Golarion date 18 Kuthona 4710AR
Leaving behind the grieving spirit dancers, the trailblazers continued north along the river at the edge of the laughing jungle. Soon the river cut due east along the northern edge of the jungle. This was the point at which the plan was to cut due west across the savannah, which they did.
They traveled for 8 days across the open plains of the Mwangi expanse with the northern foothills of the Bandus visible to the south. Joque slowly recovered from his experience with the succubus, but it became evident Teyla was not. She was listless and weak. As they neared the Mwangi jungle, it was decided to take Teyla back to the main body of the expedition and see if they could get any help for her. Mastuuk summoned magical mounts for the Mastuuk and Teyla and they rode had back east catching up to the pack train by late afternoon while the others pressed on and awaited their return before entering the jungle proper. Fortunately the pathfinders had a scroll and the shaman Nkechi read it for them and Teyla instantly recovered. Mastuuk and Teyla, on more summoned mounts, caught back up to the others the next day.
The following morning they entered the jungle and searched for the ruins of what they hoped was Tazion. By evening they spotted crumbling towers through the trees, and Mastuuk took to the air in bird form to verify the presence of a sizeable ruins to the northwest. They camped in the jungle some distance from the ruins and approached the next morning.
They found the ruins were encircled by a crumbling wall and had been mostly overtaken by the encroaching jungle. The wall had completely crumbled in spots, and there was a large tar pit on it’s eastern side. Joque spotted a barbed net trap in the first wall opening they approached and disabled it. Creeping cautiously into the ruins they began to explore. On the eastern side they explored a wide ruined tower that they discovered was full of snakes. Why the crumbling tower was filled with snakes was a mystery, but they left it be and headed towards another structure to the west.
They approached the remains of a large building that appeared to once have had three slender towers rising from it. The courtyard entrance was overgrown with a large Boab tree and other trees could be seen growing out of other parts of the ruined builing. All of the towers had crumbled and the the remains of the walls were overgrown with jungle growth. There were large pools of water scattered about that turned out to be tar pits.
Joque tried climbing a wall to the north of the courtyard to see what was on the northern portion of the ruin near one of the towers. He was looking over another courtyard when he spied something watching him from the bushes. He dropped back down and started making plans to get the others over the wall, ignoring the open pathways through the ruin to the southwest. Soon the heads of two monkey men wearing rough hides appeared over the top of the wall and they threw rocks at Joque. The two small monkey men hopped up on the wall and began yelling at them in a guttural polyglot and shrieking calling for their surrender or they would die while threatening them with more rocks. They kept saying that the trespassers were invading the “temple” and that they couldn’t see the priest unless they surrendered their weapons. Soon 4 more of the monkey men appeared in the southern opening of the courtyard and started surrounding them.
A tense standoff proceeded where they monkey men demanded their surrender but the explorers were reluctant to give up their weapons. The monkey men started working up into a frenzy of frustration and started throwing rocks. The group tried to calm them, but the monkey men were soon joined by what appeared to be their leader, Roagru and his giant snake Chuk-To. Roagru entranced Teyla with his gaze while Chuk-To threatened to eat Mastuuk. Roagru called for their surrender or Chuk-To would eat Mastuuk. The group then surrendered their weapons, Mastuuk tried to talk to the priest but Roagru was only interested in capturing them so they could be judge by his god at the “Shedding Pit”. The monkey men then started trying to tie them up, which they resisted. As Drasheen began casting a spell at Roagru, Mastuuk spotted the holy symbol of Ydersius around Roagru’s neck. Drasheens spell started a wild melee in the courtyard which started with the explorers being weaponless! Mastuuk tried to fly away but was caught and crushed to within an inch of his life by the snake. Joque and Zelshee managed to recover some weapons and the monkey men were put down, though it was a close thing and Roagru proved very tough. Teyla and Drasheen were barely able to save Mastuuk from the snake and everyone survived though seriously hurt.
As they paused to catch their breath they began to wonder why a cult of crazed monkey men worshipping the beheaded god of the snake people would be here in Tazion…
From the Log of Jocque Tarr
I was able to use my increasing skills to find and disable a pretty dangerous net trap and finally convinced Zellshee to let me use my skills further to help get us into the ruins. One trap, I have found, probably means there are others and I think I helped us stay away from a couple of bad encounters this time. But I felt like an idiot when we got to the entrance to the tower building wall where I started climbing without looking beyond the roots of the Boab tree there. If I had taken a couple of more minutes to scout better we might have been able to meet Roagru, Chuk-To and their monkey men on flat ground. Instead I wound up putting the whole team at a tactical disadvantage from the get go.
I don’t know a whole lot about Ydersius but I am learning to hate him (it?) more every time we make any kind of contact with his minions. I’d bet my gold ear ring (if I still had one) that Chuk-To was left here by Ieana or that she at least spent some time here. I want to check out the “temple” inside the walls we just fought under to see if there is any indication that that scurvy bitch was here before us. So far, I haven’t a particular diety to pray to but if I did I would be praying that before this is all over I can put a blade through her scaly back and into her dark heart for what she did to the captain and crew of the Guenevere, not to mention leaving us on the Shiv as walking meat for the canibals there.
I am still chewing on myself for killing that spirit dancer. I mean, in the fray things like that can happen, but they might have been able to help us with the spirit part of that strange dream Nkechi conjured up. It may have been the key to helping us and me end this with Ieana’s black blood dripping from our blades. I have to be more in control of what I am doing and how much thought I put into it. I almost got killed up on that wall. What was I thinking when I cambered up there? Then again, if Teyla had not had her shield strapped on so she could not get up the wall fast enought we would have had that ugly shaman pinned between two fast blades. Sometimes it just comes down to timing, doesn’t it? Got to slow down a tad, maybe. Then again if I double guess every move I might find myself in the wrong place at the wrong time anyway. Cripes!
Notes from Zelshee Venso
I truly believe I am cursed. The gods have cursed my brain to not think!! Or to think the very opposite of what I should be thinking. I’ve racked my brain trying to come up with when I first noticed this phenomenon. And I believe it must have started when we encountered the evil one. So is my god punishing me for having failed to slay her the first time? Am I cursed with stupidity until I make right that mistake?
I now second and third guess myself. Never really knowing what the right course of action is. If the gods have cursed me themselves, there is no magic available to us that can overcome that. I am screwed!
I shall talk of this to Drasheen. Maybe she can help. Until then, I must pray, A lot!!
From the Journal of Mastuuk Venso
18 Kuthona 4710AR
We have finally reached Tazion but I am somewhat unsure of what is here. We encountered a group of snake worshiping monkeys with a pit of snakes and bad tempers. My capable companions came to my aid as I was the one brought to within an inch of death on this occasion. I should be rattled but I am not and that disturbs me. the question is, why are worshipers of Ydersius so entrenched in Tazion? I suspect Yarzoth has already been here but these clerics have setup an altar and have been around for some time. Perhaps it’s just a coincidence? I do recall legends that Ydersius’ head might be buried in the Expanse…perhaps this group is just searching for that lost relic?
I am excited to be in this ancient place, as dangerous as it is. This is my calling and this will be my great achievement! I hope there are no more of these snake worshipers about…I’d really like to work studying the ruins for some information on our final goal.
From the Journal of Drasheen Rettig
I am numb, speechless and confused. The more I pray and meditate and try to make sense of all of this and my companions the more confussed I get. Zelshee, Teyla, Joque and Mastuuk are the bravest people I have ever met and feel so close and loyal to all of them, but confussed. I have felt that nothing we could possiblly encounter on the way to Tazion would be even one tenth, no, make that one hundredth of the danger we would face once we got to the ruins. I feel we are all second guessing every move we each make. I feel the evil all around us, al- most like a curse, we have to be careful. Less talk and more action! This place is evil, people! We knew this from the start. We hope to distroy the evil that distroyed so much good and distupted the laws of nature. We are trying to do good! We can’t hold back! Pray…and go on…forget the past…Pray. When evil takes over innocense it then is controlled by evil and we have no choice but to fight back and stop the evil. The innocense has already been lost we are now faced with the evil and it must be stopped. Prayer isthe answer.