The group of shipwreck survivors pressed on through the jungle until they stumbled on a vast depression in the ground that stretched nearly 6 miles across by a mile wide. No tress grew in this area, and the ground was rough, with patches of tall grass. Dalrin gave the blessing of flight to Shallasar, who glad to be able to move freely in three dimensions, like he could at sea, dove into the air, from up above he saw a herd of enormous beast with elephantine bodies, long necks and even longer tails.
The group carefully clambered down into the depression, intent on continuing their journey to the Dark Mountains to the south. As the group were about half way across the open ground Shallasar called a warning, he had spotted a diplodocus that had been separated from the herd and was being set on by a group of vicious looking flightless birds with sharp beaks and talons, each one the size of a warhorse. The lone dinosaur was stampeding along the valley towards the safety of the herd, unfortunately its path would take it right through were the adventurers and their charges were crossing.
Acting quickly Valdis ushered the non-combatants back up the slope while Urol urged the adventures to attack the Terror Birds, explaining that the dinosaur was “mostly harmless” being an herbivore. While most of the group opened up on birds with a combination of missile fire and arcane magic, Dalrin took the time to set his spear against the charge, as he did so the enlargement spell took effect and the spear took on the scale of a siege weapon, while Dalrin himself looked like a giant.
illustration by Warren Mahy
The battle was hard fought; the confused and frightened dinosaur trampled Trantil into the ground as it charged over the Terror Bird he was fighting. When another group of Terror Birds that were intent on flanking the diplodocus turned on the adventurers themselves things looked bad for the adventurers for a while, but the oversized chickens turned out to be no match for the adventurers. With the terror birds defeated the giant lizard returned to the safety of the herd, and the survivors could cross the gorge to rejoin the jungle trail on the other side.
As the group of the group of survivors approached the foot of the Dark Mountains, the jungle receded once more to reveal a ruined temple complex, cloaked in a shroud of spider webs. As the adventurers moved through the ruins they saw several monstrous spiders of various size that largest easily the size of Thunderstrike, but the spiders withdrew as the group advanced. At the centre of the ruins at the top a small stepped pyramid was an old woman seated on a throne of bones held together by thick cobwebs.
The woman beckoned the adventurers to approach her throne; at first she spoke in a language unfamiliar to the group but then switched to Sylvan, which Urol recognised. He translated for the group at first but the old woman who introduced herself as Lithira grew bored of the speed of conversation and gave Valdis a pearl to place in her mouth. When she did so it melded with her tongue and suddenly she found she could understand what the woman was speaking, even though now Urol, could not. Lithira explained the pearl gave the user the ability to speak and understand Olman, in return for hearing stories of the land they had travelled from and their journey here, she offered them a safe place to sleep guarded by her “children” (the spiders).
The pair talked long into the night, Valdis spinning a tale of adventure about their trip to the island and speaking of the wonders of civilization. Lithira in turn spoke of how she had been driven out of colony to the west because she would not except the strange unnatural Rhagodessa that had recently appeared out of the mists.
Lithira also gave the adventurers a stark warning.
“There are unnatural things that lurk in dark places, now more so than in the past. I know the four eyes have gazed upon you and their servant seeks you out. You would do well to avoid him.”
She told them of a pass through the Dark Mountains about a day’s journey south it marked the start of the coastal road Urol spoke of. The pass went through an abandoned Olman temple, but the entrance was home to a nesting colony of terror birds.
In the morning the rag-tag band of colonists started the march south once more, alert to the dangers of terror birds and the Rhagodessa, “Two Feathers” was able to help the group avoid further encounters and the group got to the foot hills of the mountains without incident. While the majority waited in the foothills the adventurers went ahead to scout the pass and deal with the terror birds. The matriarch of the bird colony proved a difficult challenge for the group, but after a bloody fight they were victorious. With the nests clear, Urol explained that dozen or so Terror Bird eggs might fetch nearly 500 gold crowns each if kept warm and carefully transported back to the mainland, but it seemed an impossible proposition considering the groups current predicament. “Two Feathers” ran back to bring up the rest of the shipwrecked crew, and the group spent their third night on the island by the entrance to the Olman temple, Nurbir Hargirn cooking up the largest and most expensive omelette in history.