Malatra Redux

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.

Jungle News

Beats of the Jungle Drums
It is my sad duty to inform you that Tribal Chief Radumpti of the Koshiva succumbed to his long battle with the fever late last night. The popular chief had long held the Koshiva together with his wisdom, compassion, and charisma.

Early last year, Radumpti of course, took some time away from the duties of the chief to deal with the repercussions of his eldest son’s attempted coup. When Shubak, the acting chief and presumptive heir to Radumpti’s position died suddenly following an attack by garuda; Radumpti was again forced to take the reins. Now Radumpti’s own death has created a power vacuum in the tribe.

Since Radumpti’s eldest son Rakid had been barred from the position of chief following his attempted coup two years ago, and subsequent exile and descent into wickedness Revenge of the Exile; and Radumpti’s other child Rakil has yet to perform the ritual of manhood, the title of Chief is now open for the first time in many years.

Taronee, Witch Doctor of the Koshiva, would not rule out foul play. “The whole thing strikes me as convenient.” he said, referring to Shubak’s death so soon after Radumpti’s unpopular decision to forgive his ne’er-do-well eldest son Rakid after the recent Great Hunt fiasco. Rakid himself had been banished by the Council of Tribes due to interfering with the sporting event, but Radumpti had always seen the best in his son and had asked the Koshiva to let him return if he so desired.

With Radumpti’s untimely death, it is likely that decision will be reversed as one of Radumpti’s political rivals is now certain to become the new Chief of the Koshiva.

“It will probably be War Chieftain Teela,” Taronee said. “But Radumpti’s brother Trade Chieftain Katar is fighting for the position.” When asked Taronee refused to endorse either candidate. “Its a choice between getting us all shot or starving us.” he said.

Taronee himself claims to hold no aspirations for the title, and insiders believe he has been quietly grooming Rakil to eventually take the role. “Whoever becomes the new chief had better have a good head on their shoulders, dark omens are ahead.” Taronee stated.

The exile Rakid could not be reached for comment.

Radumpti was an aged 38 cycles old and is survived by his brother Katar, and two children Rakid and Rakil.

Sharp Teeth, Mostly Tasty
The Year of New Peoples #24

From the Memories of Shere Kahn
Tribe of the Koshiva
The Year of New Peoples
“Never become desperate enough to trust the untrustworthy.”
We were on a mission for Chief Katar of the Koshiva tribe. His beautiful wife Ootoo, had accidentally been blinded in the Ootoongee Hairpin Festival, and we had been asked to find a cure. Apparently, there was a rumor of a lost tribe of Nubari called the Kukulatu who might have a cure for blindness. The tribe was somewhere north and west of the Wise Ones, near where the River Hekiba flows down from Fire Mountain. However, they warned us that even though the tribe had not been in contact with any tribes known to the Council of Tribes for several generations, the Kukulatu were well known to be cannibals!
And so, we set out. My companions were Freya of the Huroola, Kahluae of the Windy Place from the tribe of the Wise Ones, and Black Chaos from the Tribe of Big Chief Bagoomba like myself. As we traveled. we shared stories of the horrific and vicious Kukulatu which were whispered of in rumors in all of our tribes.
Sadly, the rainy season came upon us as we journeyed. The downpours were frequent interruptions to our travels, and made some of the footing treacherous. One such microburst occurred when we were at the crest of a large hill, we were forced to slide down the hillside, but ended up within a small swarm of giant ants that were obviously on their way back to nest somewhere. We wisely avoided combat, and escaped the creatures, but only barely.
The frantic race through the undergrowth, got us quite far from the trail and rather lost. It was while we were resting during a break from the rain when we first heard strange voices :“Kuka?” “Vuka!” “No, kuka!” they said. We notched that we had been discovered by two strange Nubari warriors…and although we couldn’t immediately see others, we guessed they were not alone.
We thankfully were not attacked, even though we had real problems communicating. The pair introduced us to their groups leader, named Nuaki Latu and we saw that the hunting party consisted of six Nubari and two Saru. They acknowledged that they were Kukulaturi. They asked if we were sharp spirits or good eatin’. When we said that we were Nubari mostly from the Tribe of Big Chief Bagoomba, they laughed at us and were able to say something about us "not being whistle tribe either’ and that they only used whistles. This was very confusing to us.
They agreed not to eat us and seemed a little offended by our request. They also agreed to take us to their village, though we had to be blindfolded to get there. When we arrived several hours later, we were taken before the Council of Almost Ancestors. The council was composed of three members and was attended by the tribal warlord, who was some sort of chieftain on defensive matters. We pled our case as best we could. but we were careful to avoid telling them exactly which tribe we had come from. They laughed when we mentioned Big Chief Bagoomba or the Simbara, and seemed excited about “good eatin’” when we mentioned the Wise Ones.
Eventually, they told us that we should go and trade in the village and return when “Lizu Sapa returns to Zima’s embrace”. We understood that to mean ‘sunset". We wandered about town, and were able to make a few minor trades for some nice goods like new sandals for Black Chaos. We were unable to find any “cure for blindness” though, and assumed that such a thing might be a closely guarded secret. We did hear that a “subawa te” had killed a baby in the village recently. We also got the feeling that these people were not canabals or even hostile, though they did make an occasional joke about us being "good eatin’", and that we were “mostly tasty”. It was like there was some inside joke we didn’t quite get.
At sunset, we returned to the Council of Almost Ancestors, they were prepared to turn us away for fear of being spies. until we finally confessed that we had come from the Koshiva tribe. They had great respect for the legendary Koshiva, whose name in their language meant “Great spirit cooks”. So agreed, given some conditions.
It was only then that we realized that other tribes or words may translate differently as well. Bagoomba apparently meant “Drum go drum” and Nubari as “not drum tribe”. Alternatively, The Wise Ones phonetically in their language sounded like “Goo dee tin” or as we had thought when said fast. “good eatin’” The Kukulatu, translated to “sharp teeth, mostly tasty” which was a way of saying that people were not worth the great deal of trouble to try to kill in order in order to eat them. Apparently, the Kukulatu had split from another tribe which they called the Kukupaturi, a group that still was cannibals and lived farther north near the lizard men of Dokuba Swamp after the two groups split nearly four generations earlier.
The Almost Ancestors told us that if we could convince the Eldest One to make the cure for blindness, then relations could start to normalize with the Koshiva tribe. They introduced us to the Eldest One, an old crone in a withered hut filled with various herbal concoctions. Black Chaos suspected that she was a witch doctor.
After assessing us in uncomfortable silence for a few minutes she told us that we were to take a gourd to the Moaning Cave, where we would find a fish that had no sight. We were to retrieve the fish without letting it see the light of day, and return with it alive to her before she would make the cure for us. This sounded like a tough task, as the gourd already weighed as much as an infant nubari, but we figured we would manage somehow, and set out immediately.
The directions we were given to the Moaning Cave were detailed enough to get us there, though the trail was long. Eventually, we arrived at the Moaning Cave, so named for the strange hum that it made when the wind blew.
We began exploring the caves and soon were attacked by a group of giant-sized mosquitos. We realized that these must be the ‘subawa te’ we had been told of. Thankfully, we were pretty sure that we killed them all.
We eventually found the pool of water in the cave with some blind fish in it. While we were determining the best method to catch one of them and get both it and water into the gourd, we were attacked by a strange crab-like creature which shot sticky strands at us. Kahluae was badly entangled and I had to swim to not lose the gourd to the bottom of the pool. Black Chaos and Kahluae were eventually able to destroy the creature, and I had succeeded in catching the fish, so we returned to the village.
We arrived there several hours later, and took the fish right to the Eldest One. Surprisingly, all she die was cut the head off the fish and wrap it in a banana leaf. She then gave us the head and told us to take it to the old tribal cook, and to come back to her in the morning.
In the morning we were given the cure for blindness, as well as some other tokens in thanks for disposing of the subawa te. The Council of Almost Elders said that they hoped the Koshiva would start to think better of the Kukalaturi, and looked forward to the day when the two tribes could truely become friends. We were blindfolded as we left the village, and taken to where the hunting party had discovered us. The rest of our journey back to the Koshiva was uneventful.

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…

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.

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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