From the Memories of Yamboya Mosswalker
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.