Deciding to try and rescue whoever was unfortunate enough to be sacrificed under the knives of the priests of Ert, the party left the unconscious Desteri, the twins Ular and Tula, and the still-tied up lizardman behind in the chapel as they forged ahead. Crossing the two rope bridges in utter darkness so as to prevent agitating the bats (and giving away their position), the party used directions from the charmed warrior to move ahead. Coming to a t-section on the swaying rope bridge, the charmed warrior told the party that to the south lay a hidden guard, while to the north was the worship area where the sacrifices were to be made. Not wanting to leave anything behind them unguarded, Kal sent the warrior to the south to talk to the guard and perhaps lure him out so the party could deal with him.
Several minutes passed, Cadelaine had heard whispered conversation from the south but now nothing. Fearing something had happened, Cadelaine snuck invisibly to the end of the rope bridge where it led into a dark, dank cavern. Using her infravision she could barely make out the outlines of a tunnel that ended in a crude set of stairs which seemed to be blocked off by piles of boulders and rubble. On the floor in front of the rubble lay the now dead body of the warrior. Quickly examining the body she found he had a stab wound in the back and a slashed throat. Not wanting to hang around in the dark much more, she snuck back to the group and whispered what she had found.
Leaving Nadal, Sholo, Alando and Kumar behind at the rope bridge to watch, Endefal, Kal, Gra Gra, Mongo and Cadelaine went forward into the tunnel. Using a continual light wand, they searched the area and while they saw lots of rat tracks, they didn’t see anything else. Cadelaine soon found a loose stone that seemed to lead to a secret area. She carefully opened the entrance and it led to a stench filled small stone cave filled with waste. Suddenly, a giant rat tried to run past Cadelaine and through the tunnel to the piled rubble up the staircase! Taking swings a the rat, he was struck by Mongo and Endefal before being snatched up and crushed by Gra-Gra. At this, the rat changed form and became a dead human in a loincloth….obviously a wererat! The only thing of value upon him was a potion bottle, which Endefal determined held a potion of invisibility.
Inside the hidden cave the party found rat holes and an old short sword. They reasoned the charmed warrior much have been killed by the wererat guard, but nothing else of value was located in the chamber. Returning to the others on the rope bridge, they were dismayed to hear loud chanting coming from the north, indicating the ceremony the charmed warrior had spoken of was soon to begin. Mongo sipped the invisibility potion, and long with an invisible Cadelaine they moved quietly ahead and soon faced two white painted guards in a hallway lit by torches. Quickly, Mongo disposed of both guards using the element of surprise, and they faced a door in front of them and some kind of religious ceremony down the hallway to the west.
Just as the rest of the party arrived, the door in front of them was flung open to reveal a group of four guards and two priests! Battled was joined as Endefal and Mongo were held by priest spells. Pushing into the room before them, which was some kind of priest and guard barracks, Kal summoned insects on one priest and attacked the other. The one priest fell to the ground and although he tried to get the insects off he was soon consumed by them; the other priest was run through by Kal’s spear. As the fighters began stabbing the held figures of Endefal and Mongo they were attacked by Nadal, Gra Gra and Cadelaine. A Charm Person by Kal took out one of the guards, and soon the other three lay dead. Dragging the bodies indoors, the group questioned the charmed warrior underneath a large black marble statue of Ert. All the warrior could give the party was that the high priest Tavos had three other priests, six guards and a group of worshippers at the temple to watch the sacrifice of three slaves.
Quickly going into action, Cadelaine cast Fly on Mongo, who flew down the hall. Flying into the temple area, he saw that it was simply part of an other temple overlooking another giant crevice that led down to the lower level. The roughly 60x60 area had a large bloodstained stone surrounded by six pillars, dangerously overlooking the dark blackness of the depths. Mongo immediately focused on the high priest and his upraised dagger, poised to plunge into a sacrifice! He swung a mighty blow that injured the priest, stopping the sacrifice. At that, the rest of the party burst into the area and the battle was joined!
Immediately, Cadelaine cast Web on half the area, capturing six worshippers and a guard, while the rest of the party laid into the nearby worshippers. Suddenly, all the remaining ten worshippers changed shape into ratmen form, as they revealed they were lycanthropes. The high priest yelled with a strange language into the darkness, and a second later Endefal’s mace slammed into him. Dying, the priest toppled over the edge into the darkness below. Endefal and Mongo were then hit by Faerie Fire, and the guards rushed up to engage them only to be met by Kumar and his warclub. Meanwhile, Kal (in crocodile form), Gra Gra, Nadal, and Sholo began hacking through nearly a dozen of the foaming mad ratmen.
As the battled continued, the high priest’s entreaty to the dark was answered, as five giant bats flew to the attack. Mongo, Endefal and Kumar were all snatched into the air and flown over the blackness, where Mongo and Kumar were dropped! Endefal managed to swing up upon his bat and bashed him into flying back over the ledge, bashing against the wall and dropping the priest. Mongo, after being dropped by the bat, flew underneath Kumar and grabbed him and flew him back to the ledge and the continuing battle. Other bats flew low and began slashing at party members. Cadelaine pulled her wand of lightning and blasted one with a bolt, and as the bat fluttered around she blasted it again and it dropped, on fire, into the darkness of the crevice.
Seeing a move to be made, Kal changed into a giant bat and flew among the creatures, using their language to tell them to retreat back to their stalactite homes since the high priest was dead. They flew confused, Kal’s entreaties in their language causing them to be uncertain. Meanwhile, Mongo managed to hack through the remaining two priests, ending their threat, while Endefal and Kumar fought against the guards back to back, managing to kill two.
The battle against the wererats slowly turned the party’s way, as Nadal, Sholo, Gra Gra, and even Alando (who swung the Rod of Smiting better and more tellingly than any weapon he had yet wielded) cutting a swatch through the lycanthropes. After a bit more fighting, all opponents lay dead, the last one beheaded by Cadelaine as she backstabbed the last guard. After seeing this, the remaining giant bats, some wounded by Mongo and missile fire, flew back to their homes in the darkness. With only the creatures in the web left, it was lit afire, and the burned lycanthropes were quickly dealt with, leaving bodies all around. The three sacrificial slaves were rescued, and Mongo flew into the crevice to retrieve the body of the high priest. Finding him floating in an underground stream, he grabbed him and flew him back to the ledge to be searched. Unfortunately, nothing of value was found on any of the priests, guards or worshippers, and the party went back down the hall where they could cure themselves.
Back in the corridor, they noticed that the heavily barred door at the east end had been opened, and a large bonesnapper was dining on the guard Kal had charmed, who had obviously panicked and tried to release the creature only to fall it’s victim. As the creature fed on the guard, the door was once again quickly locked and barred to prevent the creature from leaving.
Since the party was at this point heavily injured and nearly without spells, the decided to stay in the priest/guard barracks for the night, but not before Endefal and Kumar destroyed the statue to Ert and defiled the sacred altar with holy water. Tulu, Ular, Desteri and the lizardman were gathered from the far chapel to join the party as they made ready to spend the night in the chamber. Making camp and setting guards, wounds were bandaged, and the party made ready to rest another night in the underground chambers of the worshippers of Ert.
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.