Serpent's Skull

The Quest for Saventh Yhi
The story so far...

Several months ago a cargo and passenger ship sailing from Varisia to Sargava sank just shy of the Sargavan port of Eleder. Despite being poisoned beforehand, several passengers survived the wreck only to find themselves stranded on an inhospitable jungle island.

- The Captain and his romantic interest, a Pathfinder named Ieana, had poisoned the evening meal that last night. The first mate and the few others who hadn’t eaten fought to prevent them from sailing the ship toward The Shiv, a small island ringed by treacherous reefs and considered too dangerous to approach. The first mate and his men were unsuccessful. The hull was breached near the island and the Captain and Ieana had gone ashore by rowboat. The first mate had managed to row a few survivors ashore before dying of his injuries and poison.

- While tracking down the Captain, the survivors discovered that the island was home to a tribe of cannibals. The Captain’s trail led straight to their village which was built in the ruins of an old settlement containing a lighthouse that could be used to signal passing ships.

- The cannibals were the inbred degenerate survivors of a lost ship from the Chelish armada that tried to retake Sargava some 70-80 years back. The shipwrecked survivors pulled together with a little warning from a friendly dryad and annihilated the cannibals. The dryad also mentioned that Ieana had left heading East, but the Captain must still be in the village.

- The cannibal village was centered around a covered hole in the ground opening into a natural cavern system. It was obviously of religious significance and it appeared the cannibals regarded it as an entry to the underworld/afterlife. The castaways went in to track down the Captain. Afterlife for the cannibals turned out to be conversion into aquatic ghouls and the caves were overrun with them including the Captain who had been given to the ghouls by Ieana and had written his shame out in blood while his body changed, including the fact that he had been mentally dominated by Ieana for months.

- The caverns also connected to an ancient subterranean temple filled with snake motifs. This had been Ieana’s goal all along and appeared to predate Earthfall. (~10,000 years previously) Inside a small and heavily warded room the Pathfinder had cleaned and used pigments to enhance the writing (in Aklo) covering one panel of the walls. Each panel referred to the domain of a serpent lord on the island and the method for activating the defensive magic of the obelisk each was equipped with. Ieana had repaired a panel referring to the Tidestone- capable of drastically dropping the sea level around the island to dash approaching ships on the rocks and sink them when the water rushed back. Each panel had a later hasty addition noting the fall of the serpent lord to the Azlanti. The last panel was hastily scrawled on the back of the door and is a good example of why ancient Aklo is difficult to translate. Many words share dual meanings and they use descriptive phrases in place of many words common to Taldane:

The Abundant Slavemen Shoeshod/Chainhanded Rise
In Breaking Wave-Ever-Breaking Against [We].
Deprivation Abounds/Shall Abound.
__
In Victory, Great Loss. In Retreat, Proposed,
Perhaps… Less-Loss.
Query: Better to Burnsphere Sunworld with Plague/Storm?
Or to Sleep-And-In-Sleep-Replenish
While Poor New Masters of Slaves Falter?
The Stars [Shall Turn] Right Again.
__
To Ilmurea.
Sleep or Fight, to Ilmurea I Flee.
__
-Typhonia, High Priest of Our Coiled Lord

- Ieana’s panel contained enough geographical details to find the Tidestone. Some of the castaways stayed on to repair the lighthouse while the others set out to capture or kill Ieana and prevent her from potentially wrecking any approaching rescue ships with the Tidestone. The domain the serpent lord ruling over the Tidestone turned out to have been conquered and repurposed by the Azlanti after their invasion, but these were clearly members of some kind of evil blood drinking cult. The older serpent iconography was mostly defaced and resculpted into long fanged bats, iconography associated with the Demon Queen Zura who had been an Azlanti noble in life. Long dead serpentfolk still stood as undead guardians long after the Azlanti who created them had died.

- Gelik, Treebeb, Zeriks and the other castaways confronted Ieana in the temple where they learned that she was actually one of the (previously thought to be extinct) serpentfolk named Yarssoth. They forced her to flee, but she didn’t have time to retrieve all of her things. The journal she left behind was filled with notes she had managed to decipher from her findings in the temple. The Azlanti blood cult here were exiles from an Azlanti city known as Saventh-Yhi (or Savith’s Grave) and they had retreated here to build their power and transform themselves with rituals before a planned return to Saventh-Yhi as conquerers. Because the way home had been erased from their minds on exile they had set out planning to use an astrological scrying facility known as the Pillars of Light to find the path.

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Journey to Tazion

After being rescued by a passing ship the survivors finally made it to Eleder where they were approached by representatives from various factions expressing an interest in the ongoing translation of Yarssoth’s scrolls and journal. The characters negotiated with a few groups and signed on with Amivor Glaur from the Pathfinder Society with Gelik facilitating the process.

Once the deal was made the sabotage began. Someone spread rumors that the Pathfinders were actually a commercial slaving outfit. A local group of violent abolitionists burned their warehouse and kidnapped Gelik forcing a confrontation. The Sargavan government levied a heavy new caravan tax prompting the PF expedition to leave the city by night in small groups. On the road a caravan leader holding a roadside cockfighting match tried to poison the Pathfinder’s front runners. In Kalabuto hired assassins crept in the windows of their local contact’s home to put an end to their bid for the city.

Continually the Aspis Consortium has turned up as the ones pulling strings behind the scenes.

In Tazion the Pathfinders found the Azlanti fort nearly consumed by the jungle and home to a large tribe of charau-ka ruled over by a serpentfolk enchanter. Through force and stealth they made their way around the fort looking for the Pillars of Light while the Sargavan force assaulted the fort from head on outside the walls. Once they managed to defeat the serpentfolk ruler of the fort the Aspis group sealed them into the ziggurat to put an end to the competition. Locked inside, the group managed to find a cleverly hidden secret exit and stash of ceremonial items secured by the Azlanti priesthood of the complex.

Taking the items they made their escape through a forgotten aqueduct leading under the walls and out into the jungle.

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Arrival in Savinth-Yhi

After another few days trek through the jungle the Pathfinder Expedition found the lost city. They cleared a long lost path up a waterfall and used plant growth to bury it again.

DAY 1
Making their way across a rope bridge the group was attacked by pteranadons and down a rock path below several giant crocodiles. A significant show of force was enough to drive them off. The expedition traveled to the outskirts of the city and made a makeshift camp in the jungle.

Learned:
The entire valley the city is based in is covered by an epic level magic to keep it hidden.
-Mirage Arcana makes the entire valley to appear as densely forested jungle hills from the outside.
-Nondetection makes the entire valley undetectable by scrying or divination of any kind. Both scrying and divination function normally within the valley.
-A strong transmutation has been applied over the city to massively slow the effects of time and erosion.

Day 2
The party begins some initial exploration of the structures closest to them. The nearest buildings contained what were probably slave pens, slaughter houses and other nasty professions relegated to the outlying districts. They spotted a tower on a nearby hill and decided to explore and claim it as a base of operation. The tower turned out to be a nest of many blood drinking batlike humanoids and the battle over their nest was brutal, but the Pathfinders won in the end and claimed the tower.

Learned:
-The sabosan worshiped Zura, the demon Queen of cannibalism and blood drinking who had once been an Azlanti Queen.
-The curse which afflicted one of the members of the original explorers in the temple of the Azlanti Zura cultists had transformed him into one of these sabosan.
-The art of their creation myth depicts them as being transformed from humans into sabosan by Zura’s blessing.

Day 3
Spent building camp and repairing the tower.
Imogen creates a treasure map from the hide of a dead sabosan leading to two places in the city.

Day 4
The group heads out for the closer location on Imogen’s treasure map. On the way a group of natives, made in the form of humans (stitched together from the flesh of many bodies with extra limbs and some of them in partial states of decay) approach them. On finding that the group have killed the sabosan they grant them free passage through their district, but ask that they make no permanent camps in their territory. Archibald asks to learn their history and they agree, but insist that he study it with one of their own bards.

The location marked on the map turns out to be the Central Treasury of Savinth-Yhi. The building was flooded and partially collapsed and showed signs of a massive battle. Most of the group decided to swim into the sunken vaults in search of treasure and quickly found themselves surrounded by shadows eager to drain their life force…

Learned:
-Sir Guido’s Ring of Seven Virtues activated once he entered a a proper city district. One of the seven spikes flared and activated a few new abilities and bonuses for him.
-The ring is drawing power from the monolith spear atop the ziggurat in this district. The spear is currently dormant.
-The Umasi, also known as the Harvestmen, were an ancient tribe of Mwangi people who were cursed by a witchdocotor who they disrepected. They are immortal but sterile. Their bodies decay slowly and they survive by stitching new flesh and organs to replace the dead.
The Umasi leader named the other major tribes of the city:
-Children of the Spear (charau-ka)
-Tribe of the Sacred Serpent (humans)
-Tribe of the Green God (frog men)
-Cult of the Mantis (foul smelling lizard people)
-They do not travel among the district he called the fungal forest because it is too dangerous.
-The Treasury was not always on an island. Despite the preservative magic the shoreline of the lake has obviously changed since the city was built.

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