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.