When we left off, our group of heroes found themselves surrounded by a tribe of warriors. Everyone reaches for their weapons. “Calm down. They are jungle tribes, sworn allies of my people.” Kiran says. Then he addresses their massive, scarred leader in a strange musical language. The man clearly doesn't understand, and replies in broken Kyrosian: “You are my prisoners. Drop your weapons and surrender.”
Shangor, Katrina and Hawk wanted to fight despite the five to one odds. Katrina was chomping at the bit to put an arrow into the belly of the warrior’s leader. Hawk challenged the leader to one on one combat but he declined. Sylph wanted to try to persuade the chief but her powers were countered by someone yet unseen and she was captured. Kiran tries to plead his case but he also seized. With both Kiran and Sylph captured, the rest of the party decides to surrender. The warriors remove their weapons, bind them and lead to their village.
|This looks like the setup for an old joke|
|Nowhere to run|
Upon arriving at their village, the warriors to take the party before their chieftain Fatbelly, who always seems to be eating. “Strangers, why have you desecrated the holy temple of the Claw’s Clan?” he asks, while chewing loudly. “We haven’t desecrated anything.” Kiran thunders disdainfully. “I am Kiran, King of the Haakora and your lord by law. I used the Beacon, which you left in a deplorable state of decay, to warn my people. Now free us and bow to me, and I might forget your offense!” As he says these words, Kiran almost transfigures, his tattoos now gone, and his voice has a power that is clearly inhuman. The jungle warriors cower in terror, and Fatbelly stops chewing and drops his food. Then a croaking voice rises from the crowd.
“When the old gods forget their children, new gods come to protect them! Fatbelly, kill them and send their heads to Azagara. The lords of the city will be grateful to us! So I, Shagga the Elder, say!” The crowd parts and old crone limps forward with a gnarled staff that supports her. She looks at Kiran defiantly, before continuing. “Your race abandoned us even before the birth of my grandmother. You can try to impress us, but I feel you are powerless. Where are your wings, mighty lord? Now you must crawl on the ground like all of us mortals and tremble in front of the new gods.” She laughs evilly.
Kiran calmly answers: “I fear no god, old witch.” “Is that so?” the woman grins. “People of the jungle, have you heard? They challenged our new gods! Now we’ll see if they have the courage to face them Four warriors each stick a spear in the ground and the villagers quickly clear the space marked by the four spears. Only the heroes, still bound, and Shagga remain in the open space. Then, someone starts playing a drum. The old witch shakes her body in strange, frenetic movements, more similar to an inner torture than to a dance. She whines and whimpers like a beast in pain. Kiran too starts chanting in his melodious low voice, pitting his magic against the witch’s. In the meantime, the foliage along the border of the forest moves and an enormous tiger jumps out into the clearing! “The god! The god!” whisper the villagers. The beast approaches, warily at first and then more boldly. Its golden eyes focused on the bound group of people.
|The new god arrives!|
With sinuous steps, the mighty beast closes in and lets loose with a roar that shakes Hawk. Shangor breaks free of his bonds but Shagga hits him with a blast of magic that stuns him. Sul’khaz, despite being bound, summons three wolves. The large wolf attacks the tiger, the smaller two attack Shagga who continues her obscene dance. The great tiger strikes Shangor, leaving claw marks across his chest. After recovering from the claws and the blast of magical power from Shagga, Shangor cried out “This wasn’t the pussy that I was hoping for tonight!” Hawk manages to recover and free herself. She grabs one of the spears from the ground and strikes the might cat. The spear should have cut the flesh of the beast but it failed to even scratch it. Hawk quickly realizes that they must defeat Shagga to defeat the tiger but Hawk’s code of honor prevents her from attacking an old woman. Eventually, everyone manages to free themselves except for Kiran who continues to attempt to counter Shagga’s magic. While Shangor and Hawk grappled with the Tiger, everyone ganged up on Shagga, eventually taking her down but it took some time. With Shagga dead, the now completely mortal tiger bounded into the jungle, although it did leave some fur behind in the hands of Hawk.
|This wasn't the pussy I was hoping for tonight!|
|The tiger throws Shangor through the air after his first attempt to grapple the beast fails|
|The tiger moves to protect Shagga|
The people of the Claw Clan are astonished. Fatbelly kneels before our band of adventurers and the rest of his people follow his example. “We ask for your pardon, Winged Lord. Forgive us!” Kiran stares intensely at them and, for a moment, he seems exactly like the king that he has claimed to be. Kiran extends his forgiveness and party’s weapons are returned to them and now they are treated as honored guests. The tribe offers them food, wine and women. Katrina is content just have a full set of arrows again but Shangor indulges himself in all the tribe has to offer.
After a few days of enjoying the generous hospitality of the Claw Clan, Kiran grows restless and wants to be back on the road to Haak. The Claw Clan provides the party with generous provisions: dried meat, pies made of fruit and a couple of cassava, carved pumpkins full of strong banana liquor, plus several mantles made of thick pelts. “You’ll need them. It is very cold in the mountains.” Fatbelly says, scratching his massive stomach. The tribe points the group to the Path of Burden, which their name for the Path of Light. Fatbelly explains that no one from the tribe has ventured along the path in generations. It isn’t long before the heroes realize that the Claw Clan did not name it the Path of Burden for nothing. The trail into the mountains will be difficult and dangerous.
About midday, the party is walking along a particularly narrow path on the edge of a crevasse when they notice a number of large birds circling overhead. Katrina immediately gets out her bow. “They are Ka Nam.” Kiran says “My people train them for hunting and war. They are excellent scouts and guardians too. In the past they were our closest friends, but today, well, we shall see.” As if in response to these words, the hawks start shrieking loudly: The screeching does not sound friendly at all. Then, as a single creature, they swoop down upon the party. “I’ll try to calm them down! But be ready!” Kiran shouts, his voice almost lost amidst the birds’ cries.
This is where we left off. The fight with the Ka Nam will be were the next session starts.