Golarion date 28 Neth, 4710 AR
Leaving the area haunted by the shadow demon, the trailblazers proceeded north along the Korir River through the screaming jungle. As winter approached, so did the rains. It rained every day and the mists clung to the trees like spider webs.
They traveled for several days not encountering anything more dangerous than a predatory cat and some giant spiders. They came across an old native tomb that appeared to have been robbed by grave robbers. The gravesite had been looted, but there was a carving of a frog demons face above the burial cairn in the cave. Something large had rolled a massive boulder out of the way, and the remains of a boar whose intestines had appeared to be used for divination was nearby. There was nothing to be found at the robbed tomb.
In a swamp like portion of the jungle they were attacked at night by a swarm of blood haze mosquitos. There were tens of thousands of the blood sucking insects, and they did a lot of damage before Drasheen was able to hold them off with a spell of wind from Gozreh.
One night Joque was lured away from camp while on guard duty by a ringing bell. The bell entranced him and led him into an ambush set by Eloko warriors, small fey like creatures with dark skin, spiked hair and bears, faces painted like leering skulls and with sharpened teeth. The Eloko (or spriggans as Mastuuk knew them) grew to 7 feet tall and attacked. However, Zelshee and Teyla made short work of them after Joque barely escaped their ambush.
As they neared the edge of the forest they came to a bend in the river where they found four naked Mwangi women bathing in the river. Though the women were startled, they were able to befriend them and found out the girls were Zenj Spirit Dancers, women who channeled totem animal spirits through dance. The Spirit Dancers were out here in the jungle communing with nature, and invited the group back to their hut. Their names were Alala, Masozi, Osumare, and Zakiyya. Joque started getting friendly with Zakiyya and she seemed interested. It had been a long time for Joque, so he grew anxious with excitement.
Their hut was a small round one room affair, with a fire pit and table outside. The girls threw a feast of fish, frog legs, and wild rice under the stars. It was a beautiful night with the burbling river nearby and was a very pleasant interlude. Mastuuk and Drasheen noticed that Alala, Masozi, and Osumare seemed distracted and out of it, and Mastuuk even went so far as to cast a discreet detect magic on the three and noticed an enchantment spell on them.
As the evening progressed, the girls explained that they could try to awaken the totem animal spirit of each of the explorers. The ritual would involve tatooing an animal tatoo and performing ritual rites. The group agreed and laid down for their tatooes. The inks of the tatoos made them sick, and Teyla passed out but the rest didn’t and the girls told them they would have to wait till morning to see if the spirit had awakened. The friendly natives took the unconscious Teyla inside to rest it off while they poured wine and danced for the visitors. The dance was entrancing, but Mastuuk and Drasheen noticed Zakiyya slipping into the hut during the dance.
After a relaxing evening, they all retired to sleep in the hut. Zakiyya invited Joque to sleep with her, and he readily agreed. Soon Joque found Zakiyya responded to his overtures and as they embraced and their lips met Joque started feeling drained and compelled to continue the act of love. However, with an extreme force of will Joque managed to resist the temptation and escaped Zakiyya’s grasp, the girl tried to hold him in an iron grip. Joque lurched to his feet and yelled for help as Zakiyya and the others attacked with spells. A mad battle erupted in the hut and Zakiyya seemed impervious to blade and spell until Zelshee called on the might of Irori to smite the evil woman who had tried to drain Joques soul and smote her. As Zakiyya was destroyed she disappeared with a hideous scream into a puff of sulphur and brimstone, at the last showing that she was a demonic succubus in disguise. During the battle Drasheen had tried to awaken Teyla, to no avail, it seemed Teyla had already been completely drained and likely dead. After Zakiyya was destroyed, Masozi was gravely wounded and Joque, in a fit of rage, slit her throat. The other two girls collapsed crying and begged for mercy. Joque moved in for more throat cutting, but was stopped by Drasheen.
The girls explained they were ensorcelled by Zakiyya and could not control their actions. The girls were in fact spirit dancers who had fallen prey to the succubus. They had foolishly accepted Zakiyyas profane gift of increased beauty and charm and were slowly being swayed to worship Zakiyya’s demon lord patron Sifkesh. So far they had resisted totally abandoning their native faith in favor of demon worship. While they were thankful to be freed from the demon’s grasp, they were very upset at their sister Masozi’s murder in a fit of rage by Joque and asked the explorers to leave them at first light.
The ritual the girls had performed earlier had only been to try and poison them with the tatoo ink (only Teyla succumbed). Teyla was found to have been drained to within and inch of her life and only barely survived (Zakiyya had plenty of time to drain the unconscious merc while the others were watching the dance outside). The girls explained that the awakening of the totem spirits was possible, but they were in no mood to reward their saviors with such a gift after the unnecessary death of Masozi.
The group left the grieving natives and continued on.
From the Journal of Mastuuk Venso
28 Neth 4710AR
I knew something was wrong. I knew they were enspelled. I thought it was more of a drug or some spell of communion with their god. And it killed Teyla. The gods above or the world around us must have taken pity because we were able to revive her. I fear this will be our last break and our next casualty will be the last breath for one of us. That doubt is back…that awful twitch in the back of my mind…the invader of dreams..the sanity thief. I shall have to step up my meditation to try and drive away this cloud.
My sister continues to grow in power. Not only did she dispatch the spriggans with ease but smote the foul beast who drained poor Teyla. While her physical prowess increases, I worry that her emotions are as troubled as mine. She seems blinded by a furious white light, determined to rid the world of all that is not good. I wonder what will happen if one of us makes a decision that does not fit her view or perhaps casts a spell of questionable origin. I shudder to think of the repercussions for that person and for Zelshee.
From the Log of Jocque Tarr
My past betrays me. I want to be needed and respected by this strange group of people but I am constantly causing them grief. First, my curiousity led them into a dangerous encounter with those spriggands, then my lust betrayed us all to a she-demond and finally my hot temper led to the death of that poor Masozi girl.
Damn it! I have to get control over these emotions of mine. Thinking back on skippers I have admired I realize that if they had tried to run a crew from their gut instead of from their heads they would have faced mutiny or a quiet trip to the deep. I know that I have it in me to be more rational. My elven father would be ashamed of me and my mother would be aghast at some of the things I have done and let myself get pulled into. I have to find some way to put more thought into things as they are unfolding. I’ve got to think on this and put my thoughts into some kind of new way of acting. Rats!!!!
From the Journal of Drasheen Rettig
More prayers and more meditation… I almost died, Teyla was dead for several hours and Jocque is slitting throats of young girls and losing all control. Mastuuk is the only one who seems to have everything under control. And yet I am seldom right. I trust him though. Zelshee is getting bolder and stronger and has saved the day on many occasions. I need to sleep and pray that is my job to be ready to help. Its hard not to let the rain and the bad weather not get us down, so I need to step up and try harder. That beautiful wind that Gozreh aided us when I was almost down and out. The erie tricks, spells and demons faces are getting scarrier and it is taking a toll on us. In my last meditation I had I kept feeling “that which is so draining and tougher to fight makes us all stronger”. My prayers and meditations will center on that. And how I can do a better job of helping and being alert.
Notes from Zelshee Venso
What is wrong with me!!? All I had to do was ask my god for a simple favor! Are these beautiful women evil? Simple, I do it all the time. Why didn’t I think to do it this time? She was a DEMON. I should have been able to feel the evil radiating off her. But I didn’t. I feel unworthy to call myself a Paladin. I was so happy to stumble upon goodness and kindness in this terrible place that I let my guard down. How will I ever redeem myself with my adventuring brothers and sisters? Somehow, I must.
I must be diligent. I must be focused. I must be deadly. Evil shall not prevail if I am near.
I feel so very bad for the Masozi girl that Jocque killed. But i do understand why he did it. His killing passion had gone aery, and wasn’t able to stop. I’m so glad he did before all three of the girls died. They will recover from their loss. I’m not so sure we will. Yes, Teyla will be fine eventually, thank the gods. But I’m not so sure we will. This little adventure is truly taking it’s toll on each one of us. I believe it’s the evil that is so prevalent in the area. And that evil will only get worse the closer we get to the witch. And then, it will be better. Because I, with my blade, will deal justice to the evil that surrounds us!