Founders Campaign Report 3
Battle of the Jungle Ruins
Sergeant Kalor Report
Filed Harvest Moons 14th, 3128
After the delay in communication, I was concerned for the welfare of the team, until a dispatched reached me moments ago. The good news is that they are well, enough. The bad news is their investigation as uncovered many disturbing trends. First and foremost, though I am not an authority, I believe I can say with certitude that the common thread throughout this horror show is the Dragon Cult. To think that such a pernicious evil has managed to not only survive but thrive, even in our own lands it’s too disturbing to contemplate. Worse, I cannot speculate as to the nature of their aims, but given the increasing power of the forces involved, and the complexity of the ritual they appear to be attempting, it cannot bode well for any of us.
Harvest Moons 9th, 3128
Waiting until morning, the team followed the well-trodden path through the jungle heading toward the large mountain in the interior. Though the path was clear, the jungle closed in as if many people had trudged through the jungle there, but little time was wasted in preparing the road. Fortunately, the weather, though wet, was not too hot, nor in the monsoon season.
About halfway to the ritual site, the team stumbled across a river of clear, fast-moving, and deep water. As they contemplated how to cross safely, primarily the team’s dwarves, they were alerted to predators by half the body of a jungle cat falling from the canopy above them. Almost immediately, two green “forest” Wyverns attacked, choosing the team as their next meal. This variety were nearly 15" in length and armed with venomous barbs on their tails.
The battle was brief but brutal with at least one member getting poisoned. Eventually, both Wyverns were brought low. While one section rigged a river crossing system for the dwarves, Belmont led the rest in field-stripping and harvesting the Wyvern.
With the Wyverns dead, the team continued following the jungle path around the base of the mountain. As the sun began to drop, the team stumbled into overgrown ruins, the site of some kind of Thaumaturgical ritual. However, their scout, Belmont was spotted by the dregordian guards who immediately attacked. In seconds, Belmont was overwhelmed.
Having no choice, the rest of the team hacked their way through the jungle and stumbled into combat. Jungle fighting is difficult under the best of conditions, and these were not good conditions. With Darkness growing, and an unknown number of enemy cultists hiding in the ruins, the Rangers found themselves hard-pressed to break through the enemy lines. At the end, when the battle was done, RFC Humble noted that they were outnumbered at least 3 to 1 against. It speaks highly to the unit’s training and cohesion to have survived such stacked odds.
Worse, among the dregodian kayakor warriors were imbedded elite fire-breathing dregordian troops similiar to those encountered this past summer by the White Silver Wolves in the deepest jungles of Dregordia. Also, members of a large Dragon Cult cell. The enemy was led by a single Dragon Mage, but from reports, one of lesser power than that found in Dregordia.
Still, the battle went badly for the Rangers. Almost all were wounded, two dropped before being healed by Merccy their Aevakar preistess. Yet, one by one, they cut their way through the cultists braving hellfire, fireballs, and enraged Dregordian cultists. There was a moment when their lines were nearly overrun, but Tolux managed to overpower the mind of one of the elite fire-breathing Dregordians who turned and slew the enemy caster, and fellow elite guards. The tide turned, and the Rangers eventually flanked and slew the last remaining cultists.
With the ruins secured, their healer Merccy set about healing the Ranger wounds, while the team searched the ruins. Belmont found a mass grave of victims. Layers of bodies piled on one another. Judging by decay, the cultists had been sacrificing slaves for months, maybe more than a year. Many of the bodies showed signs of cannibalism, others were burned beyond recognition. All had been ritually sacrificed with their hearts ripped from their, presumably still living, chests. Young Marabelle was not among the dead. She was nowhere to be found, presumably removed before the Rangers arrived.
Most troubling, at the heart of the ruins, was a massive reptilian skull very similar to the one reported in the eastern Wildlands. This skull, however, was died red with congealing blood, and burning with intense, fireless heat, as discovered when Humble tried to lift the skull. His hands were burned almost beyond recognition. Merccy also found a smaller ritual site near the edge of the ruins which they identified as a High Magic Teleportation site. Presumably, this is how they escaped with Marabelle.
The entire site was drenched in blood and Thaumaturgy. After healing and investigation, the team retreated to a nearby jungle stream to camp the night. While resting, Iam puzzled over the madman’s notes, recovered during their battle in the Black Bog against the cultists there. It seemed the cultists were trying to work out some kind of ritual. Clearly, the madman in the Wildlands was a researcher of sorts, but this jungle site was to be the actual ritual. Presumably, the Rangers struck before the cultists were able to complete the ritual, though we have not conclusive proof of this.
Based on orders from Grande Sergeant Major Mindril, and their original orders to find Marablle, RFC Humble ordered his team to return to their ship in the morning and set sail for Dregordia to link up with the White Silver Wolves there with their new information and research.
I presume the next report will indicate their successful sail north-east.
To be continued…
9th of Harvest Moon
After a night under the stars on the beach, we gathered together to plan out a strategy. When ready, we picked a marching order and began into the jungle. We encountered a river that was treacherous not only due to the depth and ferocity of the water, but the local fauna as well. Green forest wyverns suck. Highyly venomous by the way. As I lay dying, I wonder what lays for me in the afterlife. Luckily, Fatty was able to save my ass. The big guys managed to kill the damn things, since my axe couldn’t find purchase on either of them.
While the others harvested the forest wyverns for parts, I worked on a solution for getting us across the river safely. By mid-day, we moved on. We then ran across a camp of Dregs who were borked in their gourds. One so much so that he breathed literal hellfire at us. I somehow remained unsinged, even though I was right in the middle of it. There were a ton of these guys running all over the place. After an exhausting fight, Ward was even brought down, we discovered a very active bad thing in yet another skull. This one was magically potent and seemed to burn anyone who came too close to it. There was a trail of blood leading away from it. It seems this one was in recent use…
There seems to be a connection between this site, the cultists, and the recorded ramblings of the madman trying to create a ritual. To do what, I don’t know… A symbol keeps cropping up all over this mission.