Form the Memories of Ziss
The Tribe of the Simbuki
The Year of Gathering Darkness
“Fortune can, for her pleasure, fools advance, And toss them on the wheels of Chance.”
I had come to the village of the Simbuki on order to witness their induction of a new chief. Apparently, the old chief Wutuka had somehow foreseen his own death, so a new chief had to be chosen. The winner of the honor was an outsider shu called Booda. This was something of a controversial choice for several Simbuki, as proud Shimok or brave Mantikqua were the favored choices for the roll. Still, the shu were an honorable people, and none would speak a word of disrespect against their new chief.
After a night of revelry, in which I met other heroes of the Jungle including The Masked called Broke-Horn, as well as my old comrades Jadescale and Kahulae of the Windy Place. We spoke with several other luminaries of the jungle including Gwalk’maur. The oscray warrior Trunk, and his nubari companion Runk, as well as the impala katanga Yvehc all had come to the tribe as well.Grey Shadow, nubari warrior of the Rudra and honorary member of the Simbuki tribe had brought congratulations from Com’lak chief of the tribe of the Rudra. Sssarita, the conniving snake katanga had come with him.
Several contests were held in order to determine the best eater, the best with the blowgun, bow, and the best at tossing gourds of water. It was rather fun to participate in the celebration. After the festival a great party was held, in which the only thing that seemed to be contested was who could party harder. During the party, we were able to witness little Cenari, and the outsider shu Tweek share a passionate kiss. It was clear that at least one member of Booda’s group would be welcome in the tribe.
In the morning, as visitors left one by one, Tweek spoke with Broke-Horn and expressed concern over a bad dream she had during the night. Broke-Horn wisely told us all about it, but we were unable to figure out the meaning of the dream which featured the village being destoryed in some way. We also found that we couldn’t get in to see the new chief but Urg, his saru friend, wouldn’t let us in to see him.
A few hours later, we watched as chief Wutuka official made Booda the new chief. Before the celebrations could recommence, a massive storm with high winds and lightning suddenly struck the village. Great damage occurred, including the complete destruction of the food storage hut, with all the food inside having been ruined by a flash flood. Worse yet; in spite of the best efforts of Broke-Horn, Jadescale, and I to hold up the stage, or Kahulae’s attempt to get those on it to safety, Wutuka was injured. The old shu’s heart soon gave out.
Booda wasted no time in trying to rally his new people. He sent a group including Kaulae to fish the River of Laughing Idols, a group including Broke-Horn and myself to hunt for game, and a group including Jadescale to remain and help repair the village. Over the next few days each group had its own adventure.
The hunters had to deal with a nasty pair of horn nosed garuda, which they were able to kill and bring back as food. The fishermen had to contend with a water garuda that looked similar to a snake headed thing. Kahulae also killed his. Jadescale was forced to defend the remaining villagers by himself from a small group of dog garuda that attacked the village, which was unusual behavior for the creatures.
When we all reunited, we were told of another disturbing dream from Tweek. The next morning, when we awoke we discovered that the body of Chief Wutuka, which had been awaiting funeral rites, had been stolen in the middle of the night! Booda asked for volunteers to find it, but before we could speak up a few of the shu expressed concern over the spirits seeming disfavor of Booda as the chief. When Mantikqua spoke in favor of Booda, things calmed down. We were given the job to find the body, and went to speak with Booda and the witch doctor Melox.
Melox informed us that he had had a vision of a great enemy behind the recent troubles. He had searched near the village and found evidence of leopard katanga as well as something else that resembled a leopard. His communing with the spirits had told him that the enemy that resembled a leopard could only be hurt by weapons that were blessed. Melox also told us that Chief Wutuka’s soul was missing, and that killing the creature which was the cause of the villiage’s problems was the only way to get it back. He then gave us several blowgun darts, some utilizing shu sleeping potion, others which had been blessed.
We set out immediately, and it wasn’t long before we had the trail of the leopard katanga. Soon we began to hear sounds of singing. As we approached we saw a massive bird the size of a full grown shu sitting in a tree. Both the bird and the tree were singing. We spoke to the odd pair and learned that they had seen the wicked leopard katanga and their ‘not-leopard’ leader earlier. They said that the leader intended to eat Chief Wutuka’s heart in order to gain some sort of power. They also told us the location of the wicked katanga. Kahulae asked if they were some sort of spirit, to which the pair replied with laughter before both flying away.
We soon found the cave where the katanga had been hiding, and dealt with their sentries. Broke-Horn’s sleep spell proved invaluable. In the cave itself, we witnessed a leopard katanga shaman and some strange cat-headed humanoid preparing a ritual to cut open the body of Chief Wutuka. Two leopard katanga guards stood nearby. Once again, Broke-Horn’s sleep spell proved useful. With two of the leopard katanga asleep, the leopard-headed creature swiftly fell to the shu sleeping potion from a blowgun dart. After killing the remaining guard, and dispatching the sleeping guard and shaman, we tried to kill the leopard headed thing in its sleep. It didn’t work. We then remembered that it could only be hurt by blessed weapons, and Jadescale was able to kill it.
When the body was examined, Kahulae found an emerald necklace, which housed the soul of Wutuka. He broke it, freeing the soul. We then gathered the body and headed back to the shu village.
When we returned, we were treated as heroes. Tweek also informed us that she was to marry Cenari, and we were invited to the wedding. Broke-Horn was asked to be the best man, and Jadescale fulfilled maid of honor role in spite of his gender. A slight tremor in the earth during the ceremony was interpreted by Melox as the Spirit of the Earth being pleased. Happy days were in store for the Simbuki!