Serpent's Skull in Eberron

Battle's Aftermath

Leif’s leafy bulk against the cellar door gives me the courage to close my eyes and finally get some sleep. I’ve been obsessed, I admit it, that Egsamora was trouble and I’ve only slept fitfully the last couple of days. In the end, I was right about her, but I doubt my companions will acknowledge it. That woman was up to no good; Goland’s mutilated body, held gently in Leif’s massive arms, is proof of it.

That Egsamora woman had begun her experiments on him and now I do not know WHAT he is or if he will recover. I do know that the poor creatures she used as guards may have been once people like myself, and I pity them. I even pity them for once having been vegipigmys and then turned to whatever monstrosity they ended up as. She twisted their bodies into gruesome half-animal, half-plant creatures. Their corpses now lay in a heap in a corner of this basement; perhaps we can burn them in a small ceremony later tomorrow. They remind me, somewhat, of Leif; walking plantlife. I have nothing against Leif, though, as he started life the way he is; he is proof of how wonderful and varied life is on Khorvaire.

In the meantime, I think it will be quite a while before Leif stirs again. The smell of his sap is strong in this confined room. It oozes from several wounds he took battling that sorceress. He has several spots on him that are blackened and charred from the lighting she through at him as he chased her around the small basement she used to entrap these denizens of Saventh-Yi. I’ve used a few charges of my wand on his bark and I can already see clean wood underneath as he slowly heals.

My body, not to mention my raiment, has been torn and rent as well. I’ve stopped the bleeding as well as I could (along with a charge or two from the wand for myself). My wounds are closing up fine but I expect that I will be pulling out slivers of wood from them for the next several days. Even if Leif hadn’t decided to take root where he is, I think it would have been prudent to hole up here. Once again, a foe has eluded us at the last moment with the aid of invisibility. I don’t blame them, their defeat was at hand, but it doesn’t stop from angering me. I can only hope that she has fled the city altogether and not found some other way to cause us trouble. Our camp now has another reason to stay vigilant every night. I may suggest moving the whole Shackles camp to this new location, but the keep we liberated for them is probably much more secure.

Once we get out of here, I would like to explore Egsamora’s mansion some. Perhaps she has some silk sheets and a proper bed I may be able to get move back to camp? With her retreat, I believe that this district is ours. My name will be displayed prominently in the history books as the discoverer and explorer of Saventh-Yi. My only worry is that Leif is once again in one of his 10,000 year slumbers. Dadak and I may have to chop our way through one of the walls to escape.

—From the log of Kreshton Rel’Astra

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Enough Is Enough, Woman!

This is just ridiculous.

Now, I know she’s up to something, but I can’t seem to prove it to my friends. I tried to catch her in a lie by calling her Zakayya (the succubus), but she didn’t even flinch. Her response was too perfect but I have only my gut to go with her; still, she did sound sincere.

I also tried to leave and watch from cover as she communed with nature alongside Leif in his normal state and Dadak wildshaped into a tree. They just stood there in the clearing outside her home drinking in the sun, or something. It was boring. I paced back and forth to pass the time and to avoid any vegipigmies from sneaking up on me. Every time I looked back up there, I could see her shape mocking me.

Eventually, Leif and Dadak came to find me and we returned to camp. Kasada Lewin was interested but it was obvious that she was leaving the mystery in our hands. One bit of news that Kasada did tell us was that Goland had left camp earlier to try and catch up with us, along with a couple of guards as escort (that was wise). A bit of fumbling about (hey, I’m a city boy, I know little about tracking) but finally Dadak found a possible trail along the shoreline belonging to Goland. We followed the tracks and found one of the guards, dead and hidden in some bushes. How they were ambushed, I have not a clue, but I instantly suspected our new green friend.

It took some fast talking, and a bit of lies, to get Leif and Dadak to return to her abode. I tried to overstate that she may be in danger all the while secretly knowing that she was the culprit. Time to break into her home and do a more thorough search of it, not a “tour” like the one she gave us, all the while looking over our shoulders. She must have Goland prisoner there and I intend to rescue him from his peril. It is much too perilous.

—From the log of Kreshton Rel’Astra

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Ain't I Something!?
Stop Ignoring Me, Woman!

Nope. Nope. Something is wrong here with this strange woman we’ve met. I gave her my most charming smile. I’ve spoken to her like she is a highborn lady. I’ve done my best to impress her. But I did not receive the reaction to my presence that I expected. Yes, there is something wrong with this woman.

I mean, look at me! I’ve got a stunning personality. I’ve got fresh clothing (that smell faintly like lilac). I’m obviously an accomplished adventurer! I’m young and virile. I’ve found the lost city of Saventh-Yi, for Olladra’s sake! It’s obvious that I’m some kind of noble; my bows are perfect! I’ve been more than courteous.

But, all she has is eyes for Leif. She talks to him more than she does to me. I can see appreciation in her eyes for him.

I don’t know, maybe being alone for so long, with the vegipigmies and their “forest” of moss and fungus, has rattled her brain. Saventh-Yi is a strange place. She has a bit of an accent that I can’t seem to place which is making me wonder.

This has got to be a trap, one that I will not fall for again. Several days before we arrived at Tazion, Pol, Dadak and I came across several women bathing in the river; one of them turned out to be a succubus! Maybe this woman is Zakayya, once again, but in disguise. I’m not going to fall for her whiles this time. I’m not going drink a thing she offers me like I did before! The only reason she’s paying so much attention to Leif is because she’s already sized Dadak and me up from our last encounter. She knows, from that last encounter, that she must be wary of Dadak, he held her off alone until Pol and I gained our wits again after drinking that foul brew she served us.

I need to get a signal to Dadak that our “new” hostess will not discover. Maybe Kylia could smell her and let Dadak know if this is indeed Zakayya. What will we do?

—From the log of Kreshton Rel’Astra

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New Saveth-Yi
...not as good as Old Saventh-Yi

Supplise!
We returned to camp after three days in the field and we were informed that supply trains had not been reaching Saventh-Yi. Worried that a rival faction was plundering our booty, we decided to venture down river. While scouting ahead of us in eagle form, I-Da-Dak spotted some suspects. A veritable army of meatbags was moving slowly upstream in barges. They certainly had the means to waylay our shipments, but we had not yet established motive. I suppose if they bore some ill will towards us; that would prove it. Still, my companions were not interested in investigating these possible pilferers, though paradoxically, that is the reason why we were moving downstream to begin with. Truly, they possess a dizzying intellect.

I Smell Pussy
At my companion’s insistence, we gave the army a wide berth. Keeping hundreds of yards between us and the river, we could only hear the occasional yell from the meatbags. Our mission unclear, we pressed on past one barge, and then another. The opportunity to punish the cat burglars responsible for our missing caravan seemed to be quickly fading away. But, fortune seemed determined to push us towards the resolution that my companions were seeking to avoid. As luck would have it, two catfolk, scouting the flanks of the barges, intercepted us. I took my weapon in hand and prepared to slay these pussies with it. I had the endurance to take on two at once, but I had to tame my excitement because I didn’t want the fun to end prematurely. I approached with a steady, methodical rhythm. Not too fast and not too slow. They demanded I surrender to them, but I don’t swing that way. Someone was going to get dominated and it wasn’t going to be me. They yelled for help and backed away, but still I approached. In the distance, two more were coming… their heavy breathing giving their position away. I had the confidence to take on two, but the physical demands of four, was going to be a challenge. I suppose I could think about baseball.
This moist patch of tangled vines was about to get much more exciting, when my companions suddenly sounded the retreat. I couldn’t believe it! Without even asking about the missing convoy, they faltered and prepared to run. I did my best to convince them to stay, but they insisted we leave. Remembering back to the mess hall stories that the Azlanti soldiers told, of the epic quantities of pussy that they slew, I could not help but think that this is exactly what they were talking about. My moment to make them proud was handed to me by fortune, and I was being asked to reject. My companions made their points, but honor and courage were not amongst them. Still, it was the abject fear in their eyes that moved me to action. I-Da-Dak said he did not feel safe returning without me guarding his rear. He always seems very keen on someone guarding his rear. He must have had a bad experience.
In the end, unable to rally my companions, I chose to go with them. There would surely be a day in the future when I would be able to get my licks in on these pussies.

Do you want some Brelish with that?
Guarding the approaches to Saventh-Yi is the Brelish encampment. These vile creatures clear cut the jungle to erect their tents and surround themselves with a palisade. Their massacre of my fellow plants did not go unnoticed and will not go unpunished. So, as we parted ways with our catfolk pursuers, I issued them a challenge; “find me at the camp just ahead on the river and fight me!” That should set things on the right path. Maybe fortune was still smiling upon me after all.

Captain Llewyn
We returned to Captain Llewyn and informed him of the approaching army. He seemed concerned, so I recommended that we move our camp to the fort in the military district. He liked my recommendation, so I decided to return to the fort and clear away any remaining inhabitants. I’ve seen how contagious fear can be, so I didn’t want it to sweep through camp. Therefore, I thought it best to bring Iyum Kreshton and I-Da-Dak with me. Putting them to work will distract their minds.

Tribe Pathfinder
When we first arrived in Saventh-Yi, a member of the Pathfinder tribe attempted to kill us. He came darn close in succeeding. Fortunately, we were saved by a burning man that wandered nearby. At that time, that was the only member of the Pathfinder tribe in the area. Now, there is an entire clan of them holed up in an area of the city that we had just cleared out. I suggested we clear out this new infestation, but again, my companions demurred. Sure, one of their members had recently tried to kill us. And sure, they were squatting on land that we spilled blood to make safe. And sure, they continued to be downright unfriendly, but I’m told time and time again that they are our friends. Perhaps that word doesn’t mean the same thing any more.
When I was young, people would say that the future was bright. The dark lords of Thassilonia were losing the war and everyone thought there were going to be better days ahead. Sadly, they were all mistaken. I went to sleep in the hopes that I would wake up to those promised better days, but the future is just as confounding as the past. In this age, adversaries spit in your face, but everyone politely ignores it. If the commander were alive today, Saventh-Yi would already be restored to its full glory. These catfolk, monkeyfolk, serpentfolk, Brelishfolk, Pathfinderkin, and all the rest would be trodden under foot for their slights against us. The banners would be flying high and everywhere, the sound of soldiers marching in lock step, singing songs in praise of the victorious dead. Alas, that is all nothing but a faded memory. And when I look around at the world today, it is with that same sad and faded tinge that I see current events unfolding.

Highfort
We made safe the fortress atop the hill overlooking the military district. I tried my best to make it presentable. It certainly wouldn’t pass inspection, but the Lieutenant isn’t here to give us a lashing, so my bark can take comfort in that.
I was right about the work distracting my comrades. Busying them with household chores seems to have put them at rest. They even recovered a bit of their courage. After a days rest, they were itching to get back out into the wilds.

A Gentleman and a Scholar
The next area we were going to explore was the chain of small islands adjoining the large central island of the government district. Unfortunately, the Pathfinder tribe had moved onto the largest (and most interesting) of the islands. Still, there were a few choice spots left to scout on the smaller isles. Of particular note, a large rotunda with brilliant columns inscribed with Azlanti writing. I was excited to find something that wasn’t covered in monkey feces. Approaching the rotunda, I realized that a retinue of humans were diligently cleaning the structure. Finally! Someone with the correct amount of respect for this place. They weren’t plundering or squatting, but caring for the ruins of this magnificent monument. If there was ever a time to make friends, this was it. I approached cautiously, but with my weapon sheathed. I called to the humans with the traditional Azlanti greeting and they approached me with open arms. They were certainly a bit on the touchy-feely side, but I can appreciate their enthusiasm. The leader of the humans was a squat fellow. I didn’t speak the same language as him, but I could tell he was truly a cultured individual. Besides inspiring this group to clean the rotunda, he also attempted to communicate with me through the universal medium of music. He played a whooshing note on his flute and I responded with a thunderous tone from my signal whistle. The leader seemed confused, but interested and I was optimistic. Then things went sideways. Apparently, Iyum Kreshton is quite the music critic. Displeased with the dulcet tones that the leader was producing, Iyum Kreshton began casting spells. Threatened, the leader responded with magic of his own. The situation spiraled out of control and the end result was as predictable as it was sad. The peaceful caretakers stood no chance as Iyum Kreshton, filled with bloodlust, slew them two at a time. All the while, he kept exhorting me to join in the massacre. I did as I was asked because a soldier does not question his orders in the midst of battle, but I’m beginning to wonder if I’m on the right side. Are these people here to restore Saventh-Yi to its former glory, or deliver the killing blow that will finally send the ruins crashing down?

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On Disappointment
An unwelcome guest

While Iomedae has allowed me to bless this band with her healing light, I confess that I haven’t spent as much time learning the secrets of Saventh-Yi as I might have hoped. There are untold treasures here, and residents that know almost nothing of divinity. Yet we are continuously molested by roving bands of Serpent Folk (once like seeing a dream come to life, now so commonplace I wonder that I had ever thought them rare), giant insects, and other nuisances. True, my companions are particularly adept at dispatching them (under my healing hand, of course), but it still takes time away from learning about this land.

That is, until recently. We had cornered what we later determined to be a Rakshasa. It seemed to know its way around this area and made direct contact with our group. Clearly, it deemed itself superior. We tracked it to a large hall filled with serpentfolk and pitched our battle, there. As the tide turned in our favor, I began to have hope. We could capture this wizard (for that’s what I had initially assumed it to be) and learn from it. There were secrets to uncover and lost knowledge to unearth. But in the midst of the struggle, the foul fiend vanished and escaped past our band! What a waste!

Although we finished the Serpentfolk and, eventually, a sea creature, what did those victories bring us? Victory in itself is cheap and tawdry. It resembles too closely simple bloodlust. Only when it fulfills a larger goal is it worthwhile. And, with the escape of the Rakshasa, I’m afraid that goal was lost.

Nevertheless, I stand steadfast in the faith that we have greater days ahead of us than behind. But I will endeavor to avoid this bitter disappointment in the future. The invisibility of enemies will no longer be an issue. Of that I am sure.

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I Can't Believe It!

I can’t believe it, we’ve let another powerful serpentfolk escape us alive! First it was that damned priestess, Yarzoth, in the bowels of the lost temple on Smuggler’s Shiv. Now, a powerful mage in the shape of a humanoid crocodile has eluded us. Someone – Golan I think? – said it was a powerful beast called a Rashaka.

Yarzoth was a powerful foe, fought in the bowels of a hidden temple on Smuggler’s Shiv. Her mental domination of our companion Chydak distracted us enough to give her the upper hand and all we could do was to subdue him without hurting him too badly. And since she was ready for our attack, she held her own against all of us pretty handily. The bronze door traps she had rigged temporarily captured both Pol and me under their tremendous weight. Her summoned undead minions were just an obstacle, easily overcome, but when she started casting her spells we were fortunate to have Joffa to state their effects. Dadak and Pol had skeletons of their own to battle, but with the additional poisonous snakes she summoned they seemed to stall even Dadak’s momentum. But her defensive spells were only a stopgap and the battle soon turned our way. Unfortunately, she had one last trick up her sleeve; when she slapped her bloody hand against the huge statue of a bat winged and footed woman her form turned gaseous allowing her to fly across the room avoiding all our desperate attacks and out of the chamber. Her escape was only temporary. We’ve had enough clues to follow her this far, across most of Xen’drik, to this lost city.

This Rakshasa was cunning, to say the least. Somehow, in the night, as the rest of us slept, he convinced Leif that he was a friend. Leif’s limited experience with sentient beings of this age seems to be a detriment and a weakness that the rest of us must keep in mind. His tale of meeting this “person” was instantly suspect to me, sure, there was a slight possibility that it was the truth, but with so many serpentfolk about, I felt there was no way this could be a free agent. The fight and his attempt at convincing us he was in danger from the serpentfolk within the Rakshasa’s arena was proof of that. He was a worthy foe, and I enjoyed meeting him in battle. The lightning that flashed from his hands was deadly and I fear I may have to change my blackened and scorched coat. If it weren’t for the strength of mind my bardic training provides or the charmed life that I lead, I am sure I would have fallen to that evil being’s suggestions and mind control. Ultimately, invisibility let that wizard-creature retreat into Saventh-Yi. Curses! We’re going to need to make a detailed search of this district to verify that he has indeed retreated.

Which brings us to serpentfolk: The discovery of a live serpentfolk on Smuggler’s Shiv was remarkable – previously they were widely known in Khorvaire as creatures lost to history. But, our discovery of clues that Saventh-Yi could be found again was even more astonishing. That led us to Xen’drik and Tazion and another live creature from out of history. One is a coincidence, two is reality. Then, shortly after arriving at this lost city, we found more bodies and evidence of a long standing feud between the serpentfolk and the charu-kai. Four bodies, led to many more inhabiting this island. Upon closer examination of the serpentfolk warriors corpses shows that they seem to have degenerated into something more primal than what I would expect from a race that once ruled the whole continent and survived the Giants from history. Is this what has become of their once strong race? I suspect there will be many more. The signs and carvings that we have found so far while exploring the area seem to be pointing us in the direction downward, down, below this city where somewhere, I suspect, we will find them – perhaps even a thriving colony!


k——————-

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Serpentfolk!

Finally, a foe worthy of my time and effort. After endless monkeys, my Elysian Bronze gets to drink the blood for which it was forged. The hated enemies of the Azlanti. They’re abominable form slinking back towards the daylight that the gods saw fit to deny them all those centuries ago. I will find them, bring them into the darkness and bind them. Or something like that. That actually reminds me of the message inscribed on a cheap ring I once owned. I wonder where I left it. Oh well, I’m sure it isn’t important now.

We march toward the spear at the center of the island. It’s atop a large building of some sort. Seems important. The serpentfolk slither in the shadows but I cajole my companions to action. This is after all, the only reason for us to be here. Righteous Anger will win the day; the gods demand it. I force my comrades ever forward. They whine of the comforts at camp. I am annoyed, but also sympathetic to the weakness of their flesh. I hope to accelerate the cleansing of this place. I patrol the perimeter of the great spear and call for all challengers. A few interested parties approach, but they are easily cut down. Must be a probe sent my the enemy leaders. I hope now they realize the trouble I intend to bring to them. When dawn breaks, I hope it reveals a sea of serpentfolk massing all around. How I wish the Commander could see me now.

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Cool Side of My Pillow

I hate to complain, but…

Can’t a man get some sleep around here?

This day has gone on forever. We woke up early – at least too early for my liking – so that we could take this new guy Kasada Lewin wanted to saddle us with on a tour of Saventh-Yi. We showed him the “sights” but he didn’t really have any more insight about anything than the rest of us. Mostly is was prophesying about his god Iomede, but that’s alright, he was easy to tune out. He seemed really confident when we took him to the plaza where we found the recently dead serpentfolk, but once again the mystery eluded us. You’d think that a man of his advancing years would be resting his bones around a warm hearth rather than following us around this lost and hidden city, but I guess everyone needs to make a living!

I don’t recall whose suggestion it was to capture some Charau-kai to interrogate about the serpentfolk corpses we found on that large plaza, but we quickly came up with a plan, executed it well, and ended up with two monkeys to grill (figuratively). Turns out that the center isle of Saventh-Yi has some type of serpentfolk colony on it and they have been causing trouble with the apes. I could see the eagerness in Leif’s eyes as the news that live serpentfolk were to be found within a short walk from us; I do not know which he hates more, serpentfolk or monkeys.

I find a hatred for serpentfolk rising in myself that matches Leif’s. I’ve felt this since we first encountered one of their kind in Smuggler’s Shiv but over the last several months it has been growing within me. I wish I had paid a bit more attention about ancient history while I sat at my tutor’s knee – my parents certainly paid enough for him – that I would have some clearer idea of why they are back. An ancient civilization on the rise can only cause trouble. All I can brood over is that they would probably want to rule again. I fear for what that would entail. Khorvair already has a thriving civilization; there is no need to drag up something from the past to supplant it. I can only hope that our expedition’s backers in Eleder and Stormreach are spreading the word of what we have found here because if they have not, it is up to me and my companions to halt the serpentfolk’s advance.

Now, I hope to get some rest tonight. My pillow is just like I prefer. Leif is on patrol. Kailia is an excellent lookout. Dadak is sniffing about. Goland is resting his old bones somewhere nearby. The night may yet scare up some more of these easily defeated – hell, the Charau-kai seemed to be able to handle themselves – serpentfolk, but I’m not worried. They don’t seem so bad, more like vermin infesting the place.

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On Divine Favor

Having dispatched the Serpent Men (a sight I thought was gone from this world), we made way to the Island District’s Ziggurat. I would have enjoyed questioning these Serpent Men and learning more about them. Indeed, if they are as evil as they seem, we would do well to research this enemy of righteousness and purge their lair. Sadly, Leif and Dydak are ruled far too much by their passions and saw only bloodlust. Perhaps it is best if some future efforts are undertaken without their knowledge.

Nevertheless, upon reaching the top (and ridding the district of still more serpents), we gained further insight into the Island District’s former purpose. It appears to be a civic or governmental building, one which tended to the administrative needs of the former city. I’ve copied the characters in my journal and will ponder them further as time permits.

Perhaps rejuvenating this city with the power of Iomedae will be the thing to return it to vibrancy. And this administrative area might be a perfect seat on which I can bring forth Her justice. For I have been convinced that She supports my actions.

In the halls of my order, I often looked down on those who sought victory through sword rather than converting through persuasion. But, feeling my blade guided by Her, I must now admit that there is a certain exhilaration I hadn’t expected. It simply signals ever further that Iomedae blesses my efforts to overthrow the vile beings that have taken refuge here and bring about true religion.

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Serpent's Spear

Wir, 3rd of Zarantyr
Brashly marching to the center of the island distruict toward it’s ziggurat, the party discovers that it is surrounded by a vast sprawling building. Undetered, the Party Marches in to the bowels of the building seeking a route to the ziggurat. Their entry did not go unnoticed however and they are waylaid by a trio of serpentfolk. The serpents are no match for the heroes, and the party is only briefly delayed by the encounter.

It doesn’t take them long to find the stairs that lead up to the ziggurat, and the party barely hesitates as they step out onto teh roof of the building before continuing up the stairs of the ziggurat. At the top they quickly overcome the 4 serpent folk guards and with daylight waning, they decide to camp here at the heart of what Goland determines to be the Government District.

As the others begin to prepare to settle down for the night, Leif, needing little rest, decides to make his presence known to all of the denizens of the island. He begins making a circuit from corner to corner along the top of the ziggurant hollering as loud as his voice allows. He hopes to lure more serpentfolk to their death, and lure he does, but not exactly as expected. A jungle mantis is lured by teh movement atop the ziggurat and unsuccessfully attempt to catch Leif by surprise. As leif manages to dispatch the Mantis, he gets his hoped for result, a party of 6 serpentfolk attempts to storm the top of the ziggurat. The battle that ensues is once again quick and decisive in favor of our heroes. With each member of the party providing their own usnique touch to the fight, the 6 serpentfolk are wiped out as easily as the others.

Leif resumes his route along the top of the ziggurat, noting during his patrols, that a large serpentine shape moves within the waters of a flooded amphitheater to the east. The others realize that this is likely to be a long night.

Camp Notes:
N/A

Rumors:
N/A

XP:
13 Degenerate Serpentfolk – 15600XP

15600 XP/4 = 3900 XP each (Dadak, Kreshton, Leif, Goland)

Dadak – 88815/105000 XP
Level 9

Kreshton – 85692/105000 XP
Level 9
Leif – 85633/105000 XP
Level 9
Goland – 81900/105000 XP
Level 9
Chydak – 35000/51000 XP
Level 7

Loot:
None

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