The night passed uneventfully, as the large chasm across the temple prevented the undead and carrion crawlers from the other side from attacking them. Cadelaine’s fever got worse during the night, indicating some sort of infection, and she missed the disease preventing magic item she had lost in the lightning bolt that had struck her earlier in the week. In the morning, Endefal cast Cure Disease of Cadelaine which cured her completely. During the week, Kumar had also developed a disease, some sort of skin scabies that covered his body with sores. Examining him, Endefal said although painful and disfiguring, the scabies would not permanently harm the priest and he could probably shake it off given time.
Meanwhile, that night Alando read through as much of the papyrus scrolls as he could from the stone box they had found in the room of corpses. He found much of interest, including the name of the Forbidden City (Kitanga), and a partial lineage of the dynasty that had ruled 1000 years ago before the fall of the city. Many references were found to battles with the evil snakemen, and other evils such as the attack of creatures from below the earth, including intelligent lizardmen and others. Given more time, Alando would have to study these priceless papers to learn more knowledge about the city and the temple they were now exploring.
The next morning, as much curing as the party had was performed, with several individuals still injured. Nevertheless, the party tied a rope and went down one by one, to stand once again in front of the secret door, now sealed by Kal’s Stone Shape spell. Preparing themselves for conflict, Endefal Stone shaped the door open once more, and the party pushed into the temple area!
Immediately, the party came into conflict with the many trogs all through the area. Dozens of them filled the area, including the area by the door and the raised temple area. Cadelaine used her wand to shoot a fireball into the temple, immediately blowing a dozen trogs to pieces and injuring half a dozen more. Mongo leapt to the attack with his Ring of Jumping and began hacking through the creatures, as Nadal, Kal, Sholo, Endefal, and the beasts Simba and Gra Gra went to the attack. Immediately, dozens of the creatures surrounded the party, as Cadelaine slipped by invisibly to find a place to observe the battle and contribute as she could. She managed to backstab a leader type and Endefal finished him off, and then cast a Web spell that entangled a few of them (and unfortunately caught a cursing Nadal also).
The battle went on for nearly half an hour, as almost 50 trogs were eventually killed in a huge orgy of combat. Cadelaine had to let loose another fireball with her wand to clear out another ten or so, and at one point Kumar, Cadelaine, Endefal and Mongo disturbed a gargantuan spider than had a web at the far end of the chamber, but the giant arachnid was also dealt with fatally.
After the long battle was finished, piles of bodies lay strewn across the chamber, none left alive for questioning or capture. Everyone had some kind of wound, and the party healing was quickly used up. A statue in a corner of the chamber was of some sort of human/bat creature, and an inscription on it’s base led the party to believe it might assist them in some way. Touching the statue, several members of the party were cured of their wounds, and Kumar’s disease was wiped away. Investigating the large temple area, a statue of some sort of native woman dominated the area, but no clue to her identity could be found. A secret door was located at the base of the raised altar leading down, but before it could be investigated, the area in front of the female statue glowed, and 8 trogs appeared from thin air, as if teleported in! Combat again began, with Nadal, Mongo, Cadelaine and the animals finishing off the unexpected arrival. It appeared that this was the explanation for the many trogs that seemed to keep filling the temple area….they were teleporting back and forth between some unknown base in another location. An attempt was made to destroy the base of the altar where the trogs had teleported in from, but the spell failed to affect the obviously magical stone. While Sholo, Tula, Simba and Gra-Gra stayed behind at the altar to watch for further trogs appearing, Nadal, Mongo, Alando, Cadelaine, Kumar, Endefal and Kal began searching the various corridors leading out of the temple area.
A large opening to the SW seemed to be the actual entrance to the temple, a set of stairs led down to a large chamber with a huge pile of rubble infested by rats. Noticing several carrion crawler corpses, the party realized that this area led upward to the crevice near where they had spent the night. To the south, barracks of the trogs were found, quite foul in their stench. Past these rooms, a secret door led to a stairway down. This area seemed to be long abandoned and forgotten, as thick dust and grime lay upon the floor.
Continuing down into the dark with only the continual light torch to guide them, they came to a short dead in corridor. In quick succession Cadelaine located three secret doors, one at each end of the hall and one in the center of the west wall. Intrigued by the fact that the secret door in the west wall seemed to radiate some kind of cold, Cadelaine opened it to reveal a bizarre scene. A small room covered in frost and ice, up to a foot high, as far back as the light would go. Suspecting some sort of trapped room, the party dithered around at the entrance for quite some time. Finally, using a scroll, Endefal cast Endure Cold on himself and Mongo and carefully entered the room, watching for some sort of trap (Endefal had cast Find Traps, but nothing registered).
As they entered, they quickly saw two bodies on the ground, a man and a woman, both Delosian natives, and frozen solid. Just then the far wall twisted and became a face, which blew a giant breath of freezing cold air on the duo (which was prevented from harming them by the Endure Cold). Quickly, Kal jumped into the room to help them, and the three of them struck the wall with their weapons. The wall tried to breathe again, but several chunks hacked out of the stone seemed to “kill” the wall, and the face disappeared. Immediately, the room went back to a normal temperature, and the ice began melting.
Examining the room, they found a secret door in one corner that they left alone for the time being, and a set of stone handrails in another corner leading up to another level. Suddenly, they noticed the figure of the frozen woman beginning to stir! Endefal and Kumar applied healing, and soon the beautiful lady in black leather opened her eyes. She spoke ancient Delosian, which only Alando and Kal could understand (Kal’s spear translating for him), while Mongo’s sword Sentinel could somewhat understand the ancient dialect she spoke. Her companion, however, was dead, unfortunately not kept alive as she was through the magical cold.
Her name, she said, was Epicaste (Epy for short) and she was a member of the King’s secret police (King Amon, who Alando noted had ruled about 1000 years earlier per the records he had read through), the Golden Falcons. She said that she and her companion (Durnae) had been below searching for a way to the lair of the beastmen that had taken over the temples below the city of Kitanga. They had found about this secret room, and tried to use it as a shortcut, but were struck down. She said that they needed to immediately continue her mission, attacking the beastmen and reporting back to the King. Mongo tried to explain the situation to her….she had been “asleep” for a millennium, and her mission was long gone as was her king…but in typical Mongo fashion, nothing much understandable was communicated to the puzzled Epy. She finally was made to realize that she had been in some sort of suspended animation for a long, long time….so long her original mission was not pertinent, as the king she served and everyone she had ever known was now dead. Resigned to this, yet perhaps still a bit suspicious, she said she would accompany the party for the time being until she could get a chance to return to the surface. Epy showed quite a bit of curiosity regarding the white skinned members of the group, especially Kal the elf. Talking to Mongo, she seemed to regard the ranger and Kumar as the party leaders, and the lighter skinned non-natives as slaves or servants of the two Delosians. The concept of the foreigners to Delos, as well as the demi-humans (she had never seen or heard of “elves” before), was beyond her grasp at the moment, Alando and the others realized. Better to let her think what she wanted and try to explain more thoroughly at a later time.
Having rescued Epy, the party indicated that they were exploring this sub-level, and she was welcome to accompany them as she wished. She told them she was a spy by nature, and very good at moving silently and hiding from view. Endefal asked her if she knew anything about the secret doors at the ends of the passage, and she noted that legend said some famous Kitangan mages were buried in a tomb nearby.
With this, the party entered the passage at the south, and found a very large room with eight large sarcophagi…and a giant stone statue at one end! The other end contained what appeared to be a pool of water and a set of stairs leading up to a door. The walls glowed with a weird violet-red light, casting an eerie tinge across the room.
Carefully entering the room, and entirely avoiding the statue, the party examined all the eight tombs. Momentarily worried about odd sounds and noises they heard, they soon realized it was but a feature of the tomb made to make tomb robbers nervous and paranoid. Each large stone sarcophagus (from the writing outside, translated by Alando) had a long dead mage inside. Apparently back in the old days each mage was known by the name of a magical beast, as the tombs had written on them names such as “The Manticore”, “The Sphinx”, and “The Harpy”. Each sarcophagi also had a small stone statue atop it, with gems for eyes, but these were left alone as the party did not want to trigger some sort of guardian (specifically, the stone statue) if they were unlucky.
The pool of water was examined, and two large diamonds were found inside. Not wanting to touch them, the party thought of ways to get at the gems. They finally had Kal stone shape the stone pool, creating a hole in the side that leaked the water out on the floor. At this, Cadelaine took the diamonds, only to have the large stone statue quickly stride over, and in a booming voice (which Alando translated) told her to hand him the gems. Doing so, the statue placed them back in the now empty pool, and stomped back to his spot at the far end of the room.
Leaving well enough along, the party concentrated on the door at the top of the stairs. Opening it from the inside (from which is was sealed) they found a room filled with 20 skeletons standing along the walls, all with black gems for eyes! Mongo and Endefal looked inside, and saw a stairway leading up from the north, and a ledge above the door they had just exited with two large stone gargoyles atop it. Figuring that at some point the skeletons would attack, they immediately entered, and were attack by the nearly two dozen skeletons! Attempting to destroy them with his holy power, Endefal was surprised to find he only turned them, with 7 stepping back against the wall, leaving seven for battle…and these skeletons with the glowing gem eyes seem unnaturally strong, as well as magically hasted, as they moved supernaturally fast and attacked much faster than a normal skeleton! A long battle followed, with Mongo and Endefal backing into the tomb so Kal and Cadelaine could assist. While a Snare spell cast by Kal caught the first to enter, the other dozen had to be dealt with, and were quite difficult to overcome. Finally, the skeletons lay broken to pieces on the floor, with the gem eyes dissolving as the skeletons were destroyed. Not wanting to deal with anything else outside the tomb, the party then decided to brave the possible attack of the stone statue by opening the lids of the sarcophagi an looking for treasure.
Luckily enough, opening and looting the tombs caused no reaction from the stone creature. In each tomb, an item (later confirmed as magical by Alando) was taken, and the final tally was two wands, three rings, a cloak, a medallion, and a set of bracers. Not wishing to press their luck any farther for the day, the group retreated to the corridor. Summoning the members of the party upstairs at the temple, they decided to spend the night in the no longer frozen, but now very wet, room that Epy was found in. For her part, she dragged the body of her companion to the now opened tomb and placed him inside. For good or bad, she had decided to follow the group that had rescued her, especially attracted to the rugged looks of Mongo.
That evening as the party set up camp, Alando again read through the ancient papyruses that he had found. More information was discovered, including the fact that King Amon had decided to send troops to attack the “beastmen” that had somehow inhabited a giant city on a level below their own. From the presence of the lizardmen and trogs, apparently the beastmen still existed below, perhaps in their kingdom a way out of this underworld could be found?
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.