If memory serves, Ren brought rice and curry – but there was an issue with the portioning of the rice and it proved extra dense. All were quickly fed to maximum containment and soon, dice were laid against cold hard tabletop. We rejoined our heroes amid the ruins and rubble of an ancient port city on the shores of Lake Encarthon. They stood staring into the dark jungle interior of the Island of Terror. Just then, the most perceptive of the crew noticed eyes lurking and circling in the shadows of the forest.
Hilgari did a bit of close recon work and found the skulking eyes belonged to a few, perhaps eight, giant dark wolves. The team took to high ground for safety – and from that vantage point noticed some steps descending amidst the ruins – steps into darkness.
Degroat descended the stairwell first and found they led into a water-filled crypt. He waded at first, then climbed along the alcoves to the shadowed portal leading to the next chamber. Something disturbed the waters of the room – and he was set upon by a giant many-legged worm-like creature. Degroat retreated to the stairwell where the group stood their ground. The creature attacked but succumbed to the blows and fiery wrath of our heroes.
Just then, the wolves decided to make a try on the company on the stairs. A few kept to the tops of pillars and columns and fired arrows at the wolves, while Gau, Hilgari, Degroat, and Dal fought it out, fist and fire vs. tooth and claw.
Our heroes made quick work of the diseased wolves; their carcasses quickly accumulated. Most of the giant hounds sported mangy spots and oozing pustulent tumors. The team declined to harvest the mangy hides.
With a bit more time, Gau used detect magic to search for treasures in the tomb. Degroat located a silver circlet set with precious green stones, but there was no answer as to what secrets it contains despite Hilgari’s attempts to figure it out.
Our heroes set out into the dense cyprus swamp following the clear path left by the Razmiri cultists. They waded and slogged for hours amidst sweltering heat, stinging insects, and pushed their way through dense undergrowth. They were some hours into the shadows when they noticed that some of the largest trees with buttressed roots appeared to be shifting subtly behind them. When they lingered on a slight rise for a bit of a respite, the trees began to slowly circle the group.
Pushing ahead along the trail, our heroes finally arrived at an opening in the forest canopy and beheld a great open glade of watery reeds and little low islands. Upon some of the islands were simple grass hut-like houses, many of which were burned and scorched and some were nothing but a black smear. The reeds about the clearing were thoroughly trampled in many areas as if from some great action – and then they saw the bodies. A pair of badly mutilated and disfigured Razmiris lay face down and partially obscured in the dark waters and trampled, tangled reeds.
Across the clearing, a large reptilian figure of a man-thing strode from the jungle toward the group. Unseeing and unblinking, the figure advanced toward our heroes. Just then, screams broke out. Terrible screams in the tongue of Marghule begged, “kill me, kill me now…oh please….kill me…”The screams came from the far right of the clearing where several other Reptile-men were getting ready to slowly consume a bound Razmiri cultist. The advancing figure wore a large spiked bone-like morning star at its waist and held a huge and leathery shield in its left hand and a Razmiri mask as a pendant on his chest. Onward it strode and our heroes were forced to allow it to pass through their ranks. Which, they did…with some discussion.
Most wanted to leave the clearing and leave the reptile men to their breakfast – some wanted to kill the poor Raziri, others wanted to kill everything.
After the reptile-man strode through the ranks of our armored heroes, he paused for a moment, stood, flexed his tail upward, and then shat fiercely toward the group, emptying his cloaca in one explosive blast. Some of the group recognized the gesture as an insult, it passed cleanly over the heads of others.
About this time our heroes began to notice a growing audience of smaller, more gracile reptile creatures gathering in the trees above the scene of torture. The brightly colored scaled figures numbered in the dozens and their numbers swayed the groups opinion toward a strategy of departure rather than engagement. The group began to wade past these scenes toward the far edge of the clearing.
The poor Razmiri was still desperately screaming for his life or to be spared the slow death facing him. Another of the reptile men bearing a Razmiri-mask pendant decided to do a stone-eyed walk-through of the group – only as he passed, he gave Dal a hard bitch-slap to the head. A severe “fuck you”…
Dice clattered on the table… “No….fuck you!” Swords cut deep, arrows hit home, and fire scorched reptile flesh. One of the giants fell, then another. The scute-skinned aggressors accounted for themselves with fierce blows from their poisoned clubs, but their balance sheet came up red, in the end. One tore the head from the Razmiri, and fell, even as he tried to jaw it down.
As the last of the reptilian giants fell before the blows of our heroes, the arboreal watchers descended and began to surround the group, rank upon rank emerged from the heavy jungle and circled. Tension grew on all sides as to what was about to happen next. The brightly colored tree-reptile-men carried an assortment of crude stone hatchets, clubs, and many sported blowguns. If memory serves, it was Ren who let fly the chaos of battle as he clove down one of the scaled creatures. Then the air was full of blow-gun darts – stinging needles that hardly damaged but carried a deadly slowing poison.
For one desperate moment, the horde of reptiles lurched to attack and all hung in the balance, but then Lukin called up root and stem and entangled nearly the entirety of the enemy host. Needles still flew, and a few were slowed, but soon, steel, shaft, and flame took their toll and the few surviving tree-reptile-men sought only against the entangling roots and reeds to get away from the deadly menace that Gau, Degroat, Lukin, Dal, Ren, Alazne, and Hilgari have become.
And with that, Lukin finally showed mercy and let them go – let the paltry few flee from the fray. Less than a handful of scaled survivors made it to the cover of the deep jungle. Our heroes ministered to one another’s wounds and searched the field of battle for what treasures it might yield. And there was leveling to be done…and that is where the night ended.
We resume, next time, as the group once again takes up the sodden path through great cypress jungles. Our heroes hunt the Razmiri and the Markessa as she runs to the City of Gold and its “treasure beyond dreams.” What really lies ahead? Treasure or terror? Who travels with the Markessa in addition to her Razmiri host? What other strange threats await our group of heroes on this terrible dark island? What is the nature of the shadow and flashing storm that persists atop the mountains ahead?