The Time of Shadows

Magic Barriers and Their Keys
The Adventures of Mustafa

As Mustafa, Kailey, and Jacob step out onto the lower level of the temple, they are assaulted by a foul odor that seems to be emanating from a ten foot wide pit shortly after the final stair. It’s depth is unknown as Mustafa moves close to examine it. Finding nothing interesting besides the stench, the group moves onward. There are several corridors branching from the pit room. The floors are stout and level stonework as are the walls, supported by timbers. Mustafa begins to explore the corridors and the rooms he finds. Most are empty, but some have old storage piled in a corner. As he starts to sift through some of the weathered crates and beaten chests for something useful, all the years of dust and grit is displaced. The fragments start to swirl ominously and soon a strong wind is felt that picks up small pieces of wood and old fabrics, broken bottles and then whole crates! One of the smokey figures stands before the group, suffused with decades old junk. Jake begins the attack and scores several good hits, but it is Mustafa that shows he is most powerful. With the aid of his sigils and runes, he is able to empower his fullblade and lay the hurt on the smokey shade. Kailey jumps in at the end with a critical attack that dispatches the aggressive manifestation, strewing the junk that ir had managed to hold on to all over the room. As Mustafa leaves the room, he hears that taunting voice whisper “Only one left…”

More exploration leads the group to a branch that is barred by a solid curtain of shadow. As Mustafa grows close, he feels his brand start to tingle, then sting, then ache. He holds off getting too close, and asks Kailey if she knows anything about it or how to bypass it. She meditates and surmisses that it is a part of the shadowfel that was brought onto the physical plane. Mustafa scouts some side passages in the hallways around the shadowfel veil and discovers more impassable branches. This time, blocked by rocks, dirt and old timber as if a hallway had suffered a cave in in the times past. About to return to the veil and find a way through, a blast of wind flares in the confined space and starts to gather dust, then dirt, then stones and timbers into a whirling humanoid mass! It seems as if the last smoke apparition has chosen it’s time to attack! The material that it is using for it’s makeup are considerably bigger

Killed big smoke knight.

Found Water orb.

Found earth orb.

Found fire orb, but couldn’t collect due to water orb still in his hand. Use earth orb to see about levitating the rocks around the fire, but orb super powers the command and almost causes a cave-in.

Deposits the water orb in sigil room. feels like la hammer to the lungs.

Return for fire orb, by lowering tower of dirt.

Grabs the fire orb and deposits it in it’s sigil space.

Can’t find the Wind orb, so uses the earth orb to super power his punch which does cause a cave in and everyone is late that day.

Stumped, the party begins to squabble a bit, when someone mentions that the other orbs were nestled in their respective elements. So everyone should go upstairs to see the sky and find the orb there.

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Traps and Taunts in the Fallen Temple
The Adventures of Mustafa

Mustafa and his companions start exploring the temple further. Beyond the room where combat raged, stands a hallway bracketed by two altars. Upon the altar is a small pile of ashes, with medium sized statues watching over them. The statues are masterfully carved black stone that gives the impression of a humanoid wreathed in smoke. As Mustafa approaches, it almost feels like the statues keep their eyes on him. He asks Kailey to inspect the altars, suspecting a trap. She reports that there is nothing out of the ordinary and the pile of ashes is of regular wood offerings. Satisfied, Mustafa moves past the altars and is surprised when a strong gust of air springs up in front of him to blast past the altars, whisking the pile of ashes away. The statues seem to shift and the carved smoke whips in the sudden wind before the statues themselves start to blow away in the gust, just as the piles of ash had. Mustafa and the others are on high alert as the wind dies down, but no attack is forthcoming. Resigned to a state of paranoia, Mustafa carefully advances down the hall to continue exploring; every step expecting some ambush.

The group reaches an intersection in the temple, and Mustafa heads north first. At the end of the short hall, he finds the ruined section of the temple he had originally investigated from the outside. To the side of the hall, Mustafa sees a sleeping area with about a half dozen aged, dusty, frail looking beds with small chests beside each. Mustafa steps forward to investigate, kicking up dust as he walks. Since the chests are unlocked, he is able to simply open them to check the insides. Old clothing one would expect on a human man-at-arms, spare bedding, leather and metal odds and ends, and dust. The more Mustafa rifles through the old belongings, the more dust and grit he kicks up. He searches three more chests, before asking Kailey to use her arcane abilities to check for any magical auras in the room.

Kailey sensed no strong magical auras except a growing malevolence that suddenly manifested as a swirling form of aggression with red glowing eyes that rushed Mustafa! Combat was quick and flashy as Mustafa used his abilities with runes and sigils, along with Jacob and Kailey, to batter and scatter the hostile presence, until a shadow seemed to rise up from the floor to inhabit the swirling form. It’s attacks were fiercer now with necrotic dangers added. A second raging whirlwind sprang up and joined the fray, trying to grab Kailey from behind. She was able to retreat behind Mustafa and Jacob and pelt the foes safely out of melee. Mustafa’s sword rose and fell, charged with the power of the runes and combat was quickly ended. No further attacks were forthcoming, so Mustafa moved to leave, when he heard a whisper chiding him for destroying the wind monsters. Mustafa questioned the voice loudly, and was able to gain some information. The voice belonged to the caretaker of the temple, and that Mustafa was the only one he deigned to communicate with. Mustafa couldn’t get much else from the voice, so he continued with the hallway to the south.

At it’s end there was another sleeping area on his right, and a slab of bronze like a table upon a stand in an area to his left. The bronze slab had four braziers at it’s corners, each lit with an eerie green flame. The slab depicted a huge serpent strangling the world in it’s coils and piercing continents with it’s fangs. Mustafa’s strange voice told him that this was a concession to the followers of Zehir while they were staying at the temple and that it had some interesting properties. He offered to show some of them to the group and immediately, the bronze tablet started to belch green smoke that quickly filled the close surrounding. Mustafa tried to hold his breath, but to no avail as the noxious fumes forced a coughing fit and thus gained access, poisoning him. His boon from the Sea God helped him fight the worst of the effects, but they would have to disable this evil effigy if they wanted safe passage in the temple again. The group jumped into action, trying to counter the unholy power of the slab, using their knowledge of religion and Mustafa’s power with runes. Eventually, there came a turning point, where Mustafa mustered his ingenuity with the runes and his strength to cleave the slab in two and use the earth and the fires to obliterate the remains of the slab all at once. Unfortunately, the power of a God is not to be underestimated and Zehir spent the last of his influence to counter all of Mustafa’s efforts and steal absolute victory by crumbling the slab to dust. Feeling unsatisfied, Mustafa moved back to the intersection and continued deeper into the temple.

Shortly after the intersection, the hall opens up into a room with a spiral staircase leading underground. Mustafa decides to see what else the temple has to offer on this floor and passes the spiral staircase by for now. Through an adjoining hallway, Mustafa comes across two more statue and altar pairs bracketing the hall, each looking like a smoke-shrouded humanoid. Mustafa fully expects to have to fight them manifestations again and begins to trudge through the two, but stops at a suggestion from Kailey. She mentions the piles of ashes and pulls out her fire starting kit which has several pieces of tinder in them. “Why don’t we burn an offering?” Mustafa sees no problem, so he does and almost immediately, the stick is consumed by flame and joins the pile of ashes upon the altar. With the offering complete, the statues no longer seem to watch Mustafa and the gang. Feeling relieved, Mustafa checks the last room to find a wide stairwell leading underground. After a little pondering, Mustafa decides to move forward down the larger stairwell, and upon taking the first step, feels a great wind spring up. It rushes past him and blows the piles of ashes off of the altars. This affront to their offerings animates the statues, but rather than attacking immediately, the smokey forms dissipate, leaving Mustafa on edge and expecting an ambush that doesn’t come. He decides to continue down the stairs taking him dozens of feet under the earth. Eventually, he finds himself in a room clad in floor to ceiling stonework, with a pit in the center of it. As he steps off the stairs, the voice returns to welcome him to his parlor…

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Entering the Fallen Temple of Toula 'Klache
The Adventures of Mustafa

Mustafa and the gang rest momentarily to regain their strength and heal their wounds. Once recovered, they found a somewhat regular pathway that their recent foes must have used. They cautiously followed the path westward and came upon a building that was most likely the temple they were looking for. The building was not typical LIzardfolk ruins though, being constructed in a different manner than any of the previous ruins. This building appeared to be made in the style of many human dwellings, with thinner walls of small stones and an apex roof fashioned from what must have been recently gathered and crafted wood materials. Comparing the condition of the stone walls to the roof made it obvious that the Lizardfolk lured into Toula ’Klache’s temple to worship had done some sprucing up.

Mustafa could see that one portion of the wall had collapsed, giving him a possible stealthy entrance to the temple. Mustafa could see that the insides of the temple were also very atypical of LIzardfolk design with wooden beds and walls made of stone and wood. Candles seemed to flicker sporadically at spaced intervals on the walls. Upon closer inspection of the crumbled section of the outer wall, he could see that climbing over the rubble would be potentially very noisy as stones and dirt shifted under them. Especially for Kailey and Jacob, so they all snuck towards the main entrance, which held no door to bar the way. Directly opposite the entryway, down a unusually long niche that seemed to hold nothing else, was a mighty-looking statue dedicated to Toula ‘Klache. It showed a giant, aggressive looking Couatl with two arms sprouting from the torso, just below the statues wings.The figure was holding a war trident and looked to be in the very beginnings of a lunge at whoever was looking at the statue. The wings were furled slightly with feathers that looked like they were more steel or metal than feather. Though, much like all the other altars of the Lizardfolk, Toula ’Klache’s altar was befouled and defiled. Shadowy tendrils snaked around the statues throat and bound it’s wings and arms in ephemeral chains. Mustafa briefly considered trying to break the statue, but thought better of ruining all his stealth up to this point in case there were unfriendly inhabitants to found.

In fact, Mustafa strained his ears and was able to hear the low bass of a voice coming from further inside. Sneaking down a side hall, the group came upon a bend in the hall where a couple more statues stood. These seemed to be looted from human lands as the carvings were of human figures. The statues stood along the outer wall, facing an alcove opposite them. Each figure was holding a large brazier filled with an unusually red fire. Half expecting something horrible to happen, Mustafa passed in front of the statue trying to continue further into the temple. As soon as he stood in the area in front of the first statue, it’s brazier fire shot explosively at him, scorching the ends of his clothes and shoving him into the alcove. Mustafa’s resistant nature saved him from catching fire and his general hardiness kept him from being bashed silly against the alcove wall. Kailey and Jacob raced up to the statue to try and disarm the trap, which was rapidly resetting itself. Mustafa was able to get out from in front of it before it could strike at him again, but soon found himself in the sights of an enemy shadow mage. The trap had alerted whoever was on guard within the temple and now they were trying to kill Mustafa! Kailey and Jacob hastily continued to disarm the trapped statue so they could close the distance with the attacker, but Mustafa beat them to it with some clever seal techniques, containing any fire blast from the statues. By the time he finished implementing the seals, the speaker from earlier with the bass voice had invoked some ritual and summoned wraiths to harrass them while they were confined in the hallway. Meanwhile, the mage who had first attacked cloaked himself in a shadowy aura and stepped in and out of view, taking pot-shots while Mustafa dealt with the wraiths. A second mage tried to flank the group from the opposite hallway, but the situation became tactically untenable, so he retreated.

Soon enough, the group was able to move through the hall and into the next room, which was much larger. Oval in shape, the room had two pools of liquid, one at each side of the room. Mustafa couldn’t tell if the pools were filled with blood or with water and the red firelight was just playing tricks. In the center of the room, a large magic circle sat aglow with dark purple runes. In the center was a black twitching mass of something unknown. At the top of the circle was a mockery of a man. wreathed in a flowing, shadowy cloak, the man’s bones seemed to radiant a sinister light, leaving his thin skin practically translucent. He seemed to be in the process of drawing forth more wraith minions as the shadowy snipers kept the groups attention focused on them. The auras made it very difficult to hit the mages, but with some luck and skill, Mustafa and Jacob were able to bloody one of them, which caused the aura to expand wildly, engulfing them both in the shadows. With the fight much closer to him, the ritual caster plucked a ruby from a portion of the ritual circle and channeled it’s power to attack Mustafa with red lightning from afar. The fight was fairly even for a bit; Mustafa’s foes hitting for not much damage, but inflicting several ailments upon the crew, such as weakness, lethargy, and a persistent corruption that Jacob found difficult to shake of while the Shadow Lord’s minions were able to avoid many of the strong hits Mustafa and the others were slinging at them. Mustafa found himself wrapped in the expanded shadowy aura and beside one of the questionable pools of liquid at one point and tried to use some seals to strike a decisive blow against the pesky mage. The effort of channeling the water was larger than he expected, partly due to the complexity of the maneuver he was trying to perform, partly because the liquid was not water as he had assumed. Mustafa used the liquid in an attack that trapped and crushed the mage in a swath of ice crystals. With the mage dead, the aura faded and all could see the glacier made of blood Mustafa had created. From the peripheral of his vision, Mustafa could swear he saw reflections of Lizardfolk being tortured and ritualistically murdered in the facets of the icy mass. Reflections that disappeared if he turned to look at them, but he was sure of what he’d seen.

Only the warlock and a single mage remained. Mustafa empowered his boots with the element of wind and covered the distance to the warlock in a flash, catching the evil caster by surprise. With a righteous thrust, Mustafa impaled the warlock and planted several seals on him that activated when the massive blade was withdrawn. A pillar of celestial light blew through the roof from the sky and burned the warlock to ashes. The last mage tried to escape, but Mustafa gave chase and knocked one of the trapped statue’s brazier into the mages path. The disrupted magical trap went haywire and blasted the fleeing mage back into the clutches of Mustafa. Trying to escape once again, Mustafa deftly took advantage of the mage’s lowered guard and sheared through him with one radiant slash, ending the fight. In the aftermath, the group found that the warlock had owned 3 gems with magic abilities. Two could be used as weapon crystals and the third as an armor crystal.

Thinking of the Couatl statues in the previous temples and how the Shadow Lord corrupted the deity’s influence by corrupting a physical representation of them, Mustafa began preparations to cleanse the statue of Toula ’Klache. Though his first attempt failed, Kailey and Jacob offered to help with the second. Just as he was about to enact the cleansing seals, Kailey reminded him that the Couatl goddess of war was not a good goddess. Nor would she be in any mood to be diplomatic should her statue be cleansed and she manifested as the other LIzardfolk Gods had done after the cleansing. Mustafa saw wisdom in her words and decided to explore the temple more fully before dealing with the defiled statue.

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Finding The Shadow Lords Influence
The Adventures of Mustafa

Mustafa and the others press on past the pond, but the uneasy feeling seems to linger, as if the marshland they walk through harbors ill intent towards them. After several hours, close to sun down, they see signs that they are getting close to the ruins they seek; a constructed wall of big stone blocks, weathered with age. Mustafa and the group become wary and move stealthily up to the wall. Peeking beyond the wall, they see a group of Yuan-Ti and a man dressed in Priest robes directing a strange group of lizardfolk. The lizardfolk seem to have been leached of color and they were shambling about, apparently searching the ground for stones. Mustafa plans to sneak closer to perform shadow strikes before the evil creatures knew what was going on, unfortunately Jacob misplaces a step and snaps a twig loudly, alerting the closest Yuan-Ti. They notice the group and raise an alarm, signalling the whole crowd to charge. The lizardfolk shamblers are essentially ignored until the priest empowers them with an aura, Mustafa focuses on the Yuan-Ti and the priest while Kailey manages to take out a large chunk of the shamblers. Jacob was busy fending off two Yuan-Ti of his own. Mustafa summons Cormag to help clean up the strange lizardfolk. As the Yuan-Ti take wounds, they seem to bleed shadows instead of blood and began to benefit from the priest’s aura, hitting harder when they land a blow. Mustafa uses his sealing arts extensively through the battle, calling upon many elements to rend, burn, shock, crush, and consecrate his foes. An impressive fire and force combination is used on the foul priest with fatal results. Mustafa watches as the priest burns, but then seems to crumble and disintegrate into a swirling cloud of shadow. The cloud compresses and with a shockwave of dark power, explodes outward, leaving a tall, gaunt, shadowed horror standing where the priest had perished. As the shockwave passes over the fallen, it reanimates the corpses to join the fight once again. Luckily, only the weakest enemies have been dispatched, so they were easily ignored for the more serious threats posed by the Yuan-Ti and the newly come Shadow Spirit. Fierce fighting soon saw the foes dispatched, Mustafa finishing the Spirit with an explosive fire and radiant attack, blasting the head from the fiend’s shoulders. The battlefield lay quiet and the group begins to collect themselves to explore the area more. Further west, they can see what looks like the tops of ruined buildings, undoubted the location of the ruins of Toula ’Klache.

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Several Meetings with Ghosts
The Adventures of Mustafa

Mustafa and the gang partied with the Greenscale Tribe in celebration, but decided not to over-indulge for they had an important meeting in the morning; the shamans would beseech the Winged Serpent for an audience with Sheera Star. The ritual commenced shortly before dawn and with the first rays of the sun the ritual culminated in the shimmering form of the Winged Serpent being channeled through the lead shaman. The Winged Serpent congratulated Mustafa on his efforts on behalf of the Lizardfolk and asked the reason for the shamans summons. Mustafa was gracious and asked for a favor, namely a meeting with Sheera Star. Lizardfolk legend stated that Sheera was drawn into the heavens with the Winged Serpent at the end of her days for all the service she gave to the tribes. The Sun Deity inclined his head and a feather dropped to the ground from the crown of his head. When the feather touched the ground, light coalesced into the form of the half-elven warlock, Sheera Star.

Sheera was pleased to see that Mustafa was helping the tribes and was aware of the Shadow Lord’s mark upon him. Mustafa related that he was seeking her boon to solidify his alliance with the Shadow Vigil. She understood his wish and would gladly give it, once the tribes were finally safe. The threat to their safety lay in the Darkened Ruins of Toula ‘Klache to the west. Toula ’Klache was the old Lizardfolk God of war. Mainly due to Sheera Star’s efforts in the past, the tribes moved away from worshiping the war God and tied themselves more tightly to the Winged Serpent. Without the faithful, Toula ‘Klache has lost power and is mostly forgotten today, but the Shadow Lord’s minions enticed some of the smaller tribes to the old Ruins to revive the war God through worship and sacrifice. Sheera doesn’t know exactly what is going on, but is certain that none of the tribes that believed the Shadow Lord’s minion remain alive. With the Shadow Lord’s influence so close, it would only be a matter of time before the Sun God and the Winged Guardian fell again. Sheera bids Mustafa to stop the Shadow Lord’s machinations to safeguard the Tribe, afterwards, she will bestow her boon.

Mustafa, Jacob, and Kailey begin the roughly two day journey west towards the Darkened Ruins. An uneventful first day passes quickly. Mid-day on the second day however, the group becomes wary before stopping for a lunch break. They feel hateful eyes on them and start to look around at the scraggly trees that dot the area. They notice that the shadows under the boughs are too thick for the sparse branches and foliage could provide! Wraiths of tormented LIzardfolk seem to appear by soaking up the shadows under the trees. The party is surrounded quickly, but their natural resistances to necrotic damage keeps them unharmed from the weaker shades. Soon more apparitions appear, they look like wraiths, but their form is tattered and frayed at the edges. These souls are stronger and with a withering aura wrapped close about them. With their appearance, also comes a lone ghost, rising from a nearby pond to look balefully at the living interlopers. This ghost looks as if he has drown and wields a rough hewn cudgel with blades strapped to it to act as hooks. As the new wraiths close with Mustafa, the drown ghost is able to augment the withering aura of the wraiths as the combat goes on. Though with every strike against an augmented wraith, the extra power seems to fall away a bit. The group has terrible luck with their attacks all through the fight, but eventually, there are only a couple of the strong wraiths, a quartet of the weaker wraiths, and the drowned ghost remaining. The weaker shades are commanded over to the ghost, who hasn’t left the pond water since the fighting started, and with a gesture, the ghost consumes the small wraiths and steps off the water and charges Mustafa. The ghost has terrible luck as well and can’t seem to land a single blow before the stolen energy from the wraiths run out and he is forced back onto the pond. Mustafa and the rest deal with the remaining wraiths and close in on the ghost. After a failed attempt to drown Mustafa, the ghost is laid to rest by Mustafa’s blade. The party decides not to stop in such an unrestful place, and eats while walking.

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To Cleanse an Ocean
The Adventures of Mustafa

Mustafa and his companions face off against the Yuan-Ti force waiting for them on the other side of the stone doors. The Yuan-Ti leader is a particularly skilled water witch and assaults Mustafa with poison mist and ice projectiles while it’s minions swarm and keep Mustafa from closing the distance. Jacob and Kailey pick off a couple wraiths, but in a spectacular display of water-mastery, Mustafa turns one of the Yuan-Ti’s weapons against the enemies around him. Where once the poison mist choked Mustafa, now the mist burns with radiant power and burns the evil beings surrounding him. A vicious duel between Mustafa and the Yuan-Ti finishes the combat when the Yuan-Ti is knocked to the ground and before it can recover, Mustafa bounds off a nearby wall and plants his ice-strengthened sword through the wriggling snake’s chest.

A search of the corpses yields some gems and several evil implements used by the Yuan-Ti in service to Zehir. Those that couldn’t be disenchanted later were promptly destroyed and the group moved on to explore the temple a bit more. Salt water and neglect had taken their toll on the murals and painted surfaces, though any carvings remained where the walls themselves were intact. Most were fragmentary and didn’t lend much insight. After resting for a bit, the group opens the last set of doors and find long carved stairs leading down deeper into the temple.

The stairs eventually lead to an open chamber with four pools and an altar dedicated to the Ocean God. The pools seem to be clouded and befouled, the altar also tainted and defaced. Mustafa draws closer to one of the close pools of water to find that the tainted water originates from a dark, indistinct object at the center of the pool. It seemed to be conflicting with clean water from the edges of the pool, like two self-renewing sources of water vying for dominance of the pool. Using his sealing arts, Mustafa attempts to cleanse the pool of corruption with the seals of Water and Radiance. His first attempt is thwarted as he tries to form the Radiance seal and he is thrown back a short distance. Jacob and Kailey join his efforts, assisting during the Radiance seal and manage to suppress the foul object at the center of the pool. The clean water at the edges of the pool surge forth and seem to eject the object forcefully, letting it plop to the floor outside the pool. The group inspects it to find it is a lizardfolk heart, carved with runes and tainted ritual markings. Outside the pool, the heart rapidly dissolves, freeing the shadowy ghost of a tortured lizardfolk. At the same time, the other three pools manifest similarly tortured lizardfolk wraiths, which attack Mustafa single-mindedly. Mustafa does his best to ignore the wraiths and use his sealing arts on the remaining pools, correctly judging that the wraiths will fade as the first one did when the corrupted heart is destroyed. After cleansing the second pool, the remaining wraiths seem to focus their hate for Mustafa and grow in power slightly. This also makes the cleansing of the pools more difficult, but Mustafa perseveres and manages to cleanse the last two pools quickly.

With four clean pools, the chamber falls silent. Clean, clear water fills each pool, though each seems to have a different aspect of the ocean represented in the shallow pools. The first is crystal clear, giving the impression that Mustafa can see fathoms deep as if the ocean floor were just within reach. The second pool was that of the deepest ocean, a blue that was dark and rich with the power to swallow massive ships and hide immense creatures under the waves. The third pools surface was calm and still, but seemed to be filled with the crash of white-capped waves and the ocean whipped into a storm. The last pool seemed deep and shadowed, or rather, full of the shadows of all manner of sea life, as if they swam not far above and blocked the sun with their form.

Mustafa and the others turn their attention on the altar and try to cleanse it in a similar way as the pools. The ritual is a success for a moment before they are blasted back by an unseen force. The stone altar crumbles to reveal a Couatl with savage wounds covering it, prominent among them, a pair of large punctures on it’s neck that look like a snake bite. Mad with pain and rage the Couatl attacks and Mustafa is forced to defend himself. The enraged ocean god seems without much of its power and facilities which allows Mustafa to land a crushing strike, brimming with radiant power. Contrary to destroying the tortured Couatl, the radiant power seems to banish the marks of abuse and corruption as the blow lands. A strong follow up strike cleanses the last marks upon the deity and the fight is abruptly finished. The Ocean God, known also as the Winged Guardian, relates that his corrupted state was due to a joint attack by Zehir and the Shadow Lord and that he is very grateful to Mustafa for clearing their ilk from his temple. Even in his reduced state, he offers a boon to Mustafa and his companions. Mustafa asks that the Winged Guardian resumes his duties to the Lizardfolk Tribes as soon as possible and that any assistance with dealing with the followers of Zehir that might still threaten the tribe would be welcome. The Ocean God granted each a drop of water from the first pool, which granted purity to each of them, helping to resist small amounts of poison in the future. Mustafa, Jacob, and Kailey were very thankful and took their leave, heading back to the Greenscale Tribe city. Hopefully to hear from Sheera Star now that the Tribes had their divine host back.

Halfway back to the Tribe, they were met by a contingent of shamans and warriors. They professed their own thanks for Mustafa’s efforts in restoring the Winged Guardian to them and that they were on the way to the Temple to help restore it and guard it from further threats. Mustafa bid them well and continued north, stopping briefly in the Sun God Ruins to investigate a large number of lizardfolk settling into any structure with a roof still intact. The elders of the group mentioned that the ruins were going to be inhabited more for protection now that the tribes knew they were in danger. Chief Darkclaw sent some of the toughest warriors to start settling each of the ruins. Mustafa approved of the move and continued towards the city, arriving several days later to a city in celebration. Any who saw Mustafa recognized him and were not shy about expressing their gratitude for what he had done for all lizardfolk. Soon they made their way to the center where Chief Darkclaw could be found where they were greeted warmly and thanked effusively. Darkclaw told them that the shamans were working the ritual that would allow them to commune with the Winged Serpent and hopefully gain a conversation with the legendary Sheera Star as well.

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On to the Ocean Gods Ruins
The Adventures of Mustafa

Mustafa, Kailey, and Jacob make their way back to the The Greenscale Tribe city with little trouble or delay. As the lizardfolk recognize the group they are shown great respect and are generally greeted with excitement. Before penetrating too far into the city, Mustafa is met by a group of the elite warriors that guard the chieftain. They say the chieftain would like to meet with him and thank him for the efforts made so far. Mustafa graciously agrees and everyone marches to stand before Chief Darkclaw. The chieftain’s remaining shamans are nothing but grateful to Mustafa and the head shaman offers a life debt to Mustafa for returning the tribes faith. Mustafa stumbles slightly in his gracious refusal, but does ask to be allowed to stay the night inside for him and his companions, seeing as they’ve been roughing it for a couple weeks now. Kailey and Jacob are grateful for the respite. Chief Darkclaw throws an impromptu feast in Mustafa’s honor and there is much fun and merriment.

In the morning, the group heads south to the Ocean God’s Temple ruins. after several days, they pass along the Sun God’s Temple ruins and see that the Greenscale Tribe’s warriors are clearing any remaining malign forces from the area. Seeing that the lizardfolk are out in force, Mustafa sees no need to step in and help them for now. Continuing on, the group reaches the Ocean God Ruins after another several days. As they approach the Temple, a storm starts to gather and swiftly turns into the beginnings of a monsoon. A search begins for the Temple entrance and Jacob manages to spot a likely candidate right off by climbing one of the few remaining tall pillars. Shortly, the group stands in the driving rain in front of a pair of large stone double doors leading into the Temple. Rather than brute strength the doors open, Mustafa beckons Kailey and Jacob close and uses Shady’s power to phase through the door, thus getting the drop on a quartet of lizardfolk wraiths! Mustafa strides into the center of the room and sets himself in defense as the wraiths shriek their hate for the living and charge him. A swift melee leaves Mustafa and crew unscathed and they are able to take a closer look at their surroundings. The back half of the building has crumbled away and is quickly taking on the appearance of a lake as the burgeoning monsoon makes the already full swamp water rise.

Mustafa and the rest find stairs at the rear of the room, exposed to much of the weather, and descend carefully to the lower levels of the Temple. At the bottom of the stairs, they exit into a small room and try to pick their way silently forward. Jacob seems unable to keep the noise down though so it’s no surprise to Mustafa that when he rounds a couple corners, he finds foes already alerted to his presence. A Yuan-Ti and what appears to be his pet shadow snake lie in wait and attack as soon as Mustafa shows himself. Soon after the battle is joined by another pair of foes; Yuan-Ti and snake. Though the Yuan-Ti are big and brutish, Mustafa and the others are not in dire peril from foes so inexperienced and are able to finish them off without too much trouble. The way forward is barred by another set of big stone double doors, which Mustafa decides to brute force open this time. The doors grate slowly and very loudly open to reveal a motley crew of Yuan-Ti and wraiths waiting on the other side. No surprises this time either!

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Clearing Out the Temple
The Adventures of Mustafa

Only a couple rooms remain to explore, several have hidden snakes in them, but the foes are not hard to dispatch for Mustafa and his team. One of the rooms has the stories of Lizardfolk heroes displayed on it’s walls, the rooms reverence for the honored dead is marred by the corpse of a local champion, desecrated and carved with runes like all the other corpses Mustafa had found. The last room had peculiar murals and pictures carved and painted on the walls. It seemed to hold a record of the current rise of the The Greenscale Tribe, but it looked like it was set in the ancient stone long, long ago. Most startling was the depiction of a small group of figures that looked to be leaving the Greenscale Tribe in search of the Winged Serpent. Each figure seemed to resemble Mustafa and his crew…

Deciding not to think too deeply upon the eerie murals, Mustafa moves to the furthest rooms in the temple and finds a group of Yuan-Ti guarding the last room where it sounds like a dark ritual is going on. Battle ensues and Mustafa shows why it is never a good idea to cross swords with him as he brutally takes down foe after foe. Brogan seems to be learning from his example, as he makes a very good showing in the fight. Finishing the last Yuan-Ti with a writhing water snake, Mustafa tries to access the last room to stop the ritual, but finds the archway magically barred. Knowing there is very little time, Mustafa bids his companions to gather close and uses the magic of Shady to bypass the ward altogether. Unfortunately, there are redundant protections and Mustafa’s roaring charge is repelled once again. The ritual seems to be rising to a crescendo and the team looks frantically for a weakness in these new wards. Mustafa finds them finally and destroys them, but gets caught in a magical backlash that throws him back and seems to slow his actions to a crawl. Jacob takes up the charge to stop the ritual just in time and manages to interrupt the last Yuan-Ti with a pike to the back. The fight is joined once again and the Yuan-Ti tries to dominate it’s foes, but it’s too little, too late and the treacherous snake falls to a powerful sword technique from Mustafa.

Brogan begins to clean the sacred site and is once more the mouth-piece for the Winged Serpent. The deity bids Mustafa to continue to the Sea God’s Temple to cleanse the taint from it. Only then will the Winged Serpent be able to fully protect the LIzardfolk. Only then will the Winged Serpent help Mustafa connect with the spirit of the Sheera Star. Brogan tells the group that he is staying behind to start the cleansing process of this temple. This will help the Winged Serpent to exert his power on the plane more and help guide the Lizardfolk once again. All bid the lithe Dragonborn a farewell and start back towards the Greenscale Tribes city to pick up another guide so that they can head to the Sea God’s Temple.

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Underground We Go
The Adventures of Mustafa

Mustafa decides to enlist the help of the artifact Shady to get them all through the walls without revealing themselves to the archer Yuan-Ti still inside the center portions of the ruins. Shady is a little sullen that nobody talks with her anymore, but is still willing to help. The group all share contact with Mustafa and using Shady, they all become insubstantial enough to pass through solid stone walls. Which surely surprises the Yuan-Ti on the other side, who had expected the group to be coming from the opposite direction. Not wanting to waste time, Mustafa continued on, breaching the inner rings of the ruins and facing off with the Yuan-Ti wielding the bows. After some impressive sword work, Mustafa and crew are finally foe-free and they spend a moment or two healing their wounds.

Several stories below the surface, Mustafa and the rest are let out in a tight tunnel, which connects to several other rooms. Inside each room there are pictographs showing the origins of a different tribe of lizardfolk. Unfortunately, inside each room is the corpse of one member of each of the tribes, corresponding to the pictographs unique to each room. Also inhabiting the rooms are vicious snakes that have more than the usual intelligence, able to set up ambushes and employ some small tactics. Mustafa and crew don’t have trouble dispatching the snakes, but they are making an awful racket while they do it….

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Sneaking is Tough
The Adventures of Mustafa

Mustafa and crew dispatch the Lizardfolk and the Shadow snakes in the immediate vicinity with relative ease. Sneaking was never Kailey’s strong suit. Carefully moving closer to the center of the ruins, Mustafa manages to avoid all peril until he can see the center of the ruins sitting in a natural depression in the landscape. The ruins look like several sets of walls circling a small center area where they can almost make out a set of old stairs leading below the ground. Brogen assures the group that that’s the way deeper into the ruins, however, they also notice a group of Yuan-Ti out guarding the ruins. Those Yuan-TI in the center held large bows, their eyes scanning all around. The ones outside the ruins walls held wicked scimitars. Once again, everyone tries to sneak closer, but Kailey is sooooo bad at it that she alerts the closest one, which in turn alerts the rest. Burly Yuan-Ti that were guarding the perimeter converge on Mustafa’s group and battle is soon met. The Yuan-Ti aren’t the only ones to attack though, several shadowy snakes join the fray and make life difficult for the group. Eventually, the outer guards are defeated and Mustafa contemplates how they are going to get to the center without having to walk the whole way around, possibly gaining the attention of more guards.

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