While preparing for your trek across the Mwangi Expanse (a journey of over a thousand miles through the hills & jungle), the general suggested you get a guide to help navigate the jungle and deal with the indigenous tribes. General Havelar said that the best guide for the task is a local mystic named Nkechi, whom the Sargavans call The Tempest.
After heading a day’s travel outside of Eleder to find this Nkechi, you found him in a high cave and introduced yourselves. He was willing to entertain the idea of being a guide, but first he required two tasks for you to complete before he would agree. The Test of Wind, and the Test of Water.
For the Test of Wind, you were required to travel to a high cliff and retrieve a single feather from a magical creature called a stormbird. This was easily done, as Bokim changed into a bird to fly the 500 feet to the top, searched the nest and flew back down. On the way back, local tribesmen confronted your group, claiming you were trespassing on sacred lands. To keep the feather, they challenged your strongest character to a wrestling match. This challenge was taken up by Chase (the brawler), which he easily won. The Ijo tribesmen allowed you to pass, offering you gifts as you departed.
The Test of Water required you to swim down into the coral reefs and retrieve a single black pearl. Again, Bokim changed into a creature fit to the environment and swam down to get the pearl himself. Both tests were complete.
Upon returning, Nkechi wanted to go into the cave and inspect the items for their authenticity. After meditating, he deemed the items to be what you claimed. He then invited you to participate in a journey to the Spirit Realm. He gave everyone a strange paste to consume, and they joined him in a circle on the cave floor to travel through the cosmos (except for Jonny and Fiwwip, who stayed behind).
While on your spiritual journey, each of you took the shape of a spirit totem animal. During the strange trance, Nkechi foreshadows the unveiling of the ruins of a forgotten city from ancient folklore. But he warns that many rivals seek the city, and it is unclear who shall be first to claim the location. He also sees a darkness within the city, and ominous storm clouds gathering on the horizon.
About halfway through the trance, you were attacked by a very large snake. You defeated it without too much trouble. But the final blow decapitated it. Lareal, after hearing so much from the notes and cave carvings on the island, recognized the dream serpent’s death throes as a symbolic depiction of the decapitation of the ancient snake-god Ydersius.
When the trance ended, Nkechi insisted on accompanying you as your guide. He believes now that whatever you face is also a threat to Gozreh, or at least to what Gozreh holds sacred, and that Gozreh desires him to make the journey. (Nkechi can aid PCs with decisions concerning the various paths they may take, filling them in on their relative geography, as well as providing folklore and history. He can also help them survive in the wilderness, and can provide healing as well. He will not take on a leadership role in the expedition, and tries to avoid combat if at all possible. Also, keep in mind that the journey to Tazion is over 1,000 miles. So, questions such as, “What lives in that cave over there?” are not really practical.)
While traveling through the Bandu Hills, you came to the Fzumi salt mine, an abandoned mine that, if traversed, it was decided could save a day off of your travel time. While moving toward the mine entrance, you encountered a feral woman who only spoke Polyglot and a few words of broken Common. She was convinced you were dinosaur hunters and she wanted you to leave. After speaking with her, she was mollified. She warned you that the old mine is a tunnel to the underworld, inhabited by the spirits of the dead. She knows this because both her father and mother disappeared down the shaft and never came back, and not long after that, angry dead things came out of the mine and killed everyone in
the mining camp.
Athyra (the girl) asked you to find out what happened to her father. He wore a silver locket with a picture inside that she would dearly like to have returned. Though superstitious and skeptical that you can find a way to the other side of the hills, Athyra offered to meet you on the other side of the hills.
After investigating the camp outside the mine entrance, you came upon a moldering logbook. The last few entries in the logbook are dated 15 years ago and document the mining company’s downfall. The mine’s owner, a man named Feran Crinhouse, was looking for new salt deposits and decided to secretly try connecting his mine with another mine on the far side of the hills, abandoned earlier under mysterious circumstances and rumored to be haunted. Just as the miners broke through to the abandoned mine, they unearthed a strange orb that glowed with a pulsing blue light. Crinhouse decided to go down into the mine to personally investigate. The final entry is in a different handwriting, and reads,
“They’ve come up from below! They’re all dead, and their touch withers the flesh! May the gods have mercy on us!”
And into the abandoned mine you went.