Aust stared in puzzlement at the hand which had gripped Fai’lon’s, that was now covered in blood. It held some strange sense of foreboding for him.
The rest of the group looked around and found themselves in a large clearing in the center of which stood a black obelisk with blue, inscribed runes. A network of trenches had been dug around its base, and the sound of rumbling machinery came from that direction. Before they could think too much, a large silverback gorilla lumbered out of the forest and began to aggressively challenge them. Aust snapped out of his reverie and wiped the blood from his hand, gripping his weapon. Other gorillas hung back and watched from the eaves of the treeline, and a small, brown head popped out of the trench.
“Runforit!” shouted the gnome. The party made a dash for the imagined safety of the excavations, and the alpha ape did not pursue.
The gnome asked if they were reinforcements, and if they had brought supplies with them. When they remarked that they were not, and even that they didn’t know where they were or how they came to be here, he told them they were in the forest of ??? near the shores of Gurzanti. He also recommended that they talk to Cuprei as he was the person in charge here, though Specallus thought he ran the show.
The gnome led them to the central excavation and they talked with Cuprei, who explained that the Gnomish archeology guild had sent this expedtion, and the mettalurgists guild had sent him along to determine the composition of the obelisk’s material. Unfortunately, it has resisted all attempts to break off a sample thus far, and things had been complicated by the animals that have laid siege to the camp since their first night. Vadania remarked that this is unnatural behavior for animals, and he replied that it was mating season and there was nothing strange about it at all. In fact, there was recent research on spontaneous ovulation synchronization between species which would explain the multiplicity of animal types that have been attacking.
Regardless, if they wanted to aid in the defense of the camp, he sent them to talk to their assigned member of the Defense guild, Gidgit. The party followed the only human member of the camp, Amiko and chatted with him a bit. According to him, he was a monk and bard who had been hired as a guide to this area.
They arrived at the M-THATCH, an all terrain vehicle that Gidgit was in the process of repairing in preparation for a run to their ship on the morrow. It also had a still function installed, much to Aust’s delight. The party agreed to help Gidgit and Amiko defend the camp from tonight’s attack.
That evening, the silverback and his shrewdness attacked, concealed by a rising mist and screened by a wake of small, vicious monkeys. During the battle, both Amiko and Vadania were knocked unconscious, and the druidess was accidentally poisoned by her animal companion when it bit her while trying to save her from a gorilla’s embrace. The shrewdness retreated, with the unconscious party members in tow, and though Kindle gave chase, the apes were too fast and the fog too thick.
Vadania briefly awoke enough to hear two people speaking before she lost consciousness again because of the poison.
Gathering their courage, the group as a whole attempted a sortie into the hostile night time woods, but found that the branches were filled with hundreds of glowing monkey eyes. Gidget employed his flamethrower to start a fire, which indeed seemed to scare away many of the eyes, but rising out of the flames emerged an elemental of fire, which persueded them to retreat back to their own trenches.
Some hours later, Vadania and Amiko awoke deep underground. The Bard/Monk was able to wriggle free of his bonds, but could not see to undo Vadania’s. They found their way magically barred by a suggestion ward, and so awaited their captors.
An Angelounian in a Jaguar mask named Lun’ei soon arrived, and told Vadania that she had felt a kinship with the elf’s magic, so they had spared them both. The gnomes sought to meddle with things they could not comprehend. The secrets of the Angelounians would remain only for them. When Vadania mentioned their manner of arrival and Fai’lon’s name, Lun’ei recognized the Farseer’s name. She quickly left to consult with another.
It was nearly morning when she returned with another. Bearing the mask of a serpent, this angelounian was called Mel’hora, and he felt that perhaps it was the unhappy Kael of Fai’lon that brought them together, and asked if Vadania would join their threads against the gnomes. Vadania, disliking gnomes ever since arriving, agreed. Amiko asked for 3 steel as payment for switching sides. The demand of money as well as the low price disgusted both elf and angelounians, but it was quickly paid. Both were allowed to go free and told to meet Lun’ei and Mel’hora at a hill to the west where 3 trees grew intertwined.
They arrived at the gnomish camp just as Gidget was about to start up the M-THATCH and make his supply run along with the party. After the joyous reunion, Vadania suggested that everyone leave now, and abandon the gnomes to their fates. Kindle suggested that they try and convince Gidget to come along, as he had made an attempt to help them rescue Amiko and Vadania last night. Reluctantly, she agreed.
They quickly convinced Gidget to come with them to the meeting place. He left a note on the M-THATCH to be found by the other gnomes.
Hours later the Angelounians and the silverback, whose name was Bahj, met them. They had ceased the gnomes’ ebb and flow, which, when Gidget didn’t comprehend, they explained to mean the gnomish archeologists were dead. They acknowledged the party, gave Amiko a further 3 Stl “so that his friends would all know the price of his loyalty”, and told them that their next step should be Daouda.
Six days march later, the party arrived at the city, capital of the province of West Burkana. Refugees of two peoples, the Palaga and the Zuma had set up camps outside the walls, separate but close enough to keep a wary eye on each other. Gidget negotiated their entry to the city by offering his skills as a weaponsmith, and they quickly purchased the only room they could find for rent.
It was declared by public proclamation that the Grand Lion had lost the faith of emperor Unandi, and that one of the crown princes was on his way to see to the province’s defense. The party then rested from their travels.