- distant rumbles announce another negative energy storm on the way
- the companions seek shelter in a nearby cave
- ghoulish shadow wolves ambush the group
- wolves vanquished, the companions are visited by Ganyelt, a druid vampire
- he advises the brotherhood of the yellow sign is excavating nearby ruins in hopes of locating an ancient artefact
- they must be stopped or the island may be destroyed
- as payment, Ganyelt will provide them the means to leave the island
The animals of the jungle mill about in confusion, unsure of the sound emanating from all around them. The high-pitched screech, if it could be called such, borders the gap between awe-inspiring and death-defying, complete with an element of joyful elation and clear panic. The soprano timbre was soon joined by a rhythmic bass that shook the ground. The cacophonous episode was over as quickly as it began, as a deformed quadruped creature thunders past. Years later, the animals of the jungle would swear it was a demon dromedary from the plane of shadow that visited the island that day.
No camel was present, instead the galloping creature was the centaur Maydrane Vox and the demon hump an ebullient Lando. That said, not one of the many descriptors used to qualify the sound originating from Lando would have been incorrect as the old gnome hung on for dear life. Suffice to say, the two quickly covered the distance to arrive well-announced to the signal fire.
With a gorgeous sunset providing its fading light, Maydrane and Lando investigate the evidence of a battle at the signal fire. Soon thereafter, three Hellknight officers return. They advise that they were scouring the area for a band of orcs that had attacked a patrol. Perhaps they had double-backed to kill the remaining Hellknights in camp. On guard, commands are given to collect more wood to build the fire.
The distant rumble of thunder and flash of lightning draws the attention of the group. A coal black haze blocks out the horizon, massive clouds stream down from the mountain tops. Lando advises that the ominous clouds are unnatural and recommends that shelter be found before the negative energy storm hits. One of the Hellknights mentions a natural cavern not far from the beach and the Hellknight contingent, with Lando in tow, set out for the cave. Freight and Anton, who witness the exchange from the subterfuge of the jungle, follow cautiously.
As the group nears the cave, a hairy dwarf barrels out of the entrance intent on the lead Hellknight. Recognizing Romica, Lando steps into his path, forcing him to halt his charge. Magus Mike and his serpent folk companion Steve, who were also on their way to the cave for shelter, also step out of the jungle. Tensions on the rise, Lando steps into the middle of the fray before the situation escalates. In his most diplomatic tone, the gnome lays out the situation, “You all know this deep down, you can feel it in your souls, but I will voice it anyway – this island does not want us here. We are in hostile territory, one that will likely be the deaths of us. To survive the predicament currently faced, we will need every advantage, every resource at our disposal. I understand this is not a popular sentiment, but prior events need to be forgotten for the time being. If we wish to leave this island, we will need to join forces and work together.” To the surprise of her Hellknight company, Maydrane agrees and proposes a temporary truce. A begrudging peace is forged.
With rain as black as ink falling around them, Freight and Anton take stock of the situation. As they do, flashes of lightning provide a temporary glimpse of the surrounding hillside and the fleeting shapes of large predatory creatures quickly converging on the group. They bolt out of the jungle in time to warn the Hellknights and their companions of the impending attack.
An unnatural darkness descends as the hideously deformed creatures, reminiscent of shadowy wolves with misshapen protrusions, engage the group in melee. Maydrane charges a group of the ghoulish wolves, while others engage Magus Mike and Steve, the Hellknight company, and Freight and Anton. With a vicious snapping sound, one of the wolves wrestles Steve to the ground. The wolf shreds the body of the serpent person despite a furious counter attack by the magus. A group of wolves ravage the Hellknight contingent, eventually slaughtering all three officers. Freight and Anton manage to cripple the beast before them as they move to support Magus Mike. Together they overcome another wolf through force of numbers. Romica drops several creatures as he carves a path to Maydrane, believing her surrounded. Hasted by her travelling companion Lando, the centaur is ringed by near-death wolves, with several more bodies at her feet.
A booming voice, sounding similar to that of a lightning strike, announces “Enough!”. The surviving wolves blend effortlessly into the jungle. A shape appears from the black haze, a humanoid figure floating several feet off of the ground. A purplish glow emanates from the alien being’s black leather armour. A massive beard and wild hair rings it’s face, a small set of coal black eyes contrasts the creatures bone white skin. The storm subsides around the group, although it continues to rage just outside of their immediate vicinity.
A deep voice that croaks from disuse addresses the group. “A mediocre effort, but you have survived the test. And for that I, Ganyelt, resident ruler of the Isle of Terror, may allow you to live yet. By stepping on to this island, my island, your life is forfeit. But I have need for you, so listen well.” The companions learn that:
- There are others on the island that bear the symbol of the cult of the yellow sign – they are attempting to excavate a buried artefact
- Should they succeed, the island’s delicate balance, and its very existence, would be threatened
- The island was home to the Whispering Tyrant, a powerful and long forgotten despot, several millennia ago
- The artefact is buried beneath the ruins of his ancient city – Zindafar, the city of golden death
- The Whispering Tyrant, also known as the Wizard King, built a trap to lure and kill Aroden, the last Azlanti
- The ploy was unsuccessful and ultimately resulted in the death of the Wizard King
- The trap relied on a portal to the negative energy plane which remains active to this day, and is the cause of the negative energy storms that ravage the region
- If the companions are able to stop the cultists from excavating the artefact, Ganyelt will provide them the means to leave the island
- Given that Lando treasures knowledge above all else, he also negotiates for the vampire druid to answer one question as recompense