Serpent's Skull

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.

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stryker99

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