The party decides to take the trail to Yetu's location, rather than the river. We load up the mules while Te'ke gives Rod-Kym-Na and I some information on the local flora and fauna. It seems like most of the standard things that one would find on a tropical island although there are some differences, likely from the centuries of isolation from the rest of the Palladium world.
The first day is uneventful. We find small 'pockets' in the jungle where there is no vegitation for several yards. Nothing magical or evil emanates from these open spaces so we use several of these as our campsite. Standard watches through out the night. No attacks during the first night but both Mug and Ackdor say they saw something watching us from the distance. Ackdor, scouting around, finds large cat tracks a bit from the campsite. Tracks that are larger than your normal jungle cat.
Throughout the next day, at least one cat continues to stalk us, never getting close enough to be a real threat or get a close look at it. By mid-afternoon, Alta is looking unwell, sweating and stumbling while trying to keep up. Some jungle affliction. Quickly cleared up by a healing drought, of which we've brought many, it foreshadows something we will experience numerous times over the next few days.
We encounter several large cats over the next few days. None are overly hostile but the ones that look like large black panthers seem more intelligent than average and are the ones that have been following us. Temporarily paralyzing one using psionics gives them the message that we are not just food to be trifled with. A sickly anaconda and some bush pigs are the most serious threats we face until more of the jungle sickness strikes. While the version that Alta is repeatedly hit with and also afflicted Mug is easily cured with some healing potion, Rod-Kym-Na becomes delirious with fever, nearly fighting us so she can ‘return to the temple’ before we convince her to take a sip of ‘holy water’.
The night before we expect to reach Yetu’s, one of the cats decides to get brave enough to attack the camp. It jumps on Mug from behind and mauls him badly until we manage drive it away. Even though he is quickly healed, nighttime and darkness will make him nervous and uneasy for the rest of his days. Poor Mug.
We reach the location of Yetu. A large swamp with an upraised hut on stilts in the middle. No boats being present, we utilize a log as ballast to make our way across. The entrance to the hut is familiar. It is carved and designed into the shape seen at every Dragonwright temple across the Palladium world. The gate. Yetu stands in the doorway and beckons us in. Of the same type as the tribesmen, he is ancient and exudes the power of the dragon gods but not nearly so much as what stands on a pedestal in the middle of the room. A giant tooth, rippling with waves of magic. One can only surmise the strength of the creature that shed it.
He shows us a war club covered in runes, dwarven make and old. Likely predating the Elf/Dwarf wars that destroyed the Old Kingdom. Yetu explains that this came from the other island, L’hauth, the island of the evil ones, and that the next stage of our journey is there. On that island we will face challenges that will test our bodies and mind but that will be nothing compared to what we will face beyond, challenges that will imperil our very souls. A place where we will have to make decisions that could change the direction of the entire world.
We depart from the hut with the Shaman’s blessings and warnings on minds.