Nevitash lay dead on the trail, Dak Race, Oldris Namere, Grumbar, and Vajra the Magnificent were taken prisoners, and added to the halfling chain gang. The gnolls separated the adventurers from each other upon arrival to the encampment. Dak and Vajra were immediately sacrificed to Yeenoghu, Demonlord of the gnolls. Grumbar believes Oldris to be alive, but has not been seen in a few days. Grumbar badly beaten, painted with barbecue sauce and chained to a cave wall, hung from his shackles wracked in sorrow and pain. Sometime later between blackouts and beatings, Grumbar was accompanied by five halflings. The gnoll slavers’ locked the halflings into chains on the cave wall across from Grumbar. One of the halflings had a key and began to unlock himself and one by one they unlocked each other and took up sentry, Grumbar pleaded with them to unlock him. The halflings were not interested. Grumbar again tried to reason with the halflings, one took mercy and threw him the keys and said stay out of our way. Grumbar grabbed the keys with his toes and positioned the keys with his feet to open the shackle on his wist.
Grumbar carefully follows the halflings out of the cave. Grumbar decided to climb the cave hillside instead of following the halflings through the center of the gnoll encampment. The halflings were soon discovered but not before Grumbar clawed his way up to the top of a muddy hillside. Tired, and weakened Grumbar ran, and ran, until he could only limp away from his captors. He was soon aware the gnolls with their hyenas were on his scent. Grumbar picked up two large stones to use as make-shift weapons. The hyenas caught up to Grumbar, one tried to bite Grumbar and knock him to the ground. Grumbar managed to evade the attack. He arrived finally at a ford and made the drop gracefully as he swan-dived into the river. The river current rushed him downstream several miles. Grumbar manged to narrowly escape the gnolls. Grumbar’s dive fooled the gnolls ro believe he will wash up dead along the river bank. The leader of the gnoll pack broke off their pursuit.
Several days later Grumbar arrives in Yanshi. He managed to get some clothing donated to him from halfling which made Grumbar appear a little silly, as the clothing was much to small for him but was better than being in his loin cloth. Eventually, he manged to get word to Tiny who reported Grumbar and his companion’s situation to Geoferry.
Geoferry assisted Grumbar to get re-equipped. Geoferry was saddened and disappointed that the ashes of the Aspect of Tharizdun were lost to the gnolls. This was also set back to the overall quest of destroying the far-realm curios, and destroying the aberrant-evils within them. Grumbar swore to the Raven Queen that the gnolls will know death, as he will avenge his companions one day.
Geoferry suggested that Grumbar go to the jungle outpost of Sawato. Every year the Sho-to folk host a hunt. This year was being Sawato. The purpose of the hunt is ostensibly to thin the population of dangerous monsters in the vicinity of the colony, but it’s an open secret that the quest for the biggest, rarest trophies is really just a proxy for the endless competition between the sponsoring merchants and noble houses. Grumbar makes friends with a female elf seeker named Caewin, a warforged rune priest named Henge, and a male deva swordmage named Vega. Together they formed an adventuring company named Grumbar Inc.
The rules of the hunt are quite clear. Journey into the jungle, seek out a monstrous creature, destroy it, and bring back the most impressive quarry to be judged in Sawato. Only 24 hours have been allotted to perform this task or face disqualification. Grumbar Inc. finds a a sponsor, the Order of Belox – this trading house specializes in the recovery of ancient artifacts from the ancient Serpentine Empire. Many priceless cultural artifacts are melted down for their precious metals or stripped of their decorative gems, but some are shipped back to Shoushi as museum pieces. Their representative is a bespectacled human Sho-to archaeologist. House Belox offers assistance in navigating the jungle by giving them some old maps that show some of the ancient temples of the Serpentine empire, and some of the good trails that still exist between them.
The jungle is a wild green hell as you leave the relative safety of Sawato. Cawing screeches of various bird and monkeys echo through the trees. It is amazingly hot and the air is so humid that it is an effort to breathe. The jungle is shaded by the immense trees, which seems like a boon, but the shade is home to clouds of stinging and biting flies. There is one clear path into the jungle, but it rapidly divides into a series of much smaller trails that wind around and fade into the jungle. The party plagued by heat, humidity, biting insects, posionous reptiles, and razor-sharp foilage press on looking for prey. The conditions are dreadful and dangerous.
They have traveled into a marshy area of the jungle. Rushes nearly twice the height of a man surround the party all sides, cutting at any exposed skin. You see small totemic fetishes hung on some of the plants – animal skulls with feathers and hung with beads made from crudely carved bone. As Grumbar Inc. come to an open patch of water, they see several lizardfolk looking at them in amazement. The party seemed to have startled them. They start making noises at the party that more-or-less resemble the common tongue (pidgin common). The party realized these folk are easily impressed by a show of bravado and strength. Grumbar Inc. ask the lizard folk if they have seen any creatures worthy of their prowess. The lizardfolk point the party westward.
As Grumbar Inc. slogs through the miserable heat and the annoying drone of many insects who bite at their skin, they move into a patch of relative shade. The shade seems to go on for quite a ways, and upon further exploration, they find that they have reached the base of a massive cliff. Thick roots and vines jut out of the moss-covered cliff face. Grumbar Inc. scale their way up 60 feet or so to the top of a plateau. This large clearing once held a temple to Zehir. All that remains is the raised dais and altar, standing atop a rubble-choked staircase. Statues flank the stairs, though several lie in pieces. Pits fall away on both sides. Fragments of rubble, cracked flagstones, and the bleached white bones of some great beast poke up out of the thick carpet of grass and leaves. Tracks of small scavengers can be seen throughout the area, but otherwise it seems abandoned. The party encounters another hunting party led by a surly dwarf priest of Kord. The rude and combative priest decides they were done hunting and either Grumbar Inc. move on to let the dwarf and his group search the ruins or face deadly consequences. Grumbar decides lets take down these idiots, combat ensues. The party narrowly defeats the other hunting company. They do take mercy on a female in the enemy party by tying her up and leaving her to fend for herself in one of the ruins ten foot pits. Caewin finds a secret panel near the ruined dais with about 200 gold pieces hidden inside. Soon Caewin picks up the trail of some small house cat sized lizards and well as some larger guard drakes and rage drakes. eventually she picks up the trail of a dragon and believes they maybe able to lay ambush up ahead some distance near a watering hole. A break in the thick jungle canopy allows bright sunlight to stream down for the first time in miles. The noise of the rushing river you have been following drowns out most of the other sounds of the jungle. Ahead, Grumbar Inc. can see the wreckage of an ancient tower. The architectural style appears to have been quite serpentine, and it must have been sturdily built, as portions of the walls still stand 20 feet high, although the roof and gates are long gone. Perched atop one of the walls of the ruined tower is a creature that surely must be at the top of the local food chain—a red dragon! The party is seen approaching and the red dragon attack with ferocity to protect her hunting grounds. Grumbar makes the killing blow into the red dragon. He also takes from it a thigh bone to make a new set of dice. With this impressive kill the adventurer’s are sure to get first prize. They quickly rush back to get their quarry to the judges table.
they return to Sawato is without further incident. Many of the other adventuring companies have already completed their own expedition. A massive, grisly pile of monster parts has accumulated in the center of town, where the judging committee has set up its review stand. A huge crowd has gathered, watching with rapt attention as the hunters are called forth to present their most impressive kills and tell the story of how the beast was taken. The judges examine each trophy with a critical eye and take notes, whispering to one another and smiling or frowning as each company makes its trophy presentation.
At last the time for announcing the results has come. All the other adventuring companies – at least, those who made it back out of the jungle – make their way back to the makeshift parade ground at the center of town. A large, rectangular box stands on the stage, draped with a velvet cloth embroidered with the heraldry of the Sho-to. The governor of Sawato, a thin human Sho-to with a reedy voice, steps to the podium and clears his throat. The crowd falls silent. “It was a truly magnificent hunt,” intones the governor. “My thanks, and the thanks of all, go to these brave souls who risked their lives in pursuit of terrifying and deadly beasts of all sorts. Our colony is much safer thanks to the culling you have performed.” The crowd breaks into applause and cheers, slapping the nearest adventurers on the back. “But helping us protect our colony is not truly why you came here, is it? You came to test your strength and mind against the wily beasts of the jungle – and, perhaps more importantly, you came to pit yourselves against the mettle of your fellow adventurers. One group among you has met that challenge and risen to the top! Ladies and gentlemen, I present the finest specimen that was taken during the Jungle Hunt! Grumbar Incorporated!”
The governor dramatically yanks the velvet cloth away, revealing a magnificent display case. A collective gasp rises from the crowd as the winning trophy is revealed – Grumbar Inc. your trophy, but his words are lost in the roar of the cheering crowd. Grumbar Inc. are hoisted on the shoulders of the people of Sawato and carried around the town in a spontaneous parade. The other adventurers and the representatives of the trading houses you did not choose watch enviously while your sponsor beams with pride.
You will not have to buy your own drinks for many days, as you are asked to tell and retell your story time and again.