Secondmonth 3, 301 AL – Secondmonth 5, 301 AL
Unfortunately, the hobgoblin is severely weakened by his injuries, and it’s decided to make camp. Equally unfortunately, the party is awakened in the middle of the night by a dozen man-sized, bright red ants going going through their supplies. Walderson quickly calls for torches and with much shouting and waving of fire, the ants are driven off, and a potentially deadly (for the party) battle is averted. Alas, a night of rest in the forest shows no signs of recuperation for the hobgoblin. It’s finally decided that the hobgoblin will have to be lead around on Walderson’s horse.
Several hours of travel through the dense jungle brings the party to a ridiculously large tree. As the party searches around the base of the enormous tree, San Chal hears a scraping sound, and looks up in time to see a huge serpent, with the head and forelimbs of a dragon and the body of a giant snake, lunging out of the tree’s branches toward him! It entwines the cleric in its coils, and nearly crushes the life out of him. Luckily, Shi Go nearly decapitates the thing, and Jian finishes it off by pinning its head to the tree with his spear.
Badly shaken by the attack, San Chal calls upon his deity to return the vigor to his limbs and heal his bruised ribs. A continued search finds the special moss, and Qiang’s search of the upper reaches of the tree discovers several dead men draped in the branches. They must have been wealthy merchants or nobility, because their cloaks and jewelry are very expensive. The party loots the unfortunate corpses, and asks the hobgoblin what it was that they just fought.
“Is ‘claw-dragon’”, it says in broken Imperial. “Very sneaky. Me no think is true thing. Me is wrong.”
There’s talk of continuing, but darkness is rapidly encroaching as night falls, and despite the sickness spreading back in town, the party is forced to make camp once more.
That night, the party’s rest is once again interrupted, though by a much more… interesting visitor. It’s basically a zombie kobold with a rat riding around in its skull. The party is on guard, but the zombie stumbles around mindlessly, so there’s no immediate move to get into a fight. The rat seems intelligent, but nobody has the ability to understand its various squeaks and chitters. The cleric views the duo through the veil of divine morality, and while the zombie kobold glows an obvious and malevolent red, the rat on top does not. Despite this, the party decides that strange pair are not a threat and eventually the zombie stumbles out the other side of the camp, taking its rat co-pilot with it.
The next day, the party prepares to travel to the witch’s hut.
- a really nice short-bow (worth maybe 3GP),
- a signet ring with the image of a flaming hawk (worth about 5GP),
- a fine fur coat (nearly 5,000 gold koku, if cleaned up),
- an ivory bracelet etched with battle scenes (worth about 500GP),
- a pouch with 9 gold koku and 12 silver wheels.