Serpent's Skull

To the Red Mountain

The Red Mountain Devil and Broken Courage

24 Arodus, 4710

After dealing with Mother Thrunefang, Mastuuk, Zelshee, and Drasheen returned to the evil temple to attempt to decipher the words carved on the wall while the others returned to the top to rest.

Mastuuk was eventually able to piece together the phrases on the 5 walls and above the door. They seemed to indicate some magic rituals to activate some sort of powerful magics at locations on the island. They concluded that Ieana had pieced together the information from the one set of carvings that had been restored and used it elsewhere on the island a few days ago when they had seen the lightning in the distance.

The next day they hunted, fished, and Ludwig returned to the pearl bed to do some pearl diving but came up empty handed. A cannibal warrior returned to their village, roused the one warrior kept in the communal hut and the two attempted to sneak into the lighthouse to murder their captors in their sleep. Fortunately, Drasheen spotted them and Juan and Ishirou were able to stop them and kill them.

On the third day they set out for the distant Red Mountain to see if they could find what Ieana was up to. They made it about two thirds of the way there and camped in the jungle. Near midnight a dead goat fell from the sky and crashed into their campfire! The sound of leathery wings flapping off into the distance could be heard. The Red Mountain Devil had issued it’s challenge.

The next day they arrived at the Red Mountain after being attacked by a hungry Shiv Dragon on the trail. On a bluff overlooking a lagoon, they found a 4 foot high pyramid surrounded by 4 short obelisks. Each obelisk had a serpent carved on the side facing the pyramid and the pyramid had a bowl shaped depression on the top connected to channels leading down each of the four sides to stone depressions around it’s base. While investigating the obelisks and pyramid, the Red Mountain Devil made it’s appearance, flying up from the adjacent ravine and attacking. Juan took the brunt of it’s anger as it made swooping attacks on him. However, a Bull’s strength spell from Drasheen, an enlarge person spell from Mastuuk, and Zelshee’s smite evil combined for a fearsome charge from the half-orc paladin that nearly cleaved the winged chupacabra in twain. It retreated to it’s nest where they finished it off. Investigating the nest turned up some treasure, including a magical buckler and a magical quiver.

Unsure of what to do with the obelisks, the group decided to investigate the peak of Red Mountain, but found nothing and camped along it’s slopes. The next day they hunted and foraged in the morning the returned to the obelisks. After much debate they decided to try to duplicate the ritual found in the temple under the lighthouse. After some deliberation Mastuuk cut himself and smeared some of his blood on the serpent carvings, which seemed to pull in the blood and hold it. They they touched a venomous snake captured by Ludwig to the blood on each pillar. Finally they poured sea water from Mastuuk’s mithril scroll tube into the bowl and Mastuuk called out “Ydersius!” three times. With that huge bolts of lightning shot up into the sky from each obelisk and the waters of the lagoon receded with a rumbling sound like an extended peal of thunder. As the water receded they spotted an old wrecked ship at the bottom of the lagoon and two ancient huge doors rumbling open which had previously been submerged.

Juan was intrigued by the events and quickly headed down to investigate the area of the wreck and the mysterious doors exposed by the receding waters. He was followed by Drasheen and the half-orcs, Mastuuk and Zelshee. However, recent events had taken their toll on Ludwig, and he had lost his nerve and could not pull himself together to descend into the depths of the island again. He had held back in the fight with Mother and the Red Mountain Devil overwhelmed by fear, and he had realized he was not made of stern enough stuff to be an adventurer. Teyla, who had been looking to the Ulfen druid for leadership and guidance, saw the fear in his eyes and thought she needed to stay on the bluff with the druid and his cat so she did not immediately follow the others even though she knew they might need her. She was torn.

The four brave adventurers picked their way across the bottom of the emptied lagoon, making their way across the mud and shallow pools, bypassing the old sunken ship that now lay exposed. Juan crept ever closer to the massive black doors yawning open before him and shined the light of a sunrod into the passageway beyond. He could see black basalt steps rising up to a large room as he edged his way across the threshold, as the other three paused behind him. Emboldened by the fact that he had crossed the threshold and not been obliterated by evil magics, he crept towards the steps. The other three looked at each other and with unspoken agreement followed into the unknown, casting a last glance at the two who had stayed behind at the top of the bluff. When Teyla saw the others disappear into the yawning portal, she felt ashamed at staying behind, yet felt pity for the poor broken druid who had come to realize the limits of his mettle. As Ludwig fell to the ground and buried his face in his hands, Teyla placed a hand gently upon his shoulders and stared at the light receding into the tunnel beyond the massive doors. She had an important decision to make…

Journal of Jocque Tarr

The half-orc magician Mastuuk is amazing. He was able to drag meaning out of the shapes and chicken scratchings on the walls of that strange room down in Mother Thrunefang’s lair. The shapes of men with serpent heads and the horrors that the carvings showed them inflicting on men and women were sights I wish I had never seen. They turn over and over in my head at night and I have had nightmares about what I saw down there. It appears that at some time back in the dim past these scenes were common someplace in the world around us and particularly in and around the Shiv. I can’t believe that any human being would want that to be common place again….anywhere in the world. But it is obvious that this “scholar” Ieana is intent on using whatever powers the serpent men had for her own purposes….whatever those may be….and is messing with ancient evils and new evils like killing my Captain and my shipmates in order to do ….. what???

Mastuuk told us what the inscriptions said on the one wall Ieana had restored. I could scarce believe my ears! It appears that these serpent people had some magic that would pull the sea apart and drop a good ship onto the rocks below her! In the taverns I have heard sailors talk of malestroms that can capture a ship and take her to the bottom. In fact, they say, that is what lies at the center of the eternal storm north of here. But this inscription talks of a way to do this to ship and her crew ON PURPOSE! Damn them and damn this Iena!

This day, Mastuuk astounded me again. He has been able to discipher all of the inscriptions on all the walls in that temple of horrors below us. They called us “slavemen” and “chainhanded” but they were worried about us, aye they were. I can barely understand what Mastuuk read to us but it look to this salt like they have stored up magics here that can cause all kinds of horrors to fall on people if they “rise up” including one magic that brings a madness and hunger to people. Images of cannibals with their sharpened teeth and their bloody carving boards came to mind. I wonder if the Mother unleashed something on the crew or if, so long ago, there was still some serpent creature alive on the Shiv that unleashed it on the crew of the Thrune’s Fang. My skin crawls at the thoughts these writings bring to my poor mind.

Ludwig and Mastuuk and his sister have decided that the lightning and thunder we saw a couple of days ago to the east of us must have been Ieana at work using the information she gleaned from the one wall to unleash the malestrom spell. Has she brought another ship and crew to their doom?!! The others have decided to investigate and we have decided to work our way to the red mountain we can see off in the distance to find out what this whore Ieana has done now.

Hurried notes for the Journal of Jocque Tarr

We have been attacked by the monstrosity that we have heard flying over us….the thing dropped a dead and leeched out goat into our campfire last night and this morning on the side of the Red Mountain we were investigating some kind of magical oblisks and a pyramid that have been exposed probably by Ieana. The thing is some kind of horrible flying cross between a vampire bat and maybe a lizard or something. It seemed to single me out of the group and attacked me over and over again. Those red eyes….the red eyes of my nightmare!!!

Again, the ones in this group I have fallen in with that control some kinds of magics came to my rescue. I don’t know how they did it but suddenly the half-ork Zelshee grew huge and struck the bat thing with unimaginable power even as it flew in for another attack. Badly hurt, it dropped over the edge of a cliff out of sight. I struggled to the edge and saw that it had crossed a ravine below us and had landed in a huge nest of some kind over there. The brave amongst us charged across rope bridges across the ravine to finish the horror off before it could heal itself up. By the gods, I was glad to see those horrible red eyes glaze over in death!

More hurried notes for the Journal of Jocque Tarr

Mastuuk asked me to examine the oblisks and the pyramid. They seem to be vibrating! The next thing I know he and the others start envolking the elements of the reading on the wall about the malestrom. I had looked around the point we are on for wreckage of a ship in case Ieana had unleashed this thing on another ship and crew. I spotted new evidence of older shipwrecks but no flotsome and jetsome from a new sinking. If, in fact, she envolked the magics described on the walls of Mother Thrunefang’s serpent temple, it was not to sink a ship. I am confused.

Mastuuk and Ludwig used the deciphered temple writings like a formula putting blood on the four oblisks and I was sent to the sea with a beautiful metal scroll tube that Mastuuk had to bring fresh sea water back to them. Mastuuk cut himself four times and dripped blood on the oblisks. Ludwig forced a snake he had captured to lick the oblisks and on Mastuuk’s orders I poured the sea water into the bowl on the top of the pyramid. The ground SHOOK under us and lightings crackled skyward from the oblisks to form a giagantic bolt of power that shot into the sky above us. Then the roaring started below us as the sea moved back out of the inlet below us in a thunderous torrent….

As the waters receeded the bones of an old ship emerged below us. The exposed seabed around it covered in flapping and dying fish and other kinds of sea creatures…. Then I saw the doors in the side of the inlet starting to open. They are huge. All of my dreams of what lies below the surface of the sea came charging back to me…. What treasures and what horrors lie down below? These doors will not be open forever. The brine will cover them and their secrets again…. maybe too soon. And in my gut I know that this is what that murderous whore Ieana meant to uncover and uncover them she did days ago. This is the way she went…. into the secret portals below the waves…. into the mystery of the deep.

Is this where the scum-suckng serpent men retreated when the slave, chain-handed men and women rose up against them? Is Ieana seeking to release them again? Or is she seeking the secrets of the deep and power beyond any reckoning… I am terrified and yet drawn and driven. Before I know it I am on the bottom of the sea and headed for that giant gaping maw.

At the entrance to the darkness that lies beyond the doors I hesitate. These doors are going to close behind me and the sea will return to the inlet above me. With my heart in my throat I press on to the bottom of dark stairs. It is then that I look back and realize that I am in the front of only part of the group I was with. Where are the others? I start up the stairs with my feeble sun rod in one hand and my short sword in the other. My shoulders tighten… waiting for the sound that I am sure will come soon… the sound of those massive doors sealing behind me and the sea coming back in………..

Journal of Drasheen Rettig

Oh, if only I could sleep. Meditation and prayer! Meditation and prayer! I find myself and my companions going from complete fear to confusion to unbeleiveable bravery. Goszreh has truely put all of us together for a reason, when one is frightened another is strong. When Luwig said we should re-inact the ritual all I could think of was how we were all going to be struck by the lightning from Goszreh. But of couse he was right, how else could we get close enough to try and stop Ieana. When Jaun went running down the hill to the water I kept saying wait to see what will happen so we would know what to exspect but that would also give Ieana time to prepare for our challenge. The crabs, the cannibals, the chupacabra…Meditation and prayer! My prayer is not so much to live but to not let my fellow companions down.
Oh, if only I could sleep. When I close my eyes I see Lugwig as frightened as he was running to my side to save me or Juan with the Mother at his back coming to give me a cure light potion. Or me! immediately getting back to fight some more, or me!running down a mountian side after Jaun or climbing into cave so Mastuuk could concentrate, knowing he was being guarded. I always fall when I climb or run…Goszeh thank you! Wasn’t Zelshee’s mighty smite beautiful. Thank you agai~ .-~~^`~- (she sleeps as her pen dribbles across the page.)

The Journal of Mastuuk Venso

24 Arodus, 4710 AR

Finally, I was able to spend some time deciphering those Carvings. This will certainly earn me a place in the Society! They describe powerful rituals presumably performed by ancient snake worshipers on the island. Ieana managed to piece together enough information to enact the magics we witnessed the other day. These were performed near the red mountain at a grouping of obelisks. My studies indicated we needed blood and salt water; easy enough to come by. Seeing no other volunteers, I cut myself and applied enough blood to satisfy the ritual. I also used my scroll case to ferry water from the sea. Speaking Ydersius’s name, I enacted the magics draining the bay of water. Juan could barely contain himself! Below us was the entrance to an ancient underground cavern which appeared to be cut into the root of the mountain. I wasn’t interested in jumping in without a little research but most of the others ran off so I couldn’t leave them there. Teyla and Ludwig stayed behind. I’m guessing Ludwig felt so inferior that he couldn’t continue; or perhaps he was so upset over his attacks against me that he couldn’t go on. Teyla stayed with him. I’m not sure if she was also overtaken by fear or just wanted to keep an eye on Ludwig. Oh well, we can definitely do this ourselves.

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