Shadows of the Rift

Rage and Raven: The Curse of Punari (Part III)

Part Three

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3 Ardor 508

The party, made up of Tag, Rhain, Lenoria, Regna, and Tavayne, all set out from Asdari with 2 carts and mules to venture into the jungle toward the mountains to the south.

For the most part, the journey this day is uneventful. It is Achera in summer, which can be warm, and the jungle is moist, making it sticky and miserable. However, no encounters are made.

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After traveling for several days through the thick jungle, the party makes a disgusting discovery. It happens when Tag throws himself into yet another small stream of water in hopes of cooling off. Rhain has been walking beside the carts as well, preferring his own stride to riding in the cart. Both men discover that they have been attacked by ghost leeches! Large, translucent bloodsuckers that can be deadly if untreated, the leeches have glommed on to both, presumably from the water. They manage to detach the disgusting creatures from both themselves and the mules.

As a result, Tag takes to riding in the cart and they also check themselves and the animals after every water crossing.

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That night, during Tavayne’s watch, the party is alerted by the bard’s yells and the sounds of battle. A huge, living mound of vegetation is attacking Tavayne! The party finally manages to slay the shambling mound, but it is a hard fight.

The rest of the night goes by much more quietly.

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As the party is making their way through the overgrowth, they are set upon by a band of 3 dire apes! The primal primates descend in force from the canopy and attack with ferocity. Nevertheless, they are soon dispatched and the party continues into the jungle.

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Finally, the party emerges from the thick jungle canopy into the bright sun. The mountain pass lies before them.

As they traverse the narrow pass, they come to an area where they are ambushed by a band of Ogres! The giant humanoids have the carts surrounded all sides, with two Ogres in the ridges above the pass and two more coming from in front and behind.

Despite the long odds, the party emerges victorious and slays all four Ogres.

Inside an nearby cave, the party discovers a hoard of treasure collected by the Ogres. Along with coin and gems and weapons, there are many more mundane items that were clearly part of the gear and goods of a good number, and wide variety, of travelers.

Among the items is a puzzle box that fascinates Tag for a good while, until he finally opens it, revealing a small, green, leather pouch with an intricate wolf pattern embroidered on its face. Tag believes he recognizes the symbol as belonging to a Eacenian family that is associated with a tragedy of some sort. He takes the bag and puts it on.

Regna is more dubious and wants to check it for magic—and possibly curses. Tag lets her examine the item with her magical abilities—but won’t let her hold it. She then, sure enough detects not only magic but a curse laid behind it. She believes that the pouch is going to cause Tag’s clothing and armor straps and other gear to start rotting off his body.

Tag, for his part, wants to keep the bag and doesn’t want to believe Regna.

The party decides to camp in the Ogre cave for the night and press on in the morning.

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That morning, Regna manages to remove the curse on the bag. Tag still opts to keep it.

They move out from the Ogre cave and up the pass to the monastery.

Later, they arrive at a plateau where a cross-shaped building of sandstone sits, it’s domed roof gleaming in the sun.

The perimeter is checked and it is determined that the building has but one viable entrance. There are arrow slits to allow light and air into the building, but not proper windows. The party lines up: Regna Tag, Lenoria, Rhain, and finally Tavayne. Regna is detecting magic while Tag looks for traps and other such secrets along the way.

After traversing a long corridor, they arrive in a largish room adorned with mosaics depicting the symbol of Dhakranism (an 8-colored swirl in a circle), the monk Shandor in various martial poses, and serene landscape scenes. In the center of the room is a statue made of bronze of an Acheran monk in a ready pose. There are stone benches along the walls.

And coming toward them five skeletons adorned in the tattered robes of Shandorian monks.

They dispatch the skeletons relatively quickly and then notice a pile of treasure discarded in the room. The treasure is collected and the party moves on.

In the next room, they find that there are murals painted on the walls of people taking tea and serene natural landscapes. There is a wooden sideboard at the on the east side of the room. There is a low, wooden table in the center of the room with the remains of a porcelain tea set sitting smashed in the center of it.

In this room, Regna hears the stones calling to her and manages to find a hidden panel with a chest inside. The chest is full of treasure. They combine their hauls and move on.

They explore a few more rooms, noting the variety of mosaics on display and encounter nothing further for awhile. Some of the doors are stuck, but Rhain manages to make quick work of them.

Finally, they arrive in large room where rotted straw mats litter the floor. Murals on the wall depict Shandor in various poses of meditation, as well as serene landscape scenes. Here are 5 more of the strange skeletal monks—though these seem to be of a higher order than the ones previously encountered.

After dispatching the skeletal monks, they find a hoard of treasure cast about on the floor of the room.

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