Welcome To The Jungle

 


Dear Darakh’zan and Rostam,

Well it’s been over a month and I have gone from the Baalgor Wastelands, Eastern Territories (the cities of Wisdom and Haven), the Library of Bletherad: an independent domain within the boundaries of the Wolfen Empire, the city of Credia, the jewel of the Timiro Kingdom, the land of Giants: the multi-racial city of Cyclone, and now into the Yin-Sloth Jungles south of the Baalgor Mountain chain! I have now traveled more than most people do except when involved in war or various disasters! Everything I have read makes it seem a great number of people (all races) are born, live, and die within 60 miles of their home.

When I mentioned people showing up in the last letter I sent home it turns out we were met by the Town Guard of Cyclone. The amalgam of races was AMAZING!!! This group had Cyclops Giants, Ogres, two Jotan Giants, Orcs, Hoomans, and their leader was one of the Fair Folk!

I digress, again, but I blame the amazing world we live in for this…

…we were surrounded by 30, or more, guards responding to the use of magic by those in the street that had run when the Shedim Demons appeared and I played a largely insignificant role of meat shield for my team. Now defending one’s friends is never insignificant, however, most people do not travel with world spanning heroes capable of facing off with a tavern brawl single-handedly, and then finishing their drink wondering if the town they were in had anything “fun” to do! They were done with the demons so fast I barely got a spell cast! I am embarrassed to say that the Elvish Wizard training to be an Alchemist, Azariel, has a far better grasp on spell theory and practical application than I do. I kind of feel like a lumbering thug when I see him in action.

This group is made up of good people but I still feel like an outsider, such is the lot our ancestors have burdened us with. The newest member of the group infuriates me because even being highly impolite still moves in an out of social graces with an ease I am not sure I will ever understand. Bungo, some type of cousin to gnomes and dwarves called a “halfling.” It would seem another fallout of the Great War of the Fair & the Strong. Bungo asked about my scars and offered to heal them! I explained that I keep them to remind me what abuses of power can lead to. He seemed genuinely concerned and wanting to help, which, without the Torch Ring I might have looked at as mocking pity. Aside from this he grates my nerves with his insolent attitude and carefree demeanor! The words that come forth from his lips I would not repeat here and yet everyone seems to simply accept him- except in Master Cava’s case- he barely tolerates him.

I digress, again…

… I can’t remember this being mentioned by the Jotan giant harbormaster but it would seem that fighting is prohibited in this town, and self defense is tolerated. Now self-defense through proactive aggression is NOT tolerated and we were told the fine was a night in jail. We politely argued our point, AND WERE HEARD OUT BY THE GUARDS! They did not threaten us, act rudely, mistreat anyone that race might have otherwise done so! I have never met a better organized group of guardsmen anywhere! I can honestly say this town is safer than most and I know the demons were after us not casual visitors. I will be happy to make the recommendation now to Karowyn’s Merchanthouse confident I would not be giving them bad advice to open a shop up here, and not merely because I gave my word to do so.

The 2nd of Ra ~
The night in jail went without incident, and all of our belongings were returned in the morning and we were released. I had spent the night in prayer and was joined by Master Tyvernos whom looked even smaller next to me. Well we began our acquiring of supplies to go forth and tackle the trek into the Yin-Sloth Jungle and the Baalgor Wastelands north of it. While I will see you and father again soon the mission is far from over. When came to packs I asked the blacksmith we stopped at if he could build something I saw in an old Dwarven book about military transportation procedures regarding iron back frames for soldiers and labor animals to carry greater loads than normally possible. The Cyclops blacksmith had never heard of such a thing but we were able to draw what it should look like and he said he would build mine for free to test it and would have it in 3 days. Then he quoted 4 days for the rest of the orders place by the team and one for the pack horse.

Master Cava made use of a scroll that morning that would procure an ally to join him! Truly powerful magic that would summon one to your aside and assured loyalty! I would not have believed it but by the end of the 2nd of Ra there was an elvish maid from Titania waiting by Rogtilda that introduced herself as Iana. I am still astounded at the wonders of magic that could alter the course of events in someone’s life, that bears Master Cava near slave like loyalty and bring her here from her home miles away!

The 3rd of Ra through the 8th of Ra~
Everything we needed, or at least could think of, was acquired and I feel so very bad for Master Azariel as he is beginning to look at Iana the way I looked at Luur’na back home. I am not without feeling but I almost despise love for the power it has over people of all races to make horrible decisions over and over again. Please be gone when I return home Luur’na, I don’t want to see the affect of your chosen mate or hurt anymore.

Whenever there is help needed I leap at the chance, and otherwise I spend it reading all the books in my cabin. When I do come up I see Master Cava being protective of his new ward, Master Azariel looking quietly from a distance. I wonder if magic is rare because wizards don’t find mates having chosen to lust for knowledge and tomes of forgotten lore? I talked to Sir Quixis Ote once about this but I can see even he finds Iana’s presence disturbing as though he is remembering women in his life he either left or left him. How do anyone bear offspring if they can’t find a mate. Master Overkill would appear to be the lucky one among us having a mate waiting for him back in the Eastern Territories.

A sad bit of news is that Master Terramore is leaving us to study the city of giants we’re in and the Gods have released him to do so. I wrote him a prayer he might say someday as a way of saying good-bye even though it’s only been just over a month I have known him. More upheaval for the group to deal with, pity.

The 9th of Ra~
The packs of the Cyclops blacksmith are excellent and Master Cava acquires some of this famous lightning arrows. The group acquired another map of the jungle and the introduction to a guide from a family of giant I thought was extinct, a Rahu-Man! He went by the name, Tiakatha, and wore an enormous necklace of a wrought blued-steel dragon! Master Cava mentioned the great Dragon God, Kym-Nark-Mar, and that before my joining the group they had met him! At first Tia’katha thought we were mocking him but when he was handed a book of Crisis describing the event and seeing my necklace with the Lawgiver’s symbol he began to take us more at our word.

Just then without warning there was a flash of light and Bungo appeared reeking of scents and smoke that assaulted my nose with violent uncaring force! This and his attitude I mentioned above has colored my perception of this newest member of CrIsis. The group elected to begin our journey in the morning to get the ‘Fireside Chat’ over with that evening.

The 10th of Ra~
We headed into the Yin-Sloth Jungle and handed our maps to the guide to which he compared to the ones he own (I strongly think he made his). He tossed all of them except the one Master Terramore had found us. Even though he had parted ways with us I wanted him to know and that night I sent him a small note via magic pigeon letting him know his contribution and that it was appreciated. Sir Quixis Ote joined us now in Master Terramore’s place.

Tia’katha showed us tribal markers placed by a people called, Tezcats, by other races; these markers are called “totem poles” to signify land but it would appear to also indicate spirits or gods worshiped as well. This massive stone column was just about a foot taller than my 11 foot frame. The top was adorned with painted rings whose colors were: white / red / white. Our guide showed us an animal tooth on the jungle floor that was a warning of a vicious beast ahead suggesting this was a hunting ground. We tried to move through the area quietly, however, I am not small nor have I ever tried to be sneaky in my life. I am sure this is inadvertently my fault the small, dart shooting, jungle barbarians found us.

By the time I could ready a spell the hunting party had been dispatched by everyone else and Master Azariel had made much better use of a carpet of adhesion spell. Again I made a fantastic meat shield and the darts either bounced off of me or got stuck in my clothing since I had left my armor back aboard Rogtilda. I did managed to actually get cut by a stone axe one of the little Tezcat hunters had.

There was some concern over removing items from the dead. Tia’katha warned us not to take anything or the Tezcat would hunt us down for defiling the dead. Bungo took a small amount of poison and Master Cava nearly took his head off, now I have to admit I took Cava’s side on this especially with the local guide’s warning. Cava was cut short from his justifiable anger by trying to get the Lady Iana to react better in combat, and it turns out she is a “internalist” or “mind mage” fresh out of training from her home city. Lady Iana healed those that had been hurt however she spent all of her energy doing so and needed to rest. I will visit Titania someday for it did intrigue me greatly when I saw the quiet walls amid the chaos of the jungle.

The 11th of Ra~
I am watching poor Master Azariel try and talk to Lady Iana and he said her name wrong! It was like watching slag, crap metal drip off a casting in a furnace, burned! What made it worse was how polite she was about it and quietly Bungo made lewd comments about her, however, I think it was more a poke of fun at Master Cava than anything serious. Bungo was successful in getting Master Cava to growl at him. Watch with Master Azariel was painful because every other thought thread was about Lady Iana! If I punch him might he snap out of it?

Hmmmmmmmmm, I wonder?

The others are mumbling something about quicksand, but I honestly didn’t pay attention and no one died.

The 12th of Ra~
Today I had one of my big chopping daggers go missing from my belt! There’s strong reason to believe Bungo took the dagger as some sort of prank, however, when you’re angry try VERY HARD to think objectively. I trust the Gods and I don’t think it was him. I am also bringing up the rear so I am uncertain how he would have gotten behind me.

There was a disturbance in the brush and Master Cava went to investigate, and found five Ratlings! I was trained to run but the trees here in the jungle even in the mountainous area is dense and thick! I was again unable to really lend a hand before the group had dispatched the rodent interlopers. I was beginning to notice that my companions were not doing so hot in this environment and several were going through varying stages of heat exhaustion. I will have to keep and eye on them, and again Lady Iana is using her “internal magic” to help pull people through the worst of this.

Just when things seemed to be calming down we heard a loud thunder coming from the east of our position, and our guide, Tia’katha, put his ear to the ground for a few seconds. Then his head shot up and he barked, “SPREAD OUT, NOW!” We had just spread out far enough while the thundering sounds and trembling ground had gotten worse, an elephant burst through the area heading west and just kept going! After five minutes we looked down the path of destruction and wondered what had chased it but since there was no sign of pursuit we opted to carry on and pushed forward.

The 13th of Ra~
BATTLE! Well sort of…

…We were nearly out of the jungle mountains east of Cyclone and into the Jungle lowlands when we met other forms of frog like denizen, FROG CREATURES!!! During our trek we were beset by what looked like a 100 frog-like hoomans! It seems walking on two legs is what separates beasts from intelligent creature??? Master Azariel would know, *OH MY GOODNESS…*
…I actually got the “Fleet Feet” spell off and I just stunned one senseless with my prayer flail and disemboweled it with a swipe of my remaining heavy dagger!!! Then Master Azariel covered the whole area in the spell ‘Carpet of Adhesion’ capturing us and these frog creatures in one mass.

Damnit.

It gets better, Bungo knows one of them! Apparently these creatures are known as the Krog and one of them has traveled much of this world as I seem to be doing and knows Bungo to be a friend! Fantastic I have now murdered some innocent defending what was likely its home! Well hail to the conquering hero.

Damnit.

Master Bungo, I do not like how he does what he does, but he is helping the group. If I just keep saying that I might actually believe it when Master Cava goes off again. Master Bungo’s Krog friend is a leader among these people and we were invited to the village where we ate and slept the night. Before the “Battle of the Adhesive Jungle” something stole Master Overkill’s ring of Fleet Feet! We are being tracked by something or someone that can become invisible. Again eyes look to Master Bungo, however, the Gods would not try to destroy us with one they sent. IT HAS TO BE SOMEONE OR SOMETHING ELSE!

The 14th of Ra~
We left the Krog village with full stomach and local foods that would not kill us. Master Bungo seems to like seeing Master Cava rankle when he points out what he has done in their verbal sparing matches. Midway through our day our Rahu-Man giant guide, Tia’katha, told to watch we were surrounded! From our northeast, southeast, and west sides came three foul beasts I have heard tales of in the Wastelands, Melech!

FINALLY A BATTLE AGAINST FOUL CREATURES OF EVIL!

Tia’katha and Master Cava went after the one on the Northeast flank, Master Overkill went after the one on the Southeast flank, Sir Quixis Ote charged after the one on our left flank. Lady Iana did as instructed and protected her self with a ‘bubble’ of mental energy, the other hunkered down to protect her. Wishing to know battle like our tribal ancestors I joined the dwarf, Master Overkill with a ROARING YELL and I CHARGED the Melech HORNS FIRST!

GLORIOUS!!!!

I gored the side of the beast so badly that even the dwarf pirate captain, Master Overkill, had a look of welcomed surprise! We continued to lay into the creature when two dagger’s dropped into it from overhead and the beast expired! Well Master Bungo did help while protecting Lady Iana, however, I can see how those in the face of a fight feel different when their foe is taken down by someone that did not risk their body in the attack.

Strategy and glory are clearly not always friends.

I went off to help Sir Quixis while Master Azariel performed a similar assistance with fireballs to the Melech Tia’katha and Master Cava had been dealing with. Sir Quixis is a mighty knight and finished his foe before I arrived. Then it was done.

I write this at the bottom of northern side of the Giant’s Run Mountains (this is how Tia’katha refers to them). 5 days into the Yin-Sloth Jungles.

With Bloody Glory and Noble Strategy,
Xerx’ses Goldenflail

>> Written by Xerx’ses Goldenflail,
Wizard
on the 14th of Ra the year 111. <<

Map of Palladium, picture of a Rahu Man Giant, tezcat warrior, ratling, melech are courtesy of Palladium Books
Picture of an elephant courtesy of Desktop Nexus
Picture of the Frog Warrior courtesy of Florian Stitz

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