In The Footprints of Ancients

From Without to Within
Travels from Zikert through Capyd & Sulindal

There’s nothing like having to leave a town hastily due to irritating their chieftain..
After exiting the catacombs with the prisoners and arguing for a bit about whether or not to retrieve Doctor Professor, the party eventually joined me as I headed to rescue my mule solo. Unsure whether the guards would be overtly hostile toward us, we decided not to test the matter by using the main gate. Questioning the wall’s durability, El Kool thankfully suggested he climb over and retrieve the mule himself, myself having already had some climbing difficulty earlier that day. With Gromnyar climbing up to act as lookout, Tobias and I remained below waiting for whatever was to come.
El Kool apparently having no difficulty climbing, even began swinging between trees over the village, getting him closer to where Doctor Professor was tied. Retrieving the items and not the mule, El Kool returned to the fence. There was apparently some question of weight, and he unfortunately chose to toss aside my hand-crafted ales. Though disappointed in El Kool‘s decision to leave the mule and ales, having not been witness to the circumstance at hand I must trust his judgement and live with the loss. With impressive skill, he climbed back over the wall and returned to me my brewing gear and sleeping supplies. I am much obliged for his assistance.
With the other members feeling pressed by potential approaching guardsmen, we moved hastily through the jungle heading south. At the rate we were going, we were exhausted quite quickly but after some short rest continued forward until reaching the edge of the jungle. We were shocked at what we saw, a massive area of charred ruins, all that was left of the aforementioned city of Capyd. A chilling site it was, but there was also the distant sight of Sulindal’s enormous outer walls to give us a hopeful destination and escape from our persuers.
Realizing the travel would take many more hours than we had left in the day, we moved along the outskirts of the Capyd ruins (away from Sulindal‘s direct direction) toward a rocky set of hills where we chose to camp for the night. With no apparent threat around us aside from the persistant watchful jungle behind us, we set up in a rocky encampment, building a fire and chatting for a bit. Not engaging in these activities myself, I wandered the foothills for ingredients for my next tester batch of ale. Setting up my supplies near the fire, I left what would later become a quality, basic ale to simmer overnight. Listening to the party as I passed into slumber on a rocky crevice, El Kool and Tobias had some curious discussions as to the source of their magical abilities, neither seeming to fully understand the origins of one another’s, let alone their own.
Rising early, we set off for a merchant road a ways off, and eventually came upon the outer walls of the city. These were far more gigantic than we had even dreamed of from the sight at Capyd, and the town proper did not begin for many miles within them. Most of the outer lands had been appropriated for farmland and harvesting of rotating crops. The irrigation and general system they developed was quite extensive in relation to the now-humbling size of my monastery’s farming practices. El Kool was rather surprised to see the land controlled in such a regimented fashion, giving us more incite into his wild backgrounds. Gromnyar too, insisted the walls were of Dwarven construction, though not the scale of anything he has seen lately. Finally getting into the city of Sulindal proper, we find it to mainly be of Human and Elf make-up, with smaller minorities of various races. The concentric rings of the massive walls stop right around the epicenter, where a gigantic chasm opens into the ground, which most tell is bottomless. They also inform us there used to be a bridge across that connected Sulindal with another city, Kalbott, which was primarily Elven.
With no rush to leave this metropolis as we know it, we split up a bit and explore various parts of the city. Gromnyar and I spending a good portion of our time earning an income with the Dwarven blacksmith and tavern owner respectively utilizing our trade skills. Hoping to find out more about the city’s system of laws and order of governance, I meandered around the Chamber of Commerce with queries upon my tongue. Being one of few literates, I did not find much written word to peruse. However, there is only one Bookseller in the city, and in order to get any real history of the town and its people, I must investigate its wares. Improving the brewing process of the Sullen Ape tavern for the two weeks I spent in their employ, they rewarded me with no small amount of coin for the edge it gave them in customer base over the Devil’s Washboard. I used this to purchase Professor Doctor, a new grey-toned mule for transporting my gear, and some more brewing supplies. In addition, I used some of my off-time to craft a new trademark ale, the Blackberry Brew. My attempts to sell it were met with some degree of difficulty, as the owner of the Bounder’s Out Tavern hadn’t really cared for myself nor really enjoyed the taste of fruit in his ale. However, I decided it was more important to get my wares into the hands of distributers such that more customers could get a taste and learn to love the variety and taste of Franzis Wei’bie’s Ales.

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Zikert Not Zo Zafe
Wall-crawls and Body-hauls

Tittium Travels Day Two

Awaking to the silent town of Zikert with our gear and selves rather moist, we decide that we have a few more questions for the chieftain about the artifact in question. Mainly where it came from, was it stolen, and what exactly does it do?
On the way however, we notice some rather fearful villagers attempting to climb the outer walls. Initially skeptical of our intentions, they were more informative once learning we were willing to help. It seems they were escaping from the apparently oppressive rule of Chief Swama. It seems he punishes people for trying to leave the village, taking them into the catacombs beneath his manor. The most recent victim was a male traveler that tried to pass through, meaning the threat is not only to inhabitants but visitors as well.
Helping the villagers over the wall, we absorb this new information and decide we should still visit the chieftain under the guise of our initial intent, but also attempt to find the entrance to the catacombs and any prisoners if they exist.
Arriving at the manor, we knock upon the entrance. Receiving no response, we barged in and made our way to the throne room (for all intensive purposes). In due time the chieftain’s aide came to join us. After some short questions and rudeness on his part, he went to awaken the chieftain. After remaining reasonably casual for questioning, we were able to find out a little more about the artifact. Apparently it is an object that can be used to raise the Guardians, who were supposedly the defenders of the Ancients. It sounds as if the artifact was not from Zikert, but I also do not believe Goblins would have come by such a powerful force by accident. Whose hands this power belongs in is another question. Before we could get any more information from him, Tobias surprised us all with a sudden, silent burst of magical power, instantly subduing the chieftain and frightening us and his aide in the process.
Muffling the young aide and Tobias for a bit of arguing, we realize that he has simply forced our hand in the direction we wanted anyway, and thank goodness he chose nonlethal means to do so. Rushing toward the catacomb entrance with the aide as our guide, we only hoped to escape before the chieftain had time to gather his wits. Knocking the aide out with a quick 1-2-punch and hiding him in a crate, we entered the catacombs with hopefully a little bought time.
Searching the catacombs, we find three incredibly-emaciated individuals and the strangely functional traveler we had heard about. Leading them to the exit, we began hearing the footfalls of assumed approaching guards. With Gromnyar and El Kool willing to leave without the prisoners but myself and Tobias not, we had a slight separation as we attempted to scale the partially-destroyed stone-carved ladder to the exit. As I did my best to climb with the emaciated villagers who could not climb themselves, I found much difficulty and fell to the ground, injuring my knees. Thankfully, the villager remained unharmed. However, we realized this plan had some faults.. With some quick thinking on Tobias’ part, he was able to distract the guards a bit with some misdirection of his Dancing Lights ability. While there was apparently some scuffle above, El Kool and Gromnyar eventually came to our aid and hoisted the remaining prisoners up and out in one fell swoop. Gromnyar then blocking the exit door with a heavy piece of ceramic, we felt some degree of momentary safety. However, we still needed to leave quickly.
After some quick healing of ourselves and feeding of the prisoners, we were ready to set off. Unfortunately, I only then realized that I had left my mule in a none-too-convenient location back through the village. Though not really that attached to Doctor Professor, I did have some investment in his gear: my brewing supplies, tent, and ale casks. But to go back could mean some degree of confrontation on our part..

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Travels through the Tidym Jungle
Where the hills are hard as stone.

jungle diagram

Day One

After leaving the Avalon Monastery, I began my first real exploration into the Tidym Jungle proper. Travelling with Tobias, a peculiar boy of 13 with his pet snake Reshi; Gromnyar, a Dwarven stonemason who had just finished repairs on the monastery; and El Kool, a half-orc healer who I’ve been in contact with over a few months; we came upon a small village by the name of Zikert.

Toby & Reshi Gromnyar El Kool

Initially, Zikert appeared very sparcely populated until we later discovered their nocturnal activity pattern. A little wonky if you ask me.. We spoke with the chieftain of the village, who informed us of a territorial feud between their village and that of a Southern Goblin settlement. It would appear that there is a mythical artifact that they possess, giving them an advantage in the feud. Agreeing to investigate the area but not yet to retrieve the artifact, we retired for the night on the outskirts of the village, adhering to our own sleeping schedules as they began their “daily” routines.

Surely I don’t want this humble village to suffer any Goblin attacks without the ability to defend themselves, but there’s something strange about the matter that deserves investigation prior to action. El Kool seems to agree that we should help, but only in the case that one side has an unfair advantage. Tobias seems relatively withdrawn and Gromyar eager to meet more tradesmen, having wandered off for a bit to chat with their blacksmith. About what, I am unsure.
Despite the heavy rains, we sleep well enough.

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Session 1
Have You Ever Seen The Rain?

Having been traveling east through the Tidym jungle for a few days, away from Franzis’ monastery, the party found themselves setting out in the morning from a stone ruin. An unrelenting downpour had been rolling over the jungle, and spirits were not high as the four slogged on through the undergrowth and the mud. Not long into that days travels the four travelers came across another stone ruin, though this one clearly inhabited recently. They investigated it, and found it to be in considerably better shape than the ruin they had taken shelter in, with poorly made additions like doors and window shutters. Within they were quickly set upon by two guards, clearly from some local village, but once they had explained themselves they were given directions to the village of Zikert, apparently nearby. The guards exhibited some signs of strange, local customs, but no more than was to be expected.

Upon arriving at Zikert, the party found themselves answering to a guard behind a rather crude palisade wall, who immediately called for the villages chief, Swama. The party was let in, and found the village somewhat less impressive than any of their own homes. The streets were noticeably empty, many of the homes, save those built into stone ruins, were little more than wood and mud huts, and the forest canopy above the village was thick to the point of darkness. The chief spoke to them about local customs, and how their had been no visitors to the village in some time. After brief formalities, the chief offered the party a hut in which to take shelter during their stay, and the party split to go about their own business.

Soon after the streets became busier, sometime around 6 PM, and the party attended to their individual interests. El-Kuhl took council with the chief, and was asked if he and his friends would be willing to undertake a mission for the village. As their customs prevented the chief or any of the other villagers from leaving the jungle during daylight, he needed to contract another party to recover some form of artifact from what he only described as ‘creatures’ in the South. Apparently these creatures had come from the hills in the South-East, burnt down much of the jungle, and forced refugees to Zikert from its sister city of Capyd. The artifact, which was left incredibly vague by Chief Swama, would apparently be used to awaken some ancient guardians that had protected the people of the jungle in the past. Simultaneously, Gromnyr was being told by a local smith that Chief Swama’s over-zealous religious beliefs were preventing him from doing anything about a Goblin problem, the creatures spoken of by Chief Swama, and that for this reason the village was likely doomed. Tobias sought out the local children, trying to get a feeling for what it was people his age were doing, and found that many of them had been put to work in the strengthening of the fortifications, a clear indication of the fear and urgency within the village.

As the travelers found themselves settling in for the night the village became ever more active, and a large gathering formed near the Chief’s residence. Upon a balcony the Chief sat next to the Shaman, Zengi, who preached a sermon to a mixed crowd regarding the need to stay inside jungle, and how the sins of the Ancients had made the world outside a wretched and dangerous place. Franzis wandered about the crowd before retiring, uttering retorts to the sermon.

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