For the last ten days, the talk of the streets and taverns had been all about the so-called death curse: a wasting disease afflicting everyone who has ever been raised from the dead. Victims grow thinner and weaker each day, slowly but steadily sliding toward the death they once denied. When they finally succumb, they can’t be raised — and neither can anyone else, regardless of whether they’ve ever received that miracle in the past. Temples and scholars of divine magic are at a loss to explain a curse that has affected the entire region, and possibly the entire world.
Over the past few weeks, each of you was contacted by a liaison of Syndra Silvane. After giving you all a small incentive, these contacts instructed you to find Captain Sigmash Toruburk, who would be taking you to Port Nyanzaru. You were told that once you arrived in Chult,` you would meet Silvane, who would give you more details on your assignment. You have been aboard Captain Toruburk's ship, The Water Wyrm for seven days, and although you were all excited to get out onto the open water, it is a relief to finally reach Chult.
You appear in a tropical city under the blazing sun. The familiar sounds of a harbor — creaking ropes, slapping waves, heavy barrels rolling across cobblestones — mingle with voices shouting and cursing in an unfamiliar language filled with clicks, inhalations, and singsongy words that make it sound almost musical. The aroma of unfamiliar spices and tropical fruit mixes with the wharfside smells of fish, tar, and canvas. Beyond all that, Port Nyanzaru is an explosion of color. Buildings are painted in bright shades of blue, green, orange, and salmon pink, or their walls are adorned with murals portraying giant reptiles and mythical heroes. Every building sports baskets and clay urns of colorful flowers or is draped in leafy, flowering vines. Minstrels in bright clothing adorned with feathers and shells perform on street corners. Multicolored pennants and sun awnings flutter atop the city walls. A crowd of children dressed in feathered hats and capes races past you, squealing in delighted terror as a street performer costumed as a big-toothed lizard stomps and roars behind them. The whole city seems to be bustling, sweating, laughing, swearing, and singing.
As you step off the boat and thank Sigmash, a cheerful young tabaxi greets you and tells you to follow him. As you reluctantly decide to take his instructions, he leads you across the bustling city of Nyanzaru to a lavish villa. Inside, you hear soft music that seems to be emanating from the walls. Your tabaxi guide accepts a coin that is flicked to him by one of the servants and departs. You have been invited to the current home of Syndra Silvane. As you continue to take in the beauty of the mansion, uniformed attendant leads you up a grand staircase to the third floor, then ushers you into a wood-paneled room with a fireplace, comfortable chairs, and a heavy table bearing goblets and bottles of wine. The darkly paneled walls are hung with maps and sea charts. Racks, shelves, and cabinets hold hundreds more rolled-up maps and charts. A person is seated in an overstuffed chair near the fire. You can’t discern a gender, because only the person’s head emerges from under a heavy blanket draped over the chair, and an embroidered hood and silver mask conceal the wearer’s face. Even the person’s dry, raspy voice provides no clue. “Help yourselves to wine, and seat yourselves, friends — I hope I may call you that.”
A tall, lithe human with brown hair walks into the room, his icy blue eyes scanning the figure in front of him and identifying the exits as he absentmindedly taps his left hand on the bundle of javelins slung over his back.
Jasuri: "So...why have you gathered us here? And, um, that's a pleasing mask, by the way"
A dwarf of indeterminate age walks into the mansion and looks at all the gaudy ornamentation and approves with a smile. His battleaxe is slung in a frog from his thick belt and a sheathe of javelins are slung across his back. Other than that, there is no further indication of his profession other than a large leather apron that covers his large beard starting below the chin. Gimdir peers intently at the concealed stranger, "A friend o' Master smith Buraed Bristlearmour be a friend o' mine. But be you Syndra Silvane as that be who I be told to meet."
OOC: There are 4 doors in the room. Besides the one you entered from, there are two on the right side of the room. There is also a door made of wooden slats on the opposite side of the room from you that leads to a balcony. In addition to doors, there are two closed and blinded windows on the left side of the room.
As you enter, the masked figure looks over you all. Another uniformed servant offers a bottle of wine to you.
The masked figure stands, speaking in a raspy voice,"I am Syndra Silvane. I have gathered you here to destroy the source of a terrible curse affecting all those ever raised from the dead. If this curse goes on, it will be as devasting as the Spellplague was many years ago."
Syndra pauses for a moment, catching her breath.
“I was an adventurer years ago. I died once and was raised from the dead. I have since closed the door on that stage of my life. The death curse you may have heard about has struck me. I don’t know how much longer I’ll last before I perish. Clerics have no help to offer. They’re stymied by what is happening.”
Syndra sits down. She is clearly already exhausted from talking with you.
“My contacts in the Harpers have learned that the cause of the death curse is a necromantic artifact called the Soulmonger. According to their sources, the Soulmonger is somewhere here in Chult. In case you couldn't tell, Chult is a peninsula ringed with mountains and choked with rainforests. Enormous reptiles, savage goblins, and an army of undead prowl its jungles and ruins. Mapping the place has always been nigh impossible, and nothing is known about the region’s current geography beyond a few miles from the coast."
Sydra gestures to the dozens of charts and maps displayed on the walls.
"Working from dozens of sea charts, logbooks, and explorers’ journals, I assembled everything known about the current state of Chult into one map. I’ll provide it to you if you undertake my mission: to find and destroy the Soulmonger.”
A red skinned Kobold, wearing chainmail and a shield and holding a rapier rigidly upward like a lance, wanders in eyes wide with wonder at all of the finery. She doesn't introduce herself, she's too busy taking in the whole scene. Seeing the other Kobold in the room, she hurries to take a seat just a little bit too close to him and stares about him for a split second. When Syndra starts speaking she pays very close attention, and if Syndra is the type to get nervous from someone making too much eye contact then she might be feeling pretty nervous about now.
Syndra appears to be slightly unsettled by the unwavering gaze of the kobold. She shifts the angle of her chair slightly and continues speaking.
"If you complete this quest, I can promise you each a rare magical item. Chult itself also contains enough treasure to make you as rich as kings. I can't come with you. As you might be able to tell, I am very sick. I’ll stay here with my friend named Wakanga O’tamu. He’s one of seven merchant princes who rule the city. The only suggestion that I can give you is to find a guide who knows Chult. Without a guide, going into the jungle is a fool's errand. If you need a place to stay, try the Thundering Lizard or Kaya's House of Repose. The Red Bazaar is a good place to shop, and if you are looking to earn a little coin, talk to Harbormaster Zindar or try your hand at a Ytepka Race."
Gimdirr listens to Syndra, tugging his beard underneath the apron hard enough to make it look like his own neck is straining to keep his head from being pulled down. "Master Buraed be casting me out o' clan and home to learn pragmatism and be understanding the world, but why be sending me on this task..?"
Hesitating and thinking hard, visible by the scrunching of his face, Gimdirr finally shakes his head and finishes. "Destroying things, that I be good at. Must be why I be chosen."
Looking at the two Kobolds, Gimdirr the dwarf shakes his head, "But ohh, kobolds be nothing but pests that be digging where they shouldn't and be stealing what be not theirs. I be questioning where they be getting that armor and weapons, eh? I be not letting them at my back, ever."
Jerico gives you a glare. I take that as insult. Why were you sent away, huh? Maybe you were just to dumb to be good enough. He then eyes the other kobold. I’m only half kobold. I’ve got nothing to say for the others.
Syndra turns her head to look at you, and although you can't see her face, she seems mildly entertained by your remarks
"I understand that you may have some differences, but a task such as this one will require you to move past those differences. I'm sure Master Bristlearmor would be pleased if he knew you had decided to embark on such an honorable journey, and I'm sure your grandfather would be proud of you as well, Jerico. You were all chosen because you had some ability that was recognized by me or my accomplices. Now, I don't mean to be unfriendly, but unless you have any more questions, I'm going to take a nice long nap."
Under her breath, she grumbles, "Besides, none of us undead have nothing better to do until that gods-forsaken Soulmonger isdestroyed"
After addressing you, she descends into a coughing fit and takes a healthy gulp of something in a mug beside her.
Scamper does not appear to be perturbed by the dwarf's clear insult. She is too fascinated by what Jerico said.
HALF kobold?! Incredible!
It takes all of her willpower to hold back from grabbing his face and touching his ears to examine him, and he can feel that energy from her. Luckily for everyone, she manages to keep her hands to herself. She leans her shield and rapier against her chair, and distracts herself by looking back to Syndra's map. She regards it for a moment, then walks over to Gimdirr.
A challenge then, master dwarf. We will travel together for a time, and if we are unable to meet your *ahem* "standards", then we will go our separate ways. Agreed?
"Well, I suppose we should see about finding a guide that knows something about this jungle. Maybe you (he gestures to Gimdirr) and the kobolds might not want to sleep to close together, ya. But I guess we'll have to work together, ya. Why don't we check out this Kayas house of Respite place"
A lean, senior looking humanoid of average height hobbles into the room, leaning heavily on his staff. A Keen observer would notice that his movement and reliance on the staff is slightly exaggerated. After entering the room, he sits in the biggest, comfiest looking chair he can find with a big thump. "Ahh.." he sighs. "So much better than that cursed, uncomfortable ship." Spotting the servant with the wine, he waves him over for a glass of wine which he drains in one big Gulp before getting a refill. Holding his refilled glass he sighs, realising he should probaly engage in this conversation, he gets up to inspect the map. "Yes, I have heard many things about the infamous jungles of Chult. I am intrigued by this proposition and I accept your offer." he turns to his companions, assuming that they will listen to what he has to say, "The lady is correct. A Guide will be of utmost importance. In regards to the others things, other than a little shopping for supplies I think we should head out immediately."
With his face going past red to a shade of purple, Gimdir struggles to speak through clenched teeth, "The head o' me clan be telling me I be capable enough t' hammer ingots all day and all night. So I be not dumb!"