Leaving the ziggurat they found Gelik Aberwhinge and a few Pathfinder agents looking for them. Gelik told them Amivor wanted to see them immediately. Gelik informed them that a scouting party sent out to investigate the smoke from yesterday found that the Aspis Consortium expedition was very close. The scouting party had set some traps in the jungle and launched an ambush of their advance party, but a big Tian fellow with a large sword had charged through the creatures summoned for the ambush and nearly killed one of the Pathfinder agents before the scouting party could retreat. Amivor was very worried about being trapped in the ruins when the Aspis arrived and when he found out they had found the way to Saventh-Yhi he insisted on leaving immediately regardless of Joque’s protests.
So the Pathfinders packed up camp quickly and headed into the jungle midafternoon, with the trailblazing party pushing ahead.
They followed the nearby river upstream (north) for two days into the low mountains, sleeping in the glorious comfort of a cottage summoned by Mastuuk (a spell he had just fathomed how to work). On the third day they found a small tributary that forked off of the main river flowing east. They followed the stream because they had seen a small waterway flowing into the city in the image from the ziggurat and the main river was too large.
The next morning, as they followed the wide stream downwards, Joque was shocked to see Sasha Neva standing on the game trail in front of them with her pet dimorphodon Dondo lounging on a tree branch. Sasha greeted Joque and the others warmly, then warned them that they needed to turn back because her friends (the Red Mantis) had already found the lost city and would brook no interference in their mission. Joque looked around in the jungle for the inevitable assassins but saw nobody but Sasha. However, Joque knew that didn’t mean they weren’t there!
A few tense moments passed as Mastuuk tried to clumsily posture and threaten (something about a scrawny bookish half-orc makes that difficult), while Sasha made it clear she didn’t really want any trouble but knew how stubborn this particular group could be from her time with them on the Shiv. Eventually Joque suggested an agreement of some sort, he seemed to know what they Mantis wanted. Sasha mentioned something about how Joque had helped them before, drawing glares from the others. Joque told the others that the Red Mantis wanted to recover an ancient holy artifact of their Mantis god called The Mantis Blade. Sasha pointed out that the Mantis were not interested in wealth or glory, which is all the Pathfinders cared about. After much discussion, Sasha said she thought she could convince the assassins to accept the Pathfinders presence in the city if Zelshee swore a holy oath to her god that they would turn over the Mantis Blade should the Pathfinders find it. Zelshee considered carefully, and agreed to the pact with the evil league of assassins and Sasha allowed them to pass.
Continuing to follow the stream, they found it soon flowed over a waterfall into a serene mountain valley surrounded by cliffs on all sides. While the valley looked to be the size and shape of the one holding the city in the image, it was empty of any sign of ruins. However, they could just make out a jungle choked switch back that wound down the cliff near the falls and climbed down to investigate.
Following the stream at the base of the falls, they soon spotted paving stones that became an ancient vegetation choked road following the stream. After about a half mile the road crossed the a gorge cut by the stream over a rope bridge or a path leading down the gorge to a slick wooden walkway over the water. The road continued on the other side. They crossed below after dealing with some hungry wildlife at the crossing, and when they came up the other side the city of City of Seven Spears sprawled before them, the most obvious portions the seven huge ziggurats topped with towering obelisks.
Moving carefully into the city they found the buildings mostly intact though in ruins. It seemed abandoned as they walked the eerily empty ancient streets. They poked their head in a few buildings, but stuck to the streets as they made their way towards the monument on the northwest side. This district seemed to have once been focused on trade, probably a guild quarter. The pyramid was carved with scenes of trade and commerce and the obelisk had the Azlanti rune for wealth upon it. One building stood out because no vines grew on it like the others and the colors of it’s walls were strangely muted. It stood alone on a stone platform at the edge of the large lake the single access bridge long gone, it’s large double bronze doors standing open. Joque thought it must have been a bank or vault at one time, and he was drawn to it. He jumped across to the island, looked in the doorway, verified it indeed did look like what he thought from the entrance, then left….
Strolling around the district they found three other interesting structures. A broken bridge crossed the lake, but had gaps up to 30 feet long of missing bridge. A small castle or fort rose on an isolated island in the lake against the near cliff face. Lastly one of the vine choked buildings was surrounded by simian skulls on stakes, and monkey men skeletons hanging from poles on the roof. This last building naturally made them nervous, so Mastuuk cast an invisibility spell on Joque and he snuck in to take a look around. In a matter of moments Joque found his invisible self face to face with two deformed simian creatures lurking in ambush beside the first doorway and barely managed to not wet himself as he was close enough to smell their breath! These creatures looked quite dangerous with long sharp claws and teeth and they were obviously waiting for someone to come in! Joque carefully backed out, hoping the pounding of his heart didn’t give him away.
After a quick consultation, it was decided to retreat back towards the waterfall and set up their cottage for the night before meeting the expedition in the morning.
From the Journal of Drasheen Rettig
Will we be able to sleep that is the question? We are here. What have we gotten ourselves into. Zelshee had to make a promise to an evil god through his assasians…Never did I think I would see that day! This, although is something I can see the merit in…The Mantis Blade that they were looking for was a spiritual sword and it was an ancient artifact and therefore very important to the Red Mantis. With that promise we were able to pass without a fight and without fear of their presence. When this is over I would not ever want to touch the Blade ever again so it was a honorable promise. (I don’t think I will ever have to weild that Blade.)
Now, in the safety of the housing quarters Mastuuk has provided I can think of the telling of the invisible monkey men that Jocque almost ran into. I’m glad he could retreat safely. Prayers and Meditation…Prayers and Meditation…for all of us!
From the Log of Jocque Tarr
I am not sure but I think I saved us a lot of pain by introducing the group to the idea of promising the Mantis Blade to the boys in red. The problem comes later when we either don’t find the Blade or when one of the Goody Two Shoes types here decide they really can’t in all good conscience, hand the thing over to Chivane and her crew. Of course there is always strong possiblity that in the end Mantis decides to go ahead an kill us because that’s what they do…. like that story about the scorpion and the swan. At a minimum we put the fight off for awhile and there is always the slim possibility that we may have avoided a fight altogether ….. although I doubt it.
And there is a lot to be said for being invisible and really really sneaky. I am probably going to dream about claws and fangs waiting for me in the dark …. if not tonight, then some night.
I hope we wake up in the morning and find our friends at the top of the falls but even that is in doubt now. Savanth-Yhi is not going to give up its treasures and secrets without a blood price. Magic and, in my mind, the smell of death are in the air everywhere. We need to concentrate on finding what we came for and getting out of this place alive.
Maybe Mastuuk has some idea about what to look for. I wish somebody could tell us, up front, where not to look …. like in a house decorated with monkey skulls….. for instance…
Notes of Zelshee Venso
After sleeping for so long on rocks and roots, I now feel as if I’m a princess! This wonderful cabin that Mastuuk now makes for us each night is pure heaven!! Although, now I worry we’ll become to soft with all this pampering.
That oath that I swore to Sasha was probably the A: Hardest B: Stupidest C: Smartest thing I’ve done so far this trip!! We could not fight (or out smart or outrun) all the Mantis to Savinth-Ye. I saw no option. If they want it, and it’s of no use to us, and they’ll leave us alone, why not give it to them? OK, besides the fact that it’s an Evil blade dedicated to an Evil god! I’ll need to ask forgiveness and absolution and mercy, on top of doing years worth of penance!
This lost city is HUGE! And I am so overwhelmed! Where to start? Maybe the worship district. Or should we clear out as we go through the city? Leaving nothing behind us that can harm us. And then there’s the underground. From what I can tell from the little adventuring I’ve done – there’s always an underground and it’s going to be deadly!!!
How many more of those ‘monkey men’ are there lurking in the shadows? We need to deal with them! We can’t assume they will not come looking for us.
I’m really hoping Mastuuk has SOME idea of where to start looking for whatever it is we’re looking for. It might be in that vault thing that Joque went in……