Serpent's Skull

Days 9, 10, & 11

The Captured Cannibal

Day Nine
The party awoke and decided to head southward along the trail. As they hiked, Rena raised her concerns about the goat corpse which had fallen from the sky the night before, and worried that the goat was one of their own from the main campsite. Takara reminded her of the hut that they had found yesterday and journal mentioning the Thrunefangs, a gang of cannibals that he fears pose a danger to themselves and their former shipmates at the main camp. He argued that they needed to either find a way off the island or find the Thrunefangs’ camp, or they might end up ambushed.

Takara, then spied a giant creature, some kind of flying lizard with brownish-red wings and a dark grey body, heading south-easterly with something caught in its claws. It seemed strangely familiar to Takara, whose childhood on the Cinderlands of the Storval Plateau. The lizard reminded him of the chupacabra, a bipedial lizard-like predator which inhabits the desserts and fringes of civilization. However, to his knowledge chupacabra neither inhabit jungles nor have wings. He didn’t raise the sighting of the beast to any of his companions’ attention, and they continued along the path which wound closer to the shore.

At a fork in the road (Q29), Takara triggered yet another snare-spike trap. After receiving some healing from Rena, the party decided to take the west branch. After an hour of uneventful travel (save for mosquito bites), Takara fell into yet another trap, only this time, a swarm of spiders was crossing through the jungle, and thought he looked like tasty, bleeding prey. Rena and Mitabu let loose on the spiders with their magics (fire and force respectively) but they continued to advance. Bik, attempting to cut Takara down with a shiruken managed instead to deeply wound Takara in the stomach with a critical miss. No longer trusting his companions to aid him, Takara cut himself down and tumbled gracefully from the trees to the path. Mitabu blasted the last of the spiders. Rena broke out her healers kit to repair some of the damage done to Takara, she mentioned that she’s used about half of supplies since they’ve arrived on the island.

Continuing west, the party ran into another Y-intersection along the path (W29). After an hour of heading west, Takara heard the sounds of a guttural language and the sound of several folks traveling along the path up ahead around a curve in the path. He ordered everyone into the bushes as four darkly-tanned cannibals with wild eyes and scarred skin came around the bend. Unfortunately, the cannibals were better at searching the jungle then Mitabu, Rena, and Bik were at hiding, and the front two cannibals screamed and drew broken scimitars. As the melee began, Takara called out to leave one of the cannibals alive.

Takara, Rena, and Mitabu used their missile attacks while Bik lept into path of the oncoming cannibals to keep them from passing through to the others. They companions managed to swiftly dispatch one of the two cannibals who had hung back to toss javelins, and the other took off running. While Mitabu, Rena, and Bik dealt with the remaining two, Takara undertook a footrace with the fleeing cannibal, eventually managing to take it out with his longbow after a chase of almost a quarter-mile. When Takara returned to the battle, he found that Bik had pinned the one living cannibal. Bik knocked him unconscious, and the party lashed him to a wooden pole and carried him back to camp.

Upon returning to the camp, Takara revealed the prisoner and ordered Sasha to ready her knives to interrogate the captive. Jask and Gelik questioned Takara about his seeming willingness to torture the cannibal. Gelik finally confronted him openly, demanding that Takara do the interrogation so that the “blood would be on [his] hands.” Gelik followed Sasha to the captive, and everyone in the camp hear much screaming, but it turns out that neither one of them could communicate with the captive. His screams were not borne of torture, but were just plain ol’ nonresponsive screams. Takara and Mitabu went down to see whether the cannibal spoke polyglot (he did not). Takara spoke with Jask and found him willing to request comprehend languages spells from his deity in order to facilitate the interrogation. Jask confessed that, while generally opposed to torture, he was very worried about the dangers of bringing a captive (especially a screaming one) to their campsite. Moreover, he shared Takara’s utilitarianism and pragmatism, these are after all, cannibals, and set about to prepare the necessary spell.

Mitabu meanwhile, asked Jask to delay his preparation of spells for a brief game of chess and some conversation, where Mitabu asked Jask whether he would continue traveling with the party after they left the Shiv. Jask confessed that he first desired to clear his name, but that he would certainly consider continuing on Mitabu et al., he also won the chess match.

Day Ten – 1 a.m.
Jask cast the necessary spells to allow Sasha and the captive to communicate. Sasha began to interrogate the cannibal, although Gelik prevented her from drawing her daggers and torturing him. Apparently, while the cannibal did complement Sasha’s busom, he refused to answer her questions. Sasha commented that while not smart, he cannibal seemed well indoctrinated. Instead of capitulating the cannibal threatened that the Mother of the tribe would send a rescue for him, and that the tribe would “suck the marrow from your bones, render your fat, and feast on your flesh.” Having received nothing helpful, Takara (with Gelik’s assent) killed the captive.

The party spent the rest of the day relocating the camp (to R29.5). Takara gave the Red Mantis dagger that he found at the ruined campsite to Sasha as a one-week anniversary gift. He inquired whether the Mantis had sent any parties to the Shiv, but Sasha stated that she had no idea. She supposed that shipwreck seemed like the most likely way to get them to the island, but that often no one other than the assassins assigned to a case knew what or who the target was. Thus, she had no way of knowing. Meanwhile, Mitabu encouraged Aerys to finish the Cantos, and she confessed that their recent travels had provided her with much in the way of new inspiration.

Day Eleven
Takara and his companions set out along the east path from the new campsite, hoping to avoid the cannibal’s headquarters. After a two hour trip through the jungle, they arrived at a rickety rope-bridge (K32) which they crossed one after another. The trail ascended unrelentingly before reaching an intersection: north or west. Takara urged them north, and the path moved further up the rocky ground towards the summit of a low mountain, which turned out to be the highest point on the entire island. Although barren of vegetation and composed of strange rust-red stones, the peak provided a vertiginous view of the surrounding blue of the seemingly endless ocean. Also, the companions could see the entire island, most notably a lighthouse and some smaller buildings at the south-westerly most corner of the island (CC35) and a strangely drab and grey island to the northwest. Takara pointed out the buildings and surmised that they must contain the base of operations of the cannibals. Rena noted that the lighthouse could be their ticket out if they could use it to signal passing ships.

The companions decided to explore the western branch of the trail, which wound down to the seashore rather than up into the mountain. Along the shore they spied four stone monoliths appearing as jagged stalagmites of rock protruding from the grass at the edge of a bluff. Each had a snakelike rune carved into the inner face of the stones, all facing a three-foot-high pyramid-shaped block of stone in the center of the four spires. The vegetation and soil surrounding the pyramid had been trimmed back to fully expose the stone block into view. Additionally, the peak of the central basin of the pyramid has a cup-shaped indentation, with channels running down the four sides into empty basins at the bottom of the pyramid. Mitabu noted that this architecture was clearly beyond the capacity of the cannibals, but was unable to identify its origin or purpose. Puzzled, but with no idea of what the site was/is used for, the companions decided to return to camp.

The party decided to explore the western branch of the path

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Apellon

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