Adventure log: Journey to the Smoking Mountain
This chapter starts with the party resting and recuperating in the early morning hours after the defeat of the King Tong at the Temple of the Tong.
In the early morning, after cataloging the treasures captured from the Sons of Tong and their kind, the party explores the outside of the temple in the middle of the jungle. At the apex, they can hear the cries of a young woman from inside the structure. Clinton is able to detect evil creatures inside the temple. The party decides to decend a rope down the middle of the temple, where they are ambushed by Girallons that they are able to defeat after a tough fight. Exploring the interior, they find signs of primitive but intelligent culture of apes living here, including a crude alchemy set.
The party also discovers a young, beautiful indigenous woman, with coffeee colored skin and the sides of her head shaved tied a wall. The girl is the first of the indigenous tribesfolk that have been encountered that speaks Common, and calls herself Oja, and claims to have been captured by the Tong as an offering to Rahu of the Smoking Mountain, and was being held here until she could be taken to him.
The party frees the girl, who offers to lead them to her shelter where they can rest and talk to her mentor. She leads the party on a day’s hike to an underground cave shelter, hidden by an invisible stone door and populated with various pulstating crystals that grow from the floor and walls. There, she introduces them to Cyrillus, an old elf with grey hair who Cyrrillus who sits atop a crystal throne, and has nearly melded with it. He explains that he rescued Oja from sacrificial tribe when she was 6, and raised her in the cave, teaching her Common and history from his lands, until she would grow to become his assistant and legs- able to travel outside the shelter whereas he cannot.
Cyrillus proceeds to provide the party with much information via a long tale:
“I a member of a group known as the Reconcilers. Our role is to research and chronicle ancient events that shape the world, and to protect great evils from coming to pass. My studies have made this known:
Long aeons ago, the ancient gods warred with each other on this world. Their battles fractured the land, almost destroying it. Realizing that no god would retain the prize if it were destroyed, the Great Arbitur gave the gods an ultimatum: each faction would create a weapon, and their battles would be fought through mortals with the weapons. The Gods would provide guidance to mortals but could no longer interact directly. These six weapons became known as the Sextarma. It ahs been said that one day all weapons will meet in a great battle, and at that point the world will cease to exist, as it never were, with only the memories remaining as a story told by the gods.
One result of the previous great battles are the magical ley lines that run across the and through the planet. Where these lines intersect the boundary between realms becomes thin, and the power crystals manifest in the earth, sunlight poking through a hole a sheet. The isle of dread is the confluence of a great number of these lines. Ancient civilizations knew of the power of these Nexus sites and built great cities, including the city of Enabran Tain on this island where the Tanaroans now live.
A thousand years ago, a great Warrior wielded one of the Sextarma, a Golden Shield known as the Protector of Man. This warrior was tasked with capturing Rahu the Wicked, a Rakshasa, or evil spirit in physical form. Rahu had risen to power over hundred of years in a far away civilization, and now ruled a city and bent it towards his evil purpose. The Warrior tricked Rahu with the help of the shield, and in the process both became trapped on this Isle. Rahu killed the warrior, but his own physical body was destroyed in the process, leaving the Golden Shield on the isle unprotected.
Hundreds of years later, Rahu began to take physical form on the Isle, still trapped somehow by the presence of the shield. By now, the Reconcilers had tracked down the location of the shield, and established a base here to view and study the nexus and keep tabs on Rahu. It was we that gave the Tanaroans the opportunity to usurp the bonds of their masters and commandeer their slave ship as it passed close by, and it was we that guided them to their new home in Enabrain Tain, where they would protect the Shield and act as a bulwark against Rahu’s growing strength.
Recently, however, Rahu learned how to manipulate the crystals to his purpose. He has created many and varied unique effects, including the ability to bestow a part of his intelligence and evil onto the apes of the island, and how to tap into the effects to stop his enemies from summoning help from outsiders.”
The party had already destroyed the crystal which gave the Sons of Tong their intellect, now they were faced with a choice: hunt down Rahu at the Smoking Mountain, blindly look for Papa Gonsho, last seen with the Golden Shield, or proceed to the location of the anti-summoning crystal at the Orc village so that they can summon additional help, or even attempting to escape the island via a pirate town off the coast.
The party decides to proceed to the Orc village, leaving Oja and Cyrrilus at the cave after resting. After a brief encounter with a will-o-wisp and bat swarms in the quicksand swamps of the island, they make it to the village at night, where a dramatic series of encounters involving dinosaur chases, a T-Rex battle, and single combat with the foul-mouthed orc chieftain results in the party fracturing the orc leadership and destroying the anti-summoning crystal in the process. However, the Golden Shield is still nowhere to be found. The party decides to proceed up the coast towards the Smoking Mountain, avoiding other orc encounters but eventually meeting a tribe of Indigeans. The indigeans manage to communicate that they wish to hold a feast for the party, then offer them as a sacrifice to Rahu. The party agrees to use this opportunity as a way to make it past the defenses of the Smoke Mountain, and the next morning, the tribe does indeed lead the disguised party to an entrance into the main complex of Rahu the Wicked himself…