Chapter Twenty Six: Welcome to the Jungle
"So let me get this straight..." Nadiyya says, "Not only are we now trapped inside a piece of magic paper, we also released a power hungry warlord and his army of vengeful djinn back into our world?"
"That's an accurate summary of recent events," Misfar replies, glowering at Fuk, "And since someone who shall remain nameless decided to mess with the relic while everyone else was resting, we haven't even got all of our equipment."
Each player was allowed to pick two items from their character sheet that they carried with them into Kakishon. Nadiyya picked her sword and her armour. Misfar picked his new staff and his spellbook. Zain picked Tempest and his holy symbol. Fuk picked his bow and his armour.
"What's that in the water?" Zain says, peering toward a dark shape moving toward the beach, "Ready your weapons!"
Seven serpentine heads rise from beneath the tropical surf; each head is connected to the body of a single monster by a long, scaly neck. The hungry beast looms over the party as it splashes clumsily through the shallows.
Nadiyya projects a cone of fire at the hydra, catching three of the seven heads in the burst. Those three heads hiss as their scales blacken and turn to ash, the other four heads turn toward the young woman. Fuk shoots two of the unharmed heads, drawing their attention away from Nadiyya. Zain can't reach the heads, so he focuses on the torso. He swings Tempest into the hydra's flank, hard enough to crack a few ribs. The hydra's many heads snap at the heroes, one exhales a gout of flame over the party. Misfar is severely scorched by the beasts' burning breath.
Fuk shoots one of the heads between the eyes, piercing its thick skull and killing it dead. The head dangles limp and listless as an old man's wrinkly bell-end. The goblin disables another head - and because he isn't severing them, they don't regenerate. Misfar unleashes an empowered Burst at the hydra. He rolls snake-eyes!! Misfar suffers Backlash and a level of Fatigue. Zain delivers a mighty blow to the monster's chest, crushing several important monster organs and finally slaying the beast!
Before the dying hydra has stopped thrashing, the heroes hear a soggy clapping sound and spot a giant sea turtle applauding their victory. The turtle looks very old and very wise. It coughs, as though clearing its voice before saying something thought-provoking, but instead retches up a golden scroll case entwined with lengths of partially digested seaweed.
"Gross" Nadiyya observes, "I am not touching that."
Misfar gingerly collects the slimy message;
'Greetings and welcome to the Serpent Isles, great hunters!
'Here, you will find a challenge to satisfy your thirst for adventure! Your task is simple, you must hunt down the Golden Ram and claim its horn. The islands of the Kakishon archipelago contain many wonders, but you will need a ship to ferry you between them. Blowing the golden horn will summon such a vessel.
The Imprisoner is gone now, but his world remains - a world that we created. You have only just arrived and we don't yet know whether you are allies or enemies. Complete the hunt and we will have more tasks for you. Present the egg to the boatman and he will bring you directly to us. We have much to discuss.'
"What egg?" Misfar asks.
More retching from the turtle. It vomits up a large blue egg marked by brown spots.
Fuk grabs the egg greedily; that's his breakfast sorted. Misfar takes the egg off him.
"Maybe these mysterious world builders know of a way to escape Kakishon." the wizard suggests, "Completing their tasks might be the quickest way out of here."