After a night spent in the damp, unpleasant secret room, a decision was made to investigate the two other passages out of the room….one a narrow (5 ft) set of stairs leading down, the other a tunnel leading up (the way Epy had entered with her fellow spy a millennium ago). It was decided to take the stairway down, to see what lay below the secret room….perhaps it was a way to the underground city of the beastmen, or something else entirely.
Traveling single file down the dusty stairway, lit by the continual light torch and continual light stone, the party soon came to a four way passage, with other stairways leading in other directions. Not wanting to get lost, the party continued ahead into a long abandoned room with two doors. Searching carefully, Cadeliane opened one door, which led to an incredible sight: a gigantic (100 x 60 ) temple area, with several unusual features. One by one the party cautiously entered the room, which had an odd set of lizardman footprints leading inside and atop the altar at the south end of the room.
The room was thoroughly searched, which took quite awhile due to it’s great size. Another doorway was found on the north end of the room, along with a staircase to the north that led up. To the south, a giant altar with faded tapestries was at the top of a set of stairs. To the west, four odd archways stood, with a blank wall behind them, and a stone set in front of each with a fist sized circle in the top.
Carefully examining the archways, Alando could just make out several ancient writings, which seemed to point to the archways being gates of some sort to other locations. Two told of transportation to some kind of entrance, one to a temple, and the other to somewhere atop a faraway plateau. Obviously requiring some sort of gems to activate, the gates were harmless and non-functioning for now, until the trigger item (something fitting inside the stone in front) could be found.
Examining the altar area turned up nothing except faded, rotting tapestries, and some lizardman footprints in the dust leading to a secret door in the south wall. Carefully going inside, the group found another large room, this one with a giant stone pedestal in the center, which held a large crystal ball type item. On the walls were painted scenes of reptillions ruling the world, dominated by a golden lizardman with a crown and golden wings ruling over all.
The pedestal and ball was looked at with suspicion, as the lizardman footprints came to a stop right in front. Unable to restrain himself, Alando reached out to touch the glass, and immediately the ball lit up with some sort of eternal light. Experimenting with the item, it looked to be a stationary crystal ball, with the ability to look for anyone and anything the one touching it desired!
Taking turns, several members of the party touched the ball and saw glimpses of things and people important to them. Mongo saw his family, the ones still living, being held in a giant salt mine, while his brother was outside the mine somewhere in the jungle with several other hard eyed warrior types; Sholo glanced inside to look at his tribesmen in the Valley of the Elephant, rebuilding their village and helping House Valaryan harvest the scattered ivory; Tulu saw his brother somewhere in the dungeon, conversing with rat-like beings, he himself now half-rat, half-human in form; Endefal sought the Necromancer Horan, and found him writing something in a large journal in what looked like a spacious and well kept study area; Kal spied upon the dragon of the swamp, seeing the massive frog-like being under the dark and scummy waters of the lake being worshiped by several surviving frogmen, sitting atop a pile of glittering and gleaming treasure; Alando tried to find Ardu, and located him enslaved in some large city dominated by ziggurats, where large, bull headed beings seemed to rule, whipping the slaves into action (and causing Endefal’s blood to boil). Using the crystal ball to look at the cave where they had left the totem pole many days ago, they saw it had been cut down and burned, evidence that the frogmen, lizardmen, or both had found the hideout and exacted some revenge. Epy, sadly, had no visions as she tried to glance within the crystal ball…everyone and everyplace she had ever known was gone in the intervening 1000 years since her capture.
Further searching of the room revealed a door going south, but more interestingly, a secret panel in the east wall covered by a layer of bricks, built from this side. Using stone shape, Kal moved the bricks enough to glance into the room next door…..a large room with glowing violet walls, like those of the mage’s tomb, plus the legs of a large stone statue, very much like the one in the mage’s tomb. The room, however, was NOT the mage’s tomb, despite it’s similarities. Wanting to enter the room and find out more, Endefal first reached inside the room to stone shape the statue’s legs to the floor so it could not attack them…but the spell did nothing but awaken the giant stone golem, which turned with flashing eyes, ready for battle! Atop it’s head gleamed a black iron crown with three large gems set inside, which flashed brightly, blinding Nadal. The golems fist smashed through the wall, slapping Endefal, and the golem then breathed a gout of fire that caught Endefal, Mongo and Cadelaine in its blast!
Kal and Nadal (still blinded), managed to make their way past the monstrosity, while Mongo called upon the power of Sentinel to fly in the air to harass the giant stone golem from above. Blows by Kal and Nadal glanced off it, indicating their weapons had no power, and a Fist of Suffering spell cast by Endefal at the golem had no effect. However, both of Mongo’s swords did, and he struck the golem again and again, cracking the stony surface, taking fire breath after fire breath as his Ring of Fire Resistance protected him from the worst of it. Cadelaine managed to nick the creature with a thrown +2 dagger, and Alando suddenly realized he held a Rod of Smiting, with extra powers vs golems! The priest waded into combat, but he was a scholar unused to combat and only managed to strike one of it’s legs once. Meanwhile, the deadly golem continued striking out with his fists and breathing fire everywhere in front of him. A couple of blows managed to destroy the golelms crown, which stopped the blinding effect of the gems, and soon Nadal could see again and attacked the golem with his +2 magical spear instead of sword…which worked quite well! Endefal assisted as he could, with the spells Prayer and Protection from Enemies ’10 on Mongo.
The battle went on quite awhile, with the party just dodging certain doom on several occasions, the golem’s fists tearing a huge hole in the wall separating the two rooms as it swung and missed at the party members. Everyone but Alando, Mongo, Kal, Nadal and Endefal had by this time retreated to a far corner of the crystal ball room to escape the fists and fire breath of the stone golem. Finally, a flurry of Mongo’s blows cracked the golem’s head in two, and it crumbled into loose rocks as it finally collapsed, destroyed. Endefal and Alando were severely injured by the thing’s blows, and rest was called for. One gem from the crown survived, and Cadelaine took it for the group as it appeared to be worth quite a bit. The room was quite unusual, it contained a large pool of fresh water (waterskins were refilled, and several cave fish and crustaceans were caught for food when it was determined by Kal that the water was pure and nothing deadly lurked within) that was filled from some underwater spring. Swimmers searched the bottom thoroughly but nothing of interest was found within. A bridge over the water led to a door on the east wall, when opened with Stone Shape it was found to go into the Mage’s tomb area, right behind the stone statue in THAT room. Leaving that golem for now, the party retreated back into the chamber, and made ready to rest that night due to the heavy injuries suffered battling the stone golem. For the first time in days a bath was taken and clothes were washed in the cold fresh water, and a proper meal was created by Endefal using Create Food and Water (since their rations were now down to very little).
From the night before Alando had identified one of the wands and found it a Wand of Secret Door and Trap Detection; this day, he identified another item as a Medallion of ESP (which turned out instead to be a medallion of thought projection, because after donning the jewelry everyone in the room could see what Alando thought of Cadelaine taking a bath in the pure water pool…including the very embarrassed Cadelaine!) Several items still stood to be identified, but Alando realized now he must go carefully as at least one of the eight items taken from the Mage’s tomb was revealed to be cursed, so others might be also. Mongo and Epy seemed to have formed some kind of bond, and they soon paired off together in the far darkness of the chamber as the rest of the party pretended not to notice….
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.