The party set out with their stalwart Rakasta guide and friend Bashira the Hunter. All that is except for Jespre and Tyllane and Arcturus, who stayed behind to gather information on the cult’s activities. They were hoping to make the shore and the mouth of the river valley that would lead them to the central plateau where they think the ancient Temple of the Kopru must be. Unfortunately they barely made it onto the track before being beset by a pair of ogres with fighting on their little minds. You defeated one, but the other got away. One had a parchment wadded in a pouch that had a message indicating that someone named Crimar had put a bounty on your head and promising that the first being to bring him your heads would be greatly rewarded. It seems that the Cult, knowing of your presence on the island, is going to find many allies to stand between you and your goal, let alone your life!
At midday you all took a break to cool off and catch your breath. The heat and the humidity in the Jungle were too much for the heavily armored party members. The break was briefly disturbed by more of those thundering lizards you saw on your first night on the island. You stayed quiet and hid long enough for them to go on their way. Good thing too. These ones had big teeth.
The rest of the afternoon went well and you found a large boulder wide enough at the top for you to strike camp above the jungle floor and to see anyone coming down the path. As the sun began to set two strange creatures, like raccoons with loose flaps of skin on their sides and a long tail, came down the path. Bashira knew of their kind and assured the party they were no danger. After some initial fear that the Rakasta might eat them they agreed to take you to their village in the trees to rest for the night. While there you heard there might be another way through the mountains and convinvced the Chief to lend you a guide to show you the way to the Neanderthals who might know the exact path.
Something I forgot to tell you all is that the lights in the sky that night were dancing more intensely than before. Du..de seemed particularly concerned, as though there was something more behind these lights that only he could see.
The next day your trip to the Neanderthal camp was uneventful. Ray, the leader of the Neanderthals agreed to ssend you with a guide to find the secret way to the central plateau. Kisa, your phanaton guide and Bashira would leave back to their home in the morning. That night you all slept well until just before dawn everyone was awakend by a loud scream from one of the neanderthals standing guard outside. When everone rushed out to see what it was, you could only see the dark shape of the neanderthals body, crumpled and broken like he had fallen from a great height, some distance from the cave entrance. As the sun began to peek over the horizon and gently light the sky you saw other figures in the darkness. The Cult had found you.
In the dim light of the bizarre night sky and the breaking dawn you saw several men, if they could be called that, like the cult preists and adepts you encountered in the Caves of Chaos, chanting quietly. There were many huge lizard men, now outfitted with Black and red armor and the insignia of the cult. A Huge and brutal looking man stood near the front spinning a giant battle axe in his hands grinning at you as if to dare you to fight. A tall thin man with just a hint of the features of an elf stood with an ornate compound bow that seemed to crackle with purple light as he pulled back the string. In the back you could see a man in a mage’s robes chanting and casting some spell. A halfling, disheveled, scarred and surprosongly muscular for his kind, was holding a chain attached to a large creature, the size of an ogre but with a longer, uglier face and warty skin. Finally, behind him was a woman, the leader perhaps, in full plate, enameled in black. She spoke, warning you to come out and surrender in 24 hours or they would enter the cave with reinforcements and take you by force and skin the Neanderthals alive. She then pointed just above the cave mouth and warned you against any thoughts of trying to run for it. Above the cave sat perched on the rocks three bulky figures with wings. You would have sworn they were statues until the began to move, flexing their wings and claws.
Ray quickly told everyone to go back in the cave. When you got in there the mothers, children and elderly were packing what few possesions they had and going deeper into the maze of caves they called home. Ray told you to leave with them. He and the men and women who could, would stay to defend the caves while you escaped through the secret tunnels to an exit far from here. They would delay the soldiers as long as they could but you would have to hurry.
Now what? Are there dangers lurking in the caves? what lies at the other end of these passages. Where will you run when you reach it? We shal see…