The journal is worn and waterlogged ... except the physical copy I gave to the players is not, because I wasn't sure what would happen to the 24-page pocket-journal if I threw it into a puddle.
|A sketch of some of the crew at the outset of the expedition, ready and optimistic ...|
[a MAP of the route]
EXPEDITION from NYANZARU
-- Myself & VORN
-- TXALA & SIGHING WIND -- guides
-- NBOMA OXFIST --
-- ZEBU the WILD -- fighting-men
-- MLALA TURKA -- fighting woman
-- SIFISO, FUDU, CWATHA, porters
350 days rations
dozen canteens, pots for boiling water
OUR GOAL: the lost city of OROLUNGA & its ORACLE!
Day 1 -- Sailed from Nyanzaru to Ngana to collect final supplies. Clear skies, no sign of AREMAG. Arrived in good spirits. Shared a feast and a toast to our continued success at the inn. Now to bed--set out early in the morning.
Day 2 -- Word of plesiosaurs off beach--we hired mules to port our canoes & set off due south. Passed through the Palm Orchards of Ishau, bought palm wine to add
to our supplies for morale. At jungle's edge, sent mules and teamsters back. Claw-runners shadowed camp, but NBOMA & MLALA scattered them with well-shot bows. Into jungle to morrow [sic].
Day 3 -- Weird mists in the morning. Passed 3 women by a broken canoe on the shore as we paddled by. I wanted to help, but ZEBU & TXALA shook their heads--"They are evil spirits." They called out to us most pitifully, but we went on.
I thought I heard cackling through the mists when we lost sight of them. Am left discomfitted & restless.
Day 5 -- Spotted a behemoth in the morning, eating from the treetops with its long neck. Almost lost a canoe when its tail swept beneath. Then, once camp was made, a mist rolled out of the jungle--blue & thick. TXALA & WIND got everyone
up the trees to let it pass. Poor FUDU got a lungful, though, & now won't stop telling us that he feels something watching him.
Day 6 -- An easy day. We're making progress upriver
Day 7 -- FUDU is still raving about being watched. Almost started a fight by accusing NBOMA of stealing. MLALA got NBOMA cooled down & ZEBU pulled FUDU aside for some kind of tea concoction. He's calm now
Day 8 -- Met a group of folks coming downriver--led by HEW HACKINSTONE the dwarf. Warned us about the forest upriver--"place of a thousand demons"--we sent FUDU downriver with them.
Further upriver found a dead man on the bank--one of their expedition? Was badly eaten.
Took right fork in river, but by night it seemed wrong choice--became narrow, difficult to traverse. Forest filled with evil eyes & sounds.
Day 9 -- LOST. River became a maze. A talking ape with black eyes followed us, offering directions, but only seemed to get us more lost.
The forest is filled with mutterings, and we have lost a full pack of rations--taken by thieving monkeys?
Day 10 -- back on track. Found dead explorer on bank--much decayed already. Took left fork of river--seems good so far.
Day 11 -- Canoe capsized in the morning by snake-like beast. ZEBU was badly bitten, but spears, &c. were able to drive it off.
ZEBU patched himself up, & we made good time after that. Lost a week of rations.
Day 12 Passed a herd of duck-bills feeding at the riverside around noon. They watched us, but did not flee. Seemed a free herd--very beautiful. Otherwise, made good time.
Day 13 -- Caught side [sic] of a fortress on a high outcropping of rock--TXALA called it TAMBA ROCK. WIND added that the master is old & eccentric & some kind of magic-user. Considered going to ask for supplies, but decided against. Continued on.
Day 14 -- A good day of travel. Had some trouble getting to the bank to make camp b/c a swarm of piranhas decided to hang around beneath our boats all afternoon.
Day 15 -- An aarakocra patrol passed over us in the morning, but did not hail us. We continued upriver without further incident.
Day 16 -- No trouble today
Day 17 -- No trouble. Counted rations--175 days remaining. We'll need to resupply somehow, as we must push on.
Day 18 -- Good day. Clear air, river beautiful. Sometimes I enjoy the jungle & its majesty!
Day 19 -- Lost ZEBU & SIGHING WIND. Were ambushed by lizardmen shortly after midday. Their javelins killed WIND, & then while we got into the boats, ZEBU went back to try to grab WIND'S body. They pulled him down ...
The blood in the water attracted piranhas & we just camped in the boats, run aground as well as we could.
Day 20 -- Damn piranhas stayed with us all night. Damn this place. Damn it all.
Day 21 -- Killed a giant snake tonight & cooked & ate it. Good thing too. Supplies are getting low--we lost some after the lizardmen attacked
Day 22 We hailed some passing aarakocra in the morning & sought to trade with them for rations. They gave us a week of their fare for a share of spears from us. Uneventful otherwise
Day 23 -- A great Stone tree rises out of the jungle to
the northwest. It is not OROLUNGA, but we will investigate it nonetheless. Killed another snake in the morning--they are not bad eating at all!
Day 24 Left the canoes
--Later--made camp--no trouble through the day. STone [sic] tree not far, we'll get there tomorrow I think
Day 25 -- Got to the tree at midday. The place is filled with giant wasps. CWATHA was stung--I do not think he will make it. The tree is hollow--inside, it seems it was once furnished. There are pieces that make me think another practitioner of the arcane arts once dwelt w/in, but the place is long abandoned.
--Later--CWATHA did not make it. We buried him under a cairn in the jungle.
Day 26 -- We go SW, seeking a NW tributary to the SOSHENSTAR. I hope to find OROLUNGA at its head.
CLAW-runners attacked us as we made camp, but VORN drove them off. He has always been a stalwart companion--if only he could know how much I appreciate his presence.
Day 27 -- Still SW. It is difficult going through the jungle. Always hacking with the machete, climbing roots, fighting mosquitoes. I can't wait for a bath in Nyanzaru.
Day 28 -- Found the tributary! A flock of leatherwings descended on us as we came on it, but our arrows and my spells brought some down. We tried to eat them, but there is surprisingly little meat on the creatures. The rest of the day was spent following the tributary NW. No other trouble.
Day 29 -- Disaster. We were attacked by a mouth-dragon as we rested at midday. It came out
of the jungle & before we could do anything it had snapped jaws around NBOMA & tossed him into the air. It was horrible ...
We fled, & it seemed content to eat him & let us go.
That was not the end of our trouble, though--that evening as we made camp, horrible things like small mangy bears came up out of the jungle. They attacked with their claws, & I saw MLALA'S & TXALA'S
armor literally deteriorate before my eyes as they struck. But I managed to put them all to sleep with a dwimmer, & we slew the things then. TXALA called them "Zorbos"--foul creatures!
Day 30 Continuing NW along the tributary. I hope we are close to OROLUNGA.
Day 31 Attacked by stirges at midday--I slept them, & we slaughtered
them. In the afternoon, mists began to roll down from upriver to the NW--not the evil blue mists, but a natural fog ...
Day 32 -- The tributary has led us into an area of hot springs, mists, & volcanic activity. There are geysers & deep pools of hot acidic water of brilliant blue color; & there are fissures of hot rock & mud that open up into the
We were attacked. Lizardmen came from the mists.
Killed everyone--TXALA, MLALA, SIFISO
VORN is with me. I am injured. Without VORN I would be dead.
They came out of the mists--bright red skin, some were mounted on bird-things.
They hurled javelins, & one was a sorcerer--summoned fire in his hands & cast it forth.
Poor MLALA burned to death. TXALA was overcome. SIFISO ran, & died w/a javelin in his back. At least, I think he was dead.
VORN saved me. We fled into the jungle--I am lost. Must try to find the river. find my way back.
My leg is wounded--the blood dried--it hurts, but I should not die of blood loss.
I fear I will not make it out.
CANNOT FIND WATER
ATTACKED BY SNAIL
I AM DYING
VORN CANNOT HELP ME
CURSE THIS PLACE
CURSE THIS JUNGLE
CURSED BE THE THOUGHT EVER TO SET FOOT IN THIS HELL