Serpent's Skull

Showdown on the Shiv
Of curses and ancient legacies

Golarion date: 28 Arodus, 4710 AR

“So I see that fool Klorak and his savages failed me. No matter, my theories were true and I have found what I came here for…” The snake woman gestured to the alcoves in the ancient temple. Glancing in the alcoves the heroes could see the floor was scattered with scribbled notes on parchments, and the walls were filled with runes and pictograms.

“How did you survive the wreck of the Jenivere? You should have drowned with the others… Did you enjoy the final meal I prepared for you?” The snake woman hissed as she chuckled. “You think to stop me, but you are too late, and you smooth skins are no match for me. I, Yarzoth, shall twist your pathetic little minds into doing my bidding, and you will make a fitting sacrifice here in a temple built by the ancient enemy, the first of many.”

Zelshee had enough of talking and reached for an arrow as she approached the altar and a battle ensued. Yarzoth cast mirror image and blur on herself, as she sent her skeletons to slow down the heroes, she tried to dominate Teyla’s mind, but Teyla resisted. However Teyla did not resist the suggestion to leave the temple and ended up falling into one of the pits as the magic forced her to try and leave.

The skeletons fell easily enough, but Yarzoth proved tough. Backed into the corner of the altar area, she fought with her poisonous bite and spells. Somehow the heroes managed to resist the poison and wounded Yarzoth enough that she fled by wiping a bloody hand to the lips of the statue and turning to mist and flying up through a small hole in the ceiling. After much discussion the heroes rescued Teyla from the pit then eventually gathered the courage to wipe their own blood on the statue’s lips and turn to mist and follow Yarzoth.

In gaseous form they followed a tiny tube to another room, one with no other exits. Mastuuk arrived just in time to see Yarzoth stuffing the last of her belongings into a pack, then reached for a scroll and read it, turning into a smoky headless snake which was sucked through a pinhole portal behind her which disappeared with a popping sound. Mastuuk wasn’t sure what the spell was, though he surmised she had teleported somewhere with powerful divine magic from the scroll.

The small room had a bas relief carving of the demon lord Zura and other evil religious carvings on the wall. Just below the carving of Zura they found a hidden panel, which Juan opened after finding no traps. Juan set off an ancient curse on the hidden drawer which turned him into a twisted bat like parody of himself. Juan slumped against the wall in pain while the others watched in horror. Mastuuk examined the contents of the drawer, and found two scrolls, a playing card with a picture of a monstrous bird like creature on it, a black candle, and a block of incense. Gathering up the items in the drawer they smeared blood on the lips of the carving and turned back to mist and left the temple complex. They rested atop the bluff for a bit where Ludwig was waiting for them. Ludwig could not look them in the eyes, but he did stare in horror at Juan’s twisted form.

Returning to the lighthouse, they found two of the captive cannibals had rebelled and had to be killed. Sasha was hurt, but apparently Aerys had come to her rescue and with her bare fists beat back the attackers who Ishirou helped to put down. The other castaways asked what had happened, and the heroes told them everything that had happened.

Mastuuk went over Yarzoth’s notes recovered from the temple, and found them very difficult to decipher. He would need an extensive library and possibly the help of some other scholars to piece together what she was looking for, but he was able to gather some clues from the cryptic notes. There were references to an Azlanti city, a banished cult, and some mentions of the cult returning to the city to conquer their old foes. He figured the cult must have been the cult of Zura that built the Azlanti temple they had just found, but the details of the rest were impossible to fathom without aid.

The castaways turned their attention to fixing the lighthouse. They decided to go visit Pezock the crazed Tengu hermit to see if he wanted to leave with them. He was very excited and ran around in circles for a while, calling them “heroes!” and giving hugs all around as they told him all they had accomplished. When asked if he knew of any way to help Juan with his twisted curse, he said maybe the green lady on the hill that lived in the tree might be able to help. Pezock pointed out the way and they found a friendly dryad named Aycenia living in an area avoided by the cannibals. Aycenia asked about what had happened to the gray island that was a blight on her domain, and was very grateful when she found out they were the ones who had cleared the fungal blight. Aycenia told them much about the island they already knew, it seemed she had been here for at least a hundred years. They asked about the temple at Red Mountain and she said she new nothing of a temple, but she could tell that the foul presence she had always felt there still existed.

The group decided to return to the temple of Zura and try and destroy the altar. They explored the wreck of the Salty Strumpet and found a crazed water mephit who called himself Captain Ekubus who demanded to know what was the cause of this “Damnable low tide, for the third damned time!” They were able to verify from Ekubus that a snake woman had caused the first receding of the waters and entered the temple. Ekubus was not much more help, exploring the hold of the Strumpet they found it guarded by a very large sea urchin and left it be (including leaving the magic item they detected in the hold).

Entering the temple again, Drasheen cast a consecration spell on the altar which caused the blood to harden and the altar to crack, then she pumped positive energy into it until it split apart and gouts of blood burst forth with a rolling wave of powerful energy that staggered all of them as the whispers floating in the room escalated to screams and howls. Then the blood and the screams stopped, and the room went still and silent as the blood stream trickled to a halt.

Returning to the lighthouse they found that the energy wave had reached all the way to that part of the island and the other castaways told them how the energy wave caused all the ghosts in the surf to rise into the air simultaneously and dissipate into nothingness. It seemed they had lifted the ancient curse of Smuggler’s Shiv!

Finishing the light on the light house they were able to attract the attention of a passing ship, the Red Gull. Captain Tengerten exchanged signals with the island where Juan knew the appropriate pattern to signal distress. Tengerten anchored the Gull and approached with his longboat where he agreed to rescue the castaways who rewarded him with the large pearl taken from Klorak the Red. The castaways boarded the Red Gull, leaving the remaining cannibals behind and watched as the Shiv disappeared across the waves as they sailed for Eleder.

As they approached Eleder, Gelik Aberwhinge came to Zelshee with some concerns about Teyla’s box. Gelik admitted to having peeked into the box while they were away at the temple, and was shocked to find it filled with Feyleaf and Feyleaf berries. Feyleaf was an illegal drug whose leaves could be smoked, and whose berries were a hallucinogenic. He was concerned about getting caught with it in customs at the Eleder docks and that he would be implicated in it’s transport because he had watched the box for Teyla. Gelik hoped that the paladin of justice could help keep him in the clear. Zelshee was shocked and went to talk to the others as the city of Eleder appeared on the horizon.

The Journal of Mastuuk Venso

28 Arodus, 4710 AR

We have finally reached our quarry. She had taken on a decidedly different look and goes by the name Yarzoth. She had been hard at work translating more carvings but I was unable to understand much of what they said, more research will be required. I was able to determine that the Azlanti who built this temple and the underground caverns were worshipers of Zura who were banished from an ancient city. They intended to build their strength on the Shiv and eventually return to their former home to seek vengeance. Yarzoth alluded to this when she mentioned the ancient enemy who built this temple. Perhaps we would have extracted more information if my dear sister had not charged in to attack but then again, it may have all been lies.

Yarzoth proved a most difficult foe with some powerful magics both learned and from scrolls. Her blurred form was difficult enough if it hadn’t been for the mirror images. I raised my own and began attacking he with bolts to try and dismiss the images so my companions could strike her. I removed most of them myself but not before Teyla ran off, apparently somewhat weak minded. I brought an image of her back both to bolster my companions’ morale and to distract Yarzoth.

After the coward ran off, we followed her into a hidden room where she was preparing to leave in a hurry. We did scare her off before she could take all her toys so we ended up with a few new items and a deformed sailor. We later returned to destroy the horrible altar and release the souls trapped around the Shiv which makes me happy but not nearly as ecstatic as Zelshee.

That fool Ludwig did manage to do one more useful thing when he completed the signal light. A ship has found us and we’re negotiating travel off the Shiv. I’ve enjoyed the time off as it has allowed me to collect the information I found on the Azlanti ruins. I intend to have it sent to the Society once we reach a city which should be in a few days assuming we can convince the captain to take us with him.

This diversion has been dangerous but useful as I may now be one of the foremost authorities on the Azlanti Zura cult. I’ve got quite a bit of research to do in Eleder in order to put things in order but I plan on writing at least one volume on the subject. If the rest of the Expanse is half as fruitful as the Shiv, I’ll be quite famous!

Notes from Zelshee

We have lost her and I am to blame! I thought for sure her ramblings were a trap. I felt she wanted to perhaps be-friend us (again). She wanted us to let our guard down. And then she would deliver the killing blow. Thinking back now, I realize the treacherous fool wanted to tell us all her plans. Damn, I should have listened!! Maybe it might have helped in defeating her. Alas, no. She is gone. and I’m quite certain gone OFF the island! Escaped by her evil magic. If it takes the rest of my life, I will find her and I WILL destroy her!
Thank the gods for Drasheen! She was able to use the goodness from her god to forever destroy the evil altar in this dark place. The evil that has cursed this island for so long has been banished! My hope is that it will weaken Yarzoth.
We have all worked together for weeks – and it has finally paid off. We have been rescued! We are off that retched island!! The sting of losing Yarzoth has diminished slightly. We must make use of the notes Mastuuk gathered to find her again.
But first we must make it off the ship and onto dry land. We sail for Eleder. After what we just went through - this will be a cake walk! Right?

The Journal of Jocque Tarr

I finally have time to get my prior notes into this journal but I am having a hell of a time because my “hands” will not cooperate and I keep finding myself hanging around the galley trying to rid myself of this gnawing hunger. The cook has threatened to bury a meat cleaver in my head if I keep that up and I find myself mostly hiding away. I am a sailor and I know how sailors think. No matter what my companions have told them they still see me as an evil deamon or something that is sure to bring the ship to no good end. If I was one of them I would find a way to rid myself and my crew of this threat. So, I stay below decks at night and above decks in the daytime but hidden, as best I can, from their eyes.

My own mother wouldn’t recognize me. I finally got a glimpse of myself in the mirror they were using as part of the light and even I was horrified at what I saw. The cleric says I am cursed by some magic that was on that drawer I found in the temple. But cursed or not I am grateful to the dieties that I am off the Shiv!

I don’t know what is going to happen when we get to the city of Eleder. I know one thing. That box of drugs has to go to the bottom before we reach port and the others of our party have to be sworn to secrecy about it being sent there. They owe us their lives to some extent and we need them to agree that the box was lost when we were wrecked or that the last time they saw it was before we went on the rocks.

I hope to get to the keeper of ships’ registries in Eleder and give them the names of the ships and captains I have made up. The ones lost on the Shiv. And let them know somehow about the way the cleric Drasheen freed the souls trapped there. I don’t know if they will believe me but I just need to tell somebody. And I will turn over the log books I have and the notes we found from the Captain of the Thrune’s Fang – about what happened to him and his crew. I will not be able to turn over all of the pages. The ones detailing the smuggling ring activities in Eleder will need to be given to Teyla’s father or someone that might shield her father from what may come next.

I have to be really careful about whatever the clerics want from me to remove this curse. If it can be removed. I must stick with the name Jaun Sevette if I can and melt into the local scenery quickly in case the Mantis is still looking for me. I think I will keep a close eye on where Sasha goes and who she talks to but from a safe distance if I can.

I would never believe the story I have to tell about being invisible for a while, about being turned into a mist by a bloody snake’s mouth and then being twisted into whatever I have become. My best bet is to keep my mouth shut and my head down until I can get back to sea or away from the city. How does a simple street urchin wind up like this? One thing about it though, I have found that I can be terrified and still move if I have to and I have someone I need to kill if I ever get a chance…..Ieana or Yarzoth or whatever she is calling herself these days. If I can, my captain and my crewmates will be avenged.

The Journal of Drasheen Rettig

So much has happened in the last few weeks and yet all I can think about is what am I to do about Jask. After being trapped on this frightning Island with him I do not think of him as a criminal but a friend. One who has shared the much of same horrors as we all have this past month. When we get to Eleder and talk to my father I think I shall keep his arrival a secret til I have a talk with Dad. Then present the evidence and see what comes of it all.

As I look back never in any of my Clerical training did I think repeating the actions of such evil, like rubbing my own blood on my lips to purposely turn into vapor to follow such evil and then again to return to solid ground to escape is almost too much for me to take in. And yet its not the actionitself that is evil but the one preforming such deeds. When Zelshee pulled her bow, it wss on, but we all stood strong. As I pray tonight I know I will sleep well with fridends such as these at my side.

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The Big City
Secrets Revealed, maybe a little too much...

Golarion date: 13 Rova, 4710AR

Teyla Gunler did not want to throw her box of feyleaf over the side of the ship. She said she had a reputation to protect and she was paid well to see the box through by the Aspis Consortium. She was supposed to deliver it to a man in a green cap and brown cloak who would meet the Jenivere at the dock. She wasn’t happy that it was drugs, but wasn’t willing to destroy her rep although she had no idea how she was going to get it through customs since it was unlikely she would find her contact now that she was a month late. Ishirou heard her mention the Aspis Consortium and told her he had connections with that merchant group and could possibly help her make contact once they got into the city. None of the others wanted anything to do with smuggling the illegal drugs into the city, but Mastuuk Venso offered to cast an invisibility spell for them. The plan was for Teyla to carry the box while invisible and Ishirou would clear a path through the crowds for her to follow and she could sneak through customs while Ishirou was clearing himself.

The Red Gull sailed through the walls blocking the harbor and into the extensive bay riddled with stone docks and ships of various sizes and nationalities. It was Signing Day when they arrived, and the holiday festivities were in full swing as the city of Eleder sprawled before them. Teyla and Ishirou left the ship first with the spell from Mastuuk. Aerys Mavato personally thanked each of the others for helping her get off the Shiv as she made her leave. Sasha Neva sauntered off the ship with a big grin on her face and her quickly growing dimorphodon flying behind her. Gelik Aberwhinge said his goodbyes, made plans for dinner the next day at the Pathfinder lodge with Mastuuk, and took off. Jask Derindi stayed with the group who promised to keep him safe and hide him until his legal situation could be worked out. They offered to let Pezock stay with them until he figured out what he was going to do. The seven of them hired some porters for their gear and cleared customs. Drasheen headed for home to visit with her parents and talk with her dad about Jask’s situation. Zelshee Venso and Juan Sevette immediately headed for the temple of Aroden to see if they could remove Juan’s curse. Mastuuk, Jask, and Pezock went to a place called the Sargava Club at the recommendation of the porters.

Over the next week or so Mastuuk met with Finze Bellaugh, the Delver Captain of the small local chapter house of the Pathfinder Society. Mastuuk was delighted to find that Finze was an accomplished mage and negotiated learning some spells from him in exchange for all the info on the interesting finds on the Shiv. Over the next week or so, Mastuuk used the Colonial Archives library to research Yarzoth’s notes while Zelshee and Drasheen negotiated with Drasheen’s father, Cayler Rettig, over the scandal involving Jask. Though there were some tense moments between the hard liner Zelshee and the more practical poliitical minded Cayler, he finally agreed to push the case against his boss Lerad Est which they hoped would clear Jasks name. However, Jask had to turn himself in and go through the due process of the courts.

Juan spent lots of gold at the temple of Aroden where the high priest tried three times to remove the curse that warped Juan’s body into a parody of a bat, but the ancient curse was too strong and it could not be removed. Juan was distraught and was pitifully haunting the docks looking for any powerful clerics who might be on one of the incoming ships when he ran into Kassata Lewynn, an old acquaintance from his days on board a pirate ship. They had a roaring good time as Juan drowned his sorrows in drink.

After more than a week of research, Mastuuk was finally able to piece together the puzzle of what Yarzoth was looking for on the Shiv. The temple of Zura was built by a splinter cult of vampiric Azlanti who had been exiled from a city called Savinth-Yhi during the height of Azlanti civilization. They had been exiled because of their evil ways, but plotted a return to Savinth-Yhi as conquerors. Savinth-Yhi literally translated as “grave of Savinth”. Savinth was the Azlanti hero who had decapitated Ydersius, the god the Serpent Folk, an event which marked the turning point of the war between the Azlanti and their former masters the Serpent Folk. Savinth-Yhi was a legendary lost city and Mastuuk now had proof it lay hidden somewhere here in Garund, though protected by powerful Azlanti magics which kept it hidden. The notes taken from the walls of the temple of Zura indicated that there was an Azlanti outpost called Tazion which contained a map which would lead one to Savinth-Yhi. Correlating Tazion with some known ruins in the Screaming Jungle and Mastuuk realized he may have found the key to the lost city of Savinth-Yhi. He as ecstatic as this was the find of the century and would cement his place in the Pathfinder Society if he could follow through and make the discovery. He immediately went to Finze Bellaugh who offered to sponsor an expedition to discover Savinth-Yhi.

However, over the next couple of days word of the discovery quickly spread, either through good old fashioned espionage activities or loose lipped librarians who had been aiding Mastuuk in his research at the colonial archives. The group was approached by four other organizations who desired to sponsor the group’s expedition to Savinth-Yhi:

  • Ishirou came representing the Aspis Consortium. The Consortium wanted the profits that would come from selling artifacts, and offered the group a sizeable cut of the profits. They also offered up front a selection of potions and scrolls, and possibly a powerful scroll to remove Juan’s curse.
  • Kassata Lewin and Aerys Mavato approached them representing the Shackles Pirates. Kassata was looking for pure profit to fund her political aspirations within pirates organization and offered cold hard cash as an up front incentive.
  • Sasha approached them on behalf of the Red Mantis Assassins and said there were legends of an ancient sword holy to their mantis god hidden in Savinth-Yhi. They wanted the sword and offered a selection of poisons and anti-toxin as an up front reward.
  • Cayler Rettig spoke to Drasheen about a proposal from the government of Sargava. Baron Utilinius wanted to expand Sargava’s influence into Savinth-Yhi and gain profit from it to help pay the debts to the pirates. The Baron offered plots of land and noble titles to the group once Savinth-Yhi was found and claimed by Sargava.

From the Journal of Jocque Tarr

I am astounded! I have been away from Kassata for more than a year and turned into a half bat creature and she still recognized me down on the wharf. What is even worse and even more unbelievable is that I have been living under an assumed name and building a rep as Juan Sevette the Rigger for even longer and Sasha walks up the other day and calls me Jocque!!!!!!

I have advised my group of fellow castaways that we should avoid dealing with either the pirates or the Mantis at all costs. I know them. As soon as we uncovered anything of value we would be headless bodies in some pit some place. But in giving that advice I had to tell my fellow survivors that I had been lying to them about my name and to some extent about my background. They probably trust my word now about as far as they could carry the Jennivere.

My best bet would be to slip away and ship out quickly before this thing goes any further but who would have a creature as pitiful as I have become aboard ship and how long would I last before a crew memeber slit my throat or tossed me over the side or both? I am trapped and no matter how we dicide to proceed from this point onward the price on my head is only going to go up. I wouldn’t be surprised if somebody doesn’t drop a word here or there and I wind up being thrown into a cell waiting a noose because of my days with the Free Ships. That could happen before I get out of town or when I get back or some enterpizing young Mantis wannabe might kill me here.

If, somehow, one of these groups finds a way to remove this curse from me I will be in their debt but torn between running to sea or taking my chances with this strange group of land lubbers — whereever it is that they seem to be wanting to go. The one extra stone on the scale for staying with them is that I may get another chance to slit that snake woman’s throat for what she did to the skipper and crew of the Jennivere. I guess that might make it worth chancing the Screaming Jungle even knowing that a knife or noose waits for me afterward.

I can’t sleep well because of the constant pain in my limbs and no matter how much of Briga’s fish stew I slug down I can’t seem to stem the growling hunger in my guts. I can find no woman who will have me and little children burst into tears when they look at me. It might be better for me if Sasha or one of her friends offs me before some jungle animal or plant devours me.

If I am to stay this way and go with my strange traveling companions to the jungle I have only one recompense and that is that I will probably disagree with whatever eats me! Harrrrr! (Damn, it even hurts to laugh.)

Form the Journal of Drasheen Rettig

My head is spining everything is happening so fast. The meeting with my father went very well but poor Jask was not as confident as I was in my father’s fair and just intentions. The more Jask thought about it he knew what he had to do and that was to turn himslf in. Well to my surprise in a very short while the crimes Jask was charged with were now being charged against Mr. Est my father’s boss. Jask is not totally cleared but it all looked very well for him. I hope I have’nt let him down.
Then my father had a very interesting offer to make us about sponsoring our expedition to discover Savinth-Yhi. I hope the group can be convinced that helping my country Eledor and my Father would be the very best offer possible. The fame and places of honor we would hold along with our own land, homes and money not to mention all the good it would do for Eledor.

The Journal of Mastuuk Venso

13 Rova, 4710 AR

I knew may day would finally come! I can now show the world my greatness. I have found the way to Savinth-Yhi. I am assured that such a great discovery would easily ensure my full entry into the Society if not a greater position. There is one problem however, I’ve promised the expedition to the local Society chapter and they have been such help with the research that it is only fair I follow through. Four other groups have expressed an interest in funding the expedition, some of which one should not say no to.

I may be able to deal with the Red Mantis. They simply want a single artifact if it is found. I believe that would be a fair trade to keep them off our backs. The local government also wants to back us as they would like to extend their influence to Savinth-Yhi and use the proceeds to pay off the pirates. The first part should be amenable to the Society but selling the artifacts before properly studying them would not go so well.

A friend of Juan (or whatever his real name is) wants the power she can obtain from selling the artifacts as does the Aspis Consortium. Powerful enemies to have and they can’t all be satisfied.

I lean towards my original plan to go with the Society and attempt to make a deal with the Mantis. I have not discussed this with the rest of our group.

I plan to enjoy my success for a few more hours before the inevitable discussion. I also felt that I should get my personal thoughts down since I have not made a journal entry since we left the Shiv.

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Competing Factions
Choices made

Word of the possible discovery of the lost Azlanti city of Savinth-Yhi spread throughout the city of Eleder like wildfire. The group was approached by 5 competing factions who wanted to be the first to discover the lost city:

  • The Pathfinder Society wanted the glory and lost relics of discovery. The local Delve Captain, Finze Bellaugh, brought in an experienced expedition leader, Amivor Glaur, to lead their expedition. The Pathfinders promised the group two magical wayfinders in exchange for signing on with their expedition, but when it became clear that Juan’s curse was a higher priority, Amivor offered to attempt to steal a scroll from the Aspis Consortium that was hoped could fix Juan. The plan was to wait until just before the expedition was to leave the city so they could avoid retribution from the Consortium who would most likely immediately blame Juan and his associates for the theft.
  • The Aspis Consortium wanted the profits from looting the lost city. Ishirou introduced the group to the Apsis agent Dargan Etters, a smooth talking and well dressed merchant who offered them a scroll of remove curse that was crafted by a high level caster. This scroll was very valuable and very tempting, but Zelshee had detected evil on Dargan, and when told of the corrupt methods preferred by the consortium, the group refused to work with them (even though Teyla wanted to because she saw the biggest profit potential with the consortium). This greatly saddened Ishirou who told the group that they would now have to be enemies…
  • The Red Mantis assasins wanted to find a relic rumored to be in a lost temple to their mantis god, Achaekek. The relic was supposed to be a sword holy to worshippers of Achaekek. The group was deathly afraid of the assasins and clearly turned down their overtures which were made by Sasha Neva. However, Juan had a private meeting with the leader of the Mantis faction, Chivane, where he made a secret deal with them to smooth things over and hopefully avoid raising the ire of the deadly assasins.
  • The Free Captains of the Shackles wanted to loot the lost city, the captain of the Last Hurrah, Kassata Lewynn. Kassata had been first mate on a pirate ship upon which Juan had served, and expected to use that connection as leverage to get the group to work with her. She offered a large bag of cold hard cash, and her straight forward offer and jovial nature made that offer attractive, but they could not bring themselves to fully trust a group known to be cutthroats and thieves.
  • The government of Sargava saw it as their manifest destiny to expand their influence and claim the lost city, whose wealth could help them maintain their protection payments to the Hurricane King (Shackles Pirates). Through Drasheen’s father, Cayler Rettig, Baron Utilinus had offered land and noble titles after a successful expedition. Cayler had assumed his daughter would be loyal to her family and country, and was outraged when Drahseen informed him that they would not be accepting the government’s offer. There was much yelling, and tears from her mother as Drasheen committed what her father deemed to be a personal betrayal. Things had gotten quite ugly in the Rettig household, but Cayler informed Drasheen that the government was proceeding with an expedition under the command of General Rotilius Havelar and the Sargavan military.

In the end the group sided with the Pathfinders and signed a contract with the Society. The deal was that the group could keep any treasure they earned through risking of life and limb, but the Pathfinders would get all relics recovered from the ruins and the group would get 25% of the proceeds of sale of those relics. In exchange the Pathfinders would fund and organize the expedition under the leadership of Amivor Glaur.

After signing withe the Pathfinders and informing the other factions of their choice, the group began helping with preparations for the expedition. The Pathfinders had rented a warehouse portside and began procuring supplies and hiring porters, drovers, scribes, delvers, cooks, guards, laborers, and various other personnel required for a major expedition 1000 miles into the interior of the Mwangi Expanse. The group contributed aid with labor and hiring where they could.

A few days after signing, Amivor held a meeting with himself, Finze Bellaugh, and the group to detail his plan. Amivor’s plan was for the expedition to follow the old caravan routes overland to Kalubuto, the largest city of the colony, where they could resupply. The route to Kalabuto led through the southern spur of the Bandu Hills where he warned of the native Bandu tribe, a tribe of slavers and demon worshippers known for wearing gruesome green face paint during raids. After resting and resupplying in Kalabuto, the expedetion would follow the River of Lost Tears eastwards to the edge of the Sargavan lands and into the wilds of the Mwangi Expanse At the conjunction of rivers, the would then follow the Korir River through the Screaming Jungle which would take them around the Bandu Hills to the north. Following the river would make for the easiest passage through the jungle, and when the river left the jungle proper they could cut westwards across the plains north of the Bandu Hills to the southern Mwangi Jungle and the location of the ruins of Tazion.

Amivor suggested that the group of adventurers who had shown themselves to be so resourceful on the Shiv act as trailblazers for the main expedition. The trailblazers would range a day or two ahead of the main expedition and scout the best path as well as clear out any dangers that would threaten the non combatants of the large expeditionary group. When asked about how he planned on protecting the expedition from the other dangerous groups who were also forming their own expeditions to Savinth-Yhi, Amivor assured them that he was taking a group of trusted pathfinder agents and guards with the main expedition. For some reason, Zelshee had taken a disliking to Amivor (calling him “pretty boy” and making her feelings clear), which led to some tense moments, but the plan was laid and preparations continued for the expedition to the lost city of Savinth-Yhi.

The Journal of Mastuuk Venso

14 Rova, 4710 AR

The decision has been made to ally with the Pathfinders and I believe it was the correct decision. It only took a little work to convince most of the group that the Aspis Consortium was bad news, although their intentions are plain. We may have found a way to acquire the scroll from them as well, although it will take some skill and a little luck. We leave town in a few days and we’ll be acquiring the spell at the last minute. I just hope it’s not a waste of time and effort as Juan seems to believe this will work but spells can always fail.

I’m quite glad to have met Amivor Glaur, such a skilled and experienced expedition leader will be a great asset. He has asked our group to scout ahead a few days and plot a trail through the jungle. I’ve grown accustomed to having more people around in the city and don’t look forward to the loneliness we experienced on the Shiv but I suppose this is what I signed up for when we left home. At least help and supplies won’t be far behind.

From the Journal of Jocque Tarr

Cursed, tormented with pain and an ever present hunger, I find myself trapped into a trip into the steaming and screaming jungles of the Mwangi Expanse. I know little about the Expanse beyond sailor’s tales and the possibility that my father might be there. I do know that going into the jungle in the shape I am in is next to a death sentence and not only for me but for whoever I might help or defend along the way. The jungle is no place for a cripple. The Pathfinders have promised to try to do something for me but the local holy man tried three times and failed. It might be best to slip away and return to Eleder the first night we are out on the trail if the Society fails to cure me. The only trouble with that is that I still will not be able to ship out (since no crew I ever heard of would willingly take a cursed man to sea with them) and I will be too easily identified to whoever wants to look me up in Eleder later — including Kassata and the Mantis. I am particularly afraid of what will happen to me in the city or on the trail if I do not succeed in providing Chivane the leg up she wants. By the Gods of Sea and Sky, even the worst day in the rigging beats where I find myself today.

It would be bad enough if I were just tagging along with a group that knows what it is getting into. This Pretty-Boy, Amivor, wants me and my fellow castaways to take the point! I don’t know how scrabbling through the trees on the Shiv, trying to find a way to survive off of rations and materials we had salvaged from our lost Jenivere has suddenly qualified this rag tag bunch into jungle explorers. On top of that, we now have a baggage train that must cover a quarter of a nautical mile following us. I know damned little about land tactics but it strikes me that we are exposing two huge flanks to attacks by everything from jungle animals and plants to half-crazed cannibals and that we apparently intend to keep it up for the leagues and leagues that separate us from Eleder and this place called Kalabuto. And then this Amivor wants to do it again to travel from Kalabuto to this mythical place Mastuuk Venso thinks exists even deeper into the Expanse! The whole idea of an “expedition” seems like a bad one to this salt but it looks like I am along for the ride.

Note By Zelshee

Secretly, I am so excited to be adventuring through the Mwangi Expanse! Being wrecked on that dreadful island changed me. I have the taste for adventure. It courses through my every vein now. But we must wait for the preparations to be finalized.
Amivor has decided that our small group should take point. I’m not real sure just how smart this guys is. There are only 6 of us. We’re not really trained in exploration and tactical maneuvering. But, if that’s Pretty Boy’s plan, and I hear he’s in charge, then so be it. He just better not get in my way. He might think he knows what he’s doing, but he’s going to have to prove himself to me. Just as I’m sure he wants us to prove ourselves to him!
What I see as our biggest obstacle right now is the unknown. None of us have any idea what dangers are ahead of us. And I’m certain, we’ll have a few dangers on our heels as well. Should make for a very interesting trip.

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Freeman Brotherhood
The Peasants are Revolting

Golarion date: 4 Lamashan, 4710AR

Over the next several days the heroes helped organize the expedition. The Pathfinders had rented a warehouse in Portside which acted as the central HQ for the expedition preparations. Drasheen helped Gelik and Amivor with hiring personnel. Zelshee and Teyla provided manual labor, moving supplies and organizing them. Juan was hidden in a back room (because of his cursed condition) and did inventories of supplies, while Mastuuk handled manifests and accounting.

One morning, while heading towards the warehouse for the days work, they heard shouts in the streets followed by a panicked mob running past them shouting something about “freeman”. On the heels of the fleeing mob came a pack of rabid dogs that had been let loose into the streets by a terrorist organization of local Mwangi natives who called themselves the Freemans Brotherhood. The Freeman resented the colonial occupation and slavery and plotted the overthrow of the government of Sargava and murder of all foreigners in order to reclaim what they felt rightfully belonged to the Mwangi natives.

After putting down the rabid dogs, the heroes spotted smoke coming from the direction of their warehouse. Rushing to the site, they found two Mwangi’s trying to torch the front of the warehouse, part of which was already in flames. Zelshee yelled for them to stop, but they turned and attacked with club and alchemist fire. Mastuuk caught Juan and Teyla in a rain of stone during the battle, and Teyla had sharp words for him afterwards.

After defeating the terrorists they did what they could to put out the fire at the warehouse, saving some of it, but there was significant damage. Several of the native Zenj tribesmen who had been hired for the expedition had been killed during the attack. Searching the attackers, they found a medallion in a pocket of one bearing an image of a snake. Teyla identified it as a symbol of the Aspis Consortium.

After the fire was under control, one of the native workers that survived the warehouse attack rushed up to Zelshee and started babbling in polyglot. Mastuuk translated that she was saying some of the attackers had taken Gelik captive. Soon afterwards the heroes heard that the Freeman had taken over the South Arcadian Whaling Company compound in New Haliad and that their leader Umargo was issuing his demands for the overthrow of the government to all that would listen.

Rushing to the Whaling Company site, they found a crowd gathered in the streets listening to the demands being shouted by Umargo, an ex gladiator, from the rooftop of the flensing house 30 feet above. He held a beaten and tied up Gelik with a knife to the throat while riling up the crowd of natives in the streets below with inflammatory rhetoric about rising up against the oppressors and tyrants who had enslaved their people.

Mastuuk made Juan invisible and provided a distraction with illusions of a squad of soldiers in the street on the opposite side of the crowd. Zelshee tried to push her way through the agitated mob, but was dragged down by 3 beefy locals and began to get pummeled by them. Mastuuk cast a color spray on the crowd, which stunned Zelshee too. It seemed Mastuuk was going to make a habit of affecting his comrades with his spells. Mastuuk was then grappled by a few of the crowd who had evaded his spell, Drasheen and Teyla came to his rescue. Teyla then intimidated the crowd with threats of bloody violence which gave them a few precious moments of respite.

Meanwhile Juan invisibly made his way to the flensing house and climbed up a corner of the building. As he tried to sneak up on Umargo, Umargo noticed something amiss and swiveled towards Juan. Juan growled “release the gnome”, perhaps trying to intimidate Umargo. Umargo respnded by cutting Gelik’s throat, dropping him and sending him rolling down the slope of the roof with a push from his foot. Juan then tried to sneak attack Umargo, but Umargo’s barbarian sixth sense allowed him to avoid the critical damage as Juan appeared in front him. Umargo then put on a demonstration of prowess as he whipped his dual kukri’s around in a dazzling display, riling up some of the crowd and intimidating Juan and Mastuuk (who had approached the building).

As Gelik rolled off the edge of the building, Mastuuk cast a feather fall spell to save him from the fall. Juan was mercilessly attacked by Umargo and had to flee by leaping off the building. Umargo didn’t hesitate as he also lept off the building on top of Juan and cut him down in the street below. In the fight that followed, Umargo proved himself to be a dangerous opponent as he slew Zelshee with a couple of well placed blows with his flashing blades. Umargo also cut down Teyla before being finally defeated with only Mastuuk and Drasheen standing.

Searching Umargo, they found another snake medallion in his pocket and took his amulet and weapons. Retreating from the scene with the slain half orc paladin in tow, they raised Zelshee from the dead with the scroll of raise dead found on the Shiv. They also used the scroll of restoration found in the stash in the Temple of Zura to help restore her from the ordeal of death. Zelshee was alive, but not feeling terribly well. Returning later to the Whaling Company, they found it surrounded by guards who told them the remaining terrorists were holed up inside. They heroes decided to leave the last terrorists for the guardsmen to deal with.

Zelshee had a restoration cast on he by the high priest at Aroden’s temple, selling Umargo’s magic kukri to pay for it. Picking up the pieces from the attack, Amivor told them the damage done had set them back at least a week in preparations. Also, the native tribesmen who had been hired for the expedition had taken the attack as a bad omen and a sign that the expedition was cursed. Amivor was worried they would defect and suggested a plan to deal with the issue. He knew of a local shaman, Nkechi, who worshiped Shimye-Magalla (a local Amalgam of Desna and Gozreh worshiped by the natives as a god of the sea). Amivor thought if they could get the holy man to act as a guide for the main expedition and spiritual adviser for the natives, his participation would show the natives that the expedition was blessed by the gods and calm their fears. He told them that Nkechi lived in a cave high up on some sea cliffs north of town a few days away.

The heroes agreed to try and recruit Nkechi to their cause. Amivor supplied them with some material to be used as possible bribes (money, beads, blankets, whiskey, etc). The group set out on foot towards the sea caves. As they left the city they found the Sargavan government had set some new policies regarding usage of the city gates for commercial purposes which required complicated paperwork to be approved prior to passage from the city. It seemed that the Aspis Consortium was not the only faction who was scheming to delay their competitors…

Journal of Jocque Tarr

Ah, taking inventories in the darkest corner of a stinking wharehouse that’s the life for me!!!

But then, a bit of excitement….well, maybe a bit more than I would have hoped for. I figured we were going to lose a lot of gear and maybe some mates in the jungle. How was I to know we would lose all of that before we could get out of town?!!! Geeze!!!! And now we are stuck here for another week or more while the others move out ahead of us. When we finally get where we are going the Mantis and my old crew and probably the corporation guys will have already set up a new boom town for us!!!!

I think this curse is even worse than I thought it was. I should have been able to sneak up behind that stinking barbarian picked his pockets, slit his boot straps and given him a little kiss on the cheek before he knew I was there…but, oh no, he noticed me when I was still 20 feet away from him. Then he cuts the gnome’s throat and drops him over the side without a single thought. It would have been his last thought if I could have buried my short sword in his back but he even evaded that!! Then he had to do some kind of sword dance just to make me feel a little worse. You’d think he would have either been terrified by what I looked like when I became visible or burst into laughter but oh no he had do do his little dance and then stick me with those curved steak knives of his. I’m glad he is dead but I wish it could have been me that killed his arse. He took Zelshee with him too.

I didn’t know you could raise a dead person back to life but they read that scroll they found on the Shiv and Zelshee’s corpse arched its back and sucked in a lot of air and there she was again! It gives me hope that I can be cured but it also shook this sailor’s timbers to actually be there when it happened. What are we messing with here? What strange ports we have washed up in.

I wish this pain and hunger would leave me. I dream of being well again and back above deck with the wind in my face and clear skies and warm seas. I also dream of burying my blade in the back of that murderous snake bitch Ieana but half the time she turns her snake face toward me and laughs before she strikes back at me. My dreams are telling me to return to the sea and life but they are also telling me that I cannot do that until I at least try to pay that evil sorceress back for what she did to my crew and my captain……………….

Notes from Zelshee Venso

I survived being shipwrecked on the Shiv and ALL that entailed just be sliced down by some sword dancing Mwangi terrorist that we don’t even have a beef with! All we were trying to do was to stop them from burning our supplies and killing a friend. Why is the world so full of hate and evil? I really need to ponder this and what I can do to change things. We gave this Umargo a chance to walk away. Instead he was give the ultimate in justice – but not by me. He seemed to be goading us into killing him. I don’t see how that helps his cause or his people. Maybe the Mwangi natives have a legitimate reason to revolt. But this just isn’t the way to go about it. We’ve been sent out of town for close to a week. I will not be able to look into this concern until I return. Perhaps not even then. What if the Colonials are the true unjust ones? They seem to take full advantage of the natives. There was nothing but corruption when it came to framing Jask. And they are now changing laws to benefit them when it come to this expedition. What other evils lurk in this government?

DEATH – I have come close other times. But this time I truly died. I think back to other times and I realize I am over confident in my abilities. I an use to fighting my own battles – although back home they were not life or death. And now it seems they are! I think I can just waltz in with my Great Ax and slice everything down. NOT SO! We are going about things the wrong way. We should not be just charging ahead with out careful thought of the outcome. We stormed right into the cannibals’ camp and that didn’t go so well. We charged right into this mob of rioting Mwangi – really bad idea! Were never going to make to this Savinth-Yhi and back again without a serious conversation about tactics!
Thing to discuss with group
– Working together in a fight (communication)
– Mastuuk’s desire to deplete our health himself
– In regard to this Shaman – We should have a plan not just the usual (blunder in and hope for the best).

The Journal of Mastuuk Venso

3 Lamashan, 4710 AR

Now I’m really unsure if this was the right decision. I knew this adventure could be dangerous for me but now my sister has died. Lucky we had access to some powerfull spells or I don’t know what I would do. As much as I hate to admit it, I can’t continue on this path without her. It seems she has always been there to pull me out of a tough situation but who will save her when the time finally comes? My other companions have proven to be mostly capable but can I really expect them to give up everything to save us? Of course not, as always, it will be the Venso twins alone.

I suppose I should have spent more time studying in the battles sections of all those history books, maybe I’d have a better grasp for tactics. It will continue to be my job after all. Juan is no leader and neither is Drasheen so they will not fill the role. Teyla still cares more for herself than the rest, which is fine if all she’s doing is watching a flank, but I can’t trust her to fill another roll. And Zelshee is a good fighter but she flys off the handle too easily. I was hoping to learn more from our Pathfinder companions but since we’ll be ahead of them I suspect that life will continue to be my teacher. I do need to get the others to understand that if they would just hold back for a few seconds I can give them easier tagets or soften up groups of enemies. If they insist on charging straight in every time they will continue to get smacked by my spells or I’ll stop casting and they’ll get smacked by the enemies.

I suppose our next task should be a bit easier. I don’t think Nkechi will attack us even if he’s not keen on helping us. We just need to convince him but that may be easier said than done. And I’m also not quite sure how we’ll deal with the government. I’m really hoping Drasheen has a solution to that. While the five of us can sneak away in the night, we can’t exactly more a whole expedition train through the gates without anyone noticing.

Journal of Drasheen Rettig

Now when I close my eyes to meditate and pray thoughts of Mastuuk hailing down rocks on us or poor Gelik’s throat being slit and his body thrown off the roof top. It is a difficult time when all thats safe turns on us and that which is evil is still evil. Seeing my friend Zelshee died was hard on my heart. But prayers and blessings from our Gods brought her back to us. Zelshee is fearless and upright we could not get very far without her. Jaun fighting on a roof top with the sword swinging Umargo then jumping on juan after pushing him off thge roof. All my friend are getting so hurt and near death its all so difficult. And I thought bugs bad…

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Tests of Wind and Wave
Oyster beds and storm wracked spires

Golarion date 14 Lamashan 4710 AR

Leaving the city the group passed through the Zenj slums outside the city walls where the locals lived in poverty, then through the pineapple fields to the expanse beyond. Traveling two days north they saw the beauty of the Mwangi wilderness.

On the morning of the third day at low tide they waded through the rocks in ankle deep water washing up against the sea cliffs. The crashing waves knocked Teyla off her feet and she nearly washed out to sea as they were attacked by two giant crabs looking for breakfast. They killed the crabs and drug one up to the cliff face dotted with sea caves up ahead. Finding a conch shell on a chain, they blew it and a very old Mwangi man with only one good eye and wearing nothing but a loincloth appeared on a ledge 200 feet above them. Nkechi berated them and yelled at them to leave. Zelshee offered him the dead crab and Nkechi was outraged that they had killed Togo and demanded to know where Pogo was! Oops.

It took some convincing but eventually Nkechi agreed to have them come up to his cave and hear them out. The climb was arduous and the route was sprinkled with traps that Nkechi pointed out. They explained their purpose to the old shaman, and he pondered their request. He said he would only consider helping them if Shimye-Magalla approved. They would have to pass two simple tests, the test of water and the test of wind.

They chose the test of water first. Nkechi told them they had to retrieve a black pearl from the oyster beds near the crags to the north. They traveled half a day to the location and found a native village. The natives pointed out the way to the oyster beds and gave some tips. Juan took some rope and went oyster diving with the help of Drasheen’s ring of swimming. Finding a black pearl was difficult, but he found one. He also found a Kelpy living in the coral reef, and managed to resist her captivating song which would have charmed him to a watery death. Fleeing the Kelpy she chased him but failed to grab him. As they raced for the beach, a spell from Mastuuk that blinded the Kelpy convinced her to retreat. They had the pearl and returned to Nkechi.

Now was time for the test of wind. Nkechi told them they needed to recover a complete feather from a stormbird. One named Chirok lived atop a towering granite spire at the tip of the peninsula a days walk to the northeast. As they set out the weather worsened and it was storming by the time they reached the spire. Waiting till morning, the storm showed no sign of abating and time was running out because Nkechi had given them only two days. Juan and Teyla climbed the spire in the howling storm and found an 8 foot nest with four eggs. Seeing the eggs panicked them and the quickly searched the nest and found a feather. However, as they started back down Chirok returned, her feathers and eyes glowing in the storm and she fell into a rage as she saw her eggs threatened. Juan and Teyla tried to climb down as the storm bird attacked, but Juan fell. Mastuuk caught him with a feather fall spell. Teyla was attacked by the bird and fell a few moments later. Mastuuk also caught her with a feather fall spell. As they left the spire they were confronted by a war party of Ijo tribesmen who were unhappy someone had bothered the holy bird. The tribesmen sent a scout to verify Chirok had not been harmed, but they challenged the group to a trial of combat to punish them for violating their holy site. Zelshee was chosen as the champion and wrestled their leader. The match was spectacular, but eventually Zelshee managed to pin the Ijo warrior and win. The Ijo gave them gifts of their native jewelry in honor of their victory and allowed them to leave and return to Nkechi.

Nkechi was surprised they had succeeded again and had them come up to his cave again. Here he prepared a bowl of burning herbs and made them all sit cross legged around it. He then took some red substance and drew mystic symbols on their faces while chanting. Finally he gave them a piece of root to chew on and told them to close their eyes as his chanting continued.

Soon they found themselves leaving their bodies and floating through the heavens in various animal forms. Nkechi, as a giant crab, led them on a trippy flight miles above the Mwangi expanse as they floated along amongst the stars. Below they saw five masses crawling along the ground towards the Mwangi interior. Occasionally the masses seemed to meet and fight each other. Flying over a dense jungle they saw the trees part to reveal a sprawling city of white spires and neatly laid out concentric streets. However, an inky darkness appeared in the middle of the city and spread out flowing along the streets as storm clouds gathered on the horizon. As they examined the city far below the lights of the stars coalesced into a large serpent with green scales. On the throat of the serpent the scales formed a pattern that resembled the pattern seen on the holy symbol Yarzoth wore in the Temple of Zura on the Shiv. The serpent attacked but was detroyed. When killed the serpent was decapitated and the headless body thrashed about violently. All went black and they all woke up back in Nkechi’s cave, exhausted.

Nkechi said he now insisted he accompany the expedition, the gods had spoken and Shimye-Magalla had indicated that something bad was going to happen in the Mwangi jungles and he needed to be there to oppose it.

The next day they set out for Eleder with the old Mwangi shaman in tow.

Note from Zelshee Venso

What I thought to be a waste of time traveling to meet with Nkechi, turned out to be very enlightening! He’s much what I expected – old, a little crazy on the surface but, there seems to be a great power behind the crusty exterior. And we’re going to need that!
The two tests he sent us on were very telling. The first, the water test. Nkechi had to know that there was a kelpy living there. And I’m certain he sized us up and knew just which one of us was going for the swim. And I’m certain he knew that the swimmer alone would not be a match for the kelpy. Yes, a test for all of us.
The second test, the test of air. I don’t think any of us knew what a Stormbird was ORRR that it was a scared bird to the local tribesmen. Nkechi knew this. Again, I’m certain of it. Each one a test of courage, stealth, cunning, quick thinking and it the case of the tribesman – tongue holding! I’m relieved we pasted them all. So the last test – luck. Passed that too.
I have great faith that our vision we all experienced in his cave, will be fulfilled! I look forward to the day when Ieana’s head is separated from the rest of her body! That day will come.
I am fearful that our next great test will be political with the government of Sargava. And just getting our little troop out of town is not going to be easy.

The Journal of Mastuuk Venso

14 Lamashan, 4710 AR

This week has aroused my adventuring spirit and calmned my nerves. I’ve realized that our previous difficulties, while salient, are not indicative of a lack of ability. Working together we have shown ourselves to be a power force capable of defending ourselves. While I still don’t have complete faith in some of our party’s abilities and drive, particularly Teyla, I’m somewhat less concerned for our ultimate survival. More importantly, I’ve seen the real rewards of adventure and realize I can’t hope to make my mark on this world without spending time in the wilderness.

We’ve received a great boon this week. A powerful Mwangi mystic has agreed to accompany us and how shown us a glimpse our our future travels. This should take care of our porters’ concerns and provide our main expedition force with additional protections. Also, having another god on your side can’t be a bad thing.

My attentions turn back to preparations for our journey. While we’ll be a couple of days away from the main expedition and their ample food supplies I realize how long we’ll be out of contact with civilization. Much like the Shiv, we’ll need to be completely self sufficient but this time we can choose what to take. I plan to increase my redundant magic sources so that we are not caught with only swords to defend us. I must create some scrolls for use on the trip and I would like to create a backup spellbook but I’m unsure if we have the resources for that right now. Perhaps a partial backup lock, warded, and stored with the main expedition would be prudent. I will have to look into this.

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First Steps
Thru the Bandu Hills

Golarion date 19 Lamashan 4710AR

The group returned to Eleder with Nkechi. Nkechi was recognized by the local natives and several took to following them through the streets, apparently he had a good reputation with the locals.

Returning to the warehouse, expedition leader Amivor Glaur was very happy to see Nkechi. The group proceeded to help with finalizing preparations, except for Mastuuk who scribed scrolls.

Pathfinder Delve Captain Finze Bellaugh challenged the Sargavan government’s lockdown of the gates to caravans under the South Arcadian Charter, a series of laws that protect mercantile interests in Sargava. The governments maneuver caused delays but eventually they had to give in to the letter of the law and allow the expedition to proceed. However, the delays had set back the Pathfinders as the other expeditions all seemed to have gotten underway first. The race for Tazion was on, and the Pathfinders were off to a slow start.

The group brought along a pack mule named Betsy. Juan took a liking to Betsy, perhaps she reminded him of his mother?

The party set out a couple days ahead of the main expedition and made their way to the foothills of the Bandu Hills. One night Juan saw what looked like a rooster wandering into camp, but Mastuuk realized it was a cockatrice (perhaps the vicious chicken of Bristol)! Mastuuk was viciously attacked by the petrifying monster, but Zelshee put it down with her big axe. Perhaps Zelshee should take a chicken as heraldry?

While studying the maps of the area where they were trailblazing, Teyla noticed a mine marked nearby with a line connecting it to the plains on the other side of the hill. She speculated that if there was passage through the mine to the far side of the hills it might be a shortcut that would save the expedition a day. After much deliberation it was decided to not risk the mines. Zelshee was rather insistent that the mines were likely too dangerous. Perhaps the chicken heraldry was appropriate? The Tale of Sir Zelshee

Skipping the mine and pressing ahead, Teyla missed the turnoff from the trail north that would lead them to the pass out of the hills and to the plains. Doubling back, they found it, but lost some time. In the pass they were attacked by green painted fierce Bandu tribesman who rolled boulders down on them for an adventurer pancake lunch (they were apparently cannibals!). Four of the tribesmen were killed but the other two ran off.

The group pressed on and came out of the hills onto the savannah beyond.

Form the Journal of Jocque Tarr

I never told anyone about my father and the fact that he may have come from the Ekujae people of the Expanse. It was a long shot asking the half-wild Nkechi if he could release me from my curse but it worked! Maybe there is more of my father in me than I thought. What a blessed feeling to be able to handle things the way I used to and to walk without the gnawing hunger in my guts! I tried to thank the shayman, even asked if there were some way to show thanks to his dieties but all he did was abuse me. He says I am not of his people and that I will never be accepted by him or by the natives because I am not one of them but I think it may have been my blood that made the cure work. And maybe it is my blood that is calling me to keep on with my efforts to find a way to voice my thanks to the powers that worked for me. I WILL find a way.

As my strength and agility set back in I sensed a change in me. Before, I was loath to go into the Expanse. Now I feel drawn to it. What else will I find here? Who else?

And another thing. I guess it was pressing on despite my twisted hands and feet. As the cure took root, I found that I could do all the things I was able to do before the curse….but just a little better. It’s as if the curse forced me to try just a little harder and with its effects gone it is as if chains and weights have falled off of my arms and legs! I have taken a couple of practice tumbles and amazed even myself. Same is true with my other abilties. I got my card deck out again and have been practicing for the first time in years. I think I might play Mastuuk or Drasheen for some of the gold I owe them….. Well maybe not. That would be wrong…..Fun, but wrong.

I haven’t been this happy in …. well, forever!

The Journal of Mastuuk Venso

19 Lamashan 4710AR

We’ve finally gotten underway and none too soon; it seems we’re the last group to leave. Our first days have not been uneventfull either. My sister saved me from the dreaded cockatrice of Bristol which could have easily petrified me. We also encountered some natives who rather insisted that we cross over to the afterlife. Luckily, we didn’t speak their language and were unable to comply. After personally wetting herself at the battle of the Bandu Hills, Zelshee decided we shouldn’t take a shortcut through the hills which Teyla suggested and I fully supported…fireballs are much more effective in close quarters than they are in the open. I do hope things quiet down before we reach our next destination. Unfortunately, I don’t think they will as the savannah has a reputation for brutality.

Notes from Zelshee Venso

It didn’t take long for the dangers of the trip to present themselves! A petrifying chicken attacked the group. Then a tribe of Bandu hillsman thought they could send us running. But we stuck together and together we defeated them. With only a few bumps and bruises that are easily mended. What might take more time to mend is the consequences of the inconsistencies of the group.
Great care in planning was taken for the trek of this journey. And it seems more than a little reckless to change course at the last minute because Teyla (who has never been in this part of the world) sees an underground mine tunnel and wants to follow it!! Call me ‘yellow’. Call me a ‘chicken’. But we have a plan, shouldn’t we stick to it. Haven’t we gotten ourselves in more trouble when we just ‘wing it’? Amivor gave us a map, told us which way to go. Trailing us is the caravan. Wouldn’t it make sense that if Amivor, the professional, wanted us to go through a tunnel that was labeled on a map that he gave us – HE WOULD HAVE TOLD US ABOUT IT!!!???__
Is Teyla here to help us or hinder us? She pointed out the tunnel. Got my gullible, obviously easily manipulated, brother to side with her. Time to keep an eye on her again. Her loyalties might be split right now.

From the Journal of Drasheen Rettig

I’m pretty sure the entire city of Eleder has gotton a several day head start over us.
I loved the three challanges of Nkechi. In my mind it was reinforcement that the gods favor us. I was so encourged by this that when the petrifying chichen attacked us, I knew we would over come. And when the cannibals rolled those huge boulders down on us and threw their lances on us I knew we would survive. The gods have protected us at every turn all we have to do is fight with all our hearts and beleive, to be worthy.
I thought the gods were guiding us when Teyla found the hidden tunnel and that we should take it. I will pray for the conversion of Zelshee to put her mind at ease. I will pray for all of us. I can’t wait for tomorrow.

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Stalking the Savannah
Lions, and roosters, and bear-apes, oh my!

Golarion date: 27 Lamashan 4710AR

Continuing their journey the group followed the old caravan routes east across the wide open savannah skirting the northern edge of the Laughing Jungle. They were attacked by four lionesses and nearly became feline lunch. Spotting a huge male watching them from the distance, they decided to skip out of the hunting grounds as quickly as possible.

That night they came upon a merchant caravan that was traveling the opposite direction. It was run by a slimy Garundi man named Rickets. Zelshee and Drasheen participated in some cock fighting that night, and wagered a few coins, while Jocque was extremely paranoid and missed out on all the fun.

A couple days later they came upon a friendly Zenj village. The locals invited the strangers into their village and threw a feast with festivities while trading with the newcomers. The tribe’s shaman came to them that night, startling Mastuuk when she suddenly appeared and asked them if they could lift the curse that was plaguing the village. The shaman told them how a demonic ape had been raiding the village over the last couple weeks and carrying off villagers. She asked if they could help deal with this beast, as all the shaman’s attempts had failed. They agreed and the shaman smeared their hut with blood and left. That night a vicious half bear half ape burst into the hut and attacked them, it’s mate waiting outside. When Jocque fled outside the mate grabbed him and tried to flee into the jungle with it’s prize, but a timely glitterdust spell by Mastuuk blinded it, slowing it enough to be brought down before Jocque could be carried off to a grisly fate. The shaman gave them a shrunken monkey head she said was a spirit fetish and a treasure map showing the location of a sunken ship supposedly carrying gold bars as reward.

Leaving the friendly Zenj village they continued east towards Kalbuto. In one area of the savannah they came across a wide area of ground marred by dug up mounds and ridges of dirt. Mastuuk identified the mounds and ridges as the work of Anhkegs, giant burrowing predatory insect like creatures. It would take quite some time to detour around the Ankheg hunting grounds, so the conjurer Mastuuk summoned a horse and sent it off into the area to draw the Ankheg’s out. The plan worked well and they were able to clear the monsters from the path of the Pathfdinder expedition and proceed towards Kalabuto and their ultimate goal of the lost city of Savinth-Yhi.

From the Log of Jocque Tarr

I was feeling so confident that I overplayed things. I am not a figher! I should spend a little more time behind them! What was I thinking?! Giant apes! Giant bugs! Sheesh!

But my time will come. The crew I have fallen in with are a strange lot….that’s for sure…two halforcs, a cleric, and a mercenary…but they are resourceful, tough and flexible. And, maybe more importantly, ready to trust each other and respect each other’s talents. I’ve always been kind of on the outside, always having to watch my back and always the brunt of some trash talk or predjudice but not here. They’ve come to accept me and to rely on me and what I can do, and they tried their best to help me when I was twisted and maimed by that curse. More often than I can count already, one or more of them have come to my aid when I was in dire trouble or hurt badly. As I look around the camp at them or listen to them joking or poking fun at each other I get a strange feeling in my throat. They are the closest I have ever come to a having a family or real friends. My time will come and they will be proud of me and glad that they have me with them.

As I record these thoughts I am suprised by them. I am also suprised at what we have accomplished with regard to the baggage train following us. We have not only cleared their path of threats like the lionesses and the Anhkegs but steered them away from some dangers like that beconning mine shaft and we have left at least one village of people behind who will welcome those following us as friends of ours when they arrive.

One last thought….if the old woman’s map is correct….a ship full of gold waits at the bottom of a lake up ahead of us. Kassata Lewynn and “the boys” would have an orgasm or two if they knew about that…….Haaarr…Ha…Ha…Haaarrrr!

From the Journal of Drasheen Rettig

As I pray tonight I am surprised by all that has happened to us and how we keep going…

We came upon a caravan, while very distrusting at the moment we arrived, no one else seemed to be that worried and Mastuuk asked if we could camp with them and we did willingly and seemingly with no fear. I put up a good front and acted as if everything was just fine with me. But that evening when we heard all the noise of groans and laughter, Mastuuk and I went to check it out. Jocque showed his first signs of mistrust he didn’t want to have anything to do with going thru and in the back of the camp, thinking trap I’m sure! So was I but Mastuuk seems to always want to find out what’s going on. The more I thought of it, I was thinking we could scout them out and see what strong holds they may have and where the young strong fighting types may be gathered. When it turned out to be a cock fight I thought I might join in just to see what’s really going on but it seemed to me just a cock fight. We said good night and all was well.

When we came upon a Zenj village and they asked us to help them. An evil Ape had been raiding their village and killing them. Everyone in “My” group stepped up and eagerly said yes!!!
My prayer for the conversion of their souls is working. I will end here in hopes I will not have nightmares of being dragged off and eaten by huge, hungry, vicious lions. No I will pray and be grateful til I wake tomorrow.

The Journal of Mastuuk Venso

27 Lamashan 4710AR

We are finally working together as a team. These last days have brightened my outlook on this whole expedition. While those lions gave us some trouble, we survived and prospered. A mostly friendly expedition should meet up with our main force in a couple of days; hopefully they will be able to trade some more information about the road ahead. And the village…they were friendly enough but after we saved them from an awful fate I feel we will always be welcomed as friends. During the battle with the apes I was again forced to cast on a companion but this time they all seemed to understand the reason. Jocque was not angry and the others jumped on the opportunity I gave them. Only a day later, we successfully cleared out another threat with ease! There is hope for us still!

View
To Kalabuto
Dragons, vultures, and undead oh my!

Golarion Date 8 Neth 4710AR

Pressing on towards Kalabuto, the party dealt with a wandering dinosaur in the night (it passed them by) and a flock of hungry vultures (including two giant ones that didn’t have the patience to wait for them to die and tried to help them along).

As they approached Kalabuto, they came across a gallows tree left by some hostile Mzali raiders. The dead tree was filled with colonial corpses hanging by the neck with more fallen to the ground below. Zelshee was lured to the tree by a female voice calling for help that ended up being an undead beast called a Tuyewera that stalks the night and eats the tongues of it’s victims. The Tuyewera used the stolen voice of one of the victims on the gallows tree to lure Zelshee close where it tried to steal her breath, nearly suffocating her. Zelshee resisted, but a dangerous battle ensued as the corpses around the tree stirred to life and thousands of Mwangi Botflies swarmed from the mouths of the corpses and tried to devour the adventurers. By flame, hammer, axe, and sword they defeated the monsters at the gallows tree and survived to approach the city of Kalabuto.

Entering Kalabuto the group was approached by a 10 year old native girl named Kibi. Kibi offered her services as a guide in the city and sold them some small carved wooden charms to ward off evil spirits. They asked Kibi to take them to the Shrunken Head Tavern. On the way along the boardwalk by the river Joque spotted a large boat flying the colors of Kassata Lewynn tied up to a pier. It appeared the boat was tied up for a long stay, and was mostly empty. Apparently at least the pirate faction was ahead of them!

Making it to the Shrunken Head tavern, they found their contact Cheiton, but Kibi disappeared before they could introduce her. They chatted about their journey while Cheiton bought them food and drinks, then Cheiton suggested they retire to his home to discuss detailed planning “away from prying ears.” Cheiton led them to his small 4 bedroom house not far from the tavern where they began discussing what they needed to resupply in town…

From the Log of Jocque Tarr

I’ve seen my share of sea monsters and heard of many another encounter with them but there was always that separation between sea and air. They might try to crawl aboard but they were always going to finally have to return to the deep. When I finally realized that I had walked to within a few feet of a 40 foot long lizard in the brush I think the thing that got me the most was the realization that there was nothing between us but dirt! I almost backed up into the camp fire. I guess it was afraid of the light or something. It prowed around the camp a little then went off in the night. Teyla said it was a dinosaur. I sure hope we don’t run into any more of those things. I think I will try to get the others to buy some alchemist’s fire to take along after we leave Kalabuto.

Kalabuto, what a place! Everything seems to be built on the ruins of some ancient city below the current Kalabuto. The upper edges and infrastructure of the ruins are everywhere to be seen. And the whole town is like a shoreside tavern. Everywhere you look there are strange kinds of men and animals. Everyone, including this Cheiton and even the little ones like this Kibi girl are working the fringes. Best keep your purses tight in a place like this. I wonder what traps Kasatta and the Mantis have laid for us here. Kibi might be one of them, come to think of it, and I bet there are others. As soon as we get a place to stay we had better be on our toes. If I was Kassata I’d make sure that an outraged parent would show up in the next day or so telling everyone that one of us has raped their daughter or stolen their pet pig….or some other crap to tie us up or get us killed. And the Mantis…I wouldn’t put it past them to introduce a snake or scorpion or spider into a room or two….probably Teyla’s to cripple us or Drasheen’s to weaken our defenses or both.

Geeze! I knew there was a good reason not to keep a log of my thoughts. All I do is creep myself out and ruin my sleep. I need a drink! But I better not have a second! Geeze!!! I was looking forward to sleeping in a bed again and getting out of the jungle for a while now I feel less safe than when we were sleeping around a camp fire together. I really need that drink and some bug repellant!!!!!

The Journal of Mastuuk Venso

8 Neth 4710AR

We have arrived at Kalabuto and located our Dwarf contact whose has put us up for the night. It seems the Mzali have been busy in the area defiling the locals and the region. This could be a bit of a problem, hopefully we won’t run into them again but I suspect we likely will. I’ll need to prepare some necromatic spells just in case. I wonder if there are any proper wizards in this city?

In addition to Cheiton, we’ve also employed a local girl, Kibi. My plan is to send her on errands to distract any onlookers from our real activities in the city. We’re relaxing a bit after the long journey but soon we will talk with Cheiton about the next stage of our journey.

The pirate faction has been through the city as well, and quite some time ago based on the condition of their ship. I’m unsure if other factions have moved through town but we should gather some intelligence while we are here. I’m also debating our departure date; should we wait for our caravan so we can speak with them or should we start moving out as soon as possible. Perhaps the Dwarf will have some advice.

From the Journal of Drasheen Rettig

We finally met our contact in Kalabutu. He is dwarf named Cheiton. We are actually going to sleep in a bed tonight and I am looking forward to it. As I pray tonight I thanks the stars for our survival one more time. I never saw a gallows tree! And it was turely a tree of death. Seeing all those dead corps coming to life to try and kill us was soooo creepy. The night mares I will have forever over this journey…! I must trry to sleep and pray and pray.

Notes by Zelshee Venso

Hideous-er and Hideous-er!! Is that even a word? I don’t care! It describes, perfectly, the monsters we’ve encountered on this journey! I always thought dinosaurs were just a myth. Just something to tell the young ones when they needed a good scare. But no, one was stalking us. And normal vultures circling overhead is bad enough – BUT GIANT ONES?! And giant ones that decided to help speed up our demise?! Just wrong.
But the worse thing of all – an undead creature with a tongue 2 feet long! It almost had me. So close to death yet again. But, we prevailed.
On to Kalabutu….

View
Daggers in the Dark
Who's been sleeping in my bed?

Golarion date 12 Neth 4710AR

Cheiton the dwarf had a snug little house just down the street from the Shrunken Head Tavern, still near the river. He only had 3 small guest bedrooms upstairs so the group fought over who gets a bed. In the end the three ladies, Teyla, Drasheen, and Zelshee ended up with the beds. Mastuuk thought to share one with Teyla, but a quickly brandished knife convinced him otherwise and by the time he got back downstairs Joque had claimed the only couch and Mastuuk was resigned to a restless night in a chair.

In the middle of the night the 3 ladies woke to cloaked strangers in their rooms shooting them with poisoned hand crossbows. Zelshee and Teyla succumbed to the paralysis poison, but Drasheen resisted. However, Drasheen was overcome by two of the invaders and all three were tied up and gagged. Mastuuk, tossing and turning in his chair heard a commotion upstairs, woke Joque and they investigated. There were four attackers, and they came after Mastuuk when they saw him, making it clear Mastuuk was their target. Mastuuk managed to flee back downstairs, and Joque used some fancy acrobatics to evade the attackers and free Zelshee from her bonds. Once Zelshee regained her big axe and got her big ass out of bed, things turned bad for the home invaders. Two of them fled, two died, but Zelshee got burned by a magical flaming ward on the front door when she tried to leave to chase one of them

Drasheen became very suspicious of their host, grabbed some rope and threw open the door to Cheiton’s room (he had not made an appearance during the scuffle). She found Cheiton asleep in his bed with a mask over his eyes, earplugs in his ears, and hugging a worn stuffed bear. Drasheen attacked Cheiton in his sleep and with Joque’s help got him tied up. Cheiton was furious and a great uproar brought Zelshee who tried to calm everyone down and she untied Cheiton. Cheiton claimed innocence, but was very angry with Drasheen. When Cheiton searched one of the dead assailants, he found a letter of credit for the Aspis Consortium stores in a hidden pocket in one of their boots. It seemed the Consortium was behind the attack, and Drasheen apologized to Cheiton. They found the leader of the group had a potion of invisibility and a wand of Glyph of Warding with 3 charges left. They dumped the bodies in the river.

Over the next couple of days they arranged the supplies that would be needed by their expedition when it arrived. The supplies were laid up in a rented warehouse, and the group busied themselves preparing for the second leg of their journey to the ruins of Tazion.

A couple of days later the Pathfinder expedition rolled into town. It seemed the expedition had had a rough time of it, and Amivor told them that they had been attacked by an entire tribe of Bandu tribesmen as they camped at the edge of the hills. There were 12 wounded, several dead, and three members of the expedition had been carried off along with some supplies stolen in the raid. Recovering from this attack would set them back a couple days, so the trailblazers pushed on to scout the route into the Screaming Jungle. Joque was anxious to see what might come of the treasure map they had been given claiming lost treasure in the Lake of Vanishing Armies…

Crossing to the north side of the rive at Kalabuto, the group traveled 60 miles east to the Lake of Vanishing Armies. They found the river and lake dotted with small native villages, most of them friendly. Talking with some of the natives about dangers of the lake they were told of the great beast that lurked in it’s depths and occasionally swallowed small fishing boats whole. The locals called the beast Aomak and described him as a titanic saurian monstrosity with an insatiable appetite. Joque tried to puzzle out the location marked on their treasure map, and determined it was on the far eastern shore. If the sunken ship indicated on the map was in the shallows of the east shore, it was likely Aomak would not bother them. They traded a lantern for use of a small rowboat from one of the locals and set out to investigate. After a half day searching using the map as a guide, they spotted what looked like might be a sunken ship in 40 foot deep water. As they peered into the depths a shadow crossed over them, and they turned to see a long necked sharp toothed monster looming over them. The beast was large enough to swallow a halfling whole, could this be Aomak? They pondered this question as the beast roared and attacked.

From the Log of Jocque Tarr

I was right. The Consortium laid a trap for Mastuuk the walking map to what we seek. I was also right about the group’s need for my skills. In the middle of the night I was able to move through them like a shadow, cause confusion and free our real fighters to drive them off. I was also smart enough to search the bodies of the swine who attacked us and left the letter of credit from the Consortium half pulled from the one bastard’s boot pocket so the dwarf could “find” it. It was all too convienent for him to be sleeping with plugs in his ears and a shade over his eyes wasn’t it. His feinged outrage over our accusations was pretty thin gruel if you ask me. Imagine a man with prior adventuring skills sleeping with a teddy bear, Bah, I say. More like a quick way to make a gold piece or two. I bet if I searched his place I’d find another letter of credit stuck away somewhere!

It was sad to hear that the baggage train took so many hits from the Bandu. We should have neve let those two escape to tell the tale. A lesson learned. Now we are back on the trail and have found the Lake of Vanishing Armies and I have talked the group into at least checking out the map the old shaman gave us and they have given me a day. My plan is to make a dive to see if there really is a treasure waiting in the depths. And if there is, to mark it for another dive on the way back. We have the equipment and the spells to give it a shot but what about this monster, Aomak?

Probably just another savage myth…………..what in the seven hells is that??!!!!

The Journal of Mastuuk Venso

12 Neth 4710AR

I was wondering when this would start. It seems the Aspis Consortium were the first to try and capture me. Until now, the others have tried to slow our progress or buy my assistance but now that game has changed and a potent game it is. Luckily I was not quite asleep and heard the commotion as three of our memebers were rendered immobile. Waking Joque, I went upstairs into the four rogues sent to capture me. I ran downstairs figuring I would become invisible before attempting to free my companions. I paused briefly by the door and in a moment of weakness, thought about running. Luckily I’m more loyal than that as the door was warded.

I blasted two of the rogues with a colorspray then made myself invisible and snuck back upstairs to release Teyla. Jogue was able to free my sister who removed a few heads; nearly that of our host as well, a fool but not a traitor.

I was able to obtain a few scrolls to expand my spellbook. I really should work on that backup book once I get some funds for materials. Speaking of which, we’re taking an afternoon to search for the treasure alluded to on that map we received. I plan on putting it to good use if we can manage to avoid the beast which lurks below.

From the Journal of DDrasheen Rettig

Once again I question my faith and my resolve. I did, I truely did want to hurt, I mean rally hurt Cheiton!! Who does he think we are that we should beleive that he was asleep. I’ve use earplugs before and they are not that great. Well Mastuuk has a way of making the best of bad situation. Can you imagine having Mastuuk and his sister mad at you…Cheiton will not give us anymore greif. And if he tries I will take pleasure in setting him straight. I have taken a breath and calmed down. Oh no our poor expedidtion really got beat up. We should never have let those 2 tribesmen get away. Now on to an adventure true and simple, good and evil. A seaserpant guarding a treasure…sounds good to me. Oh I do need prayer saving the world from evil getting to the ruins of Tazion must be my first priority before treasure hunting.

View
Into the Wilds
Lost treasures and angry natives

Golarion date 18 Neth 4710AR

As they turned towards the saurian beast rising from the depths, it roared and lunged towards Mastuuk who was sitting in the back of the boat. Zelshee and Teyla pulled bows and started firing at the beast, Drasheen called lightning from the sky, and Mastuuk summoned creatures in the water to attack it. Meanwhile Joque started paddling madly to get away from the unexpected diner (they were obviously dinner).

The Spawn of Aomak was confused by the lightning and the creatures who simply disappeared when killed, when Mastuuk summoned a pack of celestial dolphins to distract it they were able to make it close to shore before the monster caught up to them again. This time Drasheen was ready for it, and a well timed inflict wounds spell convinced the beast to seek it’s meal elsewhere, but not before Teyla was incapacitated from her wounds.

After healing, they returned and found the sunken ship. Joque drank a potion of water breathing and swam down. In the wreck’s hold he found an old iron sea trunk that was permanently bolted to the ship. Picking the old lock, inside he found 10 gold ingots, 3 potions, and an adamantine machete. They took the treasure and returned to the native village where the natives marvelled at the tale of their encounter with the Spawn of the Great Aomak of the Depths.

The next morning they left the lake and followed the Korir river north towards the Screaming Jungle. A day later, as they passed the junction where the Pasuango River flowed into the Korir, they were ambushed by a patrol of Mzali Rangers. The Mzali warriors fired arrows at them from cover, including some very damaging magical arrows at the humans in the group. Appearing on a hill was a Mzali Sorcerer (in a terrifying wooden frog demon mask) who ordered his Troll JuJu Zombie to attack. Drasheen managed to turn the JuJu Zombie and make it flee after a battle of wills with the necromantic sorcerer. They were able to deal with the rangers well enough, though one kept peppering Mastuuk with arrows whenever he tried to cast a spell and the sorceror blinded Drasheen with his magic. The sorceror proved more difficult as he cast a spell and flew up into the trees for cover while pelting them with magical rays and nasty spells delivered by a spectral hand. Zelshee called on her god to smite the evil sorceror, Joque had a well placed arrow, and Drasheens blind healing combined with Mastuuks distractions combined to finally bring down the crazy flying necromancer. Shortly after the big zombie returned, but was easily cut down by Zelshee and Drasheen.

Searching the group, they found severed hands of colonials taken by the sorceror as prizes, a magical spear, an amulet, and his magic mask. They were all alive, but drained, and Drasheen was still blind. All this, and the had only just left the border of Sargava and entered the wilds of the Mwangi expanse… What other surprises awaited deep in the interior of this wild continent?

Notes from Zelshee Venso

I felt so useless waiting on the banks of the lake. But, better to be on the bank and breathing instead of on the bottom and drowning. I don’t swim – period! And I don’t like to swim. And i don’t want to swim – ever! They were able to handle it all themselves. They didn’t really need me.
Truthfully, I never thought Joque was going to find anything. And you know the old saying ‘Never pick up a jeweled box just laying in the road.’ Something that good can only bring bad luck! But i was wrong – happily! I’m a big enough half orc to admit it.
And then we barely get on our way and we’re ambushed by the same Mazali warriors that hung colonials from that tree outside of Kalabutu! Evil, that’s all I can say about them. They had magical arrows, a sorcerer, and a zombie troll! Growing up – WHO CAN TRAIN FOR THIS?? I had no idea people like this even existed. Zombie Trolls??? My nightmares seem to have taken form and now walk among us.
Yes, we prevailed. But at the expense of Drasheen eyesight and everyone was badly hurt. It was not an easy fight. But with each fight or skirmish, we seem to become a better fighting group. It’s good to know we can depend on each other when we really need to. How long has it been since Mastukk and I found these friends? Oh how our lives have changed. but I’m glad for the friendships that have come from all our misfortunes.
I buried the decomposing colonial hands we found. And now we rest here for the night. I think I’ll take first watch. I really don’t want to sleep.

From the Journal of Mastuuk Venso

18 Neth 4710AR

We were nearly put down in our first trek into The Expanse when we met a group of Mzali raiders and a rather powerful sorcerer. We proved stronger by are quite drained and Drasheen is permanently blinded by the encounter. I have recovered a spell book from the sorcerer and what a find it was! I do have some reservations however. The sorcerer was a necromancer and many of the spells are of questionable morality. I need to have a discussion with my sister and seek her guidance on this matter.

From the Log of Jocque Tarr

One thing about this trip, for sure, is that I am going to have bar tales that put others to shame. I remember listening to others’ stories with my mouth hanging open only to realize later that they had probably been making parts of it up. But I won’t have to make anything up! I don’t think I ever saw so many teeth and such big teeth in one mouth. That sea beast in the lake, Aomak, it would make a great white close it’s mouth out of embarassment! And then only to find that the villagers thought this one was not their Aomak but a BABY ONE!!!! Geeze!!!!

And the ‘treasure’, I think it was waiting there just for me. I am debt free for the first time in a long time and have a little gold in my pocket again but more importantly this weapon I found down there is simply amazing to me. Mastuuk says it can cut through about any material in the world and it’s weight and balance are excellent. I wish some of my old ship mates could see it. It is a work of art.

We no more than move a few more miles and bingo! We run right into the guys who left all those undead things in the tree the other side of Kalabuto. Only now, they want to gut us and hang us in a tree! And their leader was a real beaut he was. No wonder he wore a mask! He blinded our cleric, Drasheen, and even had Mastuuk on the run a couple of times. We finally brought him down but what a fight that turned out to be. If this is the edge of the jungle and the beginning of its terrors we are in for a rough time of it and that’s for sure. My mind is always turning back to those ahead of us though and I wouldn’t put it past a couple of the groups out there to have pointed this owl-face and his friends our way. The only thing that puzzled me on that count was that there seemed to be no specific effort to spare Mastuuk. Every one of the groups ahead of us must realize that he is the key that opens the door at the end of this trail unless somebody out there already has the key …. and that would be snake-girl, wouldn’t it???

It isn’t bad enough that we have to fight the jungle and the critters in it we are also fighting forces that are even more dangerous …. in the long run.

From the journal of Drasheen

Holy Sea Serpant…zombies…poison arrows. It has been a very difficult couple of days. I jumped in on the undead thinking this I know how to kill. But when I was blinded by evil flying magician I was stunned abd scared. I could only hear the screams and the fighting. I could only imagine the horrible things happeningto my friends. I need to pray and sleep. My mind is swimming and I don’t swim well.

View
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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Jungle Babes
Joque gets unlucky

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!

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Entering Tazion
Of crazed monkey men

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.

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The Azlanti Ziggurat of Tazion
Ouch...

Golarion date 27 Kuthona, 4710AR

They explored the ruins where they encountered the monkey men. Mastuuk thought the architecture was Azlanti, but the area was so crumbling it was hard to be sure. The whole area was filled with tar pits and overrun with Boab trees. In the crumbling remains of one tower they found 4 monkey men waiting for them in what must have bee the “Shedding Pit” because they had 3 Zenj tribesmen tarred and tied by their feet over red hot coals. When the intruders refused to surrender, the monkey men lit the captives on fire. The savage monkey men were dealt with easy enough, but the unfortunate captives died.

In the largest tower remains they found where the monkey priest had made his temple. Thousands of bones were plastered to the round walls to make a statue of a headless serpent. A quick search of the “temple” found nothing more than the belongings of the priest and his giant snake.

Leaving that building they approached the ziggurat which rose up out of the jungle in the northern section of the ruins. The ziggurat was partially sunken in the soil and was overgrown with jungle vines. Sunken in the southern face Joque spied massive double doors that were obscured by hanging vines but standing open. A quick reconnoiter showed no other entrances but there appeared to be an open courtyard in the east with a crumbling stone staircase rising up to the middle level of the ziggurat. With all the vines the ziggurat appeared easily climbable, but they decided for the easy route of the doors after having a loud conversation about it just in front of them.

Inside on the lower level they found a large room filled with mud, water, and other runoff from the jungle. Waiting in ambush were three snake men warriors weilding great swords. These three proved quite capable and dangerous and beat they adventurers to within an inch of their life before going down. Congratulating themselves on their narrow victory, healing their wounds, and conjecturing about the presence of the snake people a door from the room to the courtyard opened and another snake person appeared. However, this one was a powerful wizard and he spoke in their minds telepathically that they would pay for their intrusion with their pathetic lives as he let loose a lightning bolt into their midst as he spider climbed to the ceiling.

They fled for the outdoors to get away from the angry snake wizard, but Drasheen slipped int he mud and was stuck in the room. Fortunately she resisted the hideous laughter spell and slipped out with the snake wizard on her heels. A ranged battle ensued with the snake wizard casting spells from the top of the ziggurat and the adventurers answering with arrows and magic of their own. Teyla was enchanted and taken out of the battle, and Joque nearly paid for a brave climbing approach with his life when he was briefly paralyzed by a spell and nearly had his throat cut. But eventually they were able to wear the wizard down and he fled for the top of the ziggurat and disappeared.

They adventurers licked their wounds and fled for the deep jungle to recuperate.

From the Journal of Mastuuk Venso

27 Kuthona 4710AR

This has been perhaps the most trying day in our little adventure. I am completely drained; magically, physically, and emotionally. What fools were we to think that the snake worshipers would only infiltrate the upper city buildings? Snake men are resilient and trying and we narrowly escaped with our lives only to be attacked by their powerful head priest! At least I hope he is the head priest and not merely another minion. He has run off to recover as we were about to do but I have no doubt he will be back. We all need rest and rejuvenation but we must post a vigilant guard. I’m not sure how to resolve this matter. I supose we could try to travel outside the city and meet up with the caravan as they will be here tomorrow anyway, but that could still take many hours. I think we’ll just need to find an isolated area and setup a perimeter then hope for some luck.

I’m quite curious why the lizard men were in the ziggurat. The information we are seeking must be here since it is nowhere else in the city. Perhaps they have come to the same conclusion? But why would they care? The Azlanti are long gone and the Snake has prevailed so why would they care about the ruins?

Notes from Zelshee Venso

We’ve been beaten at every turn. And just when it looks like we’ve lost for sure, the tide of the battle turns. But, I fear the night. We’re all so spent. And I’m sure the snake priest will be hunting us before we are ready for him. And how many minions will he have with him? It’s a terrifying thought – having come so far only to be sacrificed to the evil snake god we’d hope to destroy! We must prevail. And if we do, what have we learned? Those evil snake worshiping monkey men almost captured us. And evil snake worshiping minions almost bested us. And an evil snake worshiping priest came so very close to killing ALL of us.
OH GREAT GODS……HOW WILL WE EVER SMITE DOWN THE EVILEST OF THEM ALL? Ieana herself??

But what, pray tell, will happen if we don’t? Justice must be done! It must prevail! We must carry on and fight the good fight till we all are no more.

From the Log of Jocque Tarr

Almost got myself and my friends killed again! That loud conversation we had just outside the doors of the ziggurat was just dumb. We had just come from two encouners with those ugly snake worshiping monkey men. What posessed us to assume we were now safe enough to throw stealth to the wind? If we live through this night, I am going to try, once again, to get these friends of mine use a little more midnight walking and talking when we are near a nest of bad guys. I don’t think it will take much convincing on my part. As I look around at them I can see their eyes have the look of men and women who know they have just escaped with their lives.

One thing botters me a lot about what we are doing right now. I don’t think any of us, including Mastuuk, knows what we are looking for in this crumbled and dangerous ruin of a city. I suspect that Ieana may have already found it and moved on because it is highly unlikely in my mind that these snake men and their priest have been here for long. What could possibly draw them here and keep them here for any appreciable period of time? No. They have been called here and left here to stop anyone following that bitch.

One bright spot in all that we have encountered so far… no sign of Captain Luwynn, Chivane and Sasha or any of the others that were on their way ahead of us. I wonder if they lay in the Screaming Jungle or on the plains behind us. On the other hand, they could be just outside the ruins waiting for our main body… waiting for our team to do all the dirty work and all the dying. Maybe, if we live through this night, we will find out. I will talk to Mastuuk about this in the morning. If we see the morning.

From the Journal of Drasheen Rettig

If cleanliness is next to godliness we are far, far away from all that is good. The tar pits, the swampiness the deadth in the air it is all bad and scarey…
Now is not the time to weaken it is time to stand fast and do what is right. I vote not to talk to anyone but read the walls of the ruins. To study what we already know and let the gods lead us. Why does anyone think these evil, and or dead creatures are going to tell us anything useful. Study them against what we know but don’t think they are going to help us in any way. Never did I think I would ever say shoot first, talk later, but that’s exactly what we have to do while backed into a corner, to stay alive and fight Ileana and her snakes. I know
everyone knows this down deep in their souls. Guide us all.

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Storming the Castle
It would take a miracle

Golarion date 29 Kuthona 4710AR

Retreating quickly from the ruins of Tazaion, the adventurers picked their way north through the Mwangi jungle taking pains to try and hide their trail. They found a defensible spot in the jungle and set up camp to recuperate. Everyone was on edge as they expected the canopy to explode in screaming monkey men and magic flinging snake men at any moment, but the night passed peacefully.

The next morning they picked their way carefully back to the ruins and the hole in the outer wall near the ziggurat. Joque checked the net trap he disabled yesterday, finding it still disabled but fortunately noticing that they had cleverly set ANOTHER trap underneath and left the disabled one as a distraction! Joque carefully cut the trip vines for the new trap and they sneaked into the underbrush north of the ziggurat where they spotted monkey men guards on the terrace of the second level. Debating what to do they retreated back outside the ruins and went in through another hole in the wall to the west.

Approaching from the west of the ziggurat they spotted a large hole on the side of the second level, but no guards there. There were guards on the south side, so the west seemed like a safe approach. After a quick recon of the west side by Joque and Teyla, Joque heard some scratching sounds from the vicinity of the hole. Retreating to the group a discussion ensued in which the plan formulated was for Zelshee to charge the front distracting the guards on the upper level with arrows from her bow while the others climbed the west side and Mastuuk webbed the hole to block whatever might be inside.

Charging forward, Zelshee drew a rain of thrown rocks from the monkey guards, whose numbers swelled as monkey men came streaming out to respond to the alert. Mastuuk and Drasheen had trouble climbing the walls, but Joque and Teyla made the terrace of the second level only to draw the attention of the giant wasps (horse sized) who had made a nest in the hole! Teyla charged the monkey men on the south side of the terrace while Zelshee continued firing her bow. Joque tried to take refuge from the wasps in the hole where he discovered their mud nest and his next words were “this was a bad idea!” as the wasps swarmed to defend their nest. Joque barely escaped (he’s a slippery one) and Drasheen was tied down calling bolts of lightning down on the wasps. Mastuuk went invisible to escape the wasps and discovered more monkey men guarding the north.

A giant constrictor snake came out from the lower level of the ziggurat prodded by a monkey man with a pole, but Zelshee made quick work of it with her axe. Teyla was a killing machine on the second level wading through the monkey men with hammer and shield until a huge six armed gorilla (a “Girallon” Mastuuk called it) with a fire spitting monkey man on it’s back and three other monkey men came through the arch on the top level and attacked Teyla, taking her out of the fight.

The Girallon turned it’s attention on Zelshee as the snake man wizard made his appearance again on the second tier with more monkey men reinforcements. Zelshee was hasted and enlarged by her invisible brother and battled the fierce multi-armed gorilla as the snake wizard rained spells down on them, taking out Joque with his magic missiles. Drasheen, having finally gotten away from the wasps appeared around the corner of the ziggurat just in time to save Zelshee with some healing and Zelshee was able to take down the big beast, cut through the monkey men and threaten the wizard. Zelshee was very fortunate to have resisted the Wizards enchantments, and with one last spell that she again resisted he fled over the top of the pyramid climbing it as easily as a spider and escaped.

They paused to catch their breath amongst the carnage of the assault. It was indeed a miracle none of them had died as the ruins fell silent…

From the Log of Jocque Tarr

Repeat after me:

  • Resist all frontal assaults. Frontal assaults are dumb.
  • Stop being in front. Being in front is dumb.
  • Don’t be the first over the wall. Being the first over the wall is dumb.
  • Don’t count on wizards. Counting on wizards is dumb.
  • Stay away from giant wasps. Being close to giant wasps is dumb (and to their babies, dummer)
  • Watch out for bad wizards. Going after them one-on-one is just stupid.
  • You are not a fighter.
  • You are not a fighter.
  • You are not a fighter!

I cannot believe what just happened. My breath is coming in ragged gasps. My friends are all standing but wounded and on wattery legs. There are dead animals and creatures everywhere and we haven’t even opened the door and said hello yet!!!!

Chivane and Kassata and the other crews that left town ahead of us never got this far. There is no sign of them and I am certain that this hoard would have left a few of their bodies or body parts scattered around if they had gotten here already. I am getting a creepier and creepier notion that our expedition and its baggage train are not going to get here tomorrow and, if they do, there will be a lot fewer of them than there should be, and they will be captives doing a new master’s bidding.

My mother would beat the crap out of me if she found out I got killed out here all alone in the Mawangi Expanse because no son of hers would be so dumb as to have gotten himself in such a postion in the first place. And yet, my mind wanders back to the dream Nkechi pulled us into. A great horror awaits all our mothers and friends if we don’t press on and even if we do and fail to stop that whore Ieana.

I want to stop here. Rest and get well. Wait for the expedition to show up. But maybe now is the time to press on into this ziggurat and find out what these scum have been trying to defend. I will tell Zelshee and the others about my fear for the expedition and see what they think we should do because I don’t really know.

Whatever the decide, I have to get my act together. Repeat after me……..

From the Journal of Drasheen Rettig

May the Master of Wind come quickly to this place! The stench of burned flesh and spilled innards mix with the smells of rotten vegitation, tar and pools of blood to assault me with an almost solid blade! As a hush comes over the glade I see my companions, one by one, stand erect and look about them. To an individual, I believe we are all surprised to be alive.

I guess there was no better way to do this. We tried to draw them out in several ways but they were sticking to their walls. It had to be this way but what a sorry mess.
Am I dreamming or in shock…? the thoughts of 6 armmed monkey men and huge wasps is swrilling in my mindnot to mention the smells of death and evil.
We must re-group and spell up and get strong quickly. We haven’t even gotten inside yet and we have barely managaed to stay alive at each atempt. My companions have never been braver but can we survive this???
We must…we must pray…we must meditate…we must pray…FIGHT AND NEVER STOP.

From the Journal of Mastuuk Venso

29 Kuthona 4710AR

Jocque is angry at me because he thinks I left him to die. He doesn’t realize that our plan fell apart the minute he ran up that wall and I was stuck at the bottom…had he just waited a few more seconds.

At least we all survived this time with energy and magic still left in our bones. I hope this was the wizard’s last stand and we’ve exhausted his minions. Not that I look forward to finishing him off but if it’s just him we at least stand a chance. He’s thrown all sorts of awful at us and we’ve thrown it right back. He’s defeated..perhaps he’ll realize this and sue for peace.

View
The mystery of the Ziggurat
Now where's that damn gem!

Golarion date 28 Kuthona, 4710AR

After catching their breath amidst the carnage of the battle of the ziggurat, the group entered the lower level. They found a standalone structure inside with a strange black door with no lock or handle that was festooned with arcane runes and radiated strong magics. They could find no way to open it.

Investigating two ornate doors on the north side of the chamber, they found curving stairs leading down to a temple like area that had four Azlanti idols floating above short pillars. Each statue had a flat area instead of a face that slightly glowed a different color (purple, white, silver, and yellow). In the lap of each idol was a small depression and the hands of the idol were palms up on either side of the depression. Joque was fascinated by the magical idols, but their purpose could not be fathomed.

Exploring another archway off the main chamber they found a shrine to a moon diety and another submerged shrine to some deity of the dark tapestry (the darkness between the stars inhabited by hideous tentacled abberations). Wandering outside to the ziggurat’s courtyard, a sharply dressed and handsome elf was spotted on the second level of the ziggurat. He launched a lightning bolt at Zelshee as she dived back into the door. After taking cover, Joque and Zelshee decided to charge up the stairs in the courtyard that led to the second level. By the time they got there, they spotted the dapper elf had fled the ziggurat and was heading for the brush by the north wall of the ruins. He launched another lightning bolt at them before ducking into the underbrush and escaping.

Upstairs they found a room that seemed to be a place where the Azlanti who built this ziggurat tracked migrations of their people in runes and pictograms. Mastuuk was able to puzzle out references to Savinth-Yhi, but no clue to it’s location. In this room they found scattered papers that appeared to be notes and research from the Serpent Folk Wizard they had fought:

The great coils of Ydersius stir in the darkness and our people answer his call. Above all who still dwell apart from our homeland, I, Isslar have been chosen to find and prepare the way by the Prophetess Yarzoth! I must not fail her or the great god; I must be ready when the Prophetess comes.
……….
The route may have been lost, but our hated ancient enemy left clues so that we might find Savinth-Yhi, the grave of the hated for, and thus our home! Long have I studied the puzzle Savith left, and yet its meaning still eludes me! A small band of my degenerate kin have already come to the Ziggurat and I sense that more of our kind draw near, answering our master’s call. Yet my progress on finding the way for them has been maddeningly slow!
……….
I must decipher the mystery of the idols and the doors, and thus open the way! The idols all glow the same and I cannot tell them apart. I have the ape men enthralled to my wishes and they search for answers in these accursed ruins, but I put little faith that their primitive mammalian brains are up to the task. Still they are effective deterrents to other creatures so I may perform my research undisturbed.
………
The enemy is on to us, I must redouble my efforts and decipher the secret of the idols. I have orchestrated our defenses, but I worry that these primitive ape men will not be enough to hold off the smooth skins when they inevitably come tomorrow.

Exploring the third level, they found it’s roof had collapsed and it was overgrown with brush and vines. It appeared some ape men and the six armed girallon had been living up here. They also puzzled out that a large portion of the second level was inaccessible but had quartz crystals about a foot in diameter high on the wall, and the wasp nest hole was the only apparent entrance to that portion of the second level.

Returning downstairs they forced open a door to the eastern portion of the ground level that had incredibly rusty hinges and the bottoms of the door was buried in about a foot of mud and dirt. Inside there was a foyer that led to two more shrines, one dedicated to some sort of sun god but grown over with dangerous mold, and the other dedicated to Desna but guarded by ancient metal snake statues that attacked them.

Zelshee realized the pattern of the shrines and suggested a careful search. Sure enough in the moon, sun, and star shrines Joque was able to find three gems in hidden compartments (a moonstone, a star sapphire, and a piece of amber). They thought it likely these gems were the keys to the magical idols, but needed the fourth. Determined it must be in the submerged shrine to the dark tapestry, Joque went wading in the slimy stagnant waters. Finding no secret compartments, it wasn’t long before he found the three foot hole in the floor. Gloop!

Swimming down the tunnel he came out through a shimmering magical field that held back the water in a narrow arched brick tunnel. Exploring the tunnels they found there were four of them leading off in each of the cardinal directions from a central round domed chamber. The north one led to the ziggurat where Joque entered, the south to a well occupied by a tentacled monster, the east to the ruined snake tower, and the west to a ramp up to the outside near the western gate (near some ruined columns that once held… something?).

Killing the monster in the well and searching the snake tower turned up nothing. They returned to the ziggurat, passing the old temple where the monkey men were found and started searching the ziggurat with a fine tooth comb for the suspected fourth gem. Growing frustrated with their failure to find anything further in the ziggurat, the Pathfinder expedition finally showed up and began filing into a camp in the ruins. Amivor tasked the adventurers with solving the secret of the ziggurat and finding the way to Savinth-Yhi.

From the Journal of Mastuuk Venso

29 Kuthona 4710AR

I have been studying the notes of our adversary for clues to the location of the final gem but have made only marginal progress. As it stands, we have the star sapphire (purple), amber (yellow), and moonstone (silver) but have yet to locate the white gem. The three productive shrines seemed logical matches for their gems but the remaining shrine, dedicated to the dark tapestry, seems the opposite of the final stone. The fact that Joque was unable to locate a hidden compartment suggests that it is the exception.

Isslar’s notes provide little assistance. He was unable to discern the colors and was thus lost. I suspect that the monkeys found nothing that they revealed to him or there would be mention of it in his notes. I’m not quite ready to dismiss this possibility however and feel we should search their sleeping quarters again for signs of a gem.

The tunnels under the city lead to the four edges of the city and were likely there so the priests could rapidly reach key points. It may be worthwhile searching the western tower more thoroughly but I believe this will be a red herring as well.

There is another possibility: there may not be a forth gem. The white light may suggest an opposition force to the dark tapestry. Perhaps we need to banish the darkness from that temple or perform some similar ritual to banish the light from the statue. Maybe we should begin by placing the existing gems in their assigned statues and see if any changes occur?

My mind keeps returning to the dark temple. Only a mad fool worships the beings of the dark tapestry and I find it difficult to believe that either the ancient denizens of Tazion or the evil worshipers of Ydersius would be interested in these beings; provoking their interest would likely destroy life on our planet and destroy the gods. This must be a sort of anti-shrine to remind us of the darkness and how we must fight to banish it. If only we can figure out how, we might be able to continue in our quest.

Notes from Zelshee Venso

What rotten timing! I had hoped to have ALL 4 stones by the time the caravan arrived. Now we’ll look incompetent at best. How hard can it be? It has to be right under our noses. We have searched everywhere, we think. So 2 other possibilities: 1. It’s already been found. Or 2. It’s not needed. Or perhaps 3 – it’s not a stone at all that is needed but….maybe blood or an eyeball or some other demented object that these lunatics have come up with. So, in other words….who knows where or what it could be. And we wind up looking like armatures. Really hoping Mastuuk can pull this one out of his ear!
This place is not so scary as it first was. I can see the beauty in the design, as it once must have been. How the original builders laid out the complex with thought. How the sunrise captures the side of a long ago building and makes the shadows dance. It is sadness to think of the evil, once again, that has brought us to this place. But with each passing day, SHE grows closer to her end!

From the Journal of Drasheen Rettig

I can hardly take in all that has happened to us in this castle like place. When the Elf on the roof area started shooting at Zelshee I felt like it was a trap for us to come follow, and I was glad we didn’t. But the thought lingers what was that all about. Some how it must be tied into the answer. Maybe it wasn’t intended for us to follow the well dressed dressed(and quite out of place) Elf but to stop us from going in that direction. All of us feel the urgency to find the gems and its mnaking me a little crazy, second guessing everything. The caravan has arrived maybe some new eyes on the situation will help or will it just make things worse? Pray and meditate. In all honesty I have been quite impressed with everyone. Joque who swore not to lead and be in front has really come thru when it counted. And Mastuuk has out done himself with answers just when we needed them and Zelshee is the bravest and strongest of us all and she isn’t shy or hesitant…
I am so tired I must study and pray for guidence.

From the Log of Jocque Tarr

Repeat after me…… Okay, okay, so I did it again….. seemed like the thing to do….. just like the times before this. Gotta knock this stuff off. Gotta concentrate on thinks I do best like searching for traps and secret pannels. At least I was able to help with those skills but just couldn’t pull off the finale’.

My fears about the main party being ambushed outside the walls failed to materialize but I think we might use some of Amivor’s trackers to check out the direction that fag elf disappeared. I will try to get an audience with his highness and talk to him about what may be waiting in the underbrush around us. Knowing his kind, he will likely blow me off but if he does I hope he lives long enough for me to tell him I told him so.

I have been thinking about what Mastuuk read to us when we found the snake wizard’s notes. He said something about “doors” — not one door, but doors. I am going to talk to Mastuuk about this. Maybe there are four doors to be opened here. One door for each stone. I don’t know much about deep magic but it would not surprise this salt if the big magical door we found on the lower level of the ziggurat actually opened up to four separate pathways. Maybe the wandering gliths in the wizard’s room tell of four wanderings of long ago…. hmmmmmm.

One other thought comes to me. An old sea dog I once heard talking in a bar up north told a real corker about how these odd birds they ran into on a far away island kept stealing the cook’s cup. It was some kind of baked clay that had been painted white. The birds kept stealing it. Each time they had to go out an lift up every nesting bird on the island before they found the cup. The dumb birds thought it was an egg and they kept stealing it and trying to get it to hatch…..harr, harr, ha. I wonder if the last stone looks like an egg. If it does maybe the wasps have been trying to hatch it for the past several hundred years or so. One thing about that is that if it was laying around loose it was not in a lead-lined box like the other stones. Maybe a good way to check this egg idea is to have Zelshee use her powers to locate magical items. If the stone is in the nest. She should be able to sense it.

After I talk to Amivor I think I will try to get some of my friends to try the four door idea and maybe after that to find out what lays in and behind the wasps’ stinking nest.

And speaking of stinking, I and my armor need a bath really, really bad.

View
The Way To Savinth-Yhi
Puzzles and Pillars

The Pathfinder expedition settled into Tazion and cleared out the giant wasps left in the ziggurat. The trailblazers continued searching the ruins for the 4th gem to no avail. Once they figured out the pillars near the entrance to the underground tunnels once supported an aqueduct that fed water to the tunnels, Mastuuk thought the gem might be hidden at the waters that fed the aqueduct, but nothing was found there (after a long trek through the jungle) other than a hungry dire tiger that nearly made a meal of Teyla while the others bathed in the river.

Amivor and a couple of his Pathfinders used spells to scour the ruins for secret doors. They were able to find the last gem (jet), in the old temple where the monkey man priest had set up shop. They began to experiment with the idols, placing gems in them. They obviously made several mistakes as the idols lashed out with magical attacks when a wrong gem was placed, and Joque was staggered. Fortunately Zelhee’s ability to heal merciful was able to help Joque. As each gem was successfully placed, the idol telepathically placed a phrase relating to the gem’s purpose in their minds. Once all four gems were in the correct idols lap’s a voice rang out in Azlanti “Thou are ready for the test. Take ye the stones and prepare well, warriors” and the sound of a thousand stones tumbling together could be heard from the next room.

Returning to the main room of the lower level of the ziggurat, they found the black door of the lower room gone and a shimmering magical portal in it’s place. After only a few moments hesitation they proceeded through the portal and found themselves standing at the top of a set of huge stairs (5 foot drop) that wound around 3 sides of a room that was about 150’ deep. The fourth side had a dias that raised about halfway up the pit where a majestic marble statue of Savinth, hero of the Azlanti, stood. At the base of the stairs was a bronze plaque on a marble pedestal. There was a pillar rising halfway up in the middle of the room whose flat top was level with the dias and the midpoint of the stairs (two five foot gaps separated the stair from the pillar and then the dias).

They made their way to the plaque and saw it was engraved wtih four symbols. Along the way, they could see there were four depressions at the foot of the statue. As Mastuuk reached the plague, the sound of rumbling stones could be heard again as the portal they entered disappeared and the black door reappeared, while at the same time the whole wall section at various points of the steps pushed out to sweep anyone off the steps into the depths of the pit. Behind the wall sections as they pushed out could be seen small alcoves with niches that help triangular bronze plaques engraved with symbols. The problem was the walls closed quickly, and to dart in and get them while avoiding being swept off the steps was difficult.

Rather predictably, Zelshee and Teyla soon were swept from the steps and trapped at the bottom of the pit and hurt. Mastuuk flew, and Drasheen air walked, while Joque nimbly darted from step to step. They were able to collect quite a few of the tokens from behind the sliding walls, when suddenly the floor of the pit began hissing with poison gas slowly filling the pit (much to Teyla and Zelshee’s dismay).

The others rushed to the statue with the tokens and saw that they would fit in the depressions, but the depressions held other symbols and they would have to figure out how the symbols int he depressions matched with the ones on the tokens! This involved some guessing and trial and error, unfortunately each error resulted in a scream from the statue that was a sonic blast that stunned all in the room.

As Zelshee and Teyla were slowly succumbing to the gas, and the gas neared the puzzlers on the dias, they finally placed the 4th token correctly. As they did the gas stopped and began receding as the statue rotated on it’s base and the back of the statue turned into another shimmering portal.

Stepping through the second portal (after recovering the coughing warriors from the bottom of the pit), they found themselves in a circular room with two small quartz windows on opposite sides. In the middle of the room was a large circle with a fine grid carved into the floor, and around the circle were arrayed 4 columns made of six circular rotating disks. Each disk was engraved with 6 symbols. The symbols had a theme on each pillar: Sun, stars, moon, and void. There was a depression at the top of each pillar and when they put the corresponding gem in the pillar beams of light came from each quartz to each pillar and a shimmering image of a jungle scene appeared above the circular grid in the middle of the room and a pinpoint of light appeared on the grid! Experimenting with the pillars showed that the scene on the floor changed as the disks in the pillars were rotated, and if all 6 symbols were lined up the scenes included some ruins. Mastuuk was able to use his knowledge of the geography of the Mwangi Expanse to realize the point of light on the floor showed the relative location of the scene displayed, and the grid represented a specific distance. After lining up the pillars such that the matched symbols were one’s holy to the Azlanti religion the image showed an ancient city of towering ziggurats and crumbling, vine-choked buildings around a central lake, filling a hidden valley. Looking closer they could see a river that fed the central lake. Mastuuk was quite sure the crumbling city was a modern view of Savinth-Yhi and analyzing the point on the grid he was able to pinpoint it’s location to only a few days travel from Tazion through a mountainous portion of the jungle. The way to Savinth-Yhi had been found at last!

From the Log of Jocque Tarr

Not a single tarr in any bar in the whole friggin’ world would believe what has just happened here. Esecially if I tried to tell them about it. Truth be told, I am not sure that I could even tell it right. One thing I have right is that it took every last one of this crew using all of his or her talents to get to Tazion and solve this puzzle. In fact, it actually took more than our team to do this. It also required the help of the expedition to find the last gem.

Speaking of gems, I noticed that once we left the “map room”, the gem stones disappeared. It would be the irony of ironies to have come this far and discovered this much, only to lock the keys in the treasure chest!

I did not know it until yesterday but “Savinth-Yhi” translates as “The burial place of Savinth”. I am not a fortune teller but it is starting to dawn on even this salt that that whore Ieana is trying to bring this snake god back to life and we may be on the way to bring Savinth back to life so he can lop the head off of the snake one more time. I think most of the people in our expedition and probably all of the people following us are here for the treasure they might get out of the deal. I am beginnng to think it will be a miracle if any of us live through what is about to happen in long lost Savinth-Yhi.

I think we have already secured the magical sword that Chivane is after here. She and her Red crew do not have to go any further or wait any longer. According to Mastuuk it is an ancient weapon that can shatter other weapons and probably some kinds of armor. I thought about taking that out of our bag of findings and trying to get it to Chivane but as this thing has unfolded it has become clearer and clearer to me that we are going to need every possible advantage in the battle to come — maybe including a weapon that can shatter other weapons. Shivane will have to wait for this to be over but by then she may be fleeing for her life from what may be unleashed here or looking for our small band when we are all dead.

There I go again, cheering myself up. I will talk to Zelshee about making sure this sundering weapon is readily available for use in the burial place of Savinth which appears to be just a short jungle walk from here. I bet the door to Savinth-Yhi is locked and guarded. Better sharpen my picks…..

Notes of Zelshee Venso

I don’t know how I survived that room with all the steps! I don’t know how any of us did. Being pushed off the ledge, the hideous laughter, and the choking gas. We were lucky (once again) to make it out alive! Well….thinking on it. We were actually lucky to even make it in. We kept putting the gems in the hands of the wrong idol. Divine intervention (feeling sorry for us) or just dumb luck (sorry Mastuuk). I did my best to help, what little I could. There was nothing for me to hit with my ax. And I really didn’t understand that last room with all the different views of the jungle. Gods know I’m not the brains of this operation!
But soon, very soon, my ax or bow will be needed again. That day, I am looking forward to. If this ziggurat is just the means to find the hidden city. Savinth-Yhi will be guarded by who knows what!? And how many?
Yes, tonight we sharpen our weapons for the justice that will be dealt from them. Then we can look forward to days marching in this evil jungle.

And this jungle is nothing but evil! A girl can’t even take a bath without being attacked by something right out of a scary bedtime tale. And once again, Teyla had to be saved. I think she has the worse luck out of all of us. At least I got all the tar off me before that dire tiger pounced on us!
Next town: – More soap.

From the Journal of Mastuuk Venso

30 Kuthona 4710AR

We have done it! We have found Saventh-Yhi! I’ll not say it’s been easy. Jocque was unable to find the final stone but luck was with us and the Pathfinders had a spell prepared to aid in locating the final piece to the puzzle which, when activate, yielded entry to that great room. Oh and what a puzzle it had for us. I will have to contact the creators and point out a few ambiguities and poor assumptions on their part. Perhaps there will be a second pressing.

I couple have spent a lifetime exploring the room of maps. The information there could launch and complete the careers of three Pathfinder greats. Alas, my fame lies elsewhere, in the great city itself, just days from us. I am a little worried that we have not seen much of our competitors or that Great Evil. Has she already found the city or just she follow us from the shadows, letting us do the difficult work while she waits to snatch the prize from my hands.

The image of the ruins indicates a vast, and likely dangerous, ruin. What unknown dangers await? More serpent men? Magical beasts? Great powers from beyond space and time? I do hope not, we’ve almost lost Teyla more times than I can count and I have become quite fond of her. I wonder if she feels the same? I digress. We must ready ourselves but I am unsure how. My initial feeling is to gather more magic. Perhaps the caravan has some useful spells in hidden books?

From the Journal of Drasheen Rettig

Today was the day to beat all days. I am so tired and yet I don’t think I’ll be able to sleep or meditate. Zelshee and Teyla almost died from the gas and shreekings of the statues while we fit the gems in their correct places. Every time I was sure I had a corrstponding riddle and puzzel piece figured out I was wrong and my friends got hurt and sicker and sicker. I was so afraid to do anything and yet we had to before they died. We have much to think about and figure out. I say that because we have not been right much. It seems we have to try everything first before we come up with the rigth answer. My friends almost dying in the bottom of the pit while we tried and tried to figure out the right configuration of the gems. When I close my eyes I see thier slumped bodies not knowing if they are alive of dead.
As I pray myself to sleep I pray for guiidance. This if only the beginning…

View
The Lost City
Lost no more...

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……

View
The Expedition Arrives
Ants in my soul pants

The next morning Zelshee was the first one up, and opened the door to the cottage. She yelped as she saw the monkey head on the stake right in front of the door, slowly dripping ichor from it’s ragged stump. Most of the flesh had been chewed off of the grinning skull, and only one eye hung loosely staring up at her forlornly. She slammed the door and jumped back. Apparently Joque’s new friends from the city had visited them in the night. The group searched the area but found no sign of the Keches.

Teyla and Joque climbed the waterfall to look for the expedition, while Zelshee prayed for forgiveness from her goddess and Mastuuk studied his spellbooks while they waited. Joque and Teyla met up with the expedition a couple miles from the waterfall and guided them in. Gelik had quite a few questions about what they had found, and was very excited. Amivor was business like, but impressed with the trailblazers description of the lost city.

Amivor surveyed the overgrown switchback down the cliff by the waterfall and organized work crews to clear it. Drasheen helped with spells to destroy the larger plant life, and it took about two days to clear the way so the porters and mules could make the descent.

On the third day they discussed a location for the expedition camp. It would have to be a good spot, because they would be here for a while and it needed to house nearly a hundred people and the associated animals and stores. The group moved towards the ruins to try and pick a camp site while the expedition picked it’s way down the cliff.

Finding a bowl shaped valley a few hundred feet across with 3 cenotes and a handful of ruined buildings, they investigated. It was near the entrance, had water, and was protected on the north by the steep slopes of the valley. The small depression was quiet, too quiet as the sound of birds and insects from the jungle was gone. There was something odd about this small place…

As Mastuuk was standing near one of the buildings and casting a detect magic spell, ghostly fire ants boiled up from the walls and ground around him and began swarming all over him. He retched and stumbled away, and the group fled the depression. The bowl was quiet and the ants went away, so they returned. The ants came back, so they fled. Joque, determined to figure out where the ants were coming from returned to the depression. The ants returned. Joque started to flee. Then a ghostly figure rose from the ground blocking his path in the middle of the ant swarm, his ghastly voice screaming “It’s mine! It’s all mine!”

Nareem daress

Joque fled the other way, but the ghost flew after him and reached his ghostly hand into Joque’s back and ripped at his soul. The cloud of ghostly fire ants followed, surrounding the ghost. The rest of the group charged into the depression to save Joque as Joque fell screaming. The ghost spotted a pathfinder cloak pin on Mastuuk and became enraged. It charged through the others to attack Mastuuk wailing “I found it first! The city is mine!”

Mastuuk screamed and tried to get away, but the fury of the ghost was too much and he succumbed. Only Zelshee’s divine bond with her axe and calling down the righteous mite of her god allowed her to finally smite the undead spirit and it shredded with a final shriek of “I found it!” and melted back into the ground.

After catching their breath and healing Joque and Mastuuk, they searched the ruined buildings around the cenotes. In one building they found the skeletal remains of what appeared to have been a half-orc and a pile of rocks over a hidden stash next to the remains. Under the rocks was a mithral shield and under that a rotten satchel that contained a hard leather bound journal and a coffer intricately engraved with scenes of Azlanti warriors fighting serpent folk. Zelshee took both, Teyla switched her old shield for the light weight mithral one.

Leaving the bowl shaped valley in the north, they headed east, deeper into the ruins. They investigated a reflecting pool headed by a tall pillared platform overlooking it. Still functioning magic kept the pool clean and flowing, probably from the underground stream flowing to the lake. From here they had a decent view of the north eastern district of the city. They spotted a 500 foot long fortress atop a steep sided 100 foot tall bluff in the distance. Mastuuk, ever the military strategist, thought that looked like a great spot to set up the camp, isolated in the northeastern corner of the valley, cut off from the only known connection to the outside world by a mile of haunted city. So they set off to explore.

Notes of Zelshee Venso

I was just starting to relax a little after finding that staked monkey head when we ran across the ant ghost man. We need magical weapons and we need them right now. Once again, we weren’t thinking ahead. We’ve come into an evil ruined city. It’s been laying here thousands of years. Every kind of evil within a hundred miles have probably moved in here. And we stroll in lacking any weapons that can actually damage the enemy!!Stupid, Stupid, Stupid!! We really need to start being smart about this or we’ll be added to the dead creatures that haunt this place.
We need to go back to the beginning and think this trough.
1. We need magical weapons – each one of us
2. We need to deal with these monkey men.
3. We need a base camp that is easily accessible AND THAT’S SAFE. Not closer to the evil city
4. Joque needs to open that box and see what’s inside. There might be something in it that can help
I am still of the belief that we need to be going through the city and securing each section as we go. That just sounds like the most logical thing to do. Especially in a city this size. And let’s not forget the underground evil chambers that are bound to be here. I can just see it: after months of fighting and killing and smiting evil we emerge from the evil underground caverns, barely alive. All our energy spent. Every spell, gone. Our weapons dulled or broken. And we come across a lone monkey man out on an evening stroll – AND HE KILLS ALL OF US. That’s it, we’re dead. Pathfinder Gumbo for dinner.
Even though we’ve found a magical clean water source, I think we should avoid consuming it. We have the ability to create our own fresh water. And we know it’s safe to drink. But this might be a good place to observe the live inhabitants of the city. If there is fresh water and easily accessible, most likely the creatures that live here – drink here. We should be watching. We could probably learn a lot in just a day or 2.
But, least we forget. There are other teams that will be also be converging on this city. I think fairly soon, too.
During my prayers tonight I need to sharpen my blade.

From the Log of Jocque Tarr

Geeze! Yesterday I thought the Keches were bad. I have never felt the icy claws of death tearing at my living soul and I never want to feel that again. Zelshee is right. This place is more deadly than a serpents’ pit. I really really really need to stay in the back.

Mastuuk seems to want to use the fortress we have located as our base camp. I bet every evil thing in this place thought the same thing hundreds of hungry years ago. How safe can any place here be if ghosts can rise out of the ground under them? Maybe Zelshee or Drasheen can place blessings on the floors or something.

Repeat after me… stay in back…..stay in back…. stay in back…..

From the Journal of Drasheen Rettig

What a nightmare sight to see the Monkey head all dripping with the goo of its own brains and what ever else. But the frightning chill of reality hit me as I thought “they had been there in the middle of the night only afew feet from our own heads!” I’m getting Mad! real Mad!! Prayers and meditations and Ammunitions!!!! We need to set on a site for camp quickly and begin making magically weapons as soon as possible. I like the fort idea for a camp site that Mastuuk came up with. We will just have to clear it out first. Yes, when the other adventures groups come we will have to defend ourslves against them as well as the evil here. If its possible maybe we could lay low til we got some magically weapons made and then clear out a small but safe place for ourselves, or the other way around. The other groups will have the same difficlties as we have encountered while they are dealing with those problems we will be getting prepared, but for what? ghosts and undead and evil…Just last week I’d never be able to get to sleep…but tonght I will dream of cleaning out and destroying this evil place!

From the journal of Mastuuk Venso

01 Abadius 4711AR

Here written is my last will and testament. To Drasheen, I leave my quills and other writing equipment that she may further her understanding of the arcane. To Joque and Teyla I leave my coin that it may help in their further adventures. My notes on our expedition rightly belong to the Pathfinder Society for which I have devoted my life. And to my sister Zelshee, I leave my personal journal, my heart, and my apologies for leading her astray in this god forsaken wilderness.

Now that is complete, I can reflect on these last few days. My excitement is unimaginable, we have located the Lost City! This is tempered only by my fear for our short minded stumbling. At first I blamed Joque for charging back into the lair of that apparition but I can’t really blame him for showing the same curiosity as me. While he should have used more care, I have certainly been as blinded as he. We are not prepared for this and have rushed in without proper preparation. We have found the city, now is the time to gather our strength, lick our wounds, and most importantly, enchant our weapons. Of course a long dead city is filled with the undead and powerful creatures at that. I plan to work with Drasheen to enchant our weapons and arms, and perhaps create a few items for myself. This will at least give us a chance against what lies ahead. We can also plan an exploration strategy.

The others look to me for direction. They wonder, “where shall we go?” We are here! Exploration is our goal now and a methodical coverage of the city is important. We can’t leave powerful and unknown foes both behind us and in front. Therefore, we must most slowly and with purpose as we explore. They worry that we won’t find the evil priestess in time but I’m not worried about that. If we make ourselves known by destroying the dangerous creatures in the city, she will find us.

Now I must go rest, and perhaps study. I should have brought more books on ancient battles; tactics are not a strength and the others are little better.

View
Settling In
There goes the neighborhood

Golarion date 5 Abadius 4711AR

There was much discussion about where to explore and where to pick for a campsite for the large expedition. Before going anywhere, they opened the coffer they had found in the stash next to the skeletal remains of the half-orc Pathfinder. In the box were 3 mithral spearheads, a handful of uncut zircons, a magical ring, and a bunch of old Azlanti coins. Eventually they wandered back to the trade district they had already visited and decided to clear out the Keches.

Joque snuck up to the large building surrounded by monkey men skulls on stakes and saw that the windows were blocked with branches behind which he spied a pair of glittering eyes watching. He returned to the group and they entered the building weapons at the ready. Zelshee, who was in the lead got ambushed by two Keches who were waiting for her in the dark. They tore at her silently with claws and teeth. As battle erupted inside, Mastuuk started casting summoning spells while flying just off the ground outside. He was surprised when Keches started jumping off the roof and mauling him. Flying up to get away, 3 more Keches leaped off the roof and grappled him pulling him to the ground (they were apparently very good jumpers!). He was pinned and mauled nearly to death, kept alive by channeling from Drasheen and eventually saved by Teyla and Joque. When the battle finished Mastuuk was a bloody mess, but the others weren’t too bad off. They explored the building and found some treasure the Keches had gathered, a potion of protection from arrows, a salve of slipperiness, a wand of charm animals, and some valuables and coin.

Exploring further, they spotted a muddy island in a teardrop shaped lake of murky waters in the northwest corner. The island was covered in cracked bones. Most of the buildings in the district were empty, but there were signs of animals: spoor, chewed bones, scratch marks. In one building they found 5 small dinosaurs scavenging for food, but a well placed spell that summoned a field of black tentacles from Mastuuk took care of them. Deciding they wanted to set up camp in this area, they returned to the Pathfinders.

Making their suggestion to Amivor Glaur, he was not thrilled with the idea of setting up camp a half mile into the city in a district overrun by monsters. He was especially worried about the bone covered island they wanted to camp next to. He pointed out they needed to establish a supply line to the outside world, and putting a half mile of haunted city between them and the only exit from the valley was not a great idea. Eventually they agreed on a spot just at the edge of the ruins and began to set up a long term camp.

Meanwhile, scouts reported that the Aspis expedition was entering the valley. Zelshee, Joque, and Teyla went to speak with them. They talked to Dargan Etters and Ishirou, and found Dargan intended to loot the city. Dargan made Zelshee uneasy, and when she checked she could detect the evil aura around him and his men. Ishirou warned them not to cause trouble because Dargan was a powerful sorceror.

Over the next few days the Pathfinders began surveying the city, and Drasheen enchanted some of their weapons with prayers to her god. Mastuuk studied the journal fragments they found near the ghost and determined the ghost was that of Nareem Daress, a survivor of the Pathfinders Alithorpe Expedition lost 200 years ago far to the west. Apparently Nareem had convinced some companions to flee when the expedtion was attacked and wiped out by an ambush of soldiers of the Gorilla King and lost their charau-ka pursuers when they stumbled into Savinth-Yhi. Wanting to claim the treasure and glory of finding Savinth-Yhi to himself, Nareem led his companions into a nest of monstrous fire ants killing them all. The last entry indicated Nareem was leaving the next day with his treasure and glory. Apparently his plans didn’t go so well considering his current ghostly condition…

From the Log of Jocque Tarr

Our encounter with the Keches was interesting. They are deadly silent killers with amazing powers. I think I was almost as amazed as Mastuuk to find him buried under a pile of them. He has been able to side step, slip away from and fly away from most of the things that have attacked us on our journey but he is really feeling the heat here in Savinth-Yhi. This is the second time in two days that he has found himself near death. What scares me is that he is the smartest guy in the team and maybe one of the most powerful.

That encounter with Ishirou and Dargan Etters was interesting too. I could tell from the way Zelshee reacted to Etters that he may be as deadly as some of the Mantis people and just as set on personal gain at the expense of everyone and everything around them. I guess I never realized the nature of the Aspis guys until now. We are going to have to really watch ourselves because if Savinth-Yhi doesn’t kill us first we may find ourselves up against two sophisticated teams of killers who will try to finish the job and leave our bodies in the ruins.

We told Ishirou that he has an “out” with us but he is probably afraid to take it at this point.

Our only hope is to find whatever it is we have to find to stop Ieana from doing whatever she is intending to do here and get away quickly. Then we can leave the killers to each other. I think I am going to have to watch Mastuuk and Teyla pretty closely. They are the most likely to get themselves enthralled with something here in the ruins that they will not drop and run when the time comes. I wish I was smarter and better. But even I know that gold and glory are not much good if you are dead. I can only hope the other guys see that as well. Things are getting really thick and sticky really quick.

From the Journal of Drasheen Rettig

After hours of paryer and meditation the images of Masuuk almost dying once again haunt my thougts, but the way Zelshee looked at Dargan Etters has me speachless. The evil from Dargan was unmistakeable, we will have to deal with him later.
To our surprise the Keches were not just quick, quiet and work in the dark very well but they can run and jump at an amazing speed. When Mastuuk started flying upward I thought how cleaver but then the keches jumped from the roof and attacked him and nearly ripped him apart.
I do feel a bit more secure now that our camp had been set. Being able to enhanse some of our weapons is giving me great pleasure, but not being able to seach with the party has me worried and at time distracted. Faith…more prayers…meditation.

Notes of Zelshee Venso

What an interesting place this is. Scary, yes! But so many things to discover. Just think of it – a city thousands of years old, just setting here, practically intact! Imagine the evil creatures that dwell here. Evil, undead minions of a long dead wizard or sorcerer. Or the worshipers of an evil god or goddess. It actually makes me Giddy thinking of all the evil that needs my axe! In Iomedae’s name I will seek out all the evil in this place. Let Mastuuk have his books and scrolls and wall paintings. Let the others have the gold and riches that they find. I want to find the dead and undead and living evil that abides here. I want to go into each building, each room, each bone covered island and bring justice with my axe.
I had a dream that Iomedae favored my axe for just that purpose!
It started with the sneaky Keches. There were so many of them. But we easily dispatched them.(Unless your name is Mastuuk). BY THE GODS!! He may be the smart one in the family – but he’s not the lucky one!!
I think we must all be very wary of Dargon Etters. He has me more scared than Ieanna, at this time. He’s here now! And he’s looking for things that will make him more powerful. I truly believe those things can be found here in this city. We must find them before he does. He is evil, that much is unmistakable! What if he does become more powerful, because of what he finds here, and then allies himself with HER!! And what deal has he struck with the Mantis? We must beat him to that end too.
I feel the gods have put us all in this place for a special reason. I know why Iomedae has sent me. To be her instrument of justice! Why are they others here? I think each must determine that for themselves. And then perhaps, we will have great success in our entire quest!

From the journal of Mastuuk Venso

5 Abadius 4711AR

Nareem Daress, so far from his appointed task yet willing to do anything to share his discovery with the world. He embodies the core of the Pathfinder, although slightly corrupted. It will be difficult to determine precisely how to get rid of his haunting spirit. He was killed trying to share the discovery of Savinth-Yhi with the world. Perhaps it’s as simple as acknowledging his part in the return of this lost treasure. But things are rarely as simple as they seem at first blush.

This city is dangerous and unforgiving. We were to charge ahead so as to most efficiently explore the ruins but Amivor sued for caution and we relented because he is experienced with large expedition groups. If it were just us, I would not worry so much about supply lines and such. I intend to carefully watch Amivor and follow his advice so that one day I can be the expedition lead on a great discovery!

View
The Trade District
A ghost of a chance

Golarion date 10 Abadius, 4711AR

While Drasheen was enchanting weapons and Mastuuk was deciphering journals and writing scrolls, the government and free captains expeditions arrived (together) in Savinth-Yhi. The government camp was dangerously near the depression where the angry ghost of Nareem Daress haunted, so Zelshee, Joque, Teyla and Mastuuk went to talk to them. What they found was a military camp filled with soldiers. They met Jask Derindi, an old friend from the Shiv and told him about the ghost, hinting that they might know some details that might put him to rest. Jask wanted them to tell their tale directly to the government expedition leader, Rotilius Havelar. General Havelar was a gruff military man, and didn’t take kindly to Mastuuk’s and Joque’s suggestion of selling their info when it was good peoples lives at risk. Zelshee was more diplomatic and was able to smooth things over and gain a small amount of trust from the General. Havelar asked them to work with Jask in dealing with the ghost and putting him to rest.

Eventually the plan was to write a Pathfinder Chronicle crediting Nareem with the sole discovery of Savinth-Yhi. Mastuuk wrote it, but he had no intention of it ever being submitted. Mastuuk got to work on that. Meanwhile Zelshee and Teyla visited the pirates camp, which was also in the ruins on the outskirts. The pirates were sprawled amongst the buildings, a motley crew lounging about. They talked to Aerys Mavato, another companion from the Shiv and eventually Kassata Lewynn, the pirate captain. Kassata toyed with Zelshee, making a show for her men, but they left without incident (other than Zelshee almost falling on her face when a pirate tried to trip her while leaving). As they left Aery caught up to them and asked a favor. Aerys was still working to complete her epic poem, the “Abendego Cantos,” but her trip to Saventh-Yhi proved to be a huge distraction. She began a new saga—the “Song of Saventh- Yhi” not long after arriving in the city, and asked them to find six different secrets of the city for her by studying the ancient wall carvings.

The next day they took the fake manuscript to the haunted depression. Joque went down to the cenotes and buildings while the others stood at the edge with the manuscript. Soon enough the phantom ants and angry ghost appeared and attacked Joque. Joque ran, but not fast enough. The others ran to his aid, but Joque fell at their feet as the ghost struck him down. Zelshee presented the manuscript, and the ghost reached out a phantom hand and sighed “Finally! Yes…..” as he disappeared to the great beyond.

Jask helped heal Joque, then asked a favor of them. Jask had long studied the history of Nethys,
and those legends all agree that he came into being in the earliest days of the ancient Osirion empire. Yet some texts he’s studied imply that Nethys may have replaced an even older Azlanti god of magic. Jask was curious to find out if there’s any evidence of such a now-forgotten god of magic hidden somewhere in the ruins.

Continuing their exploration of the city, they returned to the trade district south of their camp. They took a closer look at the bone covered island, and noticed the grasses and weeds had been smashed down by something large walking across them. Mastuuk transformed into an eagle and flew around the island at a distance and spotted a depression on the far side with an overhang. He thought he saw something large just in the water under the overhang, but did not dare get any closer. He returned to the group, and they decided to leave it be for now and explored the rest of the trade district. By the end of the day they had determined this district was wild and abandoned, there were lots of signs of creatures (bones, spoor, old nests) but was otherwise largely abandoned. There were 3 places of interest other than the bone island: The old vault where no vines grew, the underground cave at the collapsed portion of the ziggurat sinkhole, and the fortress on the island across the water.

Investigating the old vault, they found 3 stories of rooms above ground and downstairs a circular room surrounded by what appeared to have been secure vaults. The room was covered in blast marks, some of which were humanoid in shape. The rusted doors standing open or fallen on the floor. The room was silent. They crept in an were surprised by 3 shadowy forms that rose from the floor and attacked. Zelshee stood toe to toe with the largest one, two others flanked Drasheen by the stairs up. The shadows icy cold touch sapped the very strength from their bones, and Zelshee collapsed under the weight of her armor and gear as Drasheens prayers forced the undead back for a short time. Soon enough the undead horrors returned, this time Teyla collapsed from the weakness brought on by their touch, but the combined positive energies from Drasheen and Zelshee finally defeated the horrors.

Exploring the old vaults a little more, they quickly realized the whole place had been looted long ago. The blast marks appeared to have been traps that had once protected the valuables stored here, but there was nothing left for them. They returned to camp and recuperated from their adventure in the vault.

From the Log of Jocque Tarr

We are accumulating quite a set of debts:

We owe the Mantis their Mantis Blade.

We owe Gelik Aberwhinge info on past expeditions to Savinth-Yhi. Although we already handed over info on the Pathfinder expedition led by the ghost, Nareem Daress, we found in the depression by the three ponds.

We owe Ishirou a safe place to land if he needs it.

We owe Aerys Mavato six different secrets of the city for for her new epic saga, “The Song of Saventh-Yhi” by studying the ancient wall carvings.

We/I owe Jask Derindi a favor. He has long studied the history of Nethys,
and those legends all agree that he came into being in the earliest days of the ancient Osirion empire. Yet some texts he’s studied imply that Nethys may have replaced an even older Azlanti god of magic. Jask is curious to find out if there’s any evidence of such a now-forgotten god of magic hidden somewhere in the ruins.

And of course we owe Ieana/Yarzoth a beheading.

How did we get this far into debt? I just want to pay the last debt and get the hell out of here alive. If I wasn’t afraid of ghosts before I got here I sure as hell am now. It doesn’t appear that blessed armor slows them down any more that a piece of drift wood would slow down a sword and, again, I have felt the clutch of icy fingers closing around my heart.

Got to get in back and stay in back, Jocque, or you are going to die here.

Note from Zelshee Venso

I must admit, I’m enjoying the adventure Mastuuk has drug me on. Oh yes, it’s scary! But very exciting, too. We actually were able to give Nareem rest after hundreds of years. Never again will he haunt and kill. He is at rest. Probably, not at peace. But at least he is not able to do evil in this world ever again!
The government and the free captains, and the pirates have all arrived and joined the party. Interestingly, they all want something from us. Which makes me happy. They must all think we are the strongest group and have the ability to deliver. Of course we are, and we can.
Although, I didn’t feel very strong after are little escapade into the vault! I certainly hope Mastuuk is keeping a record of all the different undead we’ve run across! They are all so different and take something different to defeat. These last things were shadows. But, there was one VERY BIG shadow. It must have been bound to the vault, in fact, the very room that we discovered them in. Probably all the cursed souls of the people who died trying to rob the vault.
Again, justice! Never again will they harm another living soul.
What to do about the island? That thought nags at me. I don’t swim. There is a monster on that island that does. What to do?
The zigarot. Probably more ghosts. Which really should scare me. But, that island scare me more. Or should I say the swimming monster scare me more. It’s one thing to die in battle while dealing justice to an evil foe. It quite another to die while sinking to the bottom of lake. I guess I’ll be the bait that stays on the shore.

From the Journal of Drasheen Rettig

As I pray and meditate my main concern is enhansing armor and weaopons and praying for lessor restorations.
I am mindboggoled by the turns of events. Doing favors and giving favors to the other groups who may just as soon kill us as keep their word. But my soul and the souls of my friends is all I care about. I could feel myself being pulled into the dark side as Joque starting telling the Captain of the dangers concerning the shadow captain and how he killed his crew. I wanted them to find out for themselves and if they should die. oh well! And not how we thought we could work together on getting the evil shadow capt. back to the world he needs to be in. The evil in this place is rubbing off on me. The evil its everywhere when we came into circular room and the 3 icy shodow forms began taking all our strength and my friends started falling I didn’t know whether to fight, dimiss, heal or slash… That was a close one and I didn’t like seeing my friends so hurt. I will try to turn my mind off and sleep so I will be able to pray well in the morning.

From the journal of Mastuuk Venso

10 Abadius 4711AR
I’m not sure how to feel about the military camp. General Havelar is not to be trusted anymore than the cut throats and assassins; he will always choose the safety of his men over any trust or loyalty we obtain from him. At least he can be predicted. Jask, on the other hand, still owes a debt to our group and I think he is less frightened of his employer than out other shiv-mates. He may prove to be a useful aly so we should play nicely with the military and the general for now. Fortunately my sister is much better at being cordial than I am and smoothed over a few wrinkles.

Aerys, I’m not sure what to make of her. When we knew her she was a barely functional drunk. Now that she’s stabilized she seems more interested in her poetry than in the pirates she associates with and that could be a boon. However, we still know little about her so she could end up being the most dangerous of all.

We’ve also managed to free the soul of our departed half orc brother. While I don’t intend to give him full credit for my grand discovery his purserverence deserves some note or preface. His name will live on in Pathfinder history even if it’s not quite as he had hoped. His release was far easier than that of the shadows whose icy touch gave Zelshee some idea of how I live my life. Note to self, locate a handy haversack in case this happens again.

I feel we’ve nearly cleared this section of the city. There is a great beast in the water which we will have to deal with somehow but at least we can plan that encounter so that it goes in our favor. I’m not so sure about the building on that small island. And the ziggurat has some danger beneath it in that sinkhole, I’m sure of it. I think we should tackle the ziggurat first, I’m tired of islands right now.

View
Hunters or Hunted
It's how big?!?!?

Golarion date 15 Abadius 4711AR

Seeing how useful the enchanted weapons were against the shadows in the vault, Drasheen decided she needed to magic her trident so prayed to Gozreh to bless the weapon over the next two days. Mastuuk bought a scroll from the Pathfinders and worked to inscribe it in his spellbook. Bored while the spellcasters did their thing, Zelshee, Joque, and Teyla climbed the ridge south of their camp to approach the bone island from the jungle side to see what they could see.

The going was difficult because of the thick jungle and the slope of the valley sides, but they found a spot where they could see the depression on the north side of the island where they suspected a creature lurked. They watched for several hours when two huge jungle mantises decided to make meals of Zelshee and Teyla. Unfortunately for the mantises they forgot to bring their can openers and could not get through the metal exterior to the juicy bits inside, although one did manage to squeeze some juice out of Zelshee. After defeating the mantises, the three watched until the afternoon rains came, but saw no movement from the island, although Joque did spot some horse sized winged creature flying into the keep on the island in the distance. They made their way back towards camp, but Zelshee slipped and tumbled towards the water. She was able to catch herself on a tree and finally make it back over the ridge.

The next day they went back to watch some more, this time with Mastuuk. Again, they saw nothing and got wet. While they were gone, Drasheen was praying over her trident and heard yells and the clash of steel from the east side of camp. Dropping her prayers, she grabbed the trident and rushed over there to find a pitched battle going on between the Pathfinders and a dozen tough looking men wielding scimitars and kukris. Drasheen charged headlong into the fray and soon found herself squaring off against two of the attackers. Though hard pressed she was able to drop one with spells and trident, but was injured. When she stepped back from the second and cured herself, he growled “No more of that you damnable <***bleep***>” and tackled her. Soon he had her pinned and was driving the kukri towards her vitals, and Drasheen knew she was in trouble. A long struggle ensued, and Drasheen was cut several times. Eventually she was able to free one hand and send a spark of lightning into her attackers face, and finish him off. Drasheen was gravely wounded, but the attackers had been driven off. She soon found out they were Apsis guards who had gotten into an altercation with some of the Pathfinders in the ruins. A fistfight had broken out, and when one of the Pathfinders was losing he drew a dagger and stabbed his Aspis assailant. The Aspis guy had fled, but come back to the camp with friends. There was much damage done to the camp during the fight.

The group returned from island watching to find the damage done by the attack. Zelshee wanted to blame Amivor Glaur, and lectured him. He did not take it kindly. Zelshee decided to go out hunting after the rains stopped, but got lost in the jungle. When she didn’t come back by dark, Teyla had to go find her. Maybe city girls shouldn’t wander the jungle alone…

The third day the group decided to attack the bone island. Returning to the jungle slopes facing the water, Mastuuk flew out invisibly and summoned dolphins to attack the huge creature he saw resting in the water while the other four waited in the trees with bows. As the summoned dolphins attacked, the water erupted with a humungous crocodile! The croc promptly swallowed one of the dolphins whole and began ravaging the others in a frenzy of tooth and tail. Mastuuk summoned a couple sharks as the croc dove, and they watched the water froth for a short while. Mastuuk then summoned 4 horses to the river bank, and sure enough soon the massive croc erupted from the water and chomped down 2 of the horses while the other two fled. The archers in the trees fired and the massive beast spotted them. Mastuuk summoned a nauseous fog which slowed the croc for a short time, writhing tentacles which proved totally ineffective against the monstrosity, and a web which it promptly ripped through like it was fog. The croc crashed up the slope with an incredible burst of speed towards it’s attackers. Mastuuk teleported himself and Zelshee behind it but soon after Zelshee found herself in it’s massive jaws! Just as it was swallowing her whole, Joque was able to finish it with several rapidly well placed strikes with his adamantine machete and the monster died. They extracted Zelshee from inside the dead beast and thanked their luck that they were all alive.

With the destruction of the monster of bone island, the trad district had effectively been pacified and the Pathfinders could begin to move in and perform their exploration of this portion of the city. However, the ruined keep on the island and the foreboding cave in the sinkhole next to the ziggurat remained dangers.

Notes by Zelshee Venso

I lay awake at night counting the ways that I might die. Before I left home, I only could think of a handful. I am now on number 58!

In my last entry I stupidly stated that this was an exciting adventure! HA! Stupid, Stupid, Stupid! I almost got eaten by gigantic mantises and I DID get eaten by a Gigantic Crocodile!!! I never imagined creatures could grow so large…..and ugly. That mantis thing still gives me the creeps. Not to mention the inside of a crocodile. Nothing I ever want to see again. Those huge teeth and his breath!!!! I RETCH every time I think of the stench!
Even though I had securely planted myself between 2 trees so as not to slip down the hill, it was really brilliant of Mastuuk to move me to the side of the giant croc. My axe was able to do maximum damage and rip into its’ side. Which is probably why it decided to eat me first! I am grateful to Joque for the quick killing blow. I was able to prevent myself from sliding all the way into the beasts’ stomach.
I heard you can eat croc meat! Serves him right for wanting to eat Zelshee meat!
I would like to get over to that island and have a look at the bones of the creatures this thing has eaten. It might give us an idea of what else is here that we need to be wary of.

At least everything that we fought this time was alive. I’m thinking the next 2 places we investigate might not. Oh Iomedae, hear my prayers!

From the Log of Jocque Tarr

I have never felt some of the things I have been feeling here in Savinth-Yhi. Sure, I have been part of several crews before but I have never felt as tight with any of them as I do with this one and it really isn’t a crew as much as a kind of random group of people who have come to rely on one another — more than in a regular crew, I mean. No pirate would ever come back from relative safety to fight a monstrosity like the mantis or croc just because one of the crew was getting herself eaten. Well, maybe for one or two other crew you were really tight with but not all of them. But that is the thing here. Even when I know I should walk away, I find myself running back into the frey simply because somebody I have come to care a lot about is in real danger. And I find myself feeling that way for all of this strange bunch. Nobody on any crew I ever served with before would believe Juan Sevette would do some of the things I have been doing recently. I can almost hear Kassata Lewynn laughing her ass off at me — especially if I got killed doing anything like that — “He got killed doing what?!! Bullsh*t! That isn’t the guy I know.”

I am going back to the island at first light to search for the croc’s den. Heaven only knows who or what that monster left lying there. I hope I can talk one or more of my friends into going with me to act as lookout while I go in the water. I remember stories about crocs with underwater caves that they can lay up in after a big meal. If that monster croc has a cave like that, it might be the place to find some really special treasures. Then again, there might not be a cave or anything but bones, but I gotta look.

As I finished this, I saw Zelshee look my way before heading in to lay down for the night. She isn’t very expressive (except in a battle rage) but I think she kinda gave me a quick look that said thanks for being there for me.

There are those feelings again. If Juan Sevette ever let on that he thought a 300-pound, half-orc woman fighter had a certain beauty to her, he would have been run out of the bar. Maybe I have taken one too many blows to the head or something.

From the Journal ofDrasheen Rettig

As I sat their looking at the 2 dead bodies of the Apsis guard I just fought I began to really feel sorry for myself because I really got beat up good. Then I heard about my buddies getting chomped down and swallowed, “SWALLOWED!” out at the bone island. Oh my gosh, I’m going to have nightmares tonight because we are going back there tomorrow. After I finish enhansing my trident we will head out, oh I don’t know? Zelshee told me the croc was a mile long and that Mastuuk has summoned hundreds of horses and sharks and dolphins to slow down and distract that huge croc before it ate her…Its a good thing Joque didn’t keep his promise to himself “to stay in the back” as I heard he made the killing strike to save Zelshee. What Mastuuk must of been feeling watching his sister getting eaten after he did all he could do….? This place is scarey!
Pray and meditate real hard Darsheen!

From the journal of Mastuuk Venso

15 Abadius 4711AR

I continue to provide Zelshee with opportunities to expand her horizons. How many have witnessed the inside of a giant crocodile?! That crocodile resisted all of my attacks but I did manage to slow it well enough for the rest of the group to turn it into a pin cushion. However, I do hope there are no more of them. We may not be so lucky next time. We were only able to prepare because it did a poor job hiding itself in the water.

Speaking of poor jobs, I worry that some in the Pathfinder group don’t know how to stick to their jobs of exploration. There was an incident with the Aspis which could have been easily avoided and it nearly cost Drasheen her life. We’ve warned those fools to stay away from the Aspis but their pride stood in the way of common sense. Now we all need to rebuild the camp instead of seeking the knowledge and treasures of the city.

I continue to expand my knowledge of spells but I find it difficult to locate suitable source material. While the camp is quite well stocked for survival in the jungle, their selection of magic scrolls is thin at best. The other magic users with us are all divine and I find they don’t truly understand their magics, and simply channel the power of their gods. If only I could wrangle a meeting with a god…I shutter to think what would happen with their knowledge and my raw brain power.

View
Wings of Death
Discoveries worth dying for

Golarion date 15 Abadius 4711AR

They explored the bone covered island and found evidence of a lot of crocodile bones and other creatures. The primordial giant croc’s lair was in the alcove on the north side of the island, but unfortunately it did not hoard any treasure.

Over the next 2 days Mastuuk and the Pathfinders began studying the cleared trade district. Mastuuk was able to piece together from archeological studies that the obelisk on the pyramid could be activated somehow with a ritual. Either sprinkling the stones of the ziggurat with at least 50 gp worth of powdered gemstones, channel energy into the spear (requires one use of channel energy from a cleric who worships a deity associated with trade or wealth), or perform a 1-hour ritual involving counting money and polishing jewelry.

On the third day they decided to investigate the small keep on the pillar of rock across the water on the southern side of the trade district. The keep appeared to have been positioned to keep an eye on the approaches to the city on this side of the valley. Joque and Teyla began swimming across, Mastuuk cast a fly spell on Drasheen and Zelshee who carried the skinny mage.

When they were half way across, Drasheen spotted 3 creatures peering at them from the ruins of the top of the keeps one large tower. Soon enough she realized it was one creature with 3 heads, a dragon head, a lion head, and a goats head all attached to a winged lions body. As the chimera launched itself from the top of it’s tower, it’s two companions soon followed. As the 3 chimera attacked the interlopers, breathing acid or noxious gas, the group retreated for the shore.

Zelshee tried to make a stand on the shore but was soon overwhelmed and mauled. Drasheen tried to fly at full speed into the ruined doorway of a house, but missed and hit the wall knocking her unconscious. Mastuuk went invisible and summoned a hound archon which was able to distract the critters for a while. Teyla finally made it to shore, and fought valiantly but was also overwhelmed and mauled. Joque tried for shore but was nearly grabbed and fled back into the water. The archon managed to finish off one of the wounded chimera, but soon the summon duration ran out and the archon disappeared. Mastuuk was able to get a few spells off, but was cornered in the ruined building where he had taken refuge when Joque came to the rescue and finished off the last one from behind.

Joque was able to get a wand of curing to work on Drasheen who then healed the mauled warriors and they all celebrated yet another narrow brush with death.

Investigating the ruined keep they found the chimeras had probably laired there for quite some time. They found a hoard of treasure and the skeletal remains of a human which had been burned with acid and then eaten. In his magical satchel they found spell books, a wand, and a fancy amulet with the familiar Aspis Consortium symbol. The name Edran Lekadnus was inscribed in the spell books.

Returning to camp with their loot, they decided to pay a visit to the Consortium camp with their find. The Aspis thugs were not too happy to see Pathfinders in their camp, but when Mastuuk pulled out the symbol Ishirou took them to Dargan Etters. They found Dargan in a sumptuous tent dressed in silk finery. Dargan smoothly welcomed them while somehow implying an unspoken threat. They showed him the symbol they had found and told him about the body and mentioned the name Edran Lekadnus. Mastuuk’s pathological compulsion to lie kicked in as he tried to hide details requested by Dargan. Dargan told them that only 4 men in the world would have that Aspis symbol, and they were high ranking members of the Consortium. One of them was a wizard named Edran Lekadnus, but he had been missing for 10 years. Edran was last known to be operating in Bloodcove but had disappeared.

Dargan spoke with Drasheen about the Consortium members she had killed in the attack on the Pathfinder camp. He managed to imply that the group would only leave alive with his permission, all while seeming the gracious host. Dargan soon tired of toying with them, and allowed them to leave. He had made his point.

They returned to the Pathfinder camp and discussed their next move. The lure of the cave under the sinkhole near the ziggurat called.

From the journal of Mastuuk Venso

16 Abadius 4711AR

I have finally begun my study of the City, fully engaged and without distraction. The obelisks truly are powerful artifacts activated by simple rituals. What these magics do is another story and I have not quite uncovered those secrets. Unfortunately, my companions grow tired of research and find it monotonous. I do not understand but I know enough to keep them engaged and to channel their energies properly, and away from my work. We decided to explore the island fortress and determine what was housed in its spire. At first, this seemed a mistake as we were nearly overwhelmed by three great chimera. If not for my powerful summoning spells we would have spent eternity in this great City. My Archon is a powerful ally, especially against the great evils which reside in the brains of these beasts. He finished one of the beasts and my other magics softened the others. Joque dealt the final blow to the beast who had me corned and I thank him for that.

Once inside their lair, we found little except for the remains of a Consortium member. Edran Lekadnus, it turns out, was a great leader of the Aspis and a powerful mage. A handy haversack full of powerful magics and two spellbooks! I will have to delay my further investigations of the trade district to examine these books. Perhaps I will survive the shortage of spells after all!

From the Log of Jocque Tarr

I am the weak link in the chain of our crew. This got proven again today. I spent most of the battle with these Chimera horrors swimming for my life. Mastuuk seems to be able to bring all kinds of allies in to help us. Drasheen throws her own fate to the winds in order to heal our battle wounds in mid combat. Zelshee fights like a lion and Teyla like a tiger. In the midst of lightnings, clashing weapons, and the appearance and disappearance of strange beasts growling and tearing into the things that attack us I swim in circles!!!

Out of all the people here I should truely be somewhere else. And yet, my hands shaking with every move I have helped them. And when I wanted to run and hide, I came back. And when all seemed lost, my sword hit some vital part of yet another monstrosity and dropped it in a stinking heap at the very feet of the one it was about to kill. Again, I wonder. Am I being aided and my shaking hands guided by something from beyond this time and place I am scrabbling through? Could some diety be helping us and me in particular? I am wet and stinking of fear but we are all still alive and here and to some extent because I find myself able to move when I am frozen in terror and confusion.

I am exhausted and my head hurts from thinking about these things. I hope the others didn’t see me hesitating to come back. The only reason I keep on going at this point is that I know I would be haunted to the end of my days with the way their eyes might look on me if I didn’t. Mastuuk thanked me when he walked out of that building today. I wonder what he would say if he knew just how close I came to not coming up the beach at all.

Just yesterday I was thinking that my mother would not believe it if I got killed doing some of these things. Today, I wonder if she could believe it if she knew how I felt about these people and about how I would feel if I ran. What an insane thought. Where would I run to?

Got to get well and stay in back. Repeat after me…. stay in back, stay in back, stay in back….

Note from Zelshee Venso

Looking death in the face once again!! Years ago, Mastuuk showed me a picture of a 3 headed creature. I laughed so hard. I thought he was just toying with me. I was so very wrong! Not only did these creatures have 3 heads, but they breathed acid / fire / gas / smoke. I think all at the same time! How did we not know these things were here?? They were big. How could we miss them?
I went down soon after the fight began. I don’t even know how to kill one of these things if we ever run across another! Once again, Joque saved my big axe! Because of him and Mastuuk, I live on to fight another day…
We (they) killed the creatures. So we were able to get into the keep. Besides making sure there weren’t any more – we didn’t find anything very interesting. Although, Mastuuk was happy at our findings. Mostly it was a waste of time We did find a dead Aspis guy. And a lot of gold. And a spell book. But nothing really interesting. No weapons of any kind. Nothing a real adventurer can use.
I thought it would be a good idea to inform Dargan of the dead Aspis. Probably not one of my better ideas. He just so evil. And he wasn’t real happy about us dropping by for a visit. Not after that little fight involving Drasheen a few days ago. He had to strut around, show us who was boss, who’s better at intimidating (him), before he would ‘let’ us leave. The egos in each camp around here are MASSIVE and MANY!
Next is the pyramid. Mastuuk said that some kind of ritual could be performed to activate the obelisk on the pyramid. What does that mean? Can all the pyramids be activated? What happens when one is? What would happen if they ALL were? What would happen if we just went home?

From the Journal of Drasheen Rettig

Again I say this is a scarey place! And again as I close my eyes I see dragons, lions and goat heads flying towards us spuning acid, fire and noxious gas as us. Its just hard to imagine such things, because they are true!! I find myself shaking myself and saying don’t think of such things just keep praying and keep moving. Then we meet a man by the name of Dargan and I can see why we do these things tho keep the likes of him taking over. He was so arogant and full of himself and gave us all such a hard time. I wanted to punch him…yeh…more than once. But we were on a mission of compassion to return the Aspis Consortium symbot of Edran Lekednus the remains of the dead man we found so I held back and calmed down for the good of the party, but Zelshee, she almost lost it. Mastuuk has been getting more engrossed in the findings and learning the secrets of this place its hard to get him to move on. And Joque, ohmy gosh if it weren’t for him I would be dead once again. He thinks he is not brave but he is truely brave!!
If I think about this all musch longer I’ll get some rest…just close your eyes and pray Drasheen just pray.

View
Stirring up the Hornet's Nest
I told you this was a bad idea!

Over the next several days they spent most of the time in archaeological studies of the trade district. Mastuuk studied the spell books he had found, but was surprised when he set off a magical trap on them that resulted in a violent blast of ultra freezing cold. They went down into the cave in the sinkhole that had collapsed the northwest corner of the ziggurat and disturbed the rest of a giant Mwangi Night Bat that had roosted in the convenient large cave exposed by the collapse. The bat carried off Mastuuk to the top of the obelisk for a quick meal, but Mastuuk was able to teleport to safety. The bat returned for Joque, but Joque dove back into the pit for cover. When Teyla climbed out of the pit, it carried her off back to the top of the obelisk, but it was killed before it could eat her.

They decided to activate the obelisk using the ritual methods Mastuuk had discovered. They crushed some zircons and sprinkled them on the stone. As they did, the large rune engraved on the city facing side of the stone glowed brightly and a ring of magical energy started at the bottom of the obelisk with a humming sound and rose quickly to the top from where it spread like a gentle explosion out across the ruins. Each person in view felt something happen to them, but they were unsure what.

Mastuuk was able to learn a few things from the clues left in the ruins: The spear (obelisk) on top of the central ziggurat exerted a magical influence that improved people’s negotiation skills (plus 2 diplomacy). He also later discovered that when the spear was activated, it’s magical effect gave everyone significant increases in their ability to appraise valuables, including magic items (plus 6 appraise skill and plus 6 spellcraft to identify magic items). In one area he was able to find references to an immortal being known as The Radiant Muse who resided in the city during its prime. The clues tied the Radiant Muse to the concepts of art and beauty, but were vague beyond that.

Feeling they may have begun to exhaust the information and relics available in the trade district, they decided to explore the currently unvisited northeast section of the city. As they moved into this district they noticed the buildings were decidely plainer and more sturdy and functional (the trade district buildings were more elegant and decorated). Joque also soon noticed that the signs of animal activity that were evident in the wild overrun trade district were missing here. Zelshee’s keen orc nose picked up a creatures scent that she found familiar, but couldn’t quite place. They thought a quick investigation of a building or two for possible inhabitants was prudent, and Teyla watched the street while the others investigated inside.

Soon they heard shouts from outside and found Teyla squared off against a pair of chauru-ka, one of which was leading a large ape on a leash. The monkey men were armed and were shouting at Teyla about intruding in the domain of “Olujimmi” in the local mwangi tongue, but she didn’t understand a word and things had gotten tense. Mastuuk and Joque tried to reason with them, but the monkey men were quite agitated at the appearance of 4 more intruders and insisted that the group talk to the great Olujimmi at the fortress that was visible on the hill to the north. They threatened to sick Bobo on them (the ape). Joque tried to cut a deal in eloquent style “Get out of our way or we will kill you”. Zelshee wasn’t sure what was being said, but when they ape charged she guessed at the gist of Joque’s last curt recitation…

They made short work of the monkey men and dire ape and dragged the bodies into the building. Being fixated on exploring the ziggurat and spear in this district they moved away from the fortress and at Joque’s insistence made their way to the plaza south of the ziggurat that they had spied from a distance earlier. Entering the plaza, it seemed to have once been a large market place or parade ground. It was surrounded by 3 story buildings and led from the lake to the ziggurat. The plaza had four towering columns from which they were surprised to spot the corpses of 4 snake people hanging by their neck with their hands tied behind their back. As the moved into the plaza two hulking 4 armed white gorillas stepped out from behind the columns and roared a challenge. Answering this was a cacophony of hoots and howls from the surrounding buildings as the faces of hundreds of monkey men appeared in the windows all around them, cheering on the dangerous looking girallons in the plaza. Everyone in the party glared at Joque as the girallons charged to the great delight of the monkey men onlookers.

From the Log of Jocque Tarr

I know it looks bad but I tried to reason with those chauru-ka things, didn’t I. And wasn’t it obvious to even the dumbass dire ape they had with them that there was simply no way in the seven heavens or hells that Draheen and Teyla were simply never – never, never, never ever – going to hand over their weapons and go to see another charu-ka “Great Leader” again? And I tried to warn them didn’t I, in language even the dumb little bastards could understand? I mean what part of “Get out of the way or we will kill you.” didn’t the little scumbags understand?

And when you think about it, my insistance on heading straight for the plaza in front of the next ziggurat cut out a lot of miscellaneous crap didn’t it? Looking at the crowd of chauru-ka gathering on all the balconies and in all the windows above us and smelling the dead snake men and girallon crap down here in the arena I just know. I know that any direction we took through this district was going to wind up here. I can almost envision us facing their great leader, Olujimmi I think they called him after being eventually hunted down, overcome by sheer numbers and having Olujimmi condemn us to this very plaza.

I feel the appreciative eyes of my crew on me as the crowd and girallons roar! What a leader!

Now, I must move to the back.

Notes from Zelshee Venso

I think I might have gotten a shot or two off before that Dire Bat bit the dust, but I’m not sure. Man, that thing was massive! Just like aalllll the other deadly creatures we keep encountering here. I wonder, could it have actually pick me up? Or might I have been too much for it? We’ll never know.

Chauru-ka. The worst of enemies! Not for their deadly ways. But, for the simple fact that Joque speaks the language and he is now our chief diplomat!! We are all truly doomed!!
He talked us right into a skirmish with a few of them and their pet ape. Now we stand in the center of a killing arena with a multitude of chauru-ka cheering, jeering and shouting at us.
And just where is Joque sneaking off to??
I mistakenly wasted a Bull strength that I cast on myself before we were attacked by the chauru-ka and their ape. And the effects are completely gone now. Damn. I’m going to need something if we’re going to get out of this alive! Maybe we can persuade them to let me do battle with one of their fighters. Just the 2 of us. And then I’m sure we’ll need to meet this great Olujimmi. But hopefully not before too many of us are struck down by the hoard! Damn. Damn. Damn.
Get back here Joque!!!

Mastuuk

I have just a few moments to scrawl this note before we leave and as I sit here my companions are dragging the bodies of a chauru-ka scout party into a building. This district is controlled by the beasts, lead by the imposing sounding Olujimmi. We continue to the next spear but something doesn’t seem quite right. I worry that this note might be all that is left if we aren’t careful.

We intend to enter the plaza to the west. I hope it is an abandoned market and not a horrible trap. If you have not heard from us and locate this note, do not enter the plaza.

Hastily yours,
Mastuuk Venso
Mastuuk sigil

From the Journal of Drasheen Rettig

We are in a bad place right now! I better get myself close to Teyla and Zelshee so I can help & cast a sheild and bull strength and then retreat as best I can. I do hope we all won’t have to fight a bunch of them at once. Or maybe I do. Prayer and meditation that’s what I need to do but its so hard to concentrate right now with all the cheering and yelling all around us. Hey where is Jaque going? I don’t know but he always coms back. I am speechless which is good because I should be praying. The longer I just stand here the more frightened I get. Think damnit. OK I feel better now.

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Dropping In
Howdy Neighbor!

Golarion date 23 Abadius 4711AR

They ran.

Joque ran first, then he came back, then the others ran, then Joque ran. But Joque found himself separated and ended up running for the lake and jumping off the bridge and swimming for it. The others fled through the city with howling charau-ka in pursuit on the rooftops. A haste spell from Mastuuk allowed them to outdistance their pursuers as the sounds of screaming monkey men erupted from across the whole district. At one point they were cut off by a patrol at an intersection, but fought their way through and escaped the district. The charau-ka did not pursue them out of the district.

They returned to camp and called it a day.

The next day they were determined to find out who or what Olujimmi was. They skirted the government camp and climbed the slopes of the valley to a ruined building overlooking the lake across from Olujimmi’s fortress. Mastuuk went invisible and opened a dimensional door to teleport himself and Joque across the lake into the northwest corner of the fortress. They found themselves in a storeroom off the central yard of the keep. Peering out the door they could see two charau-ka and a dire ape guarding the gate and at least two chaura-ka walking the walls. Realizing they couldn’t make it across the yard in broad daylight without being spotted, Mastuuk used his conjurers ability to dimensional step to hop through the walls of the outbuildings and made it from one outbuilding to the next until they finally teleported into the large tower that made up the entire eastern third of the fortress.

They found the circular tower was completely open all the way to the top. Around the perimeter there were 2 wide stone balconies that made the interior cylindrical room into 3 levels. All three levels were perforated with arrow slits, and stairs connected each level and led to a trapdoor to the roof.

On the western side of the ground level were large doors leading to the yard. On the opposite side was a raised square dias with 3 steps and columns at each corner. On the dias was a large throne occupied by a hulking nasty looking four armed gorilla. The beast was heavily armed with a variety of axes, was wearing gruesome trophies as jewelry including a necklace of human and elven ears. Standing around the dias were 4 dire apes, and 6 chaura-ka warriors were on the upper platforms. Mastuuk realized that the gorilla was actually an Anghazani, a Spawn of Anghazan, the demon lord of beasts and cruel tyrants. The Anghazani are a race of intelligent man eating high girallons ruled by the Gorilla King in the western Mwangi Jungle. This must be Olujimmi himself:

Olujimi

Olujimmi looked at them in surprise and leaped to his feet roaring “Who are you that dares intrude into the lair of the great Olujimmmi!!!!” Joque put up his hands and tried to mutter some placating words as the invisible Mastuuk put his hand on Joque preparing to teleport to safety. “On your knees insect! Pay homage to Olujimmi or die where you stand!” he roared. Joque immediately dropped to his knees as the dire apes menaced them and the charau-ka on the upper levels hooted. Olujimmi looked straight at Mastuuk (who was invisible) and said “You too weakling, down on your knees!” as Olumjimmi drew 3 throwing axes simultaneously with his 3 free hands. When Mastuuk realized Olujimmi could see him even though he was invisible, his heart sank into his stomach and he dropped to his knees once again putting his hand on Joque just in case. “Now kiss the dirt you worms, and prepare yourselves to pay tribute to Anghazan!” The bent down as commanded. “Take them!” Olujimmi ordered the apes, who moved forward. That was enough for Mastuuk who quickly began casting a dimension door spell to get them the heck out of there. Olujimmi roared and threw all three of his axes at Mastuuk, as the axes whirled across the room towards the mage he completed the spell and they popped back to the building across the lake.

Mastuuk and Joque quickly rattled off their story and just as they were finishing, the sounds of beating drums could be heard coming from the fortress across the water. Fearing an imminent attack from the ape men in the neighboring district they fled for the government camp which was close by. They warned the government of the possible attack, and the soldiers of the government faction were a buzz of activity as they prepared. Returning to the Pathfinder camp, they also prepared for a possible attack canceling exploration activities for the day and fortified for an attack that never came. All was quiet.

The next day Mastuuk prepared a scroll of dimension door. They planned to attack Olujimmi in his lair with Mastuuk shuttling the group across with his teleportation spells in small groups and he needed the scroll as a backup. On the third day they headed back planning to face the Ape Lord of the eastern district in the heart of his lair.

Note of Zelshee Venso

Foolishness. That’s what this next adventure is going to be. I’m not sure how we will ever defeat all these monkey men! Do we have the knowledge and the abilities to overcome this great evil? I have my doubts. I pray Iomedae will still have need of my axe after this encounter with Olujimmi and his minions! And it’s all the minions that I am so worried about. There are just so many of them. And will they just lay down their weapons once their great leader is dead? Now that’s the pile of gold question!
I am happy to do battle with the great Olujimmi! That is one Evil creature that I will gladly send back to the abyss!
We all have our own specialties – everyone in this little group. We just need to work together, count on each other, and leave none of our dead bodies behind!

From the Log of Jocque Tarr

These recon missions are getting tougher and toughter!

You go in just checking a place out and wind up running (and/or swimming) for your life. Geeze! I never saw so many pissed off monkeys in my life and I’d like to avoid any further views of that sort for a long time to come. It is obvious to the casual observer that there is no way we are going to fight that many individuals. It reminds me of the swarms of insects we have encountered. No matter how many of them you kill there are still more trying to take your life.

I guess that was what Mastuuk was thinking too. One way to beat a colony of insects is to tame or kill the queen, or so I have heard. He convinced me to come along to see if we could gather some kind of info on what the castle up on the hill was like. But Mastuuk, being the really smart one in the crew, decided to go right into the main keep. I found out later that what he wanted to know was something more about this Olujimmmi guy. Well, we found out okay! Not only is he the largest, smelliest, and most fouly bedecked ape I ever saw (or hope to see again) he turned out to be some kind of demon spawn. And said spawn was not only sitting on some kind of throne but was heavily armed and wide awake! There was a lot of howling and rage and I hit the dirt but things turned really bad when it became ovious that Olujimmi could clearly see Mastuuk who was totally invisible to me! I don’t think there is a sailor alive who was ever more happy to feel a half orc hand on his back than I was because what I expected to happen was to find myself all alone in a room full of blood thirsty animals. When I felt Mastuuk’s hand on my back even after it was clear he was visible to the demon I was more than a little suprised.

The next thing I know we are back across the water with our friends. This dime en son door thing that Mastuuk can pull off is something I really, really, really need to learn how to do!!!!!

Again, I think the swarm of insects thing is on several minds. What comes up next is a plan to go back into Olujimmi’s throne room, using Mastuuk’s abilities to get us there quickly, and kill or capture him. I think the best thing we can do is kill him and cut off his ugly head and carry it out to show his minions he is gone but I don’t know what happens to a demon when you kill it. He might just disappear in a puff of smoke or something.

And the beauty of this current plan is that I am going to have to run away on my own and Drasheen is going to have to air walk her way away on her own if we are successfull. The way I understand it, Mastuuk can only do so many spells of this kind a day.

On top of that, the plan has a few other flaws that have likely developed between our first visit and this next planned one. I don’t think we are going to get in there and out of there so easily the next time. If I know big, fat, tough guys very well, and I do, this Olujimmi probably pooped on his throne when we popped in and out of there the other day. For the next month or so he will have every platform above him filled with arrow shooting, spear throwing monkeys and will have two or three times as many fighters around him and his chair. Hell, if I was him, I might dress somebody else up to look like me, let him sit on my chair for a while, while I hid under my bed.

But we plow on. I think Olujimmi would be highly insulted if somebody told him that guys out there were mentally comparing him to a queen bee but that is exactly what is happening. Drasheen cast a spell the other day and asked her diety if killing this ape would help and apparenly the answer she got back was affirmative. So, look out Queenie, here goes nothin’!!

I only hope my half elf ears don’t go good with the others around that four-armed freak’s neck.

From the Journal ofDrasheen Rettig

Oh boy the thouht of humndreds of monkey men…how can we possibly kill all of them? Run, don’t run. Yes, Run like hell. I feel we all will have to use all our powers, experiecnc and knowledge to even get pass the next few days much lessthe months its going to take rid this place ofall its evil. But each of us have our talents and when working together it si amazing. We have all come so close to death and yet we have never given up on each other. It is allso mind boggling. I was pround of us for warning the government of the dangers and possible attack was truely unselfish of Mastuuk and a good thing. Now we know more than any of the other groups about the circular tower and the rooms inside, all of which will be used against them. we must come up with a plan to kill Olumjimmi. That will take lots of prayers and meditation. Mastuuk’s summoning monsters has been brilliant and Teyla’s and Zeshee"s bravery had been undaunting but surprisingly enough Joque has out done himself over and over again. We have been a true team. I"m proud of us. We have been Blessed.

From the journal of Mastuuk Venso

23 Abadius 4711AR

My research has recently lead me to a most useful technique. I’ve studied the dimension door spell extensively and have determined how it warps space and allow for rapid travel over short distances. I’ve become so familiar with the process that I now find that I can enter a cross dimensional state with only the power of my mind. While not as powerful as the spell, I am still able to pass through obstructions and escape the clutches of my enemies.

My first major tactical test of this ability was something of a success. Joque and I were able to pass through the walls of Olujimmi’s keep and surprise the foul demonic beast. Unfortunately we was able to see through my invisibility, a most unnerving experience. We escaped just in time but have raised his hackles. I feer death is the only release we can hope for, his or ours.

This will be a most difficult foe. Our plan is to strength and quicken the team. I will transport my sister and Teyla as close as possible to Olujimmi hoping that he will be in his throne room. A quick return for Drasheen and Joque should position us well to focus on the four armed monster. With luck we will defeat him before his guards can dispatch us. If not, my new ability may be our only way out. Barring that, god save us all.

The only hesitation I have with the plan is I think we might be better sending Joque and Drasheen to the roof first in order to drop on our unsuspecting foe and distract him from the fighters. That will depend on how many guards are on the roof, maybe a brief scouting expedition first? Or maybe Joque can sneak in and scale the wall instead.

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Now You See Him
Say hello to my little friend!

Goalrion date 26 Abadius 4711 AR

They cast a bunch of prep spells and Mastuuk teleported himself and Teyla and Drasheen into the fortress tower. The ground floor of the tower was littered with long branches ties in a pyramid shape in groups of three. Olujimmi had set teleportation traps all over and they teleported right into some.

There was a large ape on the thrown wearing a crown of sticks and a ripped jacket with two extra arms and another dire ape standing at the edge of the dias. Zelshee called down the fury of Iomedae and cut it down with one stroke of her axe. “Take that Olujimmi” she said as the two ledges above exploded with simian fury.

Mastuuk teleported back to the others and came back with them shortly thereafter. Teyla and Zelshee began fighting their way up the steps as they spied the real Olujimmi on the third level with two of his dire apes. There were six chauru-ka on the second level. Zelshee charged through the chauru-ka with Joque close behind as Teyla and Drasheen dealt with the short monkey men. Mastuuk cast spells from the ground floor until he drew too much attention at which time he dimension stepped outside only to find himself the focus of a half dozen chauru-ka and a dire ape guarding the courtyard.

Olujimmi stayed on the third floor ledge as he threw spells at them, mostly dispelling their prepared spells but also managing to get off a domination spell on Mastuuk that was only temporarily blocked by a protection from evil spell.

Zelshee and Joque made the third level, fighting through a chauru-ka and a dire ape slowing them down and faced off with the intimidating Olujimmi. Olujimmi threw 3 axes at Joque, who used his new gloves to catch one and throw it back. That enraged Olujimmi who launched himself in a half ton of fiendish simian fury at Joque. Zelshee stepped in and smote Olujimmi, attracting his attention. Olujimmi and Zelshee battled for a bit, with Zelshee getting in enough powerful blows with her axe to wound the beast. Olujimmi took a step back and disappeared with a poppping sound, he had teleported out!

Looking around and finding nothing more than signs that all of these creatures had been living here, they decided they needed to leave. Mastuuk dimension walked an invisible Drasheen and Joque out the back wall of the keep to the cliffs on the north side. Once outside, Joque noticed a 20 foot tall ape with bat wings, curling ram horns, and smoke snaking from it’s nostrils flying this way with Olujimmi riding it! Joque scrambled down the cliff to the water and dove in, invisible Drasheen cast air walk and ran across the chasm to the jungle of the valley walls on the other side and Mastukk returned inside and teleported himself and the two others back to their staging point.

They waited until Drasheen and Joque showed up. Drasheen told them the massive demonic ape and Olujimmi had flown to the keep. When Mastuuks protection from evil wore off, he dropped to the ground and began muttering worshipful words to Olujimmi. When Mastuuk began muttering where they were located, Zelshee tied him up and gagged him. Olujimmi was controlling him! They fled back towards camp, but saw the huge demonic ape flying towards them searching for them with Olujimmi on it’s back. They scrambled down the slopes and tried to hide from the beast. It flew within a couple hundred feet but continued on. They could see Olujimmin on it’s back, searching the jungle, apparently having healed himself.

After the beast flew on they made it back to camp. Nkechi and Drasheen tried to dispel the domination on Mastuuk but it didn’t work. They waited and two days later Nkechi was finally able to dispel the spell affecting Mastuuk. There had been no further sign of Olujimmi. Visions of the massive winged ape haunted their dreams…

Notes of Zelshee Venso

It was a long shot, and we knew it! We had no way of knowing what to expect. But, we had a good solid plan. And it almost worked. But I got a little too anxious and tried to do too much on my own. Mistakes were made. But luckily, no one died! Except A LOT of monkey men! Sadly, not the big bad one. Olujimmi lives to do battle again. We were so close to destroying him - but also so very close to being destroyed by him. He is more powerful (and smarter) than I imagined.

The huge demonic flying ape is of great concern to me! Is it a pet or a guard? If we kill Olujimmi will it just go away –HA! No! We now have another great beast to slay.

We MUST take precautions to never have the evil Olujimmi take possession of Mastukk’s mind again. Or any of us. That was almost our downfall. Had Olujimmi found us, in the shape we were in…….well, add that to the list of ‘Ways I Can Die Before I’m An Old Half Orc”.

Now we need a new plan. Sleep would help. Restful sleep! Maybe a talk with Nkechi might shed some light on a few things that could help us. Couldn’t hurt the situation.

From the Journal Drasheen Rettig

As I prepare to Pray and Meditate I’m watching my good friend Mastuuk whose mind had been taken over by the Evil one. In this state of mind Mastuuk had been telling of are where abouts and our plans. Finally Zelshee gagged her brother so he would of no more use to them.

The plan was so intricate and well thought out but until we got there we couldn’t actually know what we were up against. It was carzy and mind boggling and we were winning. Then it disappeared. As I was invisible and air walking to safty I saw a huge demonic ape creature flying through the sky with Olujimmi on his back. They flew to the top of the keep. WE ARE NOT DONE WITH THIS EVIL ONE!!!

Tomorrow when we get up from a good night’s sleep we will go over all of the events and list all the spells Olijimmi used and how he surprized with all of his dispell magic spells so all of our defences were taken away one by one. We too will have to come up with a way to counter his spells. This was by far the most compicated and intricate assult we have ever been on. I do hope we can get a few more good nights sleep…

From the Log of Jocque Tarr

I hit that one right on the head, didn’t I? We threw a scare into that yellow-livered fat ape Olujimmi when we popped into (and out of — thank God) his throne room a couple of days ago. And just like I said, that coward put some poor dumb dire ape on his throne, put in a bunch of things to mess up teleporting, and hid in the rafters surrounded by more of his dire ape buddies and his toughest chauru-ka …. like a court girl up on a table grasping her peticotes for fear of a mouse on the floor!!! Cowardly bastard!

Working around Mastuuk and Drasheen has taught me a little about how they do their majic and I was able to suggest a couple of things about how we might assault the ha-ha great king using some of their powers but in their discussions it became clearer to me that they had to pick and choose their approach because of some limit on how many and what kinds of spells they could ready in a certain amount of time. So, it struck me how badly we must have shook “his magesty” up when he had so many spells of his own dedicated just to defeating a crew like ours.

But we almost got him anyway. He was squared away on Zelshee and I was about to put a couple of feet of adamantine between his four hairy shoulder blades when he popped out of his blood soaked tower and ran for it. He’s just like so many other bullies I have run into in the streets and in the bars of this world. He even had that spell ready.

Then, he comes back with his “big dog”. Mastuuk seems to know what that thing was he was riding I just know it was a flying horror. I also know that the last time I saw anything like that it was a statue back on the elevated plaza just below the local ziggurat. Knowing how a scumbag like Olujimmi thinks and acts tells me that this isn’t the first time he has made that thing come back to life. I bet he keeps it on that plaza and brings it back now and then to terrorize the local chauru-ka into submission to his every evil whim. I remember that when Drasheen cast her portent spell the answer she got said that killing Olujimmi would bring us closer to our goals but I bet the rest of it would be that eliminating Olujimmi and his playmate would be not only a good thing for us but a good thing for the chauru-ka here abouts. But that is going to take some doing --

The worst thing I think I have seen in a long time was Mastuuk groveling on the ground and praising that fat ape through slack lips. Mastuuk has the strongest mind in my memory and yet there he was, at the end, on his knees bubbering about how great and mighty Olujimmi was. I wanted to puke not only because my friend was lowered to this but because I knew that it would surely have been me if that four-armed freak had leveled his power on me. It makes my skin crawl thinking about it. And even if knocking Mastuuk unconcsious was the only answer to keeping him from giving away our location it was also a blessing to hear him stop talking like that!

I am not the best figher or planner in this crew but I think we cannot go back after Mister Olujimmi directly again. Now he knows a lot more about us and can set things up to take us down easier. We need to bring him to us - get him to chase us into some dark alley.

He will only do that if he thinks he can destroy us easily or is so angry he forgets himself. The last time I was in a situation anything like this, what worked was taunting the huge ego of another bully into making a deadly mistake. I wonder if Mastuuk is strong enough, capable enough, and brave enough, after what Olujimmi has just put him through, to do the job. All he has to do is link his mind back to that chunk of filth again and blubberingly let him know exactly where to come and how to finish us off.

Maybe I will still get a chance to feel those hairy shoulders sag on the point of my blade - for Mastuuk and for the chaura-ka -

From the Jornal of Mastuuk Venso

26 Abadius 4711 AR

Fools! We’ve wasted two more days because nobody has figured out that a simple protection spell would have been enough to ensure my domination was ineffective! It has been days since I have made a journal entry because I have spent that time grovelling to that awful monkey but my anger has not subsided.

26 Abadius 4711 AR, evening

Perhaps I judge my friends too harshly. While I would have hoped for a quicker resolution, they are not as schooled in the magic arts as I and I can’t expect them to know nearly as much. I guess I’m really mad at myself for allowing the domination spell to reach me. It doesn’t change the fact that Olujimmi has had more time to prepare for us again. Although his preparations last time proved less than adequate. We would have stopped him if I had thought to cast a fly spell on my sister so she could reach him more quickly before her spells were exhausted. Live and learn.

Now, what should we do about that foul mount of his? We can’t fight it in the open, we would be slaughtered. But perhaps we can lure it into another trap. If we can get Olujimmi and his pet to come to us and disappear into a protected building we might have a chance. Maybe it would be enough to show up in the district and announce ourselves. Could it be that easy? Few things are.

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Down With the King
Of ape kings and squishy paladins...

Golarion date 28 Abadius 4711AR

There was much discussion about how to deal with Olujimi and his half-fiend gorilla. Where had this flying fiendish simian come from? Joque wanted to see if the statue of a winged gorilla was still on the pyramid in the military district. Mastuuk found a scroll of clairvoyance in the Pathfinder supplies and spent the day scribing it in his spell book. The plan was to use it to spy on the district and see if they could figure out where Olujimi was, if the statue was still on the pyramid and what was going on in the district.

Mastuuk and Zelshee dimension doored to the top of the toiwer of Olujimi’s keep to get close enough to use the clairvoyance spell in the vicinity of the pyramid. When they arrived they were sharing the roof with two chauru-ka, one of which had a signal horn!

Zelshee cut down the one with the horn, but not before he was able to get off a long blaring blast. Just as she picked up the horn, Olujimi and the 20 foot tall half-fiend gorilla teleported to the roof with them. Olujimi seemed surprised to see them, and Mastuuk dimension doored them out of there as quickly as possible. So much for the clairvoyance idea!

Back in the ruined building across the water, they quickly told the others what had happened. Joque looked out a ruined window towards the keep and saw the giant demonic ape flying this direction. In a fit of inspiration, Joque grabbed the horn from Zelshee and began blowing it loudly! The fiend immediately changed course and flew towards the sound.

They quickly prepared to do battle with the beast. The fiend flew over top of the roofless ruin and uttered a blasphemous word that weakened them all. Then it looked around and seemed to recognize Zelshee and pounced on the half-orc paladin, drawing on the power of the abyss to smite the champion of Iomedae! The beast and paladin exchanged massive blows as Olujimmi and an ancient female chauru-ka shaman teleported in blocking the doorway. Mastuuk panicked and teleported himself and Zelshee and Drasheen outside, Zelshee being badly injured by the focused attacks of the fiendish ape.

A holy smite spell from Drasheen slowed down Olujimmi and the shaman as he dispelled it’s effects. The shaman pulled out a scorpio which she threw to the floor and cast a spell to enlarge it to massive size. Teyla and Joque, left inside with the enemy fought hard, but a spell from the shaman paralyzed Teyla.

Olujimi stalked Zelshee and they did battle. However, Olujimi’s rage proved too much and Zelshee was cut down mortally wounded. The fiendish ape was killed inside, by a hound archon summoned by Mastuuk while Joque harried the shaman. Olujimi came back inside, intending on finishing off the paralyzed Teyla. Joque came to her rescue, but was nearly cut down by Olujimi in the process. Drasheen and Teyla squared off against the monkey king, and with the help of some spells from Mastuuk were barely able to bring him down. The shaman fled, casting a spell to allow her to walk on water, but was dropped a few feet from shore.

The leaders of the monkey men were dead.

From the Log of Jocque Tarr

I am still a little weak from all the wounds I took but I have to write this down now. All of this hatred boiled up inside of me over these past few days because I saw every fat, foul-mouthed, overbearing bastard that ever demeaned me when I was a kid in the jowls of this Olujimmi prig. I may be completely wrong but in my mind’s eye I could see him using his own enormous size, and his ability to animate the statue of that demon ape thing, to grind peoples faces into the mud. To rape and torture and degrade every other living soul in sight just for his pleasure. Hell, the first thing he said to us was to get on our knees and worship him!

Now I know that the “people” he was doing this to are these chauru-ka creatures and, up to this point, our every encounter with them would lead a guy to suspect they might even like being treated like that but I have his stinking head in a bag now and I want them to see it. I want them to know the scumbag is dead! I want to see if they are different when they are free – free of a tyrant leader – free of a bully. (Hell! They might even turn out to be worth knowing if they can just keep from flying off the handle in a rage of some sort every five minutes.)

I am glad he is dead. There, for a little while, all of my anger and all of my bravado were replaced by fear. I almost broke and ran until I saw that bastard starting toward Teyla. For some reason I hadn’t noticed how still she was standing until that moment. Then it hit me that Olujimmi or his little witch shaman must have cast a spell on her. Suddenly, she looked like a little bug trapped in a web with a huge spider closing in on her, fangs dripping, and I just couldn’t let that be the last time I saw her. I went back inside and the next thing I knew the spider was taking a step back – a step right back into a set up where he was flanked by Drasheen of all people. She destracted him just enough and i buried that adamantine blade deep in his guts – not once but two or three times!!! Drasheen hit him too and he had already been wounded by her earlier in the fight. It was just enough. His vile blood gushing from him, he dropped to his knees and then fell forward on his blubbery face!

We are back in camp now and getting over the shock of the battle. Now is the time to put this head on a stick and go back to the plaza below the ziggeraut. Somebody here says that this is the “military district” of Savinth-Yhe. If they won’t accept us as liberators over there, maybe they will accept a change in command. Haaaarrr!!! Wouldn’t it be great to have an army of chauru-ka helping us hunt down that bitch Ieana and her snake people! (Got to find out where they got the ones that were hanging on those columns on the plaza.)

Notes of Zelshee Venso

Deaths door again!
I am a shining beacon of Goodness, Righteousness and Justice! And because of that, the Evil ones seek me out.

We didn’t have a good plan. We really didn’t even have a plan. Dim Door onto the Keep, just Mastukk and I. Do some recon and then come up with something.
I knew the one and only thing I needed to do was to keep that damn chuaru-ka from blowing his horn. And I failed. Oh he died. Just not fast enough. I turned around and there stands Olujimi and the 20 foot tall half-fiend gorilla! So here’s a little secret no ones knows – Mastukk wanted me to grab Olijimi while he Dimension Door’ed us BOTH back to the rest of the party. He thought he was being brilliant — I thought he was being absolutely FOOLISH!! If he wanted Olijimi that badly, HE could grab him! He didn’t…..
The sound of Joque blowing that horn, haunts my waking hours! Knowing that evil was to soon follow the sound of it, made my knees (slightly) weak. But Joque’s stroke of genius, brought them both right to us. Sadly, Olijimi brought another minion. An old, decrypted evil shaman that helped waste our time trying to kill her.

The evil half-fiend gorilla zeroed in on me and proceeded to smite the Goodness and Light that I am. And I was unable to destroy it. It was much too powerful for me! Mastukk saved me again. He Dimed Door Drasheen and me out of the building so Drasheen could heal me and I could back inside to finish off the gorilla. Great plan! Didn’t work that way. I was mostly healed when Olijimi turned around and saw the 3 of us standing there. 4 arms, all with deadly accurate axes. A massive gaping jowl filled with razor sharp teeth. Didn’t take long before I was in need of more healing – but it didn’t come. I was ripped and cut in so many places. I don’t know how I am here today. There were pieces of me that I’m sure were separated from my body. No one has talked much of my condition when they finally found me after the battle. At least the battle ended with us as the victors! I want to just close my eyes and rest – but that brings deadly images to mind.
Am I too weak to continue this quest that Iomead has set me on? Will I fail my Goddess and bring shame on myself? Will Justice not be served because I am not worthy?
Or has She given me another chance to prove my mettle in serving her? To fix what is in need of repair so I can shine in glory while destroying evil for the holy cause of Justice! YES!!

From the Journal of Drasheen Rettig

Each and every day is more horrifing than the one before. Each time we end a day in near death, being beaten form head to toe, I think I will never be able to get the courage to try again. But each time we each individually seem to come up with a miraculous blow or outstanding plan just at the right time…I can hardly close my eyes for fear of what I will recall. Will I see Teyla paraslized and about to be killed when I thought I was all alone,Joque comes back to save the day. It was outstanding. Or will I see Zelshee, beaten and bloody. She must of taken enough blows that would killed 10 others but she kept on and on til she just couldn’t. No time for the rest of us to be sad we had carry on to save ourselves and get Zelshee to safety so she could be healed. Joque has Olujimmi’s head, he thinks we will be able to get his followers to follow us now. That gives me the creeps…I will have to pray and meditate on that one, for sure. Mastuuk was brilliant will all his spells and summoned creatures.

From the Journal of Mastuuk Venso

28 Abadius 4711AR

The king is dead, the king of the monkeys has been smitten. My sister has offered her life to her god yet again, an increasingly common event and one that upsets me to no end. There is no reason she has to go to such extreme ends to defeat evil. If evil escapes but you live to fight other days, isn’t that better than destroying a single being and snuffed out? I understand the intricacies of many powerful summoning spells but I will never understand her simple drive to destroy whatever evil is before her on a given day.
As for the others, they also performed quite well even when Teyla was out of the picture. We are becoming a well honed edge and it makes me a little prideful to know that I’ve turned this unlikely group into a powerful team.
Now I must go attend to my sister, she is about to return from her recovery trip to Jalmeray, it is a magical place.

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Of Simian Anarchy
Chaos in Monkey Town

Golarion date 30 Abadius 4711AR

Joque put Olujimmi’s head on a pole and they paraded into the military district. When they came across a patrol of chauru-ka and showed them their trophy the chauru-ka began howling and jumping around in a confused frenzy and running off in all directions.

When they paraded into the great plaza in front of the ziggurat where most of the monkey men lived, the entire area erupted in howling monkey chaos. Monkey men were leaping around howling in confusion, some scores were settled as other monkey men were thrown to their deaths from the tops of the buildings or brained with clubs. The Girallon guardians of the plaza charged them, but came up short when they realized what was on the pole. One seemed inclined to try and intimidate them, but when the other backed off and the chaos around the plaza reached a crescendo he fled.

It seemed none of the chauru-ka wanted to get anywhere near them, so they used the head of Olujimmi to clear a path to the ziggurat like a torch clearing webs. At the ziggurat they found it carved with scenes of Azlanti fighting snake people, marching Azlanti armies, and great Azlanti generals. Like the other ziggurat it seemed there was no entrance and it was just a solid base for the towering obelisk atop it.

They searched around the area some and found the chauru-ka left them alone. It seemed most of the habitation was near the plaza and the rest of the district was mostly abandoned. On the north side, in the small lake under the cliffs of the valley wall there was an island dominated by a tall hill. The hill had been excavated and the shallow hole was about 30 feet across and 15 feet deep. On one side of the island was a crude wooden hut with a thatch roof. There was nothing in the hole, but there was discarded digging equipment nearby. The excavation looked relatively recent. Inside the hut they found lots of bones, feathers, rocks, and beads hanging by sinew strands from the roof. They shelf was full of pottery bowls, pots, and jars holding various substances. They had found the shamans home. 5 of the clay jars radiated magic, and upon investigation Mastuuk thought they were stone salve, which could turn a petrified creature back to flesh or harden a creatures skin to make it resistant to wounds in combat. They postulated this explained the demonic gorilla, that it had been petrified somehow, buried here, dug up, returned to flesh by a stone salve and dominated by Olujimmi’s magic.

Finding nothing more of specific interest, they led the Pathfinders into the district and began research. While research was happening Drasheen spent a few days enchanting the armor and shield of Zelshee and Teyla. Maybe Zelshee wouldn’t die so often now.

Mastuuk’s studies revealed the existence of subterranean vaults beneath the city and hints of an insidious underworld even farther below. This seemed ominous, especially to Zelshee. Mastuuk also turned up more references to the existence of the immortal creature called the Radiant Muse.

After several days of research in the new district, they tired of it and decided to venture across the bridge to the island district in the middle of the large lake that dominated the central portion of Savinth-Yhi. At the other end they were welcomed by a group of Snake People warriors taking cover behind rubble at the end of the bridge who delivered a hail of javelins to welcome them. They defeated the guards and looked around the island. From here it became clear that the buildings on this island had been carved from the rock itself with tool and magic. The architecture was complicated and somewhat pretentious and dominated by the ziggurat and spire very visible from the bridge. Approaching the spire they came to a set of tall buildings. Standing outside the building and visible in an upper story window were some more snake people. The snake men spotted them and attacked, raising a loud alarm. Zelshee detected evil on them and strode into the courtyard to give battle while the others started to run. More snake men started pouring from the building and Zelshee realized she might be in trouble just as Mastuuk and Teyla (neither too happy about it) came to her rescue. Mastuuk teleported the three of them to the other side of the bridge while Drasheen and Joque ran for it. The snake men chased the cleric and rogue partway across the bridge, but stopped unwilling to cross.

The chauru-ka of the military district had gathered on the rooftops to watch what happened. When the snake men appeared on the bridge, the monkey men erupted in an angered frenzy and began working themselves up into a riot. The adventurers fled through the plaza with the chaos of the monkey men surrounding them, Mastuuk was struck by a handful of feces flung from the rooftops. They retreated to the Pathfinder camp to regroup.

From the Journal of Mastuuk Venso

30 Abadius 4711AR

My research continues with the screams of monkeys all around. They seem mostly harmless now and actually seem to be keeping the snake people from crossing to the main land. I wonder how they obtain resources as the other bridges seem to be heavily damaged. Perhaps they have found a way into the vast labyrinthine underground? This possibility intrigues me as this area may contain the most important pieces of information, hidden as it is.
I really do need to spend more time searching this district but my companions grow impatient. Why must they always be in a hurry to put themselves in mortal danger? I’ve read that the body produces chemicals when in such situations and that these chemicals cause a change in the mind not unlike that of blood sap. Perhaps my friends have become adicted to their own bodies? How terrible! I must do my best to help them with this horrid affliction. I believe the treatment for blood sap is to lock the adict in a windowless room for three days with only water and hard tack.

From the Log of Jocque Tarr

Well, so much for liberating the poor Churu-Ka from their oppressors. But we have found some of Ieana ’s snaky friends!

I am usually loath to start a fght or just smack someone for no good reason but these snake people are an exception. Almost immediately I am consumed with a desire to see them dead and gone.

Unfortunately Mastuuk seems to think I have contracted some kind of blood disease. Maybe he doesn’t remember the dead crew of the Jennivere but I do and it was that snake woman who doomed all of them to a watery grave and enslaved my Captain. It was also that snake woman who left us to be eaten by cannibals and who stands somewhere ready to unleash death on all humans everywhere. Every snake person we leave alive from this point on is a possible ally of that bitch. And there are a lot of them over there.

She must be close to these creatures even now. Maybe she is in one of the malformed buildings just across this bridge. Maybe my quest is within our grasp even now.

Notes of Zelshee Venso

If I remember correctly, Savinth-Yhi mean Grave of Savinth. Wasn’t Savinth a good warrior? Didn’t she kill an evil god? If that is true, why oh why are there so many evil creatures living here? Why isn’t there any good here?
And now snake people! I didn’t even need to waste the time doing a Detect Evil spell. I ALREADY KNEW!! And yes, they must all die! Maybe not all by me at one time……..but, they all must die. I’m very glad we found them. Seeing those 3 hanging from the pillars a few days ago, had me a little on edge. We’ve not seen any sign of them here until then. But I suspected they were here. And now Mastuuk tells us of an labyrinth of unground tunnels oozing with evil!! I sure that evil comes straight from these hideous snake people!

Drasheen has improved my armor. Will it be enough to take on all the evil that we will find in the coming weeks? It has to be (I’m really tired of dying!). Jaque says that Mastuuk thinks we’ve become infected with some kind of sinister disease. I wonder if it’s fatal. Another’ way to die’, added to the list.

From the Journal of Drasheen Rettig

I was in heaven for a few days while I worked on some armor to enhance it to bring it more in line with the gods or so I like to think. As I work I pray and a peace comes over me and fills me with the courage to see in my fellow adventures their strengths and wellcome their weaknesses along with my own. As we crossed abridge we found ourselves being attacked by some Snake People throwing javilins even though they were evil when it was appearant that we were out numbered we retreated, which we don’t often do. Now to come up with a great plan to get accros and put those snake people in their places. I love the plans and then the actual events are so far apart. What will be will be but we can count on each other to have the best interest in each other. Every day we get closer. I will fall asleep to night with a smile on my face knowing this. Meditation and prayer will come easier tonight and shorter I ventrure to say…

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Rumble in the Jungle
Why did it have to be snakes?

Golarion date 4 Caladril 4711AR

They spent the next few days doing more research in the military district surrounded by chauru-ka. Mastuuk discovered some information on holy days of an Azlanti god of monsters and natural disasters, some sort of insect god nobody recognized. They continued to ignore the monkey men living in the district who avoided them.

The others grew restless as Mastuuk and the Pathfinders did there surveying of the ruins. So it was decided to return across the bridge and revisit the snake men. Again there was a welcoming party at the bridge, but they were quickly dealt with. They headed straight for the courtyard where they had spied the snake people last time, and sure enough there were two guards outside a large building. As they fought these two, chaos erupted as snake person warriors came boiling out of the surrounding buildings from all sides.

Mastuuk took refuge in the large building. When more snake men began appearing in the building he tried to flee but was grabbed and drug deeper into the building. He was only able to escape thanks to his conjurer ability to teleport short distances and hid in a side room for a bit.

Outside Teyla was a whirlwind of destruction, Drasheen hurled lightning and spiritual tridents, and Joque used his new wand of invisibility to great effect. Zelsee, practically giddy with joy at the slaughter waded into battle off to the eastern side of the courtyard into the thick of the snake men. When the ones looking for Mastuuk came out of the building she was cut off and soon surrounded and in trouble. Joque tried to help but was forced to flee or die. As Zelshee rocked from her wounds, a sharp blow to the head from a butt of a spear put her out and the snake people dragged her off. Teyla convinced Drasheen that they needed to flee as there was a lull in the battle on their side of the combat. Mastuuk tried to get to his sister but a group of snake men could smell him even though he was invisible. In a desperate last attempt to rescue her as she was being carried off to the east, the invisible flying wizard dove down from above and was able to touch her as he cast a dimension door spell. and teleported back to the bridge.

Joque was able to reach the bridge with two snake people hot on his heels. They gave up the chase as he crossed the bridge and javelins clattered off the stone behind him. Soon he realized he was alone and charging into the frenzied monkey men on the other side, who no longer seemed inclined to ignore him now that he was totally alone. It looked bad for Joque, but soon Mastuuk showed up with his unconscious sister and appeared in the air above the chauru-ka calling down a rain of stones which convinced the monkey men to back off. Soon enough Drasheen and Teyla came running across the bridge and they all headed back to camp with the unconscious Paladin in tow.

Joque suggested maybe starting a fight in downtown snake city wasn’t the brightest idea ever concocted…

From the Log of Jocque Tarr

I feel like I just lived through a nightmare. I can still smell the stink of their scales and it will take a while before I get over the effects and the memory of those poisonous fangs slipping into me. If we could see clearly that facing the masses of chauru-ka was a loosing proposition, what gave us the idea we could pop into downtown snake city and take them all on? Even the buildings over there are a warning. Magic lives or at least one time lived in that district of Savinth-Yhi.

We have been over there twice and both times wound up running for our lives. In all probability the snakes we ran into were just regular citizens whose only concern from the direction of the bridge was an occasional sortie by a handful of small apes. RIght now, they are no longer working under that assumption. I couldn’t count very well in the midst of all the confusion but I think we may have left more that two score of those things laying in the last of their life’s blood. A third trip across that bridge is going to be met with forces I don’t want to think about. Hell, even Olajimmi had a shayman woman he threw into the fight with us. I bet the snake people have a couple of fanged spell throwers already in place at the other end of that bridge. If we try a third trip over there like the past two, we are not likely to be coming back. Zelshee came pretty close this last time to finishing up this little trip staring out of the back end of some giant snake thing.

The pirates used to have a saying that if they weren’t smarter than the ones they were attacking they could wind up as shark bait at 40 fathoms and falling fast. We could wind up as snake shit running through the sewers of Savinth-Yhi and falling fast if we don’t get real smart, real quick.

It was Mastuuk’s research and a little thinking that led us to the weak point in the military district and we didn’t have to try to kill every chaura-ka in it. We need to either find a key to the weak point in this next district or bypass it until we do. I wonder if the Pathfinder people who have been exploring behind us have found out anything useful.

One thing I would like to know is if they uncovered any images of this ancient insect god thing. Maybe Mastuuk could conjure up a lookalike. I recall how the monkey people reacted to their great leader’s head on a stick. Maybe the slitherers would react in a similar manner if we were accompanied by what looked like one of their ancient dieties that had “come back to life”.

Best let Mastuuk do more research, check with the Pathfinders and come up with a way to put the snakes back on their non-existant heels. Or, like I said, bypass this hall of horrors for a while.

From the Journal ofDrasheen Rettig

I am having a hard time with all the nightmares I have been having of Zelshee getting so beat up and almost killed everytime we go out. I pray for her and all of us. I think its easier when it happens to me than to see a friend get carried off and beaten so badly. Mastuuk had been dragged off on more than one accasion, besides the love for his sister, that must of been where the strength of will power and determnation came from that never let him give up until he saved his sister. Going back will be difficult…the plan will have to be great…

From the Journal of Mastuuk Venso

My companions’ blood lust seems to be sated for the time being. Perhaps now I can return to my research.

Article II: Noun Declension

5 Nouns

Azlanti nouns are inflected, showing three forms: nominative, genitive and accusative; the ‘oblique case’ has a single form, with both genitive and accusative function. Status rectus refers to the normal nominal formations not followed by a genitive.

6 Gender

It should be noted that the Saventh dialect of Ancient Azlanti has three or perhaps four gender forms. The feminine and masculine normative forms correspond to the modern Varisian usage. However, an “empowered” masculine form is present when referring to gods, rulers, and others of rank. I have seen suggestion of a fourth gender form but I am unable to determine its use. Did the Azlanti have three genders? Perhaps it is simply a diminutive neutral form?

Note to self: it would not be bad to be a god..the feeling of empowerment is quite exhilerating.

7 Number

There are separate forms for singular, plural and dual. The dual is no longer a freely used form in Polyglot or other Azlanti derivative languages. The typical usage of dual seems to be related to nouns denoting parts of the body, or example: e’ënån ‘two eyes’; or in an extended sense: rh’ësån ‘top’ from rh’ësúm ‘head’.

Notes of Zelshee Venso

I thought it was a perfectly good plan. Appear in the center of all of the evil creatures – and then KILL them! It was going so well, too. Until it wasn’t anymore….
Mastuuk disappeared for a few minutes. I found out later that he had been captured! And then they tried to capture me. I can only image what they were going to do with us!
There were so many of them. And they kept coming, and coming. I kept swinging my axe and killing what ever was in front and behind me. But eventually, I got over ran.
How do we get ourselves in these situations? It really was a perfectly good plan. There were just too many of them. Now that we have that little bit of information, the next time we come back, we’ll succeed.
I feel there must be some valuable information for Mastuuk to uncover here. We really must rid this place of the snake people. I wonder how long all of these different sectors have lived peacefully together? Did they? It seems we’ve upset a very delicate balance of power. One section of evil creatures keeping the other ones at bay. Who were/ are the ones in true power? It certainly isn’t us.
Too many questions.

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THE END

Joque gets stoned and laid. He is rescued from this horrible fate. Croc head man dies.

Ieanna shows up in Pathfinder camp and has a heart attack and dies. All are overjoyed, the bitch is dead. They loot the lost city and go home rich and happy.

THE END.

Zelshee

??????

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