Rudra. Throughout our journey, we were afflicted with bad luck, which reinforced our belief that the idol was cursed. Upon arriving at their tribe we discovered that Noburra had spoken of finding the Morta, a lost tribe of korobokuru. He had found retrieved the idol form there. We continued on to the Rudra, where we were ambushed by a trio of lizardmen and some muckdwellers. We were nearly defeated, but with some assistance from the Rudra we were able to beat the monsters back. The Rudra told us that Noburra had grown sick while he visited, after being injured by a group of bullywogs. He had the idol with him and explained that he had gotten it from the Morta but also spoke about visiting the Wise Ones for an extended period of time.
So we headed to the Wise Ones next, this trip, unlike the others we had made was not a simple two-day trek; we were in the wilds for over a week to reach the distant Wise Ones. Along the way, we had a run-in with some of the snake-men who were sometimes encountered in the wilds. We opted not to fight them, and fled.
When we eventually made it to the Wise Ones the tribes leader Arkari spoke with me right away. She told me that Noburra had visited with them twice. The first time he was greatly interested in the Season of Five Fires and the Morta. The second time he had come from Fire Mountain and claimed to have found them. While I was learning all of this, Black Chaos spoke to the tontors. He learned that “The God of Fire Mountain” forbade them to talk much about the idol, which was holy to it.
The tontor was able to draw a rudimentary picture for us, it took some time but we eventually realized that the picture was of Fire Mountain as seen from the north, though in the drawing one star was within Fire Mountain itself. So that was our next destination. We set off immediately and within a few days, saw what appeared to be the inspiration to the drawing. In the light of the next morning, were able to find an ancient trail up Fire Mountain. This was very strange, since Fire Mountain was considered somewhat taboo. We decided to risk it, however, and followed the trail.
Eventually, we came to an ancient stairway made of black rock. We followed this and came to an ancient ruined village, which we assumed must have belonged to the lost Morta. In the center of the village, which seemed hewn from the rocky bowl-shaped indentation in the mountain was a massive pillar of fire. We soon discovered that the fire was Ronnik, a fire spirit, and he was angry for some reason. I wasn’t able to determine why.
This seemed to be the end of the line for us, as there were no real hints as to what to do next. We discussed this at some length, and eventually Black Chaos got bored and tossed the Idol of Eethh into the Pillar of Fire. This done, the angry fire spirit was appeased and our bad luck was lifted.
One by one, we returned to the villages we had passed through, and were treated as heroes for returning the idol to Fire Mountain and removing the curse of bad luck from those afflicted.

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Thunder Lizard
The Year of Discovery #16

From the Memories of Kalameet
Kokinga
The Year of Discovery
“The best defense is a strong offense.”
I had come to the bi-annual contest of the plains held in the Kokinga village of K’linti.
I acquitted myself admirably in the fishing competition, but just as the running competition was ending, the village was attacked by a small gnasher garuda. I and several other of the heroes who had gathered for the contests helped save several people from being trampled or burned to death.
When the garuda finally lost interest and left, the remaining heroes gathered. Along with myself, there was Malinsar and Kahluae of the Windy Place both from the Wise Ones, Pure Chaos from the tribe of Bagoomba, and Mowgli the shu from the Jengi. We were told that the gnasher who had attacked us was called Little Thunder, and they had been experiencing problems from him for some time. They were also afraid that with Little Thunder active so far west, that meant that his rival Big Thunder might be nearby. They wanted us to go and deal with Little Thunder. There was much debate. None of us seemed to have any good idea how to deal with Little Thunder.
Eventually, we decided to track little thunder. It was slow going, though we got help in the form of directions from a tiger who claimed to have scared the garuda away. Later in the day we discovered that we were being followed by a young nubari lad named J’mil. The boy said that Little Thunder had killed his parents and he was out to prove himself a warrior by killing Little Thunder. There was some debate, but we assumed if we didn’t allow him to follow us he would have done so anyway, so we let him tag along.
A bit later we discovered a young monkey katanga trapped under a fallen tree. We saved him and he said his name was Thit. Thit told us of a area near the river that had a large pit that would be perfect for trapping Little Thunder. It didn’t take us long to find the pit, and make it ready as a trap for Little Thunder. Mowgli, Malinsar and I went out to try to find the garuda, but it was able to find us first. Mowgli hid while I sought refuge in a tree, leaving only Malinsar to lead the garuda back to the pit. When it was trapped, taking it out was rather easy.
We returned to the village victorious, but discovered that while we had been gone, Big Thunder had nearly destroyed the village. Big Thunder was sure to return. More debate followed, but the fact of the matter was that it wasn’t feasible to evacuate the remainder of the villagers, and they had nowhere to go if we did.
Eventually we were able to organize the entire tribe to dig a massive pit outside of the village. When Big Thunder returned, we lured it into the pit and attacked it the same way we had Little Thunder. Pure Chaos almost lost his life luring the creature into the pit, but was saved by Thit when he threw a stink melon into the creature’s face. The pit trap was not quite as effective on Big Thunder as it had been on Little Thunder, but we eventually were victorious.
When the battle was at last over. The grateful people of Kokinga tribe showered us with rewards. Their tribe had been badly damaged, but it was not destroyed. With the dual threats of both Little and Big Thunder removed, the migratory patterns of the region would return to normal…and other garuda would now have a chance to thrive.

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Once Broken
The Year of Discovery #14

From the Memories of Freya of the Huroola
Big Chief Bagoomba
The Year of Discovery
“The first step to correcting a mistake is patience.”
I was resting in the village of Big Chief Bagoomba after a long journey from my tribe. I was enjoying the fire, when I caught sight of the tribes elusive witch-doctor, Bengoukee, who motioned for me to follow him. I was not the only one there, and met a visiting pangolin katanga shaman called Kahluae of the Windy Place, and a witch-doctor monkey katanga called Black Chaos.
Bengoukee told us of a tribe of saru who had recently fallen on hard times. They had somehow angered the spirit Ligela. He asked us if we would travel to the small village and help regain the favor of the angry spirit. We all agreed, and soon we were preparing to leave.
Soon we discovered that the trail was not as safe as it could be when Black Chaos, who had taken monkey form got caught in a patch of quicksand. Without a word, Kahluae shifted to pangolin form and attempted to use a vine to rescue our companion. Unfortunately, he failed to inform me of exactly what his plan was, and neither of them could communicate with me in their current forms. I truly hated them both as they tried to wordlessly tell me what they wanted me to do.
Eventually, I got them both out and we rested for the night, which allowed them to both change back to human form. When the morning came, we soon found ourselves attacked by a group of quick-thunder garuda! We fled rather than trying to maintain a prolonged combat.
We eventually arrived at the small village. The place was a ruin, with only a few surviving saru all held up in the central hut. Black Chaos did his best to save them, but he was only able to ease their suffering. We figured that their malady must be magical, and Kahluae was only able to determine that the spirit Ligela was very angry for some reason.
One of the surviving saru was able to tell us that one of their fellows had inadvertently broken a taboo by accidentally crushing a flower that was sacred to Ligela the earth spirit. Since then, the wasting sickness was killing their people. They hoped to build an idol to appease the angry spirit, but they hadn’t finished it. We instantly realized that we would have to complete the idol in order to break the curse on the town. In order to do this, he told us we needed some green stones and beeswax. He also gave us some directions on where we could find these items.
We traveled to a nearby waterfall, where we had to bargain with some birds for some colored stones. We reluctantly gave up some of our most potent magic to obtain these. Next we headed to the orchard, where Black Chaos was able to use a spell in order to obtain honey from the beehive there, without too much trouble. On the way back to the village, however, we were attacked by a small ambush of tigers as well as a small group of shan sao. The attack, nearly proved too much for us, and we had to flee. Thankfully, we made it back to the village.
There we were able to finish the idol, eventually… It took us several tries to get things exactly right. The surviving saru, about a dozen in all out of nearly fifty, decided to leave the region and join with Big Chief Bagoomba. We led the survivors back to the tribe having learned a great lesson on adherence to taboo.

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The Lost Tribe of Fire Mountain
The Year of Awakening #10

From the Memories of Yamboya Mosswalker
Big Chief Bagoomba
The Year of Awakening
“What is lost is often found.”
I was waiting in the hut of Bengoukee with some other heroes of the jungle. Black Chaos, and Mowgli I had traveled with before and knew them to each be capable in their own way. The one hero I didn’t know was a tiger katanga from the Wise Ones called Malinsar. Eventually Bengoukee joined us. The aged korobokuru shaman told us that late last night they had received word from a member of the long-thought lost Cantambi tribe sometimes referred to as the Tribe of Fire Mountain.
The Cantambi were korobokuru and were believed to live under Fire Mountain. The messenger who had arrived was near death, and asked for help from Big Chief Bagoomba. Apparently, following the cataclysm that happened on Fire Mountain nearly a year earlier, the tribe had migrated. Now there was an enemy intent on wiping them out. Bengoukee had decided to send us to find the Lost Tribe, and help them if we could.
We set out at once, following Bengoukee’s instructions we passed an old dead tree. As we passed, we heard the sound of whimpering. Investigating we discovered a group of flying spiders feasting upon a dead dog who was protecting a litter of puppies. Fighting off the spiders was a chore, but we survived. Everyone but I took a puppy to look after, I figured I was already their friend so I would let someone else take them for now.
That night, we each had bad dreams. Each was similar, though each featured an enemy individualized for us. They seemed to warn that if we proceeded, we would be destroyed. It was rather creepy, but we continued onward anyway.
Eventually, we found the cave which led into Fire Mountain. It was slow going at first, due to the darkness and treacherous footing, but eventually we came to an area with flowing fire rock. We skirted this hazard and arrived at an underground river with a canoe waiting for us there. We assumed that the canoe must have been left by the messenger that made it to Bagoomba’s village. So we guessed we had to go down river to find the Cantambi.
We were able to fit all of us on the canoe, though Black Chaos had to take monkey form to do so, and Malinsar and I were the ones forced to do all the paddling. We had made our way downstream and were approaching a shoreline near a vast lake when a massive giant crocodile attacked the boat. The boat was destroyed and Malinsar nearly was eaten by the creature, but we were able to save him and make our way to shore. We opted to rest for a bit and recuperate rather than continue immediately.
When we were ready, we explored the tunnel which led from the beach. Nearby we found more canoe’s and some additional oars. This meant that we at least had a way to leave when we wanted to, though we would have to pass the giant crocodile again. We also found a path further into the mountain, which we followed.
In the next chamber we were attacked by a large group of strange looking creatures led by an incredibly ugly woman who we couldn’t get a good look at. The strange creatures outnumbered us three-to-one, and they were tough. What was worse, was that we lacked any strategy when we attacked, and soon Black Chaos was separated from us, and Mowgli was surrounded. It was the worst battle that I had ever taken part in…though eventually thanks to Malinsar’s retreating, we were able to win the day. Several of the creatures and their leader had escaped however.
We rested again, rather than push our luck, but eventually moved on. We couldn’t find our opponents, but were discovered by a young korobokuru girl named Gilroukul. Her nubari was spotty, but we were able to learn that the enemy we had faced also threatened her village, and had come from a crack in one of the caves which had appeared recently. She led us to her village and to her witch-doctor.
The Cantambi’s witch-doctor was named Hilkouri, and he was identical to Bengoukee. We asked him about this, and learned that the pair were cousins. Hilkouri told us that two of his villages’ best warriors, Duncrawl and Jythin had been able to fight off the villainous Liztarie when she recently attacked, but she would return. Liztarie was apparently an evil caiman katanga, and had been the leader of our mysterious opponents earlier.
We were asked to share in a concoction with the elders and speak of our great past deeds before they would judge to see if we could help them. Our stories were few, as we were all relatively new to being heroes, but they judged us worthy enough. Before we had even finished the audience, we were alerted that the village was again under attack.
Liztarie had returned with her bizarre humanoid allies, which Hilkouri called troglodytes, what was worse was that she had somehow enticed a gnasher garuda into helping her. The combat was worse than everything we had experienced beforehand, and we only survived thanks to frequent healings by Hilkouri and the assistance of Duncrawl and Jythin. But eventually we took down first Liztarie, then her garuda, then her men.
Having rescued the tribe from their danger, we returned with a few of them to the surface and to meet with the Tribe of Big Chief Bagoomba. Hilkouri and Bengoukee were very happy to see one another again after many, many, years. Good relations between the two tribes seemed enviable…

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A Stitch in Time
The Year of Awakening #7

From the Memories of Shere Kahn
Big Chief Bagoomba
The Year of Awakening
“Time is the best teacher”
I was relaxing in the cool air one night within the village of Big Chief Bagoomba. Suddenly, I encountered a pleasant looking woman who introduced herself as Kitari, the cousin of Bagoomba. She said she had a task for me, and had me follow her. When we arrived at her hut, I discovered that we were not alone. Kitari had also asked other warriors to join us, including Moyash; a mystic form the Simbara who seemed to be hiding something, Kahulae of the Windy Place; a shaman from the Wise Ones, and Pure Chaos, a savage wizard form Bagoomba’s tribe like me.
Kitari then told us that father, Shirak, uncle of Bagoomba was dying and she wanted to prevent it. She said she had learned from a vision that there was a wondrous crystal of great power that used to belong to the Ancients of Malatra which could save her father from death. Her vision had given her the location of the crystal, however, she was not the type to be able to retrieve it herself. Thankfully, she was able to find us.
She asked us to retrieve it. She then told us that the crystal was located about two days travel within one of the ancient structures on the far side of Fire Mountain that was mostly buried, but which had become accessible again following the catastrophe on Fire Mountain earlier in the year. She provided us with a guide to help us locate the structure, a strong and fearless warrior named Pana. We set out immediately. In retrospect we should have asked her more questions.
A few hours down the trail, we discovered an angry carnivorous ape trying to eat a baby tiger. We rescued the tiger and scared away the beast. I was able to communicate with the creature, but only on a limited level. It was obviously very young. We debated what to do with it, but eventually Pure Chaos decided to keep it and take it with us.
We soon found the cave which allowed access to the structure of the ancients. Not far inside, we found a deep hole in the ground, which we assumed was where we needed to venture. Our climbing skills were not great. When we made it to the bottom, we discovered we were in some sort of building that once long ago must have been above the surface. The room was also lopsided. I was attacked by a large spider, but we were able to scare it to the far corner of the room and headed down the stairs we found. At the bottom the floor became level again, and we saw that there were several rooms we could explore.
In one area we found a small green gem. In the next were several stacks of parched leaves tied together with hide covers. We tried to look at these, but they fell apart when we touched them. The last room we investigated had some sort of apparition within it. It appeared to be a spirit of one of the Ancients. It was creepy, but unresponsive until we started asking it questions. It said it was “of the Ancients” and that its name was unimportant but he once used to live in the structure we were in. It had remained to warn trespassers to the danger within. When asked what the place was, it responded: “This is the Tower of Order, a place of meditation and study. We were mages who studied the influence of time on the world.”
When we asked what the dangers were, it told us that within there was a shard that could cause agonizing death or heal the infirm, but it was not meant for this world. We asked more about the shard and it told us it was “a stitch in time to mend past errors…or so we thought. Regardless of what it is, the wisdom to do what is right remains with you.” It pointed to something in the corner of the chamber and indicated we take it. “Use this device with the shard, with it you can move it or make time safe once more. Once you have seen the effects of the shard, your path shall be clear.” With that it vanished. The device it had indicated was some sort of ceramic tongs.
We descended to next flight of stairs, and found a room where a disembodied voice told us that our task was simply to reach the other side of the room. This wasn’t too difficult, except if we stepped on the wrong tile, we were magically returned to our end of the room. It took some trial and error to find the correct path, but once we did it was easy.
Using another staircase to descend, we arrived in a room protected by a fire spirit and a massive fire barrier. It told us that only those of Ancient blood may pass. Pure Chaos and I passed the fire barrier, and I had to save Pure Chaos from death. Kahluhae and Moyash were not sure they could survive the fire and remained on their side.
In the level below, we found what we had come for: a mysterious glowing shard of light that resembled a gem. Pure Chaos was able to use the tongs to grab it, but suddenly three strange spirits appeared in front of us. One of them hit Pure Chaos, who seemed to become much younger. He took off, running up the stairs with me following.
At the fire room, Pure Chaos nearly died in the fire again, but passed the tongs to Moyash who began running up the stairs as well. Kahluhae saved Pure Chaos while I tried to slow down the advancing spirits. It didn’t go well for me, and I had to retreat past the firewall as well. The spirits got into a fight with the fire spirit, and although the fire spirit destroyed one, the others took care of it and followed Moyash. Kahluhae was able to use a spell to trap one of them within his bag, but the other was too far out of range and still following Moyash. We were surprised to see that Moyash was attempting to use the shard himself for some reason! On my way after him, I was jumped by the spider on the top floor again.
When next I saw any of the others. we were on the surface and Moyash had used the tongs to destroy the shard, which caused the remaining spirit to vanish. Pure Chaos had somehow been de-aged to childhood, though he seemed to be recovering quickly. We had to return inside to look for Kahluhae, who had been behind everyone else and had been attacked by the spider before falling into the hole again. We saved him, and we began back for the village of Big Chief Bagoomba.
Moyash later confided in us that he believed himself to be a reincarnation of one of the spirits of the domes that surrounds Malatra. He had hoped to somehow use the shard to restore himself. We figured that he might have jungle madness, and resolved to watch him closer.
When we arrived at Bagoomba’s village we had to tell Kitari that we had failed to recover the item she wanted, her father was able to speak long enough before he died to get her to let him go. She thanked us for our efforts and told us that she owed each of us a favor. When we left her hut we had the misfortune of meeting Bengoukee, the wisest shaman of the jungle. He knew what we had done, and gave us a stern warning against breaking taboo. He told us he would be keeping an eye on us more in the future.

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Plague
The Year of Awakening #6

From the Memories of [[:yamboya-mosswalker | Yamboya Mosswalker
Big Chief Bagoomba]]
The Year of Awakening
“Fear is a disease: hope is the only cure.”
I sat in front of the roaring fire within the village of Big Chief Bagoomba. Near me were other warriors and heroes of our tribe and various visitors. The grizzled korobokuru shaman Bengoukee danced before us. He told us that three spirits; Enala the sky, Bootara the wind, and Ligela the earth have all warned him of danger to Malatra. A plague was coming—one that would likely wipe all life from that land.
Bengoukee told me that I was chosen to stop this plague. Also chosen were the village warrior a tiger katanga called Shere Khan, and a monkey katanga witch doctor called Black Chaos. The korobokuru then told us that the spirits had also told him that we had one chance to save the jungle. We needed to head to the north and find a pool surrounded by a grove of trees. Then when the water turned pink with the morning sun, we were to find the earth woman, and embrace her. Then we would learn how to speak with the Speaker of Wisdom, the oldest tree in the grove. This would help us find a way to prevent the plague.
The three of us set out at once and soon we had found the grove. We had but a few hours to wait until morning, though unfortunately we missed the pink of the pool, and had to wait another full day. We hoped we had enough time. During the day, Shere Khan was the lucky to find the Earth Woman—an idol statue deep below the water. Black Chaos was able to reach it and embrace it, and it told him to drink the pink water. He needed rescuing, but we survived.
When the water turned pink the next day, we tried drank some of it. The world seemed to go fuzzy, and the trees in the grove looked somewhat different. We began wandering about the grove, and discovered that we could talk to the trees. Some of them were more talkative than others, and a few were downright unfriendly. A few gave us some gifts. Eventually, we found the Speaker of Wisdom was an dead Shaggybark tree.
The Speaker told us that the plague that was coming had come before, four hundred cycles ago. It had survived it, but barely. It had felt that the plague was a way to wipe clean the life of Malatra so that life could start over. It didn’t know much more so suggested that it speak to someone older. It told us to go to the River of Laughing Idols, plant our feet in the soil and eat a pit of its root. We thanked the Speaker of Wisdom and retrieved the root.
We headed to the river, though we had to avoid some lizard men along the way. When we arrived, we did as the Speaker had suggested and soon found that we could speak with stones. The nearest stone idol told us that the plague that was coming came every four-hundred cycles or so, when Fire Mountain produced a smoke in the air. It was unstoppable once it began. Some loose pebbles in the water wanted to be scattered elsewhere, in order to see the world.
A statue fountain gave us the most useful information. It told us that the plague was actually a cloud of insects, horrid winged things that ate everything they came across very quickly. They were called luroki, and swarmed every four hundred cycles or so. They were about the size of nubari’s thumb and bred in large numbers. During the last swarm, some intelligent apes attempted to stop it before it began and had gathered some sap from iticala trees. They were too late however, and were all killed.
A big gray rock told us the nest of the creatures was miles south down the river, and was somewhere in a half-submerged cave near the Itcala trees. This was enough information for us to begin our quest. So we headed downriver. We fought some winged snakes early the next day, and took their skins as trophies. On the third day we found the trees, and decided we needed some sap.
Black Chaos nearly died retrieving some, as a hidden leaf spider was ready to attack anyone who climbed the tree to get the sap which only flowed from the upper branches. But we were successful. We took the sap and returned to the river, where we eventfully found the half-submerged cave.
Traveling down the cave was difficult, as the water made keeping a torch lit nearly impossible. We fell into a hole in the ground and had a devil of a time getting out. Worse, it put out our torch.
Eventually, we made our way to the chamber that housed the nest. We made it not a moment too soon, as we could see the luroki larvae beginning to hatch. We quickly spread the sap over the nest and lit a fire. We each got stung a dozen times for our trouble, but we succeeded, and the jungle was saved from the terrible plague of the luroki! A feast was given in our honor at Big Chief Bagoomba’s tribe that night.

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Dark Shadow Over Kuamu
The Year of Awakening #4

From the Memories of Yamboya Mosswalker
Kuamu
The Year of Awakening
“Deceit is the weapon of greed.”
I had been invited to the village of Kuamu to help with the yearly Spirit Hunt. It was only after I arrived that I learned that my old friends Black Chaos and Mowgli had likewise been invited. After a great feast the three of us were asked to guard the tent of Chief Adili for the night while her son Shujaa, the village Champion, was on a hunt. At dawn however, we saw a horrifying sight as Shujaa exited his mothers hut holding a bloodied dagger. He escaped into the jungle before we could stop him, but the we were able to raise the alarm.
Thankfully Adili was not dead, though Mtukutu the village healer said the blade had been poisoned and he was not sure he could save her. Mtukutu’s older brother Tilifu the village seer stated that by village law he should now be in charge, though he said until he was able to discover how this happened he would not take the position. Mtukutu took us back to his hut where he told us that he might be able to save Adili’s life if he could make a poultice that could cure the poison, though he needed our help to gather four ingredients which were each located nearly a day away in four different directions. He also told us that he didn’t trust his older brother, and that we should be wary in our travels.
We set out at once, first to the east to find a blue fruit that only came from a specific tree that only grew in the shadow of White Crest Mountain. After many hours of travel, we made it there and met an adolescent saru named Kima. She had dropped a spell fetish down a hole and needed our help to get it out. After many attempts, I hit on the idea of using a stick with tree sap to get the fetish. She was very thankful. Black Chaos gave her a few of his spare spell fetishes as well.
Soon, we found the fruit tree at the base of the mountain. Before we could grab the single fruit we saw growing there, a large hawk came and scooped it up and flew to its nest on the mountain cliff-face. Black Chaos was able to climb the mountain wall and retrieve the fruit while the hawk was away from the nest. It didn’t take kindly to that though, and chased after him. Meanwhile I discovered a broken egg which was the same color as the fruit on the ground under the nest. I did my best to make a mimicry of the egg, which I think allowed Black Chaos to escape the hawk’s wrath.
We began to head back to the village, but before we arrived we discovered the dead body of a nubari swinging from a tree. It was Shujaa, the village champion. It looked as if he had committed suicide, and the dagger he had used to wound his mother was right next to him. It was pretty damning evidence, but we still wondered if Shujaa had been compelled, or replaced with a shape-shifter or something.
We made it back to the village and Mtukutu again urged us to hurry. Next we headed to the shores of the Sleepy Lake, where we needed to retrieve an egg of a duckbilled garuda. It took some distracting, but Mowgli was able to sneak in and grab one and escape before the garuda could react.
We opted to split up. Black Chaos took the egg back to the village, while Mowgli and I headed to collect the third item. Unfortunately, along the way we were attacked by some horrible little doll constructs. We were nearly killed, and only survived because I sent Garuda Bait, my monkey friend, to retrieve Black Chaos who arrived just in time to save us.
Our next item to collect was a screaming mushroom that was located in a cave to the west. We found the cave and began to explore it. We came to an area which had what was likely a door, but we couldn’t find any way to open it. When we tried pushing on a nearby boulder, we were surprised when it started to move. A face in it appeared and said it would let us pass if we spoke the password. We asked what password, and it told us that it was the answer to a riddle. Thankfully, the stone creature was able to tell us the riddle: “You should behold what lies beyond the still water’s surface, call the mother of the lamb, or hear the beginning of the eulogy, and you will realize the solution is where the puzzle began.” It took us a few repetitions but we eventually realized that the answer was the verbal word “you”. So spoken, the rock-creature said we could pass and wandered through the nearest wall like it wasn’t there.
Inside the room we encountered a mushroom that actually screamed when we entered. This caused some horrible skeletons to animate and approach us. It was quite freighting. Black Chaos was able to cut the mushroom and we retreated, leaving the skeletons without significantly engaging them in combat.
We returned to where Black Chaos had stashed the garuda egg before rescuing us from the kani dolls, and found that it was missing. We headed back to the village to drop off the mushroom. Luck was with us, and we found one of the villagers had retrieved the garuda egg, and was trying to claim that he had fought a garuda for it. Black Chaos intimidated him into returning it.
Next we set off to the north to find a tribe of korobokuru that were supposed to have a special honey ginger root. After several hours of travel, we encountered a lone korkbukuru, being attacked by a group of bullywugs. We saved him by killing the bullywogs and learned his name was Kithtack. Kithtack was kind enough to take us to his village. Once there the chief, Tolokyu the Bold, threw a feast in our honor. We had rescued one of his tribe, and were thus welcome. When we asked about the root, he told us that we could only be given it if one of us could win a contest of skill, which was an archery competion. The tribal shaman named Sanju gave us a hint in the form of a cryptic message in order to help us. Mowgli correctly interpreted the hint and Black Chaos eat the magic carrot which was at the feast, giving him superior accuracy for the contest.
After winning, we were given the root and we headed back to Kuamu. Along the way we heard the sound of a distressed monkey. We followed it and discovered that it was a critically wounded chimp who led us to his dying master before passing himself. The master’s name was Eertu, and he was a druid of some renown, his pet chimp was called Mikita. He told a story of how he had been killed. Apparently, Tilifu the Seer had killed him. Eertu had made something for Tilifu which had allowed him to mind control someone. Tilifu was also being helped by someone else, though Eertu didn’t know who. Eertu died soon after, and we took both the bodies back to Kuamu to be burned as was custom.
When we arrived, we gave the final ingredient to Mtukutu, and told him what we had learned. We were surprised to learn that Mtukutu had been the other person Eertu had thought was conspiring with Tilifu. Apparently, the brothers had planned simply to discredit Shujaa, in order to advance in the tribes ascension order. Tilifu had betrayed Mtukutu and had Shujaa attack Adili instead. He was now genuinely trying to save her, rather than let his wicked brother take control of the tribe.
We went to confront Tilifu, and discovered that he had no intention of going quietly. Combat within his hut began, and soon it had spilled out into the village. Tilifu had his surviving kani dolls help him, and was a capable spell caster. We were tired, and nearly without spells. It was not an even battle.
We held out as long as we could, but only survived because Adili was able to recover enough to join us, where she publicly cast him from the tribe. He was enraged, but fled the village with only the clothes on his back. As an exile, we doubted that we would see him again.
It was a time of mixed feelings within the tribe. Adili had survived, and the tribe would endure, but Shujaa was dead, their friendly neighboring druid Eertu was dead, and Tilifu was banished leaving the tribe without a seer. Much healing would need to be done, but for the time being we knew we had done good.

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