FROM THE HOLY CONFESSIONS OF FARROKH MUSTAFA
It was Greengrass the 10th in the year 638 CF when I met my old friend Osk Stonecrusher in the streets of Brie. The old dwarf had just returned from a quest to the Veronian Mountains where he and his companions slayed a dragon and learned that Krett’s brother, Ashford, had been sold into slavery as a gladiator in Alon Ruhn. Osk told me that Krett had suffered much on the quest. Not only did he learn of his brothers fate but his young squire, Kalf, had also been slain. I was saddened to learn of the young boy’s death but knew with in my heart that he was resting with his god, Morganti, for his faithful obedience to him. Osk invited me to see the site of his new temple the next day and I promised to come by and see it.
When I arrived at the building site Osk had a pair of strange visitors. One was a tall handsome half-elf, with a dashing demeanor who was armed with a pair of katanas. He went by the name of Aerandir and introduced himself as the captain of the ship, Vengeance. The other stranger was his first mate, a tall, well muscled minotaur, clothed in a white tunic and sandals, as is the custom of the south. He spoke no language of humans or elf, instead he communicated in animal grunts that only the captain could understand. His name was Krator.
Aerandir explained that he was in search of an Osk Stonecrusher that once journeyed to the mysterious Isle of the Serpent Lords and wondered if my friend, Osk, was somehow related. Apparently the sea captain had found a map and information on how to sail to this island where a very valuable topaz stone was said to be hidden, the Eye of the Serpent. The Eye of the Serpent was said to have been taken from the Mother of All Dragons in the Land Beyond the Rising Sun at the dawn of recorded time. Aerandir was interested in acquiring the stone to a settle a debt he owed. To my fascination both Osk’s turned out to be one in the same. Osk then spun his tale of time traveling two thousand years into the past with Loring Silchester and how he and the others met their ends at the hands of a demi-lich. Aerandir was in need of a crew for his ship and Osk arranged for my old companions to come and visit him. His plan was to broker a deal between both sides that would allow Krett and the others to get to Alon Ruhn. Later in the day Krett, Phariss, Brak, and Sariya arrived at Osk’s temple site. Introductions were made and a bargain was struck. Krett and the others agreed to work onboard the Vengeance and help retrieve the topaz in exchange for transportation to Alon Ruhn. The party was soon assembled and set sail from Brie on Greengrass the 12th. It is to be a voyage of nearly three months to the Isle of the Serpent. I agreed to go in hopes that I could return to my homeland. The months aboard the Vengeance allowed us all time to learn about each other and the workings of a sea vessel, but I was glad to see land when we spotted the Isle of the Serpent on Liruana the 8th.
The island itself wasn’t large and its terrain was dominated by a large volcano. The entire island is covered in heavy tropical vegetation. We spot a gigantic bird capturing a elephant and flying off to the horizon. We circled the island and scout for a good landing spot. Using Aerandir’s map we make for the southern tip of the island. The next day we made our way to shore in small row boats and came to an abandoned village. All that remained were the ruins of huts and a stone tower. As we advanced into the village we were assaulted by three white apes that were quickly dispatched. An old path led out of the village into the tropical forest. We decided to follow it. According to Aerandir’s map the temple that hides the great stone is in the cauldron of the volcano. Following the path we encountered all manner of strange tropical beasts making our way to the rim of the cauldron. First was a spider that laired in an abandoned tree, next were strange green skinned pigmies riding giant lizards, but the most dangerous proved to be a many headed serpent beast that came from the deeps and attempted to trample us down. None of the creatures proved a real threat and each one was dispatched with great efficiency with might and magic. After spending a night camped in an old cave previously occupied by a large snake that we dined on that evening we arrived at the rim of the volcano. Below us was a crumbling city of ancient buildings. With no apparent way to the bottom we walked the rim until we found a tall tree that grew close to the rim. After some discussion the group the best course of action was to leap across to the tree and climb down.
It was a difficult task and one that saw Phariss nearly killed by invisible assailants that shot poisoned darts at us as we climbed to the bottom. Once in the city we began to scout the city. We spotted a few strange inhabitants but made an effort to avoid them. The city was filled with strange noises of beasts and birds. We journeyed through the streets making our way to the ziggurat that Aerandir believed to house the great stone. Near an intersection of several streets we were attacked by the strange green pigmies once again, this time Phariss used his magical fire to burn the trees and the pigmies that ran screaming from us. (Showing more intelligence than you would think a primitive pigmy would have). I was reminded of a saying from my home while watching the trees burn “I am become Death, the destroyer of Worlds”. We were a deadly troupe that had yet to meet there match in combat. Oh, the folly of those days before we encountered what lay ahead in the coming years. We arrived at the ziggurat and journeyed to the top. At the top we had a splendid view of the ancient city. Soon we found a secret passage below the altar stone and journeyed down into the temple. The first chamber we came to was a warning of what was to come. A great statue of a snarling dragon blocked a hidden tunnel. The only way that it could be moved was through the sacrifice of ones blood. I remember little after this. When I came to I found myself in a hall deep with the temple. From the stories that the others told to me we had bested several cunning traps designed to keep robbers from the ancient treasures. Phariss was still injured from Sariya’s lighting blast.
We traveled down a narrow hall to a room filled with broken jade. Beyond this chamber we battled a mummified centaur. After besting the centaur we nearly all perished after following Aerandir down a shaft that lead to a room filled with a diorama of the lands of the dead. While exploring here Brak fell victim to the room’s magic and forgot who he was and why he was here, a gibbering mass of mouths and claws nearly did him in. When we made our way from he chamber we found a pile of gold sitting in the hall beyond. Heedless of possible dangers the party divided the gold and unleashed a cloud of deadly mold into the air. I pray to Aedon that the mold doesn’t fester in our lungs. We found two hidden doors off from the hall and journeyed into each of them
In the first we found a room of strange mirrors and a pool of golden water. The water temporarily turned items to gold and the mirrors seemed to impart cryptic messages to us. Deciding that the magic of the mirrors should be left alone we inspected the other secret passage.
It brought us to a room that divided the party and put Krett, Aerandir, Brak, and Phariss to a great challenge, or so they said. Moments after the door dropped down it was opened. Pharris looked troubled. Aerandir tossed a jade mask to the ground and Brak looked as if a cold chill had just gone up his spine. One wonders what they have done. I prayed that merciful Aedon protect me on my journey home.