The Path of Kane

Will we become slaves after our capture?
Our newly formed and large caravan loads up and begins in a westward direction just before sunrise on the morning of July 11th 1603. The weather was pleasant as our travel progressed seeing so much wildlife it was astounding. The vegetation was varied as we gathered flowers from Abal scrubs; leaves, flowers and pods from some Acacia trees; roots and the fruit pulp of the Baobab trees along with some very tasty fruit from Marula trees and we hunted only for survival killing a few warthogs and three cattle along with seven impalas. Franz was happiest by our gathering of the Marula fruits as our guide taught him how to make a liqueur from the fermented ones. Franz has weighted down an entire saddle bag with them, collected cream from the milk of a few goats along with some sugar we still had to create his first batch of the alcoholic drink. So you can image Franz’s frustration when we were ambushed by slavers after some 20 days and only a day or so before his fruit would be ready for use in creating his alcoholic drink. The jungle seemed to be swarming with slavers and their soldiers as we battled them in mortal combat. Our porters and guide fled and less than a minute later as we stand among the multitude of bodies they returned as hostages of the slavers. We had no choice but to surrender….although I could see hesitation in the eyes of both Franz and Anna after slaying about twenty of the slavers. Worried that they may kill us and use the natives as slaves I transformed into a horse as the invisibility soon wore off. I felt that this way I could protect my friends from possible execution. I thought they may just kill my fellow Wanders and sell off the natives for a hefty profit. I remain tied to our wagon and my friends are locked in a cage mounted on a wagon much like ours. Our travel brings us west about ten miles and the slave traders load their human cargo into the below decks of a large sailing ship. I sneak upon the ship invisible and do a search but can’t enter the captain’s quarters so I decide to move below decks to look for my friends finding them on the lowest deck.
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Night of the walking dead......
What is worse than a snake pit?????
It is at greatest height of the sun during July 9th 1603 and the group decides to approach the chief’s son telling him that he must confess to his father the disease that plagues him to which he complies with our request. Franz confers with the chief and asks for his only reward to be a water skin of the finest wine the village has to offer. I notice the chief sporting a puzzled look as Franz makes this request and Dorn further explains through translation that the village grows no grapes but the Wanders would be welcome to take a water skin of the homemade grain alcohol that is produced in small quantities during the months of May and June. Our trip returns us to a northward track deeper into the savanna where the plateau displays sloping terrain and gently rolling hills and without any events of true importance until July 13th just after the sun’s highest setting. Some distance ahead traveling the same road, we observe a horse drawn caged wagon of sorts with and two men on horseback as we approach the situation defines itself. This is small group of white slavers collecting healthy dark skinned native to send to the new world that lies far to the west of this Dark Continent. Dorn and I immediately look to one another I believe with the same understanding that these men must be brought to justice in whatever way our Lord may see fit although the Wanders will help them find their way to God. Dorn greets them in river tongue and Franz joins the discussion trying to discover their true intentions even though we all know the business that they are immerse themselves in. One of the men spits upon the reddish brown soil insulting Dorn or us just by the facial expressions he is sporting. The talking continues between Dorn and the slaver armed with a blunderbuss and threats are plentiful as I tell my fellow Wander to insist they release the slaves and that we would only ask once. The wagon mounted slaver threatens us again I react by transforming into a more suitable fighting form that being a brown bear. Unfortunately I absorb a full blast from the blunderbuss as the melee begins and other slavers are quick to arm themselves with both pistols and sabers. Dorn runs and leaps pulling the slaver off of his dark brown 14 hand horse. The other mounted slaver uses his horse to stomp Franz not damaging his body only his breastplate armor while Dorn continues to grapple with the dismounted slaver. I use my bear claws to render the blunderbuss wielding slave trader a non threat after receiving major wounds from both the enemy on the horse drawn wagon. Franz his still trading blows with his evil slaver and finally does him in with a deep gash to the head. While Dorn eliminates the threat directly in his vicinity and then he moves to assist me with the remaining combatant on the wagon. Dorn begins running after and leaps onto the team of horses wrestling the pair to a halt as the wagon driver attempts to flee to save his own skin. Dorn and I collect our prisoners shackling them together using their own manacles to secure both feet and hands then throwing them into the caged wagon. We question both men and I use my talents of insight to detect their willingness to repent and walk the right hand or the good path. Both slavers untruthfully claim to repent and never slave again but I am able to detect their deceitfulness. The group unanimously agrees to sentence them to death by hanging from the nearest Acacia tree placing them side by side with a sign that reads both in english and river tongue: Slavers.

We continue our northward journey and escort our freed slaves to their rightful home village after we collect the spoils of our victory. The list is brief: 2 pistols, a blunderbuss, ammo, 4 horses, leg irons, manacles and a wagon. One of our freed slaves responds to Dorn’s questioning about any assist needed or scary stuff. We arrive and descend upon the village in need after we drop off the other men to their home towns. The village is small, walled completely around with a 4 foot high barrier made of stone and mortar. Dorn locates a native warrior from the village and begins to converse. The second villager we happen upon speaks english and admits they have a problem with a “walking dead.” He explains that other villages are experiencing the same problem but this village has not seen any for weeks. None of the "walking dead’ are recognizable as coming from our village. Once Dorn speaks with the chief he explains our combat prowess after killing a Kishi and the conversation expands. They also admit seeing one of the dead that they recognize but that villager was taken by slavers months ago. These dead come at least a few times every moon in the sky and climb over the wall and snatch up people indiscriminately. We are invited to an evening feast mostly because of our skill at killing demons and may be slavers.
The group agrees to split the evening into watches of three hours each with Franz taking the first. I imagined a dream but then realized that it was no such thing but that of Franz yelling for help. I what gear I can and quickly scan the area seeing at least 6 JuJu zombies over the village wall and Franz entangled with one of the walking dead. I use my belt of action to summon a spirit warrior and equip him with a masterwork spear. I am engaged with three zombies and block one attack while another tears into my flesh. I finally eliminate those zombies using my summoned warriors armed with spears. Using powerful blows from his fists ends the worldly existence of three walkers he was fighting. Franz finishes off another he is in melee with while my warriors assist some of the villagers that are embroiled with other walkers.
I transform into an owl so as to tail the zombie kidnappers while observing from the sky. Dorn continues on foot and we spot the large natural termite like mound nearby so Dorn trips the JuJu zombie who was carrying the young female villager. The trio sets up an observation post to watch the rock structure close enough to respond to threats but far enough to be hidden during a waning crescent moon. Two figures appear as if waiting for someone in an entrance carved into the solid rock as we send Dorn to get a closer look upon the creatures. Invisible Dorn sneaks up and punches them both out as well follow 30 or so feet behind not long after Franz kills another coming to respond to the commotion with a single mighty swing of his silvered long sword. Cautiously we entered the natural tunnel with Dorn leads using some stealth a short time later we can hear noises as we enter a T-intersection. Following the sounds we locate a trio of native in search of intruders. Dorn quietly approaches punching one native with an enhanced fist killing him instantly stepping over the body he swings but his fist is meet by the medium shield one of the warriors positioned in the hallway. An oversized chicken type animal attacked from behind us and Dorn killed it with a one-two combo from his fists. Two of the enemy soldiers were put to sleep and I coup de grace those sleeping as Franz begins to engage two zombies and a witch doctor in the other direction. After a brief fray Dorn knocks out the witch doctor with multiple blows of his fists while Franz cuts down both Zombies with his shiny silvered long sword but we pick up the sounds of zombies down the hallway. Only a short distance down the hallway we come across a pit full of a dozen zombies that we suspect was used as a kill pit of anyone captured. After waking up the evil spell caster Dorn and I decide to feed the doctor to his loyal subjects as it would be an end well deserved then we destroy all the zombies within the pit. After a search we recover a small amount of treasure and return triumphant to the village to report our findings.

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A village in need of a demon exterminator!!!
Who do you call???....the Wanders!
The Wanders are enjoying a meal of river rats around a large campfire during the early evening hours of July 8th 1603 when a lone well built stranger approaches our gathering. Sporting a kilt and hand wraps he approaches asking for some assistance with a village that having trouble dealing with a pack of hyenas. The man, named Dorn, was once a cat burglary but repented his ways after seeing some scary demonology worship and even a being from hell. Essentially he was scared straight into a life serving good through collecting artifacts to combat the evil of the world and crossed Kane’s path while locating some of the known artifacts of the world. Dorn sits as the group continues conversing about the deeds of Kane those that we may accomplish in the name of him and good as well in the future.

Waking up refreshed we follow Dorn as he guides us northward deeper into the savanna and to our destination a few days travel from our present locale. As our ever growing group approaches a wide banked river our guide, Chicumbusto, demands of us extreme caution. He describes a common danger around wide berth and deep rivers that of territorial Hippopotamuses killing more people than lions and elephants combined. Just to avoid injuring any of Gods beautiful creatures I give Anna the ability to take to flight and ferry our entire troop across to the far side of the river. Our pace is slow but Franz is taken by surprise by a large Puffer Adder that strikes his right boot near the ankle and luckily for him there is no penetration into his flesh. Responding very quickly Franz hacks the snake into two with his silvered long sword and we return to our course of travel through the savanna. Only three additional hours of travel Chicumbusto directs the Wanders to the village in need of our assist. Upon our arrival we can hear a man screaming and pacing rapidly back and forth about the village while I understand only the part about “White Devils”. We are guided to the village chieftain and Dorn, who is fluent in river tongue, speaks on our behalf. We begin a lengthy investigation that includes identifying and locating tracks as well as questioning villagers about the attacks. After some questioning and tracking we return to the village for identification of potential witnesses and a handsome native gives us dirty looks and makes snide comments at least that is what Dorn explained as their unfriendly comments. Indifferent to most of what has taken place Franz remains near the fire pit of the roasting hippo carcass consuming large amounts of under cooked meat. Dorn has a conversation with the chief’s son about appearing so glum. Dorn explains that he has lost his first love a month ago to the kidnappings that have plagued the village. We arrange night watches with two person teams positioned at the four corners of the village but nothing unusual occurs during the night even as we watch over the suspicious handsome man and his crew. I forgot….Franz was offered an unusual reward if the most recently lost young girl is found and returned to her grandmother and that was the promise of oral sex. She also informs Franz of the village girls sneaking out at night to meet up with the handsome native and the last girl that snuck out during the night had not returned.
Midday a herder approaches the group of Wanders explaining that there was a pack of hyenas making noise. Anna and I investigate the hyena pack and find them milling about near the village. I put three to sleep and we tie one up and bring them to the village chieftain. The chief’s son has a look of concern when we arrive with our captive and unhurt hyena with the chief questioning our reasons for bringing an animal as such into the village. Anna and Dorn converse with the young teenager detecting his worry discovering that the boy does not like the handsome warrior and distrusts him just as we do. Dorn decides to challenge the handsome warrior to a one on one duel so our group follows a crowd of spectators along with the warrior gang just outside the village. The duel begins with the crowd circling and cheering around the two engaged in mortal combat. Unknown to the enemy crew I boost damage on Dorns’ fists just in case his foe is some type of supernatural powerful being. The native moves with such speed and attacks first thrusting his spear into the left side of Dorn’s chest just below his pectoral muscle. Dorn clobbers him with a devastating upper cut to the jaw causing him to take a step back then looking to his gang for a brief moment. Dorn dodges the warriors attempt to drive the oversized spear into flesh and bone. Then Dorn attempts to grab the native fighter but the powerfully built man fends him off and gestures to his henchmen as they join in the melee. The natives attempted their surprise attack against the remaining Wanders without success. Anna creates some fear after blasting a henchman in the face with a round from her pistol with the bullet dislodging the warrior’s eyes from its socket. I unsuccessfully try to curse one of the warrior henchmen but he is able to resist then he moves in and cuts my left hand because I could not react fast enough. Anna draws both her swords and readies for melee with the henchmen. Franz connects with two attacks of his sword cutting down one of the henchmen he is engaged with. Pretty boy attacks and gouges Dorn with a swift thrust of his well crafted spear. I put the enemy fighter to sleep using my talent and then coup de grace the sleeping foe. Dorn tumbles away and draws two daggers from his belt ready for his aggressor to move against him. Franz eliminates the second warrior and moves to render his fellow Wander aid even handing his shock spear with an out stretched arm. I heal Dorns’ wounds giving him the upper hand against the well built tribesman. Anna drops her foe with a well placed thrust through his abdomen and he stumbles and falls onto the savanna soaking the soil with dark red body fluid. Dorn throws a cold iron dagger and it lodges into the left thigh of the warrior as he looks down and puts it out dropping it onto the ground beside his foot. Franz launches his javelin hitting the impact pushes the warrior back a step as blood drips from a newly formed shoulder wound. The pretty one his struck a second time with a dagger and he again pulls it out glaring at Dorn. Franz charges and shield bashes the warrior out of the way and stunning him for a split second. Anna reloads her pistol while still keeping an eye on the continuing battle. Now the lone warrior tries to grapple Franz but the Wander uses his weight as a counter and breaks free. Anna aims down her barrel and discharges another round that whizzes through the air but bounces off the fighter’s chest as a hailstone would. Anna retrieves one of Dorn’s daggers lying on the blood soaked ground as the crazed warrior lunges at Franz but without success. I intervene as the warrior tries to jab his well made spear into Dorn protecting him with a ghostly shield that deflects the potentially deadly attack. Dorn pulls back dagger in hand a launches another cold iron dagger penetrating deep into his abdominal cavity. The mighty warrior looks down pulling the dagger out half way but falls face down onto the already blood soaked ground displaying a few seconds of death throws. His body then waivers from human to hyena and then back to a human form and finally remaining lifeless. The native on lookers call the creature a KISHI which they say is a handsome demon that sometimes takes the form of a hyena. The battle weary Wanders return with the crowd to the small group of dwellings to celebrate their victory over the merciless and arrogant demon sent from hell. We have prevailed again destroying the evil that is so wide spread across the world and unfortunately our mission is far from complete!

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Our new dark-skinned friends have a low survival rate!!!!
Wonder why we can't make many friends???
The now friendly natives direct us toward an area that the demon used as a nest or lair and we liberate some treasure and among the small horde we find a well crafted belt with three inlaid pearls adorning the buckle. I replace my belt with this attractive and new one so as to attune it to my person. I soon discover that the belt allows the wearer to act more quickly in combat situations. We return to the newly freed village and show the elder the body of the demon just to confirm his suspicions.

I arise from my sleep before the rest of the crew to offer prayer to the Almighty Lord. Offering myself up to his will I receive a message directing me to travel to a large city or the capital city of Kongo well to the southeast of our present location. The two cities are called: M’banza and Nsi Kwilu and according to my vision we may discover a Catholic relic at or near those locations. I believe this to be a valuable journey not us for the Wanders as a group but for Franz as this holy item may allow him to fully receive Jesus into his heart and mind. Even if we do not discover this relic this may allow Franz an opportunity to deepen his relationship with the Holy Trinity.
We thank M’bobo for his generosity and hospitality and begin our journey east and finally in a more southeasterly path on Monday May the 12th. Our travel is long and exhaustive arriving after 55 days with very little interruptions along the way even the temperatures we more tolerable that we had expected. The only issue occurred on May 29th at dusk when a pride of lions wandered into our camp and I was able to put them all asleep long enough for us to relocate the camp a few miles further eastward among some heavy bush and scrub. We arrive in the city of Nsi Kwilu in the early hours of the Lord’s day July 6th 1603. Fernando leaves us to locate an inn or hostel for us to find rest. More likely Fernando’s search with lead to a place where he will be serviced by the ladies who can satisfy a mans needs. While in the central market Franz and myself over hear a dark skinned man speaking of an attack by a yellow eyed demon bear and other creatures of similar stature. The man turns to us and acknowledges our combat ready appearance asking, “Will you warriors accompany my brothers and I to slay this demon and its minions?” Many of those gathered around look puzzled most likely because the disbelieve in his story but we know that demons on earth do indeed exist. Franz and I look at each other with a much more serious appearance because the story is probably true and look back at the dark man saying, “Yes”. We leave immediately because both of us know that locating Fernando in a large city like this will take a better part of a day especially since he is most certainly in the company of an older woman. I believe he expressed his interest in older women because they have more skill at those things he desires most.
We set out with our new dark skinned friends leading the way into some jungle area nearly two days walk from the center of the city. On the second day the terrain changes and we find ourselves in an area of forested mountains. Our Three guides take us to the place near where the terrible attack occurred but since it was nearly dusk we ready camp for the overnight. The group arranges evening watches for the overnight breaking into three shifts of about four hours each. Many sounds of wildlife fill the air and things go well until after the midnight hour. We are rudely awakened by a loud pounding just outside of camp site where can be seen a large creature with a bears appearance is pummeling the stone ground below his hulking body. As the group reacts a scream and a sickening snapping sound comes from behind as the headless corpse of Sogut falls from a tree. In the tree a hyena like creature snarls as blood drips from its muzzle and the sound is echoed by more creatures surrounding the campsite. The bear like creature retreats at a high rate of speed while pushing a large boulder that tumbles toward our campfire. Still asleep Franz gets rammed by the man sized boulder while the rest of us found a way to dodge the danger. Stunned Franz looks about trying to identify who or what caused him harm. As it turns out these creatures bark was worse than their bite and after a brief battle we slay them and turn to the trail left by the bear and the tracking brother of Jooba as he felt the need to chase after the retreating creature. The trail leads us through an area of cave like tunnels among hills and exit the tunnel network on the crest of a large steep hill only to find the lifeless body of Matoola at the cave entrance. The group continues to follow the tracks and we will bury Matoola after we destroy this evil that lurks about the area. However after only 60 or so feet of tracking the dog like creatures attempt an ambush but we are alert and I weave a spell to cause all four of them to fall fast asleep. The rest of the troop silences them for good as they sleep allowing us to resume the tracking soon afterward. The path leads to an area of thick undergrowth as well as a heavy canopy up above so thick that only shadowy light pokes through. The tracks lead up a summit and an incredible sight below of a once mighty but now ruined temple of alien construction that Franz and I recognize as that of Atlantians construction. We observe more of those hyena like beasts in the area as if guarding the temple from intruders. I call on my talents to allow all of us to fly and make our movement into the temple area much easier. We can see bodies of many sacrificial victims and one located on a decorative pallet and the smell of death is nearly overwhelming. From the shadows of the cave set into the mountain steps a most heinous sight that of the large demon bear sporting flies swarming about parts of its body where flesh appears to be rotting. The wanders along with our new found friend land above the demon and his minions and begin the assault. I begin the offensive by enhancing the dexterity of Franz for I hope the entire duration of the combat while Franz boosts damage of all main weapons we carry. Jooba launches few arrows striking the demon bear in his hind quarters and another in his chest. The demon bear pounds the ground and he and his minions retreat into the cave. We pursue the evil beasts into the cave and find them waiting to pounce on us like weakened prey although we are far from those which they typically hunt. A bloody battle ensues as I put two of the hyena like creatures to sleep as Jooba releases a volley of arrows scoring several hits. I take advantage of my magical belt and at the same time Jooba releases those arrows I shroud us with invisibility. Unable to pin-point our exact location the monsters can’t connect with any attacks at least for the time being. A combination of arrows and sword strikes bring down the demon bear secondly after Jooba drops one filling it with arrows but without the signs of blood may be because he is partially undead. I begin coup de grace on those beasts sleeping while Franz and Jooba continue delivering we placed attacks. God and luck on our side we are able to defeat the evil creatures after an overall brief combat. Just in case we burn the body of the demon so that he could not be raised or given any typical of undead infusion.

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Death From Above........Almost!!!!
A Winged Demon!!!!!!!

Trying to avoid additional casualties we leave our African hirelings with the remaining villagers and set out to confront the evil in the hills nearby. We happen upon an abandoned village after three days of searching to the east. Acting as if we own the place the Wanders begin an investigation of the abandoned and somewhat remote village. In the center of the village we discover an area burned and littered with sun bleached bones. Upon further investigation the bones seem to have come from an avian type of biped humanoid perhaps the winged demons that the elder Mobobo described. The there are many areas in and around the village that show signs of intense combat without carcasses therefore the bones must have been moved to that central area and burned in a large bonfire. On the easternmost side of the village we locate a ravine with a worn path adorned with the same battle standard displayed by those natives that attacked the village just to the west. We enter and carefully inspect the caves that are located ten to twenty feet apart only to find them void of everything.
Continuing further into the cavernous network we are ambushed by a large group of tribal fighters of the same tribe we had previously encountered with only Fernando detecting them before their assault. Fernando with swift motion points his pistol in the air and fires a round skyward causing some apprehension among the natives only a second later arrows rain down striking Fernando and Franz multiple times. Fernando flips his pistol in his hand brandishing as a club but with little affect during the initial phase of combat. Being hopelessly outnumbered I put three of the non believers to sleep using my God given talent. In a single mighty swing Franz nearly decapitates one as the tribal fighters attempt to cause great harm to his person. More fighters join the fray and now most of us are outnumbered four to one with Franz taking a grazing jab to the forearm. Even having three sleeping around my immediate area the remaining two warriors connect causing a serious wound to my left leg and just a nick to my right hand. I use my talents to cause the two lingering fighters asleep as that would be in my best interest. Concerned for my fellow Wanders I take a quick glance to assess their wounds. Franz looks wounded but still in the fight however gazing over I see Fernando taking four hits almost simultaneously causing him to lose balance briefly. Fernando uses his combat skills to outmaneuver(he claims to be an excellent waltzer) two of the four foes he his battling so I cause three of them to doze off and drop onto the iron rich clay dirt. Franz still being surrounded is assaulted successfully by three of four tribesmen. Fernando makes use of his newly acquired helm and uses it’s healing power to cure us of all wounds. The battle continues to rage on with no sign of a swift end so I enhance the Wanders abilities to fight the evil tribesmen. A mighty swing and thrust of his long sword drops another dying foe at Franzs’ feet as the downed warrior looks skyward losing his struggle to remain conscious. Even with much success Franz displays numerous bleeding wounds about his entire body.
Swooping down from the sky a large biped winged beast claws into an unsuspecting Franz after the beast unsuccessfully attempts to lift him off of the ground. Fernando strikes the lone warrior in the knee opening up a severe wound even displaying bone among the gushing blood. Now with the new threat of the winged demon I render the two employed against Franz allowing him to focus his attention on the flying hellion. Franz responds putting all of his muscle behind a swing that cuts deeply into the right leg of the powerfully built creature. The winged demon grabs Franz and flies about 20 feet into the air while I show a concerned expression at this new development. Fernando eliminates his last remaining foe with a pistol whip to the forehand and the warrior falls face down as blood begins to pool around his head. I give Franz the ability to fly and well as Fernando and myself just in case the demon plans to drop him from an overcast sky. The demon does indeed drop Franz but to his surprise the wander drops a few feet but propels himself toward the demon using his magical flight ability. Fernando and I begin the tedious duty of coup de gracing those sleeping enemy fighters. Franz delivers another devastating sword attack even though he is unfamiliar with aerial combat. The winged beast attacks but Franz uses his large shield to fight off the attack. We continue to eliminate sleeping warriors on the ground as the skyward battle rages with a fevered pitch. Troublesome is the fact that warriors are beginning to wake from their magic induced slumber and I will again be outnumbered! Up above the skyward battle continues as the demon rips Franz’s flesh from the bone of his right thigh and the Wander groans in agony from the powerful claws of the beast from hell. Seeing Franz in need of assistance Fernando flies into the sky to lend some help to the badly wounded Wander but not before he heals using the fetish given us by the village elder named M’bobo. Even as two warriors rise from their little cat nap I move to coup de grace the other two tribesmen that had been previously engaged with Franz as that appears to be the most beneficial course of action at this time. Franz and the demon continue exchanging attacks as Fernando arrives with a flying charge to lend some greatly needed assistance to our friend with success. I coup de grace the final sleeping tribesman and prepare my shield for the onslaught of the other drowsy fighters that move to my relocated position. With help at his location Franz calls upon the Lord above to heal him of his wounds so that he may remain in the fight. I endure the thrusts of the warriors on the ground receiving a serious wound to my left shoulder as my shield block was not properly timed. Again the demon claws through defenses and Franz suffers a most serious injury as muscle is torn from his knee once again. Without many options I summon my Godly talent to disappear from sight so these warriors cannot effectively attack me. The winged hellion delivers another deadly attack as Franz has a grave look upon his all ready weary face. Fernando makes his presence felt and cuts a deep gash into the wing of the flying demon. Seeing Franz plight I call on the Almighty to remove all of his injuries and my brief prayer is answered. Just following my healing Franz finishes off the demon with a well placed strike that cuts into the hellion’s neck creating a spurt of blood like a fountain. The remaining warriors flee as their leader is now defeated and they have lost all motivation to wage war against the Wanders.

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Demon worshiping is not allowed in the Christian faith!!!!!
Log part2

The Wanders return to the fresh humid air of the surface with sighs of relief after a challenging time in our struggles with the undead. We gather the entire troop around the campfire and roast rats(Special request my Fernando) over an open fire sharing with our native hirelings the adventures below ground with our henchmen marveling at the sight of Fernando’s newly acquired shiny winged helm. I am the last awake as the fires’ ambers glow in a soft moonlight and begin to drift off into a well earned sleep.
A chilly and misty air engulfs the lowlands of the area as the Wanders break camp after a meal of leftover rats simmered in rehydrated figs and prunes from the frying pan of Fernando. Following the morning suns glow behind the distant hills we resume our travel. Fernando asks our guide to lead us to the next town to the east of our location with the idea that he may satisfy his desire for a woman’s company. Hours into our march the sun continues to rise above the horizon as we crest a low range of hills seeing a small village a short distance away under attack by other tribesmen. Straight a way we can see that the defenders are badly outnumbers by those assaulting the village with bodies strewn about the huts. Many of the defenders appear to be farmers and families just trying to protect their homes against the marauders. Fernando asks our guide for direction as he points out the fact that we have often slain those that would be innocent while I prepare to assist those needing our help the most. The Wanders charge into the village observing the attackers wielding some type of battle standard with winged demon atop a bleached human skull. Just outside the village Fernando discharges his pistol only to have the bullet graze the arm of villager and then shatter a clay pot positioned on a small table. Both attackers as well as defenders show signs of fear because of this unfamiliar and loud weapon brandished by Fernando. I cause two aggressors to collapse to the dry dirt near an entrance to a large sized hut hearing a gentle snoring begin. Franz screams a war cry as he hurls his javelin striking down one of the attacking tribesman. Franz defends himself the best he can taking a minor wound to the arm from a barbed spear. Fernando is not so skilled unable to parry their spears and is struck twice by the three warriors that begin to surround him. I summon a spirit warrior to eliminate the threat posed by the lone tribesman in my vicinity equipping him with a barbed spear. Franz draws his long sword and kills one of his dark skinned assailants. Distracted by a faltering Fernando I am jabbed in the shin with a barbed spear but I notice the Wander returning his vitality with his new magical helm. I boost damage on our Wanders’ weapons hoping to end the battle rapidly. The spirit warrior jabs the enemy assaulting me and draws his life from him. The tide of battle has changed and we begin to feel the upper hand. Fernando dances and dodges out maneuvering those he is engaged with and is able to avoid damage for the time being. Franz renders assistance to Fernando killing a wounded tribesman with his silvered long sword and I redirect the warrior to assist to Fernando as well. The combination of Franz and spirit warrior quickly eliminates those tribesmen dare remain to fight us. We look to the village to observe the aggressors retreating to the east and I let out a sigh of relief. The village praises and welcomes us as saviors after a hard fought battle and the village elder requesting company with the Wanders. The elders thanks us as the saving white Gods that protected the village from the demon worshiping warriors of the Gunwarri tribe that occupy the hills east of this location. The village elder, Mobobo, gives the Wanders a reward of two healing totems that will cure wounds once a day and some tribal holy water to use against the evil tribesmen. The Wanders rest and recuperate before our move against the evil that lies in the eastern foothills.

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Vampires...All They Are...Is Dust in the Wind!

Our time below ground has me unnerved and stressed with every corner we turn anticipating an attack from the shadows. Our travel remains uneventful until we reach a chamber covered floor to ceiling of a carved mural depicting pictures of clerics on an island and them spreading throughout the world. The mural continues showing a city much like the one we are below at present except completely intact. There are also images of large stone slabs used to protect their city from any outsiders. The final scene illustrates an island sinking into the ocean and the people feared extinction of their race. Then the pictures demonstrate clerics raising people as undead to help in their fight against outsiders. Although it seems the plan worked too well and the vampires eliminated the entire cleric population.
We were caught completely unaware as two vampires leapt from the numerous shadows onto both Franz and Fernando. The unsuspecting Wanders are bitten by the vampires and straight away show signs of fatigue. Fernando maneuvers out of the grapple and throws the vampire against a nearby wall. I restore both Franz and Fernando and cure them of their fatigue although the vampires’ attacks could return their state of exhaustion. Franz is also successful in breaking the grapple against the other vampire and bashes him some 5 or so feet away. Fernando quick draws his weapons and readies for the resuming assault. The vampires resume their assault but without any effective methods. Fernando lands his hand axe into the vampire left hand severing the thumb and index finger. The vampire responds with a grasp and bite of his neck causing Fernando fatigue in much the same way Franz is bitten and becomes weakened. While grappled Fernando frees his hand axe and again cuts the vampire in the right thigh. Aware of their fatigue I use my Holy talent to eliminate their weakened state. The other Wanders are struggling to fend off the undead with only failure as their prize. I try and do my part by enhancing their ability to resist the fatigue caused by the vampire fangs. Franz is unable to break away from iron grip of the vampire. Fernando is unable to get leverage and half heartedly swings yielding very little. I heal my fellow Wanders of all their wounds. Franz breaks free, bashes the vampire some distance and throws his javelin piercing the stomach of the vampire with the tip protruding from his back. Lunging at Franz the vampire misses his mark and stumbles. Fernando is bitten once again and I can see the life draining from his face. I restore Franz and Fernando doing away with their fatigue. While breaking away Fernando hacks into the left arm of the vampire casting blood onto the wall. Momentarily I am fixated on the blood as it slowly streams down the gray stone wall. Again Fernando avoids the vampires’ clutches and slices just catching the vampire under the left ear. I summon a warrior from heaven to wield the enchanted spear against these hellish monsters. Fernando again connects just before the ghostly warrior jabs the vampire causing him to collapse into a large pile of dust. Stepping to the left and ducking the grab of the vampire Franz draws vampire blood with a slice into his lower left torso. Fernando moves to assist Franz in his fray against the other vampire and I add the spirit warrior to the group now surrounding the enemy. Just as help arrives Franz bring his sword to bear finishing off the vampire with a cut that dislodged his eye and creating another pile of fine gray dust. Franz and Fernando retrieve their weapons with loud sighs of relief. Fernando takes out his manhood and sends a yellow stream onto one of the dust piles as impact sends dust outward. Fernando ends the encounter with, “That sucked!” I had not imagined the treasure chest and with caution approach the oversized strongbox. I direct the spirit warrior to open the box so as to avoid any possible danger from traps. With incident the chest creaks open yielding a chest filled with gems, shining gold coins, ivory statuettes and jewelry. What caught my eye was a helm adorned with small golden wings like that of an Angel mounted on either side. I realized the power someone could harness with good aligned helm as I handled and admired its fine craftsmanship. I offer the sacred magical item to Fernando with the hope that he will use it to battle the evil that still roams the earth.

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Not a vacation spot I recommend to anyone.............

After during an extensive search of the ruins, I ask the group for some time alone. I create a makeshift altar using stone rubble and adorn it with a plain white linen covering it and then securing it to table with red cords. The linen covering symbolizes the winding sheet in which the body of Christ was wrapped when he was laid in the tomb. I then bless the altar in Our Holy Father’s name. I set up the altar to begin performing the rite of The Last Supper. I place on the altar a Roman Missal, chalice (with purificator, paten and pall), crucifix, and 2 lit candles. I offer the rite up to God and added prayers to Saint Francis as he is the patron saint of animals and the environment. I believe God’s power will restore the area to its original glory of being green, lush and full of plant and animal life. I complete the rite after some 40 minutes and return to the Crusaders leaving behind the linen cover because it can never be removed after the altar is consecrated, and is considered to be the “baptismal garment” of the altar. While performing my rite, the others discovered some treasure that was divided among the Crusaders. Both Fernando and Franz were lucky to discover a shock javelin and magic hand axe among the treasure that they gathered, those lucky bastards!
I begin my search for tracks in the area where I saw those vile and undead looking creatures but alas none can be found. I notice Franz having an intense conversation with two of the porters who are displaying fearful and nervous expressions. After their lengthy conversation ended I ask about the content of their discussion. Franz explains that their concerns are related to the groups desire to track down those gaunt and undead scouts that I had observed. They said the description I gave is the same as what they know as the African vampires of the foothills to the east of our present location. We press onward to the east and after three sunrises reach a village of typical appearance. Although we don’t seem to notice any sign of life. Franz and Fernando begin to investigate the lifeless village locating many corpses that are drained of blood. They also discover the tell tale signs of vampire bite marks on every single corpse found. After an extensive search of the dwellings Franz and I hear a noise and find a teenage girl and her younger brother hiding within a hut cowering in fear. Franz has to translate the quivering girls explanation of the carnage left about the village. She describes a night time attack of clawing and biting with their best warriors unable to stop vampire onslaught. She further explains that the dead have come back from among the hills with one of the porters pointing at a distance of only four miles. We decide it best that Anna escorts the girl and boy to the next village where they will be safe. Leaving the remaining people behind Franz, Fernando and I begin our scouting of the nearby hills. After sometime searching the foothills, our trio locates an area clear of all vegetation. Our path leads up into hills overlooking a scorched city of what is believed to be the “City of Vampires”. An eerie sound permeates the air like a distant scream riding the winds like some dark demonic messenger gnawing at our minds. We transverse the steep hills into the city immediately classifying this fire as one that burned with great intensity. Even those walls measuring an arms length thick show signs of stress under the extreme temperatures of the raging fire. Large blackened patches mark areas of the most intense temperatures endured by the blaze. While weaving in and out of the charred ruins that once was a mighty city Franz points to a set of stone stairs descending into the darkness. I ignite the hooded lantern and Franz leads us into the unknown darkness below the city. A mire ten feet into the darkness all involved feel the stairs shifting and flattening but we are able to maintain our upright posture. After some fancy footwork the Crusaders arrive within the confines of a room and I begin to shine a focused light about the area. Franz spies the figures of four very large snakes slithering in our direction and we prepare for combat against the reptiles. Two of the oversized snakes lash out at Franz and the remainder engage Fernando and me. Franz bats the second snake away with his large shield as it tries to inject him with poison. Fernando pulls back and skillfully wields his silver scimitar cutting into one of the beasts. Franz lunges and in a sweeping motion slashing another spilling an odd black colored blood onto the cold stone surface. Fernando deflects a diving snake’s bite knocking the creature back away from him. In response Fernando brings his newly acquired hand axe down on the snake chopping into the reptile’s flesh. After an initial failure I summon a spirit of God and arm it with a barbed spear. Franz scores a hit again but only causing a slight wound to the animal. The snakes are unable to score damaging hits with Fernando and Franz having their armor damaged by the bite of one of them. Franz delivers an attack that yields little damage but it appears to be of some level of success. Fernando endures a penetrating attack with the snake attempting to inject venom into his body. The snakes swarm but are unsuccessful in their attempts at least for the time being. I assume a defensive stance with the hope that my spirit warrior will eliminate the huge snake. Fernando again endures a penetrating attack but is able to resist the snake’s venom.
One snake maneuvers around Franz and bites him in the calf injecting venom but Franz’s high vitality helps him avoid any added injury. Fernando swings his scimitar cutting deep into the snake ending its life. The remaining two snakes retreat into the darkness of the caverns while the remaining one transforms into a human shape and then goes gaseous. Fernando renders medical assistance to both he and Franz allowing them to recover from their injuries. We continue deeper into the network of bunker like tunnels with the occasional room that shows high craftsmanship including intricately carved borders around much of the ceilings. Our search continues for nearly 30 minutes when Fernando yells out and we see a vampire sinking his teeth into his neck. Fernando struggles to break free but to no avail. I enhance the fighting abilities of both my fellow Crusaders. Franz calls upon God to cover Fernando in an opaque and ghostly armor. The vampire bites again but is unable to penetrate his ghostly armor. I drop to one knee and Franz hurls his javelin striking the vampire in the throat sending electricity throughout his body causing him to reel backward. I boost the damage of Fernando allowing him better offense against the undead. Franz enchants Fernando’s scimitar with magic. The vampire reestablishes his grapple of Fernando biting him but causing no damage because of his divine armor. I charge my hand with holy power and deliver a curse upon the vampire causing him to be fatigued. Fernando is bitten again but this time the vampire pierces his armor and his color begins to drain from his face. The vampire must have drained Fernando of some of his precious blood. Fernando still battling to break the grip of the vampire but Franz renews his ghostly armor will continue to offer great benefit. Finally Fernando deals him a lethal blow with his enchanted and boosted(damage) scimitar causing him to crumble into a pile of dust. Fernando has some minor wounds that I heal using my talents gifted to me by our Lord. Onward we go continuing our search of the ancient tunnel network. Not long after our previous encounter, another vampire assaults the group and in fact me specifically. The ghastly vampire leaps from the shadows and grabs my person sinking his teeth into my neck. Fernando responds rapidly and cuts the devil’s minion just above his shoulder blade with his magical hand axe. To my good fortune Franz covers me in an opaque and shimmering layer of armor. Fernando delivers another fruitful attack causing the vampire some distress. The vampire maintains his grapple but I manage to boost the damage of those weapons wielded by Fernando and Franz. Franz hurls his shock javelin and strikes the vampire through his thigh causing him to collapse into nothing more than a pile of ash like dust. Following the brief but tense battle, we discuss our efforts to be better prepared for the vampire ambushes that have been plaguing us throughout our search of the subterranean tunnels. Now we must press on as there is still evil lurking in the darkness of this vampire lair.

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One Tough Bitch!!!!!!

Upon further inspection of the long rope bridge Franz realizes that it is merely weathered by the brilliant sun for many years. Fernando decides to double back and be sure we are not being followed by treasure seeking gold prospectors or may be even the conniving Boris. I unfortunately foresaw the double crossing Boris and will try not to manifest any ill will toward him. I am after all a disciple of our savior Jesus Christ and must forgive whenever and wherever possible.
We transverse the rope bridge with little fanfare and I continue observing the sparse vegetation and wildlife of the area with some trepidation. We resume our journey following a path cut into the undergrowth. The party halts after only 2 or may be 3 miles because we discern the outer wall of the famed city of Negari. The structure is all but obliterated and rumble is all that remains of the once mighty wall. Our porters and guide immediately retreat some 800 yards to our rear echelon to remain as we attempt to clear the evil from this once lovely city. Following a brief inspection of the ruins, our ears ring of a voice, “Behold the white Gods…..” That was all I understood as the voice was speaking river tongue which is the common native language of this area of the Dark Continent. Nearly at once we feast our eyes on a beautiful dark skinned and well endowed woman. My loins immediately ached for her, I thought, “Wow so stunning…..yet so evil!” After only studying her for three seconds my eyes are drawn to an unpleasant sight among the ruins. She gestures toward us and a host of native warriors with their barbed spears glistening in the radiant sunlight surge in our direction ready to attack. In a state of panic I quickly count one dozen of her loyal subjects charging to eliminate the white Gods and by white Gods they refer to Kanes Crusaders! The vampire queen remains some 150 yards distant while her warriors will be able to engage us in only seconds! Anna reacts straight away with a focused purpose draws and aims her pistol discharging but to with no success. The bullet path grazed the ear of a warrior and struck a mud brick along a partially destroyed wall ricocheting with a whizzing sound into the sky. The blast seems to have frightened the fighters and we may have a slight advantage even though we are outnumbered in the ratio of 4 to 1. I summon a ghost like warrior and instruct the spirit to take up arms to battle the Queens’ henchmen. Franz swings nearly severing a warrior’s right forearm leaving his sword newly bloodied. Anna drops her pistol, draws a short sword and plunges into the gut of an enemy combatant soaking his brown colored loin cloth with his blood. Franz follows his initial success with another well placed sword strike to the fighter’s knee dropping him to the rubble infested ground. I glance over to see Anna staggering under the weight of three successful thrusts of the deadly barbed spears. I successfully deflect a spear thrust against our blonde beauty calling forth a holy shield of God while my spirit warrior slays a wounded fighter just left of my shoulder. Franz receives his first wound when a tribal spear nicks his cheek allowing just a small trickle of a deepest red fluid. I send my healing spirit of God to touch Anna and fully restore her health. Luckily Anna deflected a lunging spear just after I rid her of her wounds. Unfortunately for me I was blindsided by two enemy spears while closing Anna’s wounds. One of the assailants wedged a barbed spear into my armpit and I can feel the blood running down my side. My spirit servant returns the favor dropping one of evil men that surround me with just one mighty thrust. Franz demonstrates his combat prowess and hacks his third evil warrior causing him not to breathe any longer. A warrior lunges with his spear but I manage to deflect it with my large shield as sound of metal gouging metal can be heard. Franz sweeps waist high catching the warrior in the lower abdomen causing him to be disemboweled.
Emerging from amidst the ruins we see the gorgeous dark skinned queen accompanied by three young maidens and a burly native cradling a glistening human skull. The Queen begins to urge her warriors on as the battle rages. Franz realizing the added danger using his talents to shield us in an opaque and misty armor. Anna connects with her short sword causing a severe wound to another tribesman. As the situation still remains dire I call from the heavens a second spirit warrior to help even the odds against the evil tribesmen and undead queen. Anna reels from an additional thrust piercing her left forearm causing a stream of blood to begin flowing down onto her hand. A puzzling sight, the undead Queen Nacari is waging war at nearly high noon on a cloudless spring day. I as the others may be thinking: The other vampires we have encountered loathed light even weakening abilities and sapping their strength. Anna has lost too much blood and I use my God given powers to heal hers as well my wounds. Franz charges the mostly female group hacking down one of the sexy ebony maidens. I notice the Queen becomes aroused at the sight of the maiden’s blood gushing from the fatal wound. She then drops to one knee and dips her hand into the large pool of blood as is seeps from the maiden’s neck. Waving her hands in gestures the Queen casts a spell of unknown power. I unsuccessfully try to block a warriors stabbing spear and I look down to see my own blood cast onto my shield. Anna swings her empowered long sword and kills another tribesman. The second spirit fighter consecutively jabs the warrior near me and causes his demise. Franz switches targets to Anna and I quickly dispel that which grapples his mind. Anna crosses her swords and pushes away another barbed spear attack. The Queen reaches out and touches Franz speaking some words that I do not recognize. Once again the second spirit warrior stabs a native creating a severe leg wound although the wound is not fatal. Franz wildly charges Anna slashing her just behind her left shoulder blade exposing bone and muscle. The odds are now against us with Franz possessed by the Queen and I attempt put two warriors into an irresistible sleep. Alas only a single soldier is prone to the sleep endowing heavenly talent. The queen strides over and tries to claw and bite me but I manage to dodge her attempts. My initially summoned spirit fighter eliminates the last of the spearmen surrounding me. Anna attempts a parry but Franz swings just under the short sword slicing into her upper left arm. A stunned and shocked Anna looks at Franz and collapses to the earth with blood pouring from some massive wounds. Both spirit warriors continue to stab the vampire however they may not be doing lethal or subdual damage. The Queen claws me scratching face and I feel a burning sensation from the injury. Franz swings twice in rapid succession but fails to injury me. I am concerned about Anna so I heal her of all injuries but I observe that her left arm is now disfigured and useless. The summoned warriors continue their assault upon the evil Queen. My luck has run out against my possessed friend and he lands an attack. The Queen claws me once again causing me to feel a stinging sensation. Anna now awakened from near death experience staggers over and swings her wooden stake at the Queen with little effect. It seems we are in dire straits therefore I create invisibility upon Anna and myself. Franz uses my last known location and swings but only hits the air. Anna again tries to stab the vampire Queen but just as before with little effect. Franz resists my attempt cause him to magically sleep. I enhance Anna’s fighting abilities praying she will have better success against the vampire. With a wild swing Franz again misses me. I reposition myself nearby and redirect my warriors to attack the tribesman. The possession finally leaves Franz’s body and the Queen realizes this grabbing him in an attempt to bite his neck. I redirect the heavenly warriors to attack the burly skull hugging tribesman. Franz struggles break free of the Queens grip as she bites him in the neck. The holy and ghostly warriors both thrust their barbed spears into the burly henchman’s flesh. Anna continues her futile attempts to stake the Queen. Again Franz is bitten by the blood thirsty vampire Queen still entangled with her. I attempt twice to curse her but she is highly resistant. Franz breaks free and pushes the vampire away. Anna continues her unsuccessful attacks against the undead Queen. Then Queen retreats to the dying tribesman as he tumbles to the ground dying after being jabbed by my warriors. The Queen reaches out and lets out concerned oral sound “Uhhhh” but she is not close enough to snatch up the skull. Franz follows close behind but his attack fails to injure this undead minion of the devil. Queen Nacari bends down and clutches the skull cradling it in her hands. Just as she takes control of the mysterious skull Anna plunges the wooden stake into her heart. Stake still in her hands and looking confused Anna peers into her eyes as the Queen just laughs. Although she laughed Anna believes the Queen has taken some damage. Franz now having his wits about him steps behind her but fails to strike her with his silvered long sword. I heal mine as well as Anna wounds bring her back to full vitality. The Queen retreats a short distance away still clutching the human skull. Franz swings and causes only a minor flesh wound to the vampire. The Queen then uses the power of the skull to create a horrifying wail and a wave of confusion rips into Anna and me with only Franz resisting. Anna pursues Queen Nacari and elects to jab the evil skull but unsuccessfully. Even in my confused state I take control my mind and boost the combat abilities of both Franz and Anna. Once again the skull cries out causing myself and Anna to run away full of dread. Franz skillfully wields his silver long sword and cuts into her flesh. She retaliates and claws at him as well as sending the skull leaping out trying to head butts Franz. Franz attacks her slashing a deep wound and her body immediately crumbles into a pile of dust. Anna reappears from the invisibility but with a devious look about her. I break free of the madness and do an about face returning to the battle ground. Franz already standing over the skull strikes it but only delivering a glancing blow. Anna snatches up the skull as Franz yells, “Smash it…smash it Anna!” Focusing on the artifact, Franz brings an overhead attack causing the skull to be damaged significantly. Again the skull jumps from her hands but Franz ducks the animated body part. Because of my confused state I fail to weave magical invisibility upon myself. Franz delivers another potent swing shattering the skull into a dozen pieces. Anna drops her wooden stake and draws her long sword from its sheath. Franz connects hitting Anna in the hand creating a minor wound. Anna’s sword slices through the air but is met by Franz’s large shield creating low pitched clanging noise. With a touch I curse Anna trying to remove the evil spirit that has entered her body. Franz delivers another successful attack opening up a wound near Anna’s left ear. I ready a deflect and a ghostly shield blocks her powerful sword attack against our holy fighter. Franz all ready prepared cuts into flesh and she then tumbles to the ground motionless. Both Franz and I see an aberration leap from Anna into that of the remaining pretty young maiden. The remaining spirit warrior and Franz bring fury upon the maiden instantly killing her. We see a ghostly image scream and descend into the ground toward hell. We all collapse fatigued from a lengthy battle where we remain for some much needed rest. As I position myself my eye catches sight of two strange, hellish and somewhat gaunt observers moving eastward with great speed. Once we gather our strength we will be investigating these foul looking creatures.

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Battling the heat as well as the jungle creatures....
Our ship departs the harbor in the early morning heavy fog of February 27th 1603. The seas immediately prove to be challenging and only hours into the voyage we enter into a rain squall where we remain cloaked in a driving rain. Captain Gamma assigns the new crew members to jobs those new members being us. Being disguised but recognizing her nimbleness, Anna is assigned to rigging duties. Franz is appointed as the watchman in the crows nest mostly during the daylight hours. Fernando, Esteban and I were designated as boatswain crew a job often given to the less skilled sailors. However Fernando sent most days below deck because of his inebriated state. The more refined Sherwood was send to the galley most days to peel potatoes and sometimes carrots. As days turned into weeks I spent my free time observing the wide variety of marine life. I cataloged the sightings of some 27 whales, 80 dolphins, 34 birds, 23 green sea turtles, 51 seals, 5 large and 13 smaller sharks, 4 manatees, countless sea birds, 4 schools of sea robins and a colony of long-tailed cormorants. Because we encountered three hurricanes the journey became arduous causing much delay and sometimes throwing us off course. Ultimately we landed on April 1st nearly 5 weeks after leaving the Port of Lisbon. While we spent a few hours in the coastal town called Elmina I discovered that around 1598, the Dutch people had joined the Portuguese people in gold trading in this region of the dark continent. Franz will be able to communicate more easily since there must be Dutch traders in and around the seaside town. We must seek out a competent guide to help lead us through the unoccupied lands of the dark continent and in addition locating porters to assist in transporting our supplies. After only 30 minutes Fernando identifies an agreeable wilderness guide that first questions our reasoning behind our travel into the inhospitable interior of this dark continent. None of us pay any attention to his questions and Fernando asks for a place to sleep overnight. Before he responds to Fernando’s questions he then asks, “What are you willing to pay?” Franz then reminds Fernando of his need to consume alcoholic beverages. Fernando asks our newly hired guide, “We also need a place that will serve my friend liquid refreshment.” Franz begins to pound the ale and crossing paths with our guide they strike up a conversation. The guide asks simple question: Where are we planning to go? Franz just responds with “East”. Then Franz asks if he has heard of any rumors. The guide explains a situation around a town to the east called Negari. He acts nervous and states many believed the city was wiped out but it was discovered that Negari is now lead by a vampire queen and she demands tribute. After purchasing added supplies that include a two week’s supply of food we retire to our rooms. Leading our troop is our newly acquired guide and Franz as we set out just before sunrise. Fernando suggests we surround our porters with Crusaders so that we may protect both the porters as well as the supplies that they have strapped on their backs. Our convoy now numbers nine including some well travelled porters and a seasoned and tanned jungle guide. Early spring but the temperatures are even uncomfortable at noon on a daily basis with fatigue plaguing us on a nearly every day even when we remain shaded during the warmest part of the day. Sounds and smells permeate the air as our travel is slow but steady. Those sounds are of the vast numbers of wildlife even though we see very little of those beasts of this jungle country at least for the first 9 days. Lunchtime on the tenth day I discover a parrot feasting on a baobab fruit plucked from a nearby tree then I hear Franz yelling for help. By the time Fernando and I arrive to lend a hand he has fought off what he claims to have a “very large” cat. Our company returns to the trail and the days continue to drone on as I look about for any wildlife hourly. Crashing out of the jungle is a group large sized monkeys they begin to charge our group. Just as they reach an arms length I put two of them under a spell that causes them to collapse to the ground fast asleep. Fernando and Franz struggle to defend themselves against the powerfully built animals. Although fatigued I manage to put another two additional man sized monkeys to asleep. We gather ourselves after I heal the wounds of my companions and resume our grueling journey eastward. Returning to the trail days later we encounter our first of the Indigenous men of the region. They charge out of the underbrush spears at the ready wearing very little in the way of clothing. As the tribesmen engage us I transform into a large brown bear with the hope of contributing to our fighting ability. I look over to see Franz hack one of them in the upper arm and then follow up with a slice to the neck dropping him. I claw one multiple times which causes him to fall onto his back. Both Fernando and I are not fairing so well with the natives landing well placed thrusts of their spears. Both of us battle back against them and drop our foes to the jungle grass along the path. Franz doled out the punishment and readily handled his opponents. I heal our wounds and pay special attention to Fernando and myself. On the 29th day the group settles down to cool off and to eat lunch but our solitude is short lived. Fernando looks up to see a very large snake dangling from a tree branch ready it seems to drop upon the former sea dog. I begin to react when Fernando draws his pistol and fires but the bullet goes wide cutting into the dense underbrush. Fernando is now intertwined with this huge snake but he manages to stab it with a dagger. I jump to action and put the huge reptile to sleep allowing Fernando to wiggle free of the beast. Less than a day later during our march along the path we identify a plateau in a short distance ahead. Our guide says in a jaded voice that we must climb up to reach our destination and only a few miles further on we discover a weather worn rope bridge over a far reaching chasm. Oddly the vegetation is very sparse and the animals have all but disappeared this landscape has me concerned. We arrive within 500 yards of the bridge and there is one major obstacle…seven white war painted tribal warriors. Our guide believes them to be henchmen of the vampire queen. I prep my fellow allies using enhance to their fighting as well as the talent boost damage on their main weapons. Fernando is the first to wade into battle and charges one of the men stab him through his thigh causing a grievous wound while Franz wounds another just as severely. These warriors seem to be well trained and moreover they are armed with large barbed spears. I summon a spirit and arm him with the spear from the warrior just killed by Fernando. Franz follows his first attack with another powerful blow killing another tribesman. As usual Fernando has become very bloody from not just his own but that of his enemies. I successfully deflect three incoming thrusts of their lethal spears. Just after I deflect an attack I notice Fernando losing his balance and becoming weak. I call upon our mighty Lord and use my talent to heal all of Fernando’s wounds. Franz destroys another with a combination of impressive slashes to the head and chest. Fernando connects with his sword and draws the blood of this possible leader among them. Franz takes a few strides toward the embattled pair and strikes the leader from his blind side causing his demise. Franz and Fernando both wield their weapons skillfully and kill another of the men engaged in combat with Fernando. We turn our attention to the lone warrior sporting a troubled look and before anyone else moves to employ their weapons, Fernando swings bringing the full weight of the sword upon the wounded warrior finishing him. We clean ourselves up and loot the queen’s henchmen giving spears to our porters as well as arrows to our guide. All of the group commence sizing up this rope bridge that crosses the wide and deep chasm. My first thought is “It doesn’t look very sturdy or stable and it even appears neglected”.
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