Serpent's Skull

Welcome to the Jungle

Hippos, and Apes, and Demons, oh my!

Golarion date 20 Neth 4710AR

Mastuuk summoned a mount for the blind cleric and they pressed on from the site of the Mzali ambush. The next morning Drasheen prayed for her sight to be returned to her and Gozreh answered, she was no longer blind.

Travelling northeast along the Korir river they caught sight of the jungle on the horizon the next evening. By the following morning they entered the Screaming Jungle, following the course of the river. The monkey inhabitants in the canopy providing a constant chatter (thus the “screaming” part of the jungles name) while the river became more treacherous making it obvious why Amivor insisted that boats were not an option. After a few miles the jungle became dense and travel slowed, though following the river helped to keep them on track and somewhat eased their passage. Late that afternoon they came to a wide and shallow spot in the river where a small herd of Hippopotami were enjoying an afternoon bath. One large bull watched them carefully as they skirted the pool, but the Hippos otherwise took no notice.

A short way past the hippo’s Teyla spotted a three toed and taloned print in the mud by the riverbank. She thought it might be lizard men, but a short search of the area turned up nothing.

While camping that night, Zelshee was on watch and heard something big crashing through the jungle. She woke Mastuuk as the crashing got closer, and woke Drasheen just as she spotted a large bull hippo charging through the brush directly for their camp! Zelshee retreated out of the way of the hippo, Mastuuk cast a spell to let him fly up into the trees, but Drasheen was slow and was trampled by the hippo as it’s maddened charge took it straight through their camp. It even ran through the small fire spraying burning debris everywhere, and Drasheen’s cloadk caught on fire!

On the heels of the hippos came six lizard men who attacked with javelins then their nasty studded clubs. Drasheen was rolling on the ground trying to put out the fire as she was attacked by the lizard folk and gravely wounded, taken out of the fight. Joque tumbled in behind the lizard folk attacking Drasheen and distracted them away from the cleric, saving her. The hippo disappeared up river as battle raged in the jungle and river. Teyla had jumped in the river to put out a fire on her tabard, but was ambushed by a lizard man in the water. Soon four of the lizard men lay dying while two swam off down river to save their lives. Zelshee used her healing power to save Drasheen and they picked up the pieces of their shattered camp.

Over the next five days they progressed slowly along the river through the dense jungle. The only real danger they faced was a group of Gorilla’s watering themselves by the river, but by carefully detouring around them they avoided any trouble, though at the cost of about a half day’s travel.

Towards the end of the fifth day Joque spotted some flashes of color through the brush that seemed to not belong. Investigating they found two dead Red Mantis agents who had been savagely clawed and left rotting near the banks of the river. Looking around they found bark torn from trees, a discarded blade under a bush, and evidence of blood sprayed into the trees. Something quite nasty had savaged these two. Zelshee insisted on burying them in a shallow grave and by the time they continued the day was growing long. As darkness approached they realized the jungle had grown too quiet and there was not a monkey in sight. The evening mists seemed to cling to the jungle as it clawed it’s way towards them and the surrounding jungle took on an ominous tone.

Pressing on as far as possible, suddenly a bestial dire ape leapt from the trees ahead of them and roared a challenge. It charged forward and cast a spell of fear at them! That was not expected… The crazed ape was soon put down, and soon afterwards a horrific shadowy demon like creature made of mist and malice rose from the corpse of the ape. The shadow demon attacked in all it’s fury, casting spells and tearing at them with tooth and claw. It proved immune to most of their attacks and things looked grim. Mastuuk cast a fly spell on Zelshee who pulled the Zenj Spirit Fetish from her pouch and used it on the demon. The power of the fetish sent the shadow demon howling back to they abyss and the jungle grew quiet once again. The group sat down to rest, counting their blessings after such a horrifying encounter with a creature from beyond this world.

From the Journal of Mastuuk Venso

20 Neth 4710AR

We have lost another day and nearly at high cost. Drasheen was put day and nearly did not return. The hippo and lizard men responsible escaped beyond our reach. My hope is that the are weakened enough not to pose further risk to our caravan.

Far more disturbing was the inhabited ape. A powerful spirit controlled him and had it not been for the fetish we were gifted I fear we would not have prevailed. The necromatic power in this place is strong and I’m not sure if it’s due to the Mzali or if their use of death magic is due to am older and more powerful evil inhabiting the screaming jungle. I’ve shied from most necromancy because of the potential for evil; the lure of such power can be difficult to resist. I believe I may need to spend more time flirting with the arts so as to understand them or we may not survive the weeks ahead.

From the Journal of Jocque Tarr

I’d be laughed out of any bar I happened to be in back on the coasts if I took to telling about what has been happening to us this past few weeks, or for that matter, in the past few hours! Worse! I’d be called a liar to my face and wind up having to defend myself for simply telling the truth! Charged by maddened hippos and lizard men in the night! Finding Mantis Reds torn to shreds as if they were rag dolls instead of the legends they are! Being attacked not only by the most hideous ape-like thing I have ever seen but then finding out it was just an overcoat for something even more hideous! Friends flying through the sky or stumbling around with empty eyes! No wonders we heard so many tell us that no one ever found some of the places in this wasteland. If they came in here alone or unprepared they never came back, and that’s a fact Jack! I wonder if I will ever see Kassata Lewynn or any of our old mates again. I would not be suprised at this point to find the elven beauty Chivane, herself, dead among the roots of this place

But how prepared are WE for any of this?!! The more I think about it the more my mind keeps going back to that cave and that strange dream time with the old shayman. We must be under some kind of protection or we would all be dead by now. I remember stories I heard in town … you know, the ones the storytellers tell … the kind were the good guy was meant to confront the bad guy at the end … no matter how many things tried to stop him. I feel like we are in one of those stories now … we are meant to be there to stop the snake woman and whatever she is trying to call from the ruins of this Saventh-Yi. I was the great ape in that dream. I listen closer to the little apes above and around us now. I was the one that noticed their warning … their silence….

I am giving myself the creeps now. I think I will quit this thinking and writing and sharpen this new sword of mine or do anything that will get my mind off of this strangeness…..

Notes of Zelshee Venso

Today I feel invincible! We banished a wicked demon back to the abyss. And I got to fly. Oh – how I envy Mastuuk at times! I think the gods took pity on us this time and showed me the way to enact justice on an a purely evil creature. My prayers are that the same thing will happen when we meet up with snake woman. But, right now, my heart soars! We have banished an evil from this place that has corrupted, haunted and hunted all the goodness out of the land. We have served justice right where justice was needed! All the jungle will be singing again in a few short days. I will sleep well tonight. All is right with the world as we know it – in this time and place.

From the Journal of Drasheen Rettig

The screaming jungle has been a blessing in one way. The noise has been so deafening I haven’t been able to hear myself think of all the hurt and pain of being blinded then trampled by a hippo and then catching on fire and fighting til all of sudden nothing but silence and darkness. Joque spotted some strange colors in the trees. It turned out to be 2 dead red Mantis agents hanging in the tree. They had been clawed and skinned and left for dead. We buried them and as we were leaving the jungle got quiet and a strange mist came over all of us. We knew this was bad…very bad. The mist suddenly became a huge demon dire ape who couldn’t be hurt and it was using spells. It was horrible but the Gods were with us and Zelshee remembered she had a Zenji Spirit Fedish.
Mastuuk put a fly spell on his sister and she did the demon in. She was great.

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