From the Memories of Brismark
The Village of Big Chief Bagoomba
The Year of Sorrow and Hope
“History repeats itself. So you might want to pay attention.”
It was at last time for Bengoukee’s An-Kwah-Zoh, a celebration of his many years of service. During this time we held a search for the most knowledgeable person in the jungle. Although I think I acquitted myself well, the honor eventually went to that annoying tiger katanga called Ffft.
Next came the general celebration, a feast, an impromptu dance, even smaller competitions of strength such as arm wrestling. Everyone who was anyone was there. Even the Council of Elders had all made an appearance. As the night wore on Ffft was formally inducted into the Council of Elders…against the apparent protests of several elders and seemingly the entire village of Big Chief Bagoomba who would have to deal with him the most. In addition, two provisional members were also announced, Lana the tiger katanga, and Flood the river tam’hi.
During all the activities rumors were swirling. Some people claimed that the Huroola had been visited by an evil spirit which drained the life from its warriors; others said that the Jungle of Lost Tribes was full of servants of Tiger, or that the garuda-people called Lacerials were to blame for the earthshakes and other dark omens. It was commonly known that Simbara had a legend that their tribe would be destroyed when the met the Tamara in battle, though some believed that the Golden Child was actually Lion which could potentially save all of Malatra. Many people were afraid that since the Ancients were more powerful than any current tribes but they themselves had been defeated by Tiger, there was concern that the elders would simply surrender to them. The biggest rumor concerned our ongoing treaty with the snake men, as some felt that Tiger did not in fact exist and it was just a trick the snake men had concocted with their lizard men allies to enslave other tribes.
As we relaxed and conversed, there was a commotion coming from the edge of the village. Apparently a group of snake men had arrived. We investigated along with seemingly half the tribe, and discovered over a dozen of the snake men. Their leader was brusk and unfriendly, and demanded to see Bengoukee immediately. We were cautious, but allowed for them to meet with the aged witch doctor.
Several heroes listened as the snake man called Leuren spoke to the Council of Elders. Apparently, the Snake-Mother had seen in a vision the source of the earthshakes. She said it was the spirit called Ngemba. The powerful air spirit apparently resided somewhere within the caverns beneath the Jungle of Lost Tribes. The Snake-Mother had dispatched Leuren to Bengoukee’s An-Kwah-Zoh in order to acquire some heroes closer to the blood of the Ancients in case they were needed within the Jungle of Lost Tribes.
Big Chief Bagoomba, who had been listening to the proceedings jumped in at this point and suggested more than just a few heroes. He wanted to send an army to the taboo area. Begoukee tried to protest, as did the rest of us, but many were swayed by Big Chief Bagoomba’a speech. Soon a massive strike force had assembled.
Grey Shadow, Reesta Nifari, Ffft, M’tarn, Ahg, Gwalk’maur, Ziss, Bluescale, Sss Ta, Go Gin, Facebones, Vor, Gerk, Snarl, Triceracop, Gar Azor, Katan, Malinsar, Taru, Spike, Kong, Koroth and I had all assembled. Additionally, all the twelve of the snake-men were going including the leader Leuren. Command of the expedition was given to Pure Chaos known as the “Voice of the Lion”, which seemed to be a good omen.
After the entire force being anointed with a foul-smelling paste by Bengoukee and other members of the Council of Elders, we set out toward the Jungle of Lost Tribes. Before we left, Bengoukee cautioned us not to bring anything from the Jungle of Lost Tribes, as ‘the secrets of the Ancients were not there for us to plunder’. Although things started out well, it soon became apparent that with such a large force we would be travelling very slowly. Pure Chaos made the decision to split our forces for the travel.
Three groups consisting of a mix of various heroes and snake men split up to approach the Jungle of Lost Tribes at differing angles. My heart went out for Pure Chaos as he had to deal with the unpleasantness of Leuren as he traveled. My sympathies were also with the second group, who had the incredibly talkative and annoying Ffft with them. Each group had a bit of a problem crossing a river when we individually came to it, but through use of some spells and ingenuity most of us managed to cross without incident. A few of us like Gwalk’maur, Gerk, and Ziss all got wet enough to wash off the anti-taboo paste though.
After a midday torrential rain, which required most of us to stop as we had to avoid getting wet using palm fronds or huddled under blankets, my group was greeted by Uubarr, the guardian of the Jungle of Lost Tribes. With his help we gathered all three groups together before entering the taboo region. Uubarr was able to point out the totems of warning left by ancient ancestors as we passed by them.
Soon we arrived a ridge which overlooked much of the valley of the Jungle of Lost Tribes. Below us we could see what appeared to be small leathery hairless winged eyeless grubs feasting on the body of a dead garuda. We investigated, while chasing the creatures away with some magic and well aimed attacks. They made little ‘meeping’ noises as they fled.
The dead garuda appeared to have been completely exsanguinated, we assumed by the creatures. But oddly, that was not what had appeared to have killed it had slash marks on parts of its body. We looked around the area and saw no lost weapons or any other evidence of combat, but we did find a strange patch of green fur which we couldn’t explain.
We soon entered the Village of the Ancients. Most of the discipline of our group began to fade at this point. Several groups of heroes explored various ruins. Even my group consisting of Koroth, Go Gin, Triceracop, and Pure Chaos himself couldn’t resist the temptation. Only Ziss amongst us seemed not to care about anything. There was even some attempts to take some of the more interesting items, though Pure Chaos put an end to that fairly quickly.
As we exited the ruin, we felt like we were being watched. A quick search led us to discover a large green-furred saru-like creature with four eyes and single horn on its head. We tried to calm it, but it appeared to not understand any language we could speak. When we started treating it like an animal we had more luck. We had the creature follow us, as Koroth had taken a liking to it.
When we arrived at a passage that Leuren told us would lead to Negemba, Pure Chaos decided to take Ziss, Triceracop, Go Gin, Koroth, Reesta, Bluescale, Gerk, and Gar Azor with us. Of course Ffft came along unbidden. No sooner had we entered, then an earthshake trapped us inside. Those outside could hear us, and began the process of digging us out.
Within the passageway was a set of stairs leading downward, at the end of which was a door with a six-fingered hand imprint on it. We were going to be stuck, until Triceracop had an idea to use two hands to fill in the imprint. The door opened, and we moved inside. Along the walls of the room were several shelves, which were immediately investigated by Reesta, Gerk, and Bluescale. In the center of the room was a massive chair, upon which sat a living ancient! The ancient appeared to be in some sort of coma, a strange helmet was upon the ancients head. Triceracop wasted no time in removing it. Suddenly the ancient was awake!
He was very confused, asking repeatedly where his wife was. His language was a bit archaic, but recognizable. When he began to understand his surroundings, he made a comment about how we were all savages and said that the garden needed weeding. Suddenly, though he became very alert and stated that the servants of the Tamara were approaching. We asked him if he was Ngemba, but he seemed to laugh at that and stated that he was not, and that Ngemba was HIS and he would not relinquish him.
Suddenly, the green-furred creature Koroth had been keeping with us moved in to attack. The ancient simply raised his hand and spoke a word and the creature fell dead. He then seemed to turn his irate glare upon us. Shouts from the outside revealed that our passage was clear again, and that more of the green-furred creatures were now attacking the expedition. We considered barricading ourselves inside, but another earthshake made us believe that idea would lead to us being crushed to death.
We reached the surface in the midst of a pitched battle. A few of our group were already beyond help, with Katan, Taru, and Kong all dead, the strange bug creatures draining them of blood already. The snake men told us they would defend us as we made our escape, but one of the green furred creatures called us ‘pathetic primitive savages’ before waving his hand and causing all the snake mens’ spears to become ropes.
We fled. In spite of efforts, it was anything put organized. Most of the expedition had made it back to Big Chief Bagoomba’s by the time we arrived there. A few more trickled in afterward. Of the Forgotten Father, which was what Bengoukee called the Ancient, we saw no sign. News of the creatures we had encountered allowed the council to deliberate and eventually name the green creatures as’ Kretch‘, ancient servants of the Tamara. The insect creatures were also known to be called ’ Akathasa’, and they were thoguht to be servants as well.
Bengoukee quickly studied all of those who had returned and confiscated several obvious items some of our expedition had taken from the ruins. Others were pleased to have gotten away with their items. He then inflicted a terrible punishment upon those who had broken the taboo by permanently dying one of their hands blue. This was greeted with a great deal of disgruntlement by those so affected led by Reesta, and even some of those who hadn’t gone with us sympathized with them. Surprisingly, Triceracop had his hand dyed as well, as he had one item, a small jade figurine, which he was unable to be rid of and hadn’t realized he still had it.
After the expedition’s failure, there was great resentment and animosity between many tribesmen and varying tribes themselves. Bengoukee quickly dispatched several members of the Council of Elders to find and deal with the Forgotten Father if they could. In retrospect, this was the end to the happy times of Malatra, and the opening salvo of a horrible war.