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…