The party and surviving crew awoke after their first night on the Isle of Dread, camped on the shore with the wreck of the Sea Wyvern beached on a reef 500 yards out. Amella figured it would need a team of carpenters a week or so, with supplies, to get the ship repaired, so it wasn't moving anywhere any time soon. Urol offered to sketch out a map of the Isle of Dread and plot a route south. The ship had crashed on the north-eastern coast, so the quickest route seemed to be to follow the western coast, which would mean a trek through the mountains, towards the native settlement of Tanaroa, which Urol had visited before, from where passage to Farshore could be obtained. Urol was disappointed as the more scenic, albeit more dangerous, route he had in mind would explore more of the interior of the island. So this would mean trek directly south through the jungle towards the mountains, then finding a safe passage along the shore that hopefully kept the mountains between the party and any more of the giant lizards in the jungles..
As they prepared to set out, sounds could be heard further along the beach back towards where the body of the lizard lay. Anthony snuck along the rockpools and saw several 10-ft tall wingless birds tearing flesh off the corpse. Jardek and Anthony kept an eye o the beasts as the party scavenged more flotsam, and then retreated to head back through the jungle and give them a wide berth. After almost an hour of Krunk hacking through the undergrowth, Jardek spotted a game trail leading almost directly south - soon after they came across more of these giant birds, and for the first time of the expedition, Jardek ended up being eaten by a monster.
Pressing further south, the party stumbled across a shallow ravine, cleared of large vegetation, where seemingly something had fallen from the sky and gouged a large scar in the jungle floor. Giant long necked lizards with bodies like elephants could be seen at the far end of the ravine feeding on the jungle canopy. One of their young came bursting through the treeline to the east, hounded by a pack of the giant birds from before. The party did what they could to avoid the stampeding creatures and dashed to the far side of the ravine.
In a small game trail, narrowing as it led south, they next found a pile of the dead giant birds, four of them covered in sharp teeth marked and left to rot. The party moved forward to inspect, and did no spot that the foliage of the nearby trees was in fact a hulking mass of animate vegetation. This beast swung down on a vine-like tendril behind the party and swallowed both Zhedd and his horse. Mendel tried to pin a tendril to a nearby tree, as Jardek advanced. The creature spat out a paralysed horse and druid, and turned its attention to Jardek, who for the second time during this expedition was eaten by a monster.
Eventually, the creature was slain, and a partially digested dwarf was cut out of its belly and revived. As dusk approached, the party noticed the jungle on their way south was full of cobwebs. Ancient ruins, covered in moss and webbing, filled a clearing near the jungle edge - beyond which lay plains leading to the mountain range approximately a mile further on. The stone blocks were very weathered, but in places an oak leaf motif could be seen - which several found strange given the lack of oak trees on the island. As the party examined the webbing, an old woman called out to them; sat crossed legged amongst the webs. When none in the party recognised her language, she tried again in Sylvan, which Dacien and Zhedd could translate. She claimed to be Lirith, an exile from an arenae colony to the north, and wanted to hear tales of the lands from which the party hailed. Unimpressed at the exploits she heard, she had little else to offer the party, save for the warning that they were being watched and that a cave to the south near the 'Terror Bird' nests would take them through the mountains should they wish. Not wanting to camp near the cobwebbed ruins, the party sought camp for the night on the plains. The only disturbance that night were some inquisitive dire bats that circled the campfire, but the party wisely did not provoke.
The next day, the party made for the mountains,a and soon came upon the nesting site of the 'Terror Birds'. Pausing downwind, they made plans to strike the nesting birds from afar with magic and missiles. Krunk charged, but tripped over the rubble and branch-covered terrain, as the party fired form a distance. Mendel and Jardek filled the sky with arrows, and Dacien with fire, and eventually Krunk got to his feet and dispatched the remaining birds. Pausing only to collect a nice looking cloak from the largest bird's nest, the party ran for the cave opening in the mountains before more birds could return to the nesting site.
The cave led though to a tunnel, patches worked stone, and others natural fissures and caverns, which led unerring straight south. Zhedd and Stephanie had the unnerving suspicion that they were being watched, although could not place the source. An hour and a half into the tunnel, a large stone rumbling could be heard from the north. After another couple of hours, the tunnel broke through into an underground complex - a large room holding a throne and a fountain. On the stone throne were the remains of a skeleton, transfixed by a longspear embedded in the rock. Dacien found a red stone rod in the fountain, and pocketed it for later. Steps led down from this room into a large chasm crossed by two bridges. Jardek and Anthony crept across, only to be pounced on from above by two gargantuan centipedes. Anthony tumbled out of their reach, as Jardek and Krunk fought them head on, suffering a paralysing poison in the process. Jardek for the third time during this expedition was eaten by a monster. Once the centipedes were defeated, the party crossed the chasm into an alcoved corridor, each inset holding the remains of bodies in varying states of decay. Investigating the bodies caused four of them to stir and rise as mummies, which shook fear into the hearts of most of the party at some point, before they were dispatched with Daciens careful application of fire, and a lucky turn attempt from Stephanie.
Dacien spotted a secret door that led to a burial chamber holding a sarcophagus, the lid of which depicted a man in a headdress holding a blue rod. After Anthony disarmed the trap in the room, the sarcophagus was opened and a blue stone rod found. The party and crew camped in the secret chamber for the night before continuing on. The next chamber held two stone pedestals, one a rose granite and the other a blue marble, with a set of copper doors opposite. before opening these the party investigated the last chamber where they found an inky black pool but little else. Mendel's attempts at fishing in the pool only provoked the black pudding hiding within, which Jardek's arrows soon multiplied to three black puddings - in return for the fourth time during this expedition, he was eaten by a monster; and both Mendel and Jardek lost their armour to its corrosive grasp. Once defeated, the party returned to the copper doors, and using the coloured stone rods were able to open them - to be greeted by the salty sea air and daylight...
Pape Jan in the Dreamtime of Man
5 hours ago