Only one incident occurred during the evening, where footsteps were heard in the outside corridor, and the next morning the room that held the bonesnapper at the end of the hallway found opened. Venturing near to once again shut it, the twins Ular and Tula were surprised by the reptilian creature, yet they managed to kill it with the help of Cadelaine’s magic missiles. The bonesnapper’s lair was searched, and nothing of value was discovered except for filth from the creature.
The party continued on to the stone bridge leading from the chapel over the dark crevice. The bridge led to a dark tunnel, so Cadelaine turned invisible and crossed the unlit stone bridge (which was slick and had no handholds) in total darkness so as not to upset the bats. Carefully investigating the hallway, she came to a t-section that was lit by torches and contained four of the guards with the usual greasepaint and bronzed plate armor. Sneaking back to the group, as they discussed what to do, the lizardman prisoner took that moment to jump off the bridge into the darkness! A splash was heard far below, and it was decided that he wasn’t worth pursuing (and may have been killed by the great fall into the underground river). At any length, he was now gone and they wouldn’t have to spend time taking care of him.
Still in darkness, the party slowly made it’s way across the 50 foot stone bridge. At a halfway point, a trap was triggered by Mongo’s weight, and he fell threw a pit in the bridge to freefall until he triggered his sword Sentinel to fly him back to the bridge. Now carefully avoiding the open section of the bridge, the party slowly made it to the tunnel where Cadelaine and Mongo quietly moved within….just as three of the guards came around the corner, curious to the small noises they had been hearing! Endefal hit the area with a Silence /15, as Kumar used Hold Person on the three guards. They were quickly disposed of, however, not before the 4th guard rushed to the west end of the corridor and shouted for help! Mongo and Kal used their Rings of Jumping to leap into the room for combat. They killed the three guards within, but not before one of the guards pulled down a lever that opened a barred entrance in the rear of the room. Immediately, a gigantic roar was heard, and an albino lion came bounding out of the darkness! Kal immediately threw a Hold Animal, and after securing the great cat, a Charm Mammal was used to entice the lion to follow it’s new master….Kal.
Meanwhile, at the east end of the hall a door had been thrown open, and hordes of white painted warriors began pouring out of the entrance into the hallway. Nadal, Gra-Gra and Sholo began battling the warriors, with Mongo and Endefal leaping into the fray to help. Using his innate Sanctuary power, Endefal pushed past the dozens of warriors around the corner to see the extent of the horde. However, once discerning that the opponents were coming out of two rooms of barracks and numbered nearly 30, he was set on by a quartet that had noticed him, and driven to the ground.
Meanwhile, Mongo, Nadal and Sholo began making slow and steady progress through the warriors, and soon the hallway was full of dead bodies, blood, brains, gore and literally painted floor to ceiling with body tissues. At one point Gra Gra, heavily injured was forced to leap out of the fray and to his master Kal for healing, bleeding from almost a dozen spear thrusts. Seeing Endefal brought down, Mongo again leaped forward using his ring to land atop the foes, striking out with both swords to clear a path for the priest. Fighting from the rear, with Sholo and Nadal from the front, they caught the screaming warriors in a vise and slowly tightened it. Almost 20 minutes later, the four party members stared at each other as the last opponent fell. The hallway had become a butcher’s shop as 27 dead warriors lay strewn in pieces across the 60 or so feet of the corridor. In the frenzy of battle the companions had neglected to keep anyone alive for questioning, but at least at this point the way was clear to explore further on down the passageway.
First, however, the room they had found guarded by the warriors had to be searched, as the party had located two locked chests within. Cadelaine examined them carefully and noted glyphs on each chest, looking menacing. The chest being made of heavy stone, Endefal used his Stone Shape spell to refashion on opening in the front, avoiding the glyphs’ and avoiding actually opening the lids of both chests. It seemed to be the right move since neither glyph was set off. Several items were pulled from inside both chests, including a sack of ancient gold and platinum pieces; a sack of 50 low quality gems; a jeweled ceremonial mace; a ruby encrusted, skull shaped goblet; and most interestingly of all a platinum box that contained two glass eyes that Alando detected as radiating magic.
After searching the room thoroughly, Kal introduced the newest member of the group: the albino lion Simba, who came from a long line of lions bred by the underground warriors as protectors and guardians. Simba was the last of his kind, and while suspicious of the party (he had been trained to attack and kill anyone not wearing the ceremonial greasepaint or bronze armor) he has placated by the charm and the thought of exploring outside his long lived in lair. Kal made a mental note to use Animal Friendship on the great cat before the charm wore off, so as to totally befriend the beast.
Investigating past the mass slaughter of the native warriors (where Endefal, following his custom, had created a gigantic pyramid of heads from the downed warriors), the party found two large, dirty barracks type rooms, as well as a set of stairs leading down. The stairs eventually led to a gigantic room, with several intriguing features. First, the large room (over 140 ft long and 60 ft wide) appeared to be some sort of temple, and was rent in the center by a large, 25 ft wide crack that like the other crevices found so far led into darkness. On the far side of the caverns sat a massive altar, while in the near side there lay hundreds and hundreds of bodies in various states of decay, putting off a charnel odor of awful proportions. The bodies were piled sometimes as much as 10 feet high on this side of the crevice, although the party could discern a pathway leading out and to the left among the piles of dead.
Alando stated that this was a tenet of the religion of Ert, to let bodies decay naturally and not cremate or bury them, and judging from the amount of bodies (about 400, it was reckoned) this must be the burial area of Ertian worshippers for quite awhile. As the party stepped into the chamber, the symbols of Ert on the back of their hands began to lightly glow.
Wary of battling undead, Endefal led the small group of Cadelaine, Mongo and Nadal down the pathway to end near the crevice and a large stone box. Using her abilities Cadelaine was able to pick the lock and remove several items: a wooden box containing two diamonds, a jeweled statuette of a woman; and a giant sheaf of old papers with ancient writing upon them. During this endeavor, carrion crawlers began crawling over the edge from the crevice to do battle with the explorers; luckily, no one was struck down by the tentacles of the creatures, and seven of the giant bugs were killed.
As Nadal, Mongo and Endefal battled the crawlers, Sholo entered the room to assist, but as he passed between two pillars the light of the room dimmed and a rustling was heard. Suddenly, the dead began rising from where they lay! 40 skeletons rose from the ground and began attacking. Endefal managed to destroy seven of them, while Kumar and Alando turned another 14, but that still left 19 to fight. The party ran with all haste out of the room, just as another 40 skeletons rose from the ground! This was beginning to have the looks of something very deadly, so Cadelaine pulled her Wand of Fire out and sent a fireball into the room (as the party ran down the hall). The explosion destroyed over 40 of the skeletons, and the others did not give chase. Alando theorized the fact that Sholo did not have a mark to Ert on his hand must have somehow activated the undead.
During the excitement, suddenly Tulu spoke up that his brother Ular was nowhere to be found! Frantically, he ran back down the hallway to locate him, but nothing was seen….except for a large rat in the hallway that scampered away. Ular wasn’t found, and it looked like perhaps he had contacted lycanthropy from the wererats that had bitten him earlier….and the stress of the undead attacking had caused him to change. Tulu was understandable upset and inconsolable, as he had never known a time without his twin brother by his side.
Venturing back down the passageway, the party saw that there were now no skeletons standing in the room as the stench of burning flesh filled their nostrils. Wanting to avoid the undead and search the opposite side of the room, Mongo and Kal (in giant bat form) flew the party over the crevice one by one until everyone stood on the north side of the chasm staring at the odd altar.
Investigating around the alter, several small holes were found in the floor surrounding the area, Flying to the altar, Mongo set off some sort of trap….suddenly, a demonic, laughing figure rose from flames at the altar, as more jets of flame shot up through the small holes surrounding it! Throwing holy water on the demonic face, the vial broke and splashed water…on what Mongo then saw was a stone statue! Very realistic, it was undoubtedly placed as some sort of fake guardian of the area…..soon it began to lower into the ground inside a circular tube.
Deciding to investigate further, Endefal stone shaped the opening to give them access below. Flying down, Mongo found a long disused room with the idol statue sitting on a pillar of stone. Nothing else was in the room except for a tunnel that led to a dead end…and a secret door, as Cadelaine discovered.
Soon, a rope was tied at the top and the entire party was lowered or climbed down the shaft, with Kal having to carefully take Simba (who did not want to enter the deep dark hole) until all stood in the dusty circular room below the earth. Trying the secret door, Cadelaine opened it to see a giant cavern filled with a large pedestal about 50x40 filled with pillars…and troglodytes! 14 of the monstrosities guarded the pedestal with their large javelins. The entire chamber was huge and she could not see the back of it in the dim light. Thinking this would be a good situation to thin out the monstrous ranks without being seen, Cadelaine used her Wand of Fire to shoot a fireball into the midst of the trogs! The fireball exploded, almost killing all the amphibious beings. As they lay groaning in pain and screaming out into the dark, Cadelaine hit them with another fireball, killing all of them!
Unfortunately, an alarm had gone up and obviously a trog guard from another part of the cavern had seen the flash, for as Cadelaine leaned out to fire her wand again, a shower of javelins flew at her from the darkness! Two struck her solidly, knocking her unconscious and causing her to collapse, dropping the wand! Cadelaine was quickly dragged inside as Alando pulled her down the corridor to stabilize her, and as Endefal opened the secret door to grab the wand, troglodytes lay in wait to attack! Mongo and Kal (who had shape changed into a crocodile) joined the battle, pushing the trogs outside the tunnel and into the cavern. Soon, Nadal, Sholo, Gra Gra and Simba joined in as almost 20 trogs went to the attack, the amphibious monstrosities clawing and biting at the party members. Two large subterranean lizards were sent into combat by the trogs, but were killed by Mongo with help from Kal and Endefal. Meanwhile, the stench of the trogs at separate times caused Kumar and Endefal to fall on all fours to vomit themselves empty, as the rest of the party managed to avoid their fate.
The combat was ongoing when shouts were heard back in the cavern…Alando and Desteri were battling each other! Kumar rushed back to pull his friend Alando away, but not before Desteri had struck him a nasty blow. It seemed that Alando had caught the fighter searching the body of the unconscious Cadelaine, ostensibly to search for healing potions or magic items he could use in the fight. Meanwhile, outside the cavern the battled raged and the party began to despair they would be intact at the end of the combat as the enraged trogs proved dangerous foes. Finally, though, the group had hacked through 18 of the creatures, and the entire chamber was once again quiet and deathly still. Wanting to leave before more reinforcements came, the party quickly hustled down the tunnel to the idol chamber, Kal sealing the secret door behind them using Stone Shape. When the bloodied party reached the idol chamber, Alando tattled on Desteri’s actions, and as Desteri tried to defend himself, Mongo decided he had heard and seen enough from the mercenary fighter over the last few days…a few quick strokes, and the headless body of Desteri, slowly toppled to the ground, blood spilling from his neck stump onto the dusty floor. Alando and Kumar paused to take anything of value off the mercenary fighter’s body, and Nadal spit on the corpse and said good riddance. Cadelaine was flown up the shaft to the altar room, and one by one (nervously watching the tunnel for signs of pursuit) the rest of the party followed, most climbing the rope or being hauled upwards. Once safe, the party pulled up the rope itself…unless the trogs or their allies could fly, their escape seemed to have been effected without pursuit.
Resting in the large altar room and avoiding the holes the flame jets shot through, the party made plans to spend the night…..a few of the party were heavily injured, and the priests were entirely out of healing magic. With the shaft below being nearly impassible, and the crevice to the south being a good buffer from what might come there, this seemed to be the best place to make rest and discuss the plans for the morrow. Cadelaine was tended to, with Alando taking care of her by bandaging and dressing her terrible wounds at the tips of the javelins, but he soon noticed that the javelins must have been dipped in something….the half elven mage/thief had developed a fever, and already looked quite ill.
Ajada (native Ashante warrior): An employee of House Valaryan, Ajada is a caravan leader. His job is to relay orders between the merchants sponsoring and travelling with the caravan and the native drovers, porters and bearers who take care of the animals, carry the supplies and guard the caravans that pass travel through the jungle. Ajada is typical of his profession, a no nonsense, mirthless man who has proven to be trustworthy in the past and very good at his job. Due to several odd pronouncements the party suspects he might have cannibal blood somewhere in his family tree...
Alando (human priest of Vistna): A tall gangly young man who is awkward in social situations, Alando came to the Temple of Vistna in Port Maurgre under circumstances he won't divulge (except to say he was being "punished" for some undeclared fault). As the newest and youngest priest at the temple he had been assigned to the high priest, Vespasian, and often runs errands for him. He has been assigned to travel with the party to the fabled "Elephant's Graveyard" deep in the jungles of Delos (and later the "Forbidden City" even deeper in the jungle's depths). Along the way he has become a bit more outgoing and has risked his life for the party, especially for Cadelaine who he has developed a bit of a crush on.
Ardu (native Delosian human Ranger): Ardu is the uncle of Mongo, and left his tribe long ago to work with House Valaryan. Over the years he has become a trusted and valuable guide for trading expeditions. As a youth Mongo and his brothers always looked up to Ardu, who has a blunt, black humorish style about him that endears him to most. He has taken Mongo under his wing since the destruction of his village, and has been assigned by Gam to look out for and educate the adventurers on the dangers of the jungle and how to survive them. Later developments find Ardu kidnapped by the evil serpent men and taken as a captifve to their stronghold, the Forbidden City (where Mongo and his friends have traveled to rescue him)
Ark (human ranger): A evil mercenary in the employ of House Tarn, he and his group were hired to steal a map of the Elephant's Graveyard that had come into the hands of the priesthood of Vistna. After stealing the map, Ark and his companions were then paid to find the Graveyard and secure the area so that House Tarn could exploit it (killing anyone who got in their way). Unfortunately, on the way to the Graveyard his party was attacked by cannibal headhunters, and then by the group of adventurers, and he and the other mecenaries were defeated. Captured for questioning, a Helm of Alignment Change was placed on his head, and now Ark loyally serves with the party due to his new LG nature. Ark perished in combat with the priest of the elephant god, Honapo, as he was stung to death by summoned wasps then crushed by a clay golem.
CADELAINE (silver half-elven mage/thief): Daughter of a silver elven ambassador to The League and the head of House Valaryan (making her Nadal's half-sister), Cadelaine stowed away on a merchant ship to Delos to save her adopted family from future problems. Her mother (a sorceress) having passed away, and her father refusing to acknowledge her, Cadelaine moved in with a local baker's family whose son idolized her. Learning the fine art of burglary with her friend to supplement her adopted family's income, she felt she had to leave as she became older and her resemblance to her father became more pronounced (perhaps causing trouble in the future as questions would be asked). Taking a ship to as far away a location as she could, she hopes to start a new life far from the sad reminders of her past. She has been employed by House Valaryan to obstensibly work off her debt for the ship ride to Delos.
Captain Bohema (Human corsair): The Captain of "The Morning Sun" is a large, bawdy man. His job seems to be a continuous circuit of trips, from Delos (where he picks up trade good such as mahogany, ivory and spices) back to the League several thousand miles away, where he unloads his booty to gather steel weapons, beads, and cheap gems, and then back to Delos. Not without compassion, he took Cadlaine under his wing when he found her stowed away aboard his ship bound for Delos, and rescued Endefal when he was found floating in the ocean. He recommended both to House Valaryan as employees on his judge of character.
Damu (wererat warrior): An inhabitant of the Forbidden City, he is one of the leaders of the wererat clan that has existed in the long abandoned sewer system for many centuries. Enemies of the serpentmen, they have quietly battled their reptilian foes from the shadows. Recently Damu and his ratkin have attempted to capture and turn the party to lycanthropy for the good of the wererat clan. His plan failed, and he managed to escape to perhaps again plot for the capture and corruption of the party.
Desteri (human mercenary fighter): A member of a ill-fated caravan raided by serpentmen, Desteri was captured, then escaped, from the reptilian clutches and eventually made his way to the mongrelmen's camp in the Forbidden City. Soon charmed by the elven mage Aratheas, he was her willing bodyguard and plaything until a Free Will spell cast by Endefal gave him his mind back. Escaping with the party after the death of Aratheas and confrontation with the mongrelmen, he was found to be a crude, rude and impetuous warrior with few redeeming qualities but his sword. Soon charmed again by Kal, he followed orders until once again being freed from the charm by a inadvertent Dispel Magic. Taking back up his impetuous ways, he was badly injured by a group of evil Kani dolls who he accidentally activated while adventuring underground. For now, he is still with the party until they tire of his nature, or charm him again. Finally, catching the figther in the act of searching Cadelaine's unconcious body, Alando attacked him and was seriously injured. Mongo at that point was fed up with the ill-mannered mercenary and chopped his head off, ending his brief association with the party.
ENDEFAL (gold half-elven priest of Attar): Little is known of Endefal's past, except that he was captured and held aboard a Taranthian slave vessel, where he learned the word of Attar from another priest posing as a simple slave. When that slave-priest was beaten to death, Endefal found his calling in the word of Attar, and attempted to destroy the ship many times until he finally escaped. Found floating in the ocean by Captain Bohema of House Valaryan, he is being employed by them to work off his debt for his rescue. Endefal is quiet, brooding, and has a hatred for slavers that perhaps encompases even Mongos.
Gam (human ?): Called "The Patriarch" by most members and employees of House Valaryan, Gam is a older, scarred, grizzled individual of a few years. How he came to Delos, and how he became the leader of House Valaryan on Delos is unknown. He is gruff and blunt, but not entirely cruel. Above all he seems to be motiviated by profit, for himself or his masters at House Valaryan no one knows.
Gra-Gra (Carnivorous ape companion of Kal): Charmed and befriended instead of killed, Gra-Gra has proven to be quite a beneficial addition to the adventurers. Fighting with the strength and ferocity of any warrior, he has proven himself time and again a valuable fighting force. His habit of stopping to take a bite of almost anything he kills in battle (usually by ripping it in half with his claws) is distasteful but .... Sadly, the ape was killed in battle, burnt to a crisp by a delayed blast fireball cast by The Immortal King in the caverns under Kitanga.
Horan (Black necromancer in the Forbidden City): A enigmatic force in the city, he controls many of the patrolling undead that walk the streets of the ruins. He says he is only there in search of ancient knowledge, whether foe or ally cannot be determined, although he seems to be bearing a grudge for injuries to his servant Kwano (a female necromancer apprentice of his) by the party, and is apparantly shadowing them through undead servants such as bonebats. To display his power he killed the priest Endefal with a Death Spell, and seems to have various unusual and deadly spells at his disposal (as well as the power to speak and act through undead). He resides in a large, well kept mansion in the city's SW area, behind a stone wall, guarded by various undead creations.
KALPHISTANE (gold elven druid): Kal (as he is known) was part of an ill-fated expedition to find some trace of an elven force that had landed on Delos over 500 years ago and then disappeared. With members of the Vistnan priesthood assisting, the expedition had not gone far into the jungle before being attacked by the dreaded Snake-men and their allies, killing his mentor and the other elves Kal traveled with. Returning to Port Mauge with the survivors, Kal stayed with the Vistnan priesthood awaiting further contact with the priesthood of Faerel. As the weeks wore on he realized that no further assistance would arrive, and is now working for House Valaryan to pay his way and hopefully use his time with them to become more attuned to the jungle so he can search for this lost elven city on his own.
Kumar (human native priest of Attar): Rescued by the party from slavers, this horribly scarred young man (a large ugly whip lash crosses his face) found Attar when he prayed the night he was captured. The god came to him and offered him help if he would assist others who also had been taken slaves, and thus Kumar became an acolyte. Seeking out Endefal when he had been rescued, Endefal realized the native boy had been touched by Attar, and took him on to guide him. Since then Kumar has participated in the group's adventures, often showing a reckless disregard for his safety when he rushes into combat unarmored screaming "Attar" and wielding a large war club.
MONGO (native Delosian ranger): Mongo watched his entire family except for an older brother taken captive and sold off into slavery by Tzulan warriors working for the Taranthian priesthood. They were not the first or the last Ashante tribe to be treated thus, so he swore sword vengeance against the Tzulans and their Taranthian masters and vowed to slay them and rescue his family. His older brother left him in the care of his uncle Ardu (who is employed at House Valaryan as a ranger scout) while he tries to track down their family and get word back to Mongo to join him. By then it is hoped that with the teachings of his Uncle Ardu, Mongo will have become an experienced and deadly warrior. Now that Mongo has taken up worship of the Elephant God and wields the sword Sentinel, he has also become the protector of the Armec tribe in their secret valley. Mongo's chosen enemy is the serpent men and any reptilian monster, due to some unspecified event that happened early in his life.
Roho (Human native fighter): Roho was an Ashante tribesman who was assigned to guard Kalphistane during a battle against Tzulan warriors. Kalphistane was the first elf Roho had ever seen, coupled with the elven druid's flaming spear, spell use, and generaly inability to fight well, Roho had assigned himself to guarding the druid and protecting him in battle. Kal's exoticness and spell use made him (in Roho's mind) an emissary of the Forest Gods so he must be protected. After several adventures with the party, Roho was killed with a poisoned blade while battling the evil mercenary thief Jakk
Sholo (native fighting man): Sholo was part of the Armec tribe, a "lost' tribe that had for centuries lived in the valley of the elephant and then guarded the entrance to the valley (after being chased out by the evil priest Honapo). Sholo was the chief's son, fully ready to take over the dying tribe for his father when the burden of leadership was passed on. The arrival of a group of adventurers, who destroyed Honapo and made the valley once again safe for habitation, was a turning point in the young man's life. Inspired by these heroes, especially their leader Mongo, he vowed to follow them to learn more about the outside world and experience adventure. Perhaps he could also spread word of the Elephant God, and someday come back to lead his people with the experience and wisdom of having traveled the jungles of Delos. Sholo is quite young and raw but quite strong and fast, and after being given a magical short sword by Mongo, has proven quite skilled in it's use.
SIR NADAL KINSWORTH VALARYAN (human fighter): 5th son of the present head of House Valaryan, Nadal has been sent to far-off Delos to get him out of the way so he won't muddy the waters of succession. Thinking he was beng sent to Delos in order to take command of an army of men, Nadal quickly had his hopes dashed as he given the the lowest position (mercenary) upon reaching the House Valaryan outpost in Port Maugre. However, despite some initial disappointment and prissiness, Nadal has seemed to adapt well to the vagaries of life in the jungle and is looking at the experience as a "toughening up" period that will make him even more suitable to one day lead House Valaryan
Talith (human fighter): Talith is head warrior of House Valaryan. Although not a native Delosian, he has come to know the jungle well after many years serving the merchant house there. All preparations for trade expeditions are nominally under his control. Right now he is stationed in the Valley of the Elephant supervising the gathering and shipment of hundreds of pounds of valuable ivory
Tula and Ular (native Ashante warriors): Twin brothers of a young age, the two cheerful warriors were captured by serpentmen to be used as sacrifces. Escaping their clutches, they joined the mongrelmen area of the Forbidden City and were well liked by their fellow "lost explorers". Escaping with the party after the mongrelmen attacked following a mishap, they loyally follow the party in their quest. They are especially impressed by Mongo, who they hero worship from afar. Unfortunately, Ular had been bitten by a wererat while in the undertemple below the city, and after showing signs of being ill, changed into a giant rat and disappeared into the darkness.
Vespasian (human priest of Vistna): The head of the temple of Vistna in Port Maugre, the old gray haired scholar has spent many years in the jungle port. He seems to be driven (like many other Vistnan priests) by a thirst for knowledge about the jungle continent, it's legends, history and people. He is known for sponsoring expeditions into the jungle interior to aquire ancient or forbidden knowledge.