Death of an Empire

Part 1: Brave New World

Chapter 1: Across the Seas

Arriving in the land of Tezca

The five guests were stored far below, hands shackled and safely stored. The gnome brothers awoke first, the Tossleweaver's talking with the other guests. Tingis and Tinnie Tossleweaver were caravaners, their possessions paying for Andre's passage fees. The mercenaries Alkor and Gar tried to test their chains, but this wasn't Andre's first journey to Tezca. It was, he often boasted, his third. The young lady would make good money in the flesh markets, but Fisher insisted Alga was destined for something better.

Pulling up at the Port of Lepas the Seaweaver pulls into the stoney docks at the head of the river. The crew begin to unload provisions while I oversee the unloading of the guests. Fisher leads them ashore, donning the ceremonial red and black robes that identify him as a High One of his order. The group move up into Lepas, Tingus falling prey to some local roughs who steal his coin purse. The youths are easily run off and The High One apologises and reimburses Tingus.

Arriving at the temple the group are treated to every comfort. They enjoy hot springs and fine wine, resting and cleaning themselves with the help of the servants of the church of Sadoria. Enjoying a breakfast of dates and nuts they meet with the High One the next morning. He reveals to them what their mission here is. Some members of forest tribe called the Aroyo had been attacking caravans and the High One wanted the group to discover what their business was.

It was such that the group were deep in the Ozarks the following day, the jungles around Lepas. Led by Alkor they track the missing caravan, going deeper and deeper into the jungle. They finally find the caravan but soon regret it. Many of them vomit on the ground as they witness the mix of blood and guts that coats the inside of the caravan. The gnomes move within and note that the letter the High One wanted them to find was missing.

Alkor finds tracks and the group follows them to a campfire. Over the fire a humanoid figure is being cooked and three men stand around it. They wear strange blue feather robes and have green gems around their necks. As they notice the group approaching they heft stone weapons and rush to attack. Alga raises her hands, casting out a mist of magical energy that puts the three to sleep. Alkor executes the downed enemies while a massive black cat rushes from the forest to protect its masters. Slaying the beast Gar takes an ear as a trophy.

As the sun sets the group hussles out of the Ozarks and back to Lepas. Meeting with the High One he informs them that the slain men are indeed Aroyo and asks for them to help him track them further. He insists that the fate of the entire Yukitan Empire rested upon it.

Chapter 2: Getting To Know the Ropes

The Port of Lepas

The company returns to their lodgings. They arrive to the sweet fragrance of wine and a palatable white cheese. Alkor adds some dates to his wine, before downing the whole three litres. Much to the party’s dismay, he is unable to hold his liquor and promptly dumps the whole lot in a sticky red mess on the floor near one of the bunks. He passes out, leaving the rest of the party to deal with his mess. The attendant puts sand on the ichor to attempt to control the smell while Tingus says a prayer to put the drunken Alkor at ease. In doing so, he garners the attention of a wizard named Milo Rourke, who also made the journey across to Tezca. To prove he is a man of great skill, he draws forth a handkerchief and sends gusts of air about the room, rustling the hair of Tinnie.

That night, Gar dreams of a horrible swamp. In its midst lies a great flaming wreckage. The dreamscape suffuses and he awakens, or so he thinks, only to be paralysed in his bunk. He attempts to move but he feels a dark presence creep over him. He catches a glimpse of horned creature with sodden robes as it reaches out for his throat. Gar awakens for real, unsure of what really transpired. In the morning breakfast is laid out, with the attendant mentioning Fisher’s wish to see the party. They oblige and visit him in his office. He recalls a tale of servant of Mattar, a traitor, collecting minerals out near a garrison. One of them happened to notice a peculiar sight; in one of the nearby trees a stone hand was buried in its trunk. Upon closer inspection, on the other side of the tree near a cliff face was an opening. Letting his curiosity get the better of him, he entered. His travelling party heard screams and the man was never seen again. Fisher requests that the party head to the garrison and that they should enlist the help of a man by the name of Snapjaw who resides at the docks.

The party makes their way through the bustling town, receiving plenty of strange looks given their clothing situation. Tingus acknowledges this and makes a brief stop at a nearby clothes shop to have him and his brother fitted for some fine new clothes. The party continues on, taking note of the various traders with their wares on display. Off on the distance is a peculiar stone building with guards patrolling its outer wall. The air grows heavy with the scent of fish and salt and they soon arrive at the docks. Many sailors are hard at work stripping back planks and stitching together sails to make their ships ready for faring the rough seas. Amongst the hustle and bustle of workers are merchants peddling their wares. One such man is an eel salesman and sees that the party’s foreign clothes make them ripe for being taken advantage of. After an exchange of coins, Alkor and Tingus found themselves encumbered with eels, only to later learn from a fisherman named Conrad that they’d been ripped off. From these interactions, the group learns of Snapjaw’s likely location, a bar, and starts to explore the ones in close proximity, hoping to track him down.

The first bar is full of burly sailors making a ruckus. The party promptly learns that this is not the bar in which Snapjaw resides. Having no other business here, Tinnie, Tingus and Milo leave. The other three manage to offend the owner of the Bar, a rough looking fellow known as Cap, along with his right hand man Rove and the rest of the crew. Gar is not looking for a fight and attempts to calm the situation, only to have Cap threaten to snap his legs in two. Gar appears unmoved by the threat. Alga oddly, albeit effectively, interjects with “it’d be a shame if you were asleep” before throwing a handful of sand from her pocket into their faces. Alkor attempts to calm the situation by offering a round of drinks, but the piddly remainder from the exchange with the eel salesman is not enough to quell their anger. The sailors converge on the trio, attempting to restrain them, all the while boasting about their prowess in climbing ropes. Alga is subdued, but only temporarily as Alkor runs his spear through the leg of the grappler. They use the opportunity to run out the bar, using the crowd as cover. Moments later, around 30 angry sailors emerge from the bar. Milo seizes the opportunity to show of his many tricks, and jettisons a nearby stein at the crew. The first three at the front see the projectile and duck out of the way. The fourth is not so lucky; it shatters on impact and severs his neck and crushes the spine of the poor fellow. Knowing that any attempts to de-escalate the situation would be frivolous at this stage, the party slinks away. Cap sees the dead body and calls for the town guards.

Up the road the group convenes at a second bar. This establishment appears to have been founded quite some time ago. The outdoor areas are larger and a much rougher looking crowd hangs around each table. Gar heads inside and extracts some information from the barkeep of the whereabouts of Snapjaw. A few party members head to the booths at the back of the bar. Tingus sticks his head into a couple while asking for Snapjaw by name. One of the booth has what appears to be bodyguards out the front and prevent any sort of inquiry. Finally, the last booth up the back contains a rugged looking man, that’s clearly had a few too many, entertaining a lady by the name of Cindy. She gets up and leaves when the party enters. Tingus inquires about the debt to the High One, to which Snapjaw seems confused. Tingus tries his alias of Fisher and eventually he recalls the name. Tinnie feels a little peckish and decides to see what the bar has in the way of meals. He returns a short while later with a murky jar containing vinegary brown chunks and bits caked on the bottom and smells like dust and burning. Meanwhile an older woman with a striking resemblance to Cindy has joined the booth. She begins doing lapdances enthusiastically, though the feelings are clearly not reciprocated by the party. She then proceeds to use a belaying pin to pleasure herself, making most of the party uncomfortable except for Alga, who bobs her head rhythmically to the display.

The awkward display subsides and Snapjaw asks the party to accompany down to his vessel. He weaves his way down to the waterfront, the party moves quickly so as to not lose sight of him. There seems to be a heightened presence of people in uniform compared to earlier that morning. Snapjaw walks along the jetty to a tied up rowboat and gestures for everyone to hop in. There is some hesitancy for two reasons. The first issue is that some of the party thinks this is Snapjaw’s vessel and the second is the size of the rowboat, but Snapjaw quickly dismisses both of these qualms. Despite the initial concerns, the party clambers in, with Tingus being the last to board. In one swift motion he is able to untie the rope and hop effortlessly across to the rowboat despite it already having set off. Snapjaw gives some dubious directions, but the group follows them nonetheless. Ship after ship pass by with a distinct degradation in the quality over time. The group reaches the last ship in the mooring, which appears be some sort of barge with a tree trunk haphazardly attached to the middle to form the cabin. The party nervously step aboard and prepare to set sail down the river.

Chapter 3: Sects, Diles and Mas

Travelling the Sirena river

As the party boards the craft, affectionately referred to as “The Fig” by Snapjaw, they stow their belongings and prepare for departure. Snapjaw pulls out a long stick, and begins enthusiastically punting the craft up the river. The going is easy to start with, the water barely moving in the large bay, and The Fig joins a line of boats waiting to pass through the tollway, a large bridge that controls all thoroughfare in and out of the bay of Lepas. Alkor fingers his crossbow nervously as they pass through, noticing the abundance of heavily armed guards keeping a watchful eye over the boats, but they pass through without incidence. The river narrows, and Snapjaw gets into a steady rhythm, punting the party up the stream. Alga engages him in conversation as Milo retrieves another pole and starts helping the craft along.

Despite the distraction of Alga’s scintillating conversation, and the helpful punting from Milo, Snapjaw is obviously struggling, he squints into the setting sun as waves of stale sweat pour off him, the previous days drinking and whoring finally catching up with him. As Tingus rootles around in his bag for some tincture to aid Snapjaw, a yelp of surprise comes from Tinnie. He informs the party that they are surrounded by strange, large toothed lizard creatures. Snapjaw leaves the punting to Milo, and joins Tinnie at the front of the ship. He takes a look around the ship, his eyes widen, and he immediately scurries back to the back of the craft, punting with renewed vigour, his hangover forgotten. Alga asks what he saw, and he responds “the crocodiles are harmless when driving a vessel of this size, but we’ve stumbled across a highly dangerous creature, the dreaded 'mas. Ferocious creatures, and dangerously territorial” he whispers urgently “hopefully we can outpace them if they haven’t noticed us.”

Tinnie remains at the front of the boat, oblivious to the hushed conversation, his attention taken by a thick stream of bubbles slowly approaching the rear of the boat, he open his mouth to alert the party, when a creature the size of a wagon erupts from the green water of the river. An enormous mouth, large enough to swallow a cow, crunches down on the rear of the ship, Milo and Snapjaw only just able to roll out of the way in time. Everyone is thrown briefly into the air as The Fig is tossed around by the sheer weight of the 'mas, but, as Alkor unhooks his spear from his back, the night seems to grow unnaturally dark and cold. Alga’s eyes glow with an unnatural purple glow, and she says something in a strange tongue which seems to stun the 'mas, and, taking advantage of its confusion, Alkor plunges his spear into its eye. As they continue to deal with the Mas at the rear of the vessel, another of the fearsome creatures attacks the front of the ship. Tinnie, looking nervously from one 'mas to the other, grabs a punting pole and vaults the 20ft distance from ship to shore. Tingis rolls up his sleeves, his arms starting to give off a dark aura, and as the 'mas latches onto The Fig, buries his arms up to the elbow into its nose. Its seems to melt away, and the large creature rolls off the ship. Back at the rear, Alkor continues to poke at the 'mas with his spear, and with unnatural agility, Snapjaw vaults off the ship and slams bodily into its face. The 'mas roars loadly and thumps into the ship one last time before retreating, its face bleeding from many spear wounds.

The Fig is thrown about by the weight of the creatures, and Alga, Snapjaw and Tingis are thrown into the filthy river water. The crocodiles, patiently waiting, lunge at the now waterborne targets. Tingus makes a swim for the shore, hoping to reach his brother who cheers him on. Alga frantically claws at the side of The Fig, and screams as a crocodile crunches down on her legs. Snapjaw, unperturbed by the oncoming crocodiles, dodges nimbly at the last moment, grabbing the crocodile by the nostrils, and plunges a dagger into its brain and kills it with a crunching twist. Alkor and Milo successfully pull Alga and the crocodile attached to her legs onto the ship, and Alga shoots thick pulses of purple magic into the crocodile, blasting away its face and then its body until there is only a red meaty mess remaining.

Meanwhile, Tingus is almost at the shore when he feels two large masses slam into his body and legs, he’s forced underwater, but with a painful wrench, his head is forced above the water, his brother holding him by the hair with one hand, and raining furious blows on the crocodiles beneath the water with the other. The crocodiles are eventually fended off, and, as Snapjaw brings The Fig closer to the shoreline, Tinnie pulls the unconscious body of Tingus onto the vessel. The party lie wet and bleeding, breathing hard, lost in their own thoughts of the horrors they just encountered. With a whoop, Snapjaw pushes off the shore and addresses the party. “Nothing like some crocodiles to spice up an otherwise boring journey, our campsite is not much further up the river so we’ll be able to camp soon”, Milo starts to offer to help, but can only stare in wonder at the now invigorated form of Snapjaw. His shirt, lost during the encounter, his muscles tense smoothly as he punts vigorously, his eyes pierce the darkness looking ahead of the ship, all semblance of hangover gone. Milo settles back down and the party relax as they pull into a small natural bay in the river. If only they knew what was still to come.

Chapter 4: TITLE


A tall poinciana sits on the river edge, the water over time has freed its roots from the muddy bank and they now hang loosely into the water, obscuring a calm inlet. Snapjaw guides The Fig through the root curtain and nestles it gently against the bank. His eyes are beginning to droop as he moves out of habit, chaining his craft to the rusting iron ring anchored in a nearby hollow tree and stowing the poles on either side of the raft. He snatches a piece of dried fish from a sack in the hollow tree, and casts a weary eye over the boat nodding to himself, all superficial damage; The Fig is still riverworthy.
Chewing on the dried piece of fish and idly staring into the jungle Snapjaw is first to notice the little folk and gives a yell. Out of the jungle clambers Tinnie, his twin brother hanging limply in his outstretched arms; trousers clinging to his legs with thick dark blood. Alerted by Snapjaw’s yell Alkor and Milo come to his aid fearing another attack and their relief is evident when they see their friends approaching the boat. Milo helps the gnomes into the boat, placing Tingus next to Alga whose wounds he has just finished binding. He starts cleaning the bites on Tingus’ legs and is comforted by what he sees; the wounds are shallow, the river beasts sharp teeth pierced the flesh neatly with little tearing. He should recover quickly.

The night air is hot and sticky and the thick leather padding under Alkor’s chainmail is rubbing uncomfortably as he loads his crossbow and looks out over the water on first watch. His eyes drift from the glint of eyes in the jungle to the flash of a small rodent jumping between trees and come to rest on Tingus as he stirs awake. He watches him look around confusedly and seemingly weigh up his option before reaching for his water-skin, gulping down the remaining water and coughing fall back asleep. Milo is awoken roughly and the music from his dreams fade into the whisper of the wind calling through the jungle canopy. Grumpily he takes over from Alkor and after his watch is over he enters Snapjaw’s makeshift cabin and attempts to wake the man who has punted all day and fought monsters all evening. It is an exhausted, scarred and possibly still hungover man who trudges out on deck to take his watch, Milo falls asleep to the sight of Snapjaw sitting against his “cabin” keeping an eager eye on the river ahead.

With their backs turned to the loudly snoring Snapjaw they found on deck in the morning; he had failed to wake Tinnie for his shift an itching Tingus, well rested Tinnie and sweating Alkor face Milo, his eyes are distant and he doesn't blinks as he starts talking.
“I killed one of the sailors” Milo begins, “Back in town at the first bar we visited while looking for Snapjaw… Hit him in the back of the head with a mug of beer. Just attempted to slow him but I’m too powerful. Snapped his neck the poor man.”
“But we were with you…” Alkor starts but is cut off.
“I magicked it” Milo interrupts with a flourish of his handkerchief. “And there are other secrets too.” a glowing dull blade appears in his trembling hand. “My name isn't Milo” he says, drawing the knife along his hair close to the scalp letting it fall into the river. “Back home I was a conman, I sold fake magical items to the wealthy.” Another lock of hair falls into the river.
The snoring behind them stops and Alkor notices Snapjaw’s eyes are open and he is staring at the glowing blade in Milo’s hand. More cuts with the knife and a short haired Milo stands in front of the group unaware of Alkor trying to get his attention. He plunges his head straight into the river with reckless abandon unafraid of the beast encountered the night before.
“My name is Demetri Thatch… and I have no need for these permits anymore!” And with the relief of finally being unburdened by his biggest secret he tears the papers and tosses them into the wind with a gleeful cheer.
Stunned to silence Alkor, Tinnie and Tingus watch on open mouthed, as Demetri Thatch begins to shave his head bald with his knife. The dull razor leaving his scalp bloodied. Their shocked and confused silence is broken when The Fig starts to move back out to the middle of the river. A rejuvenated Snapjaw is back at his post, punting up the river.

The Fig is belting along the river as a rejuvenated Snapjaw punts with twice the vigour of the day before. No doubt to be rid of the party as soon as possible. His mood is made even darker by the sight of Demetri Thatch sporting a rather large floppy hat which emits a dull glow. Alkor has taken his post at the front of the boat to keep a lookout. He has removed his sleeves to keep cool in the humid climate and his hair is tied out of his face by a strap of cloth, in his hands rests his crossbow. A boat rounds a bend in the river and Alkor spots four men on the craft. With his intentions being that of a friendly greeting Demetri tips his glowing hat. The glowing hat catches the eye of one of the new sailors and he jumps to the floor. Tinnie fearing he has seen some danger that has eluded Alkor’s watch also dives to the relative safety of lying fully prone on the muddy deck.
“What are you doing, are you possessed?” hisses Snapjaw at Demetri as the other three men from the new raft also duck behind cover.
“Witchcraft!” Demetri declares cheerfully. “It was my witchcraft that saved you from the ‘Mas and the other beasts of the river last night, I cast when I please.”
“I don’t wish to invoke the wrath of fickle gods, your dabbling into that world no doubt brought that danger upon us. I don't want that life anymore.” Snapjaw counters, a sense of finality in his tone. “Are you men okay?” he continues, calling out to the men hiding prone on there boat.
“That man be possessed! His hat shimmerin’ with evil magicks” calls one shirtless punter from behind the tumblehome.
“Wouldn’t gamble on our safety with one such as ‘at” calls the second punter.
“Trick of the light or effect of the heat no doubt” Snapjaw chuckles mockingly as the The Fig passes alongside. “Nothing to fear from any of my passengers”
The other travellers relieved, chuckle to themselves at their own foolishness. The Fig rounds a corner and Snapjaw scowls at Demetri; The Fig speed increases as Snapjaw punts quicker. He wants the party off the boat as soon as possible.

Night falls but the heat doesn't abate, Snapjaw is driving the boat forward at great pace while Alkor cooks his freshly caught fish on a small steamer in The Fig’s makeshift cabin. Tingus makes his way over to Snapjaw carrying the punting pole — it dragging behind the 3’ 6” gnome. Snapjaw accepts he offer and scoops his mug through the river water and drinks deeply while Tingus punts the boat along the river.
“You said ‘that life anymore…’” Tingus says softly after he has been punting for sometime. Snapjaw looks up but doesn't reply. “Have you dealt with god’s before” Tingus continues to probe. “If its too personal, you don’t need to tell me. This place is new to me and I have an interest in the gods you worship here.”
Snapjaw's holds up his hand to stop Tingus from talking. He doesn’t look mad but he has made it clear that the conversation has ended. Eyes glint from the riverbanks in the bright moonlight but Snapjaw pays them now heed. The party had travelled 2 kilometres further downriver since Snapjaw had ended the conversation when he broke the silence.
“Used to travel the oceans on a ship…dangerous work…paid well.” his eyes are unblinking staring at the twinkle of moonlight on rippling water. One of the men on our ship was in league with Chuvra, making deals for favourable winds and calmer oceans. But like I said, the gods are fickle and Chuvra turned on the first mate. Denravi was summoned, its two hundred foot body crushed our ship killing the crew. Only myself and Charles survived, adrift at sea.”
“What happened to the man who involved himself with Chuvra?” asked Tingus tentatively.
“Whirlpool sucked him under, not a natural current mind you, a whirlpool of Chuvra, dragging you into hell. Charles and I were adrift for sometime, its difficult to keep track we were mad with thirst and terror when a boat came for us at Fischer behest. It is that debt that I intend to settle by ferrying you up river.” realising that he had drawn a crowd with Demetri, Tinnie and Alkor all shuffling to thew back of the boat to hear his story, Snapjaw gave a short bark of laughter and finished his mug of water.
“I’m off to rest wake me when you need me” he said as he wandered into his cabin.

Sebastien sits in the mess hall, eating his thin stew and staring out the conspicuously curtain-free windows towards the river. He ignores the loud table slapping and laughter that echoes throughout the hall as one of the men recounts a vulgar story of an encounter with a young fishing village lass he met on patrol to a group of rapt young recruits. Tugging uncomfortably at his filthy shirt he leaves the table, he keeps his eyes downcast at his boots as he walks, mud flicks from his boots to his breeches. He reaches the jetty and stares down river. Feeling isolated from his garrison Sebastien’s thoughts drift to dreams of friendship and closeness he hasn't felt since before he was stationed at Camp Bueno.

The banner hangs in the still air, the lizard on its hind legs not visible. The wooden palaces around the base do not prove a welcoming sight with wooden spikes and trenches surrounding Bueno. Un-phased Snapjaw sails The Fig up to the jetty and loops a rope over the bollard. The guard of duty gives snapjaw a nod of recognition and looks about to talk when Demetri jumps onto jetty with a flourish and introduces himself loudly.
“Thankyou for welcoming us so kindly to your camp, I am Demetri a member of the Tailor’s Guild and I have secret duties to conduct at your camp, you will no doubt aid me in this?”
Sebastien’s eyes widen and a gleeful smile appears on his face, and as the bald, scarred but rather handsome man continues to talk Sebastien is no longer listening but rather adrift in his own thoughts of all the wonders the Tailor’s Guild must bring with them. Soft woven cloths, the latest trends, expensive dyes; sure they looked haggard and strange to his eyes in the newest trends, but he must look just as strange to them in his old filthy shirt and mud-stained breeches, they after all were in the tailor’s guild. Alkor had been talking but Sebatien had missed it, too caught up in his own good fortune.
“I will take you to the sergeant immediately” state Sebastien to an obviously annoyed Alkor who states again that he wishes to visit the blacksmith first.
Walking towards the blacksmith Sabastien queries Demetri on whether on not he would be able to alter his clothes to match the latest trends and Demetri agrees happily. The look Tingus stares into the back of Demetri’s head as the deal is struck is not a happy one as he knows that as the only skilled tailor in the party he will be the one who must make the clothes.

Alkor’s armour lighter and more suited to the climate, Demetri’s purse 13 gold lighter after an altercation with the blacksmith that had led to him paying exorbitant prices for Alkor’s armour alterations. The pair are ushered into Sergeant Matteous office by Sebastien his hand gently guiding Demetri from the small of his back; Tinnie and Tingus follow behind. The sergeant sits behind a large desk his salt and pepper hair cut short, his epaulettes glorious. He looks to Sebastien for an explanation for the interruption but it is Alkor who speaks first.
“Sir, I am a bounty hunter who has been tasked with finding a man who has gone missing from these parts, he was most recently spotting hunting minerals nearby. Do you know of this missing person or any cliffs and mountains nearby where one might mine?”
The sergeant has no men missing and hasn't heard of the man Alkor is speaking of but does offer him use of some maps and informs him that the only cliffs nearby are a small waterfall five hours out of Camp Bueno. Alkor leaves the room, while walking down the hall to enter the map room he hears Demetri’s tailor guild spiel but Sergeant Matteous’ response is not as accomodating as Sebastien’s.

Walking towards The Fig Sebastion’s hand dances gently across Demetr’s palm and then away as if by accident. As the pari grow closer to the end of the jetty Sebastien pulls Demetri aside.
“Will you stay long?”
“No, we’re gone tonight, upriver.”
“Not even staying the night. You’ve had a hard journey. A rest may do you some good.”
“No no, I can’t make us stay unfortunately.”
“Ahhh, I see” responds Sebastien knowingly, gives Demetri a wink and turns abruptly heading back towards camp.

Alkor is in the makeshift bar in the stables listening to the tall tales of the Soldiers. Tinnie and Tingus sit in the boat mending Sebastien’s clothes. Snapjaw sits on the end of the jetty with a small fishing line bobbing in the current. Demetri paces the deck nervous by Sebastien’s wink and the dislike Sergeant Matteous held for him.
Sebastion alerts the guards to illegal smuggling that is being ‘done’ by Demetri. The guard and Sebastian escort him to Sergeant Matteous. Demetri continues to portray the tailors guild representative flawlessly. Curtains, feng shui and regal blather.
Demetri is taken to a holding cell.
Sebastion visits demetri in his cell. There is some over clothes groping.
Tingus finished the shirts and brings them to the garrison, the clerk lets him know that Sebastion would be in the mess. Bringing him his shirts he asks Sebastien to bring him to Demetri They have a heart to heart discussion about love and loss.
Eventually it comes to light that the party is on a mission from the prince. However when taken to the sergeant Demetri leaves out the information about it being a Prince’s quest and the sergeant doesn’t take any of his shit. Tells him to head back down the river.
Sebastian throws Dimitri into the boat acting like a scorned lover.
Alkor runs into the blacksmith to collect his armour and picks up Tingus from where he remained in the dungeons, alerting him to their imminent departure.
Seb is keen to put his clothes away and the party disobeys orders punting up river towards the Cusco garrison.
Excellent Alkor and Snapjaw punt unison races the fig up river.
The guards meet us at the jetty and while they don’t know of anyone missing they let us in to look around.
Tinnie sees a mechanism at the general store that he likes and takes it to the counter. The man behind the counter is a big dude and says its from an ancient settlement. When pressed on the matter he describes the party which set out to find artefacts: Dark slender features, 2 cutlasses and another has a cheek scar.
Alkor sells crowbar for 2 copper tortoises.
As we enter an elderly man approaches, 2 weeks ago this man sent a report to his companions: A tomb raiding search party that was adventuring out from Cusco spent several weeks heading deeper into the jungle and by all accounts had valuable finds.
Meanwhile in the tavern Tinnie and milo purchase 4 ales and take them over to the two adventurers they believe to be the ones who searched the caves looking for sweet loots. The two eye them warily and tells them that they have no idea what they are talking about. Believing this story whole heartily Tinnie goes to leave but is interrupted by the 2 asking who sent them.
“Meet us at the road gate leaving Cusco at 10pm tonight.”

Part 2: Bones of Tezca

Chapter 5: Delving Deeper


After arriving at the heavily fortified garrison of Kuzco the previous day the party rendezvoused with Diego with his two curved swords and his sullen friend. However, this was not before Tingus gifted Snapjaw with a sizeable amount ale which would in turn keep Snapjaw moored at Cuzco until the adventurers arrived back. The details of the whereabouts of the meeting eluded Demetri and he was unsure of the exact location of where they were supposed to meet. After scouting the local area Alkor discovered a figure out in the jungle , on further inspection it was Diego. Keen to leave Alkor began to walk up only to be surprised by the hidden Emelio, causing him to draw his sword, obviously the presence of the looming jungle weighing on his nerves. As the group entered the jungle maybe it was for the best that everyone was on edge; as they walked they heard what they could only assume to be Emelio fighting unseen threats. Several hours of jungle trekking rewarded the party with the discovery of the stone hand that was linked to the location of the mysterious cave. As promised, the cave proved to be close by and with some slight hesitation the band of adventurers entered the cave one by one. The wild nature of the jungle subsided to sleek stonework as the group delved deeper into the cave. As they advanced they felt their spirits dampen, the magic of the cave pressing down on their souls. Not only did this curse weigh on their minds but it trapped their bodies, forcing them to head down deeper through the long single corridor. The corridor ended in a large square room which held an intricate statue that fascinated Tingus but as they entered the entrance closed up, sealing them inside.
However the optimistic Tingus did not let the fear of his entrapment cease his investigation and as the group feared they may be trapped forever, a switch was flipped by Tingus and an ancient mechanism was activated. The floor began to lower and the party feared for what horror they would now see. Two hulking masses were revealed, towering above even the largest members of group. As they started to shamble forward with the anger glowing in their eyes the group saw their objective and a battle broke out. Algar proved victorious over the first monstrosity with her purple magic blasting away at its rotting corpse of a body. Tinny’ fists bested the second one and the adventurers lowered their guard basking in their victory. It was a short lived victory as the fallen bodies reanimated and grabbed at Algar, once again trapped by an enemy far stronger than herself. More fighting ensues until the grotesque bodies are well and truly destroyed, however this time they are given wide girth as the heroes wipe blood and guts from themselves. Keen to leave the monsters where they found them, the group moved through the recently revealed exit. The next room proved however that it is not a battle of brawn but a battle of wit as the writing on walls all holds secret meanings. These riddles are no match for the combined brain power of our clever explorers and once again they are allowed to move into the next chamber. Who knows what fiendish encounter is in store the party in the next ominous room?

Chapter 6: Glimpses of the Arcane

The Black Pyramid seen in visions of the past

The hallway is devilishly dark and even the torch Alkor lights with shaking hands only gives off stammering light. Moving forward through the hallways the group look ahead with fatigued eyes. Throughout the ruin the walls had been carved with strange images and as the group continues onwards this trend continues. The carvings here are insanely intricate, skillful beyond what any man living could achieve. They depict scenes of nature, animals and woodland nymphs dancing in hedonist displays of lust and lovemaking. As they walk Alkor and Tingus discuss the rooms they had travelled through, believing them to have been related to Sadoria the god of Knowledge and Mattar the god of Death. That seems to imply that this new area is devoted to the holder of the throne of nature. Moving through corridors into a square room this belief is justified, a wooden chair sitting in the centre of the room with the statue of a beautiful robed woman sitting atop it. The walls here are carved with scenes of debauchery centred around what appears to be a noble court. As Alkor explores he dislodges five bone dice. As soon as the dice hit the floor they zoom upwards, striking each member of the party in the forward with a magical thump.

Demetri walks through a younger, hotter and smaller version of the Ozarks. With a lunge he zooms forward, losing his physical form as if a cloud. He follows a group in animal skins who walk through the jungle without fear. For a day and a night he follows the group, watching as they march through the heavy jungle. He can only watch as they are ambushed and killed by a group wielding stone axes and spears. This larger group falls upon the smaller, massacring them and adorning themselves with their blood in a frenzy.

Alga floats as a moat of dust on air currents in the sky. She is a flick of darkness floating on the wind. She watches as a group of rough clad humans surrounding the bodies of other skin clad barbarians. Alga rides on the darkness as it swoops down to the victorious group. It lunges into the heart of the largest of the men. She feels as the darkness takes over his soul.

Alkor swoops over a sea of treetops, his wings flapping on the warm jungle breeze. A range of mountains sit to the south, a large river runs from east to west and far far away the sun sets. He watches as dark shapes move on the breeze. Black smoke that moves against the wind. The black smoke leads from a massive black pyramid, the only sign of civilisation within the jungle.

Tingus walks through the black stone hallways on the ruin. He sees others walking these halls. Skin clad barbarians led by a hulking man with a black mark on his chest. He sees them arguing in a square stone chamber, the large man moving alone ahead of his group. He reaches out to take a green dagger that hovers above a pedestal and begins to scream. His flesh rots from his bones as his hand tries to release the dagger.

All but Gar wake, the older man utterly exhausted. Opening their eyes the group are surprised to find strange beams of energy attaching them to a nearby wall. Tingus, Alga and Demetri all have this beams, threads of pure light that glow in different colours. The three experiment with their threads, discovering that they are physical representations of the magical powers they had drawn upon while in the ruin. The three test the threads, powering and combining them and realising that they are ultimately benign. An open door stands at the edge of the room and the group moves through. The walls in the corridors that follow are covered in sun motifs, thousands of variations and sized of intricately carved images. Soaring dragons fly among the suns above sprawling cities. These cities are filled with men who seem to be ruled by strange scaled men nearly twice their size. The carvings show this civilisation preparing for war and eventually besieging the Black Pyramid familiar to those who experienced visions in the previous room.

As all the others had before it this corridor also opens into a square room. In this room a scaled man sits on a throne of dark steel. The centre of the room has a clear orb on a pedestal while the floor around it has nine concentric circles. The walls are carved with astrological symbols, stars and suns and strange stone orbs. Demetri identifies these orbs as "planets", rocks that this world and others like it exist on. He explains the concept to his fellows but they laugh it off as superstition. He notes the rings on the floor and believes they indicate the movement of these 'planets' around a central sun. The group spends nearly an hour pushing and prodding the room, looking for a way to leave. They remove nine stone orbs from the walls but find they have no place to fit within the room. Finally it is by accident that the mechanisms of the room activate. With a simple statement of "sun" Tinnie activates the glass orb at the centre of the room. Now glowing the stone orbs are pulled into orbit around it, hovering a metre above the ground and spinning.

Raw power and heat wash out from the orb. Alga's eyes go wide as magical energy washes over her and she drinks in every drop. She begins to glow herself, body wracked with energy. Demetri and Tingus also drink in the energy as the orbs spin faster and faster. Finally Demetri is overcome by the power and with a scream blasts of rainbow energy explode from his body. Everyone is blasted backwards, Alga knocked unconscious as she hits a wall. Tingus is protected by a phalanx of golden light as his god reaches out to keep him safe. He rushes forward to where a black stone orb had just appeared from a nearby wall. With a shove the orb gets spinning. Taking a wide orbit around the room the black orb soaks up light as it spins, sucking the stone orbs into it as it spins ever inwards. Demetri still spits out energy, now knocking Gar and Tinnie off their feet.

As the black orb spins inwards the light is slowly extinguished and a door opens at the far side of the room. Alkor goes through first, carrying the unconscious forms of Gar and Alga over his shoulders. Demetri still spits out energy, Tingus protected only by the blessings of his god. He picks up Tinnie and takes him through as the black orb gets closer still to the centre of the room. Finally as the black orb reaches the glowing glass sphere Tingus pulls through Demetri. In the dark corridor beyond Demetri's energy disappears and a hollow thump can be heard behind as the black orb extinguishes the glass sphere's energy. In the dark corridor the group lies in the ground, utterly exhausted and in need of a good rest.

Chapter 7: …



Chapter 8: …



Chapter 9: A Brothers' Reunion


Tingus sits on a plain wooden stool on a slate floor, the floor stretches out in all directions as far as his sight prevails. He is surrounded by nothingness and a sense of dread creeps upon his mind. Thinking back to how he got here, at first he only receives flashes. Pain, screams, then nothingness.
Tears pour down his cheeks as he strains to contain all his emotions. He feels profound sadness but is uncertain why. Standing he begins to run, quick steps pound the slate but after what feels like an hour of sprinting he turns to see the same wooden stool directly behind him. He sits down again and weeps.
Slowly his memory begins to return to him, he looks up and through his blurred vision he sees an old wooden desk. Upon it sticks a stack of parchment and a heavy copper well of dark ink.

The recounted fragments of Tingus Phelps Tossleweaver’s last days

I slide down the smooth stone tunnel, not knowing where I will exit but hoping my brother is on the other side. After tumbling out upon the rough floor I notice the torchlight in the distance and set off after it. Alkor, Gar, Alga, Demetri and my brother Tinnie are all here. We are reunited after the labyrinth and set off once more.
We enter a large rectangular room. Polish stone floors and walls aid our torch light and the room is illuminated in its entirety. Completely empty except for an open door on the opposite side. The party sets off only to notice that once we cross halfway the door slams shut. It was Alkor who solved the riddle. The door will not open for you if you can see it. We crossed the room backwards and were over the hurdle. I must admit, we had been in these tunnels for what felt like days and I had begun to feel apprehensive over whether or not we’d ever escape.
Our next challenge was that of a tiled room, each 5ft square neatly paved before us in the giant rectangular room. It was Alga’s turn to devise the plan in finding the safe path through the tiled traps. Drawing her magical energy she summons an ethereal hand and begun to test the squares. I can only imagine the strain she must have felt to summon the hand over and over. I have felt my bond with Vidal being tested within the pyramid. With every cast I feel the added weight of this place. She is tough to have bared that strain for our safety. Slowly we make our way through the tiled nightmare. Facing illusions and unnatural darkness that even my keen gnome eyes could not penetrate. We step through the doorway into a corridor. More sculptures are etched into the walls of men tilling fields. We walk quietly down the corridor, the jokes that were idly bantered back and forth in the previous room have ceased as the gravity of our predicament consumes us. The corridor terminates at a room with a statue of a large man sitting upon a chesterfield armchair. He appears to be dozing; chin drooped on his food stained collar. The door behind him is inviting and Demetri and I are there first. Stupidly we grab the handle together and turn. Pain! That is all I remember from that moment, an all consuming pain as if every muscle in my body tensed and the very blood within my veins boiled.

I awake on a stone floor in an unfamiliar corridor as my brother Tinnie shakes me. He seems tired so I don't press him for information and allow him to return to rest as I take my watch. I spend the time admiring the ring I found at the beginning of this adventure. It is smooth and white but I am unable to determine the material it was made from. It fits snuggly over my ring and pinky fingers on my right hand and after giving my mace a couple of practise swings I note that it is only mildly uncomfortable and decide to keep it on. I wake the others and after a quick snack we set out down the corridor, after a few hours travel we enter into another room. A large figure sits upon a throne at the far end of this square stone chamber. He is clad all in black silks and a heavy black cloak is draped over his shoulders. Between us sits the dagger from my vision, rotating slowly above its dais ensnared by black tendrils. “Banana!” I cry to my companions but before I can explain I am gripped by an overwhelming desire to own the dagger. My next actions were not my own; I remember them as if watching myself commit them from afar. Tinnie leapt for the dagger and was there first clasping it tight ignoring Demetri’s attempt to dissuade him from his endeavour. Alkor charged in showing his true colour swinging my mace at my brother missing narrowly. I run in and try to wrest the dagger from Tinnie but he doesn't recognise me, plunging the dagger into my shoulder. I feel its evil magic weaken the connection between myself and Vidal — sitter upon the Throne of Life. I force myself through strength of will back into my body and take stock of my surroundings. Seeing my brother still poisoned by the evil artefact I place my hands upon him and pray for him to overcome his curse. His eyes become sharp once more and I recognise my brother has retaken control. He dodges another strike by Alkor and clasping the dagger in his hand bravely leaps at he black figure sitting patiently on the throne. The deity’s hand shoots out, and Tinnie is stuck helplessly dangling by his wrist in the back figure's grasp. Alkor realises his moment and swoops in, stealing the dagger from Tinnie and backing away from the party shifts his eyes between all of us. I approach him cautiously and give him his first warning — “drop the dagger and retreat to the corner of the room.”
Alkor drops the dagger but stays where he was, the dagger within arms reach on the floor and himself just 10ft from Tinnie’s vulnerable position still hanging in the statue's grip.
I give him his second warning — “I will ask you again, move to the far corner of the room. I will not ask a third time.”
I’m relieved to see Alkor shift to the corner of the throne chamber, I do not believe I would have been able to defeat him in 1 on 1 combat, and there are other issues at hand. I turn to face the black figure. He is now standing in front of his throne, my brother still in his tight grip. He instructs Tinnie, Alkor and Gar to kill the other three members of our party, myself included. I notice Alkor shift from his place in the corner of the room but keep my eyes on the giant figure in front of me as he still holds my brother. I can hear Tinnie say as the deity begins to swing him, “I will not harm my brother…” but the sentence is cut off as Tinnie is tossed roughly at Demetri, awkwardly crashing into him throwing both of them to the ground. I rush into combat with the black statue shouting prayers for my brother; hoping that Vidal will see fit to aid me in this struggle. The figure in black tries to grab me and I evade. Demetri stands and joins the battle, Tinnie and Alga fighting along side him. Again the man in black reaches out and I avoid his grasp. Out the corner of my eye I see a spear head burst through Demetri’s chest and he crumples to the floor. Alkor stands behind him, short spear in his hand. He pulls it out of Demetri and with his boot lifts Demetri’s chin slightly. I can only look on in horror as he brings the spear down on his throat. There is no cry out from Demetri as the spark fades from his eyes and the dark blood gushes onto the throne room floor. I look back to statue but my focus has been elsewhere to long. I attempt to summon my spiritual weapon… nothing happens; Vidal has abandoned me. stone fist connects with my chin and my world goes blank.

Tingus stands from his stool, neatly written pages are stacked on the table but the ink has disappeared. Turning from side to side he sees a figure off in the distance running towards him. As he grows near Tingus recognises him and leaps gleefully into his outstretched arms. Tinnie and Tingus embrace tears of joy running down their cheeks.

Campaign Appendixes

Dramatis Persona

A group of strangers who were brought to Tezca to fulfil a destiny yet unknown to them.

  • Alga Millcrest: A young woman with a mysterious past who summons eldricht powers to vanquish her foes.
  • Alkor: A mercenary with a haunted past. He enjoys fighting and hunting almost as much as he does drinking.
  • Tinnie Tossleweaver: A gnomish tinkerer and brother of Tingis. Co-owner of the 'Tossleweaver Tinkerers and Tailors' caravan. Practices the art of the Ki.
  • Tingis Tossleweaver: A gnomish tailor and brother of Tinnie. Worshipper of the Lord of Light and cleric of healing.
  • Gar: Ex-mercenary captain whose attempt at retirement was unsuccessful. Gruff and no-nonsense like many of his kind.
  • Miko Rourke: A seller and appraiser of magical goods. The name and identity are actually an alias for Demetri Thatch.

Notable figures & NPCs:

  • George: A youth who hired Andre to take him to Tezca.
  • Captain Andre: Captain of the Seaweaver, explorer and pioneer.
  • Fisher: Lepas local and High One of the Cult of Sadoria.
  • Snapjaw: River bargeman and layabout normally found in Rosie's Pub in Lepas.
  • Sergeant Matthias: Leader of the Bueno garrison.
  • Diego and Emilio: Two ruffians who work out of the Cuzco garrison. Talented travellers of the jungle and utterly deadly.


  • The Port of Lepas: Set on the ocean at the mouth of the Sirena river, the Port of Lepas is the capital town of the Empire of Yukitan. It is a cosmopolitan city with many traders and merchants calling it home.
    • The Fortress Monastery of Sadoria: Home of the High One and the devotees of Sadoria. Heavy defended atop a hill.
    • The Port District: Straight streets house taverns and brothels that service the many sailors and rivermen that make port here.
  • The Ozarks: A mass of jungles that sit on the edge of Lepas. Much of the Ozarks are unchartered and filled with all sorts of unpleasant beasts.
    • Bueno: A garrison of the Prince along the Sirena river.
    • Cuzco: A garrison of the Prince along the Sirena river.
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