Monday, January 2, 2012

Under the mountain

Having dealt a significant blow to the slavers operating in the area, Gwinch agreed to Kishi’s suggestion that they should return to his assignment from the Emperor to track down the rogue Governor and General. Accompanied by Gunjar, their retainers (Saisho, Deng, Little Gamo) and Gwinch’s 12 disciples, they set off from Quitokai, seeking out the fabled Larang Highway. Because Gwinch had made the acquaintance of a sociable and intelligent band of pandas who knew of the “scare men,” the party declined the assistance of a human guide from Quitokai. Kreppu-san and Sho-ji stayed behind.
The party spent a couple days with the Panda, and helped them kill and eat an enormous two-headed snake. And then it was time to go. The Pandas showed them where the Larang Highway tunneled under the great snow-capped mountains.
subterranean highway II by Brayo
subterranean highway II, a photo by Brayo on Flickr.

The party travelled through this tunnel for two days, before emerging in a green valley, thick with trees, vines, mist, and monkeys, and surrounded on all sides by sheer cliffs. In this valley was a waterfall-fed pool that was emptied by a stream that flowed into an underground channel. Conveniently, there were 10 small canoes available. Less conveniently, each canoe could only hold one person. And no mounts. The party felled a few trees and constructed three rafts, each capable of holding four people, luggage and a fire-pot for light inside the cave. The horses and donkeys were left behind.

The caverns were a labyrinth of winding tunnels, some water-filled and others dry. They fought a couple groups of small (2-3 ft. tall) skeleton- and zombie- men and recovered some interesting and valuable magic amulets. And they found the exit—a passage that connected them to a large well-finished and paved tunnel that brought them back into day light—on a hot dry ridge bordering a steaming jungle.
Kishi used her magic to ascend into the sky and survey the area. The long shape of the jungle suggested a river. Without any clearly marked path or even destination, the party decided that they should enter the jungle and move through it directly south, hoping to rediscover the Larang Highway, or rumors of the Governor or the General, either inside the jungle or on the other side.

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