Leaving Kalbuto the Party follows the River of Lost Tears to a huge freshwater lake, the Lake of Vanished Armies. Here at the Sargavan border with teh Mwangi Expanse, dozens of tribal settlements line the muddy banks of both the river and the lake. Locals earn meager livings catching mud crabs and turtles, making mud bricks, and growing rice, hippo grass, and other native grains. The soft, shallow banks make it difficult to land larger craft, though the tribesfolk typically pole rafts out to passing vessels heading towards Kalabuto or elsewhere, hoping to barter foodstuffs for worked metal, crafted technologies, and other such materials. The settlements are small consisting only of collections of mud-daub shacks, and they lack such amenities as shops and inns. Still, outsiders quickly discover that these friendly folk are eager to accommodate travelers in their homes, and offer them all sorts of gifts ranging from exotic foods to mystic drugs, and occasionally their companionship.
During the interactions with the tribesfolk, mostly through Nkechi, the Party hears local legend of a monstrous beast calls the Aomak said to live within the lake. The tales describe a titanic, saurian monster that devours fishermen and their boats.
The party investigate, using Roderick’s summoned dolphins, and manage to get an old military trunk containing 1,000 gold, two potions of lesser restoration, and an adamantine machete (treat as a short sword) without facing off against the Spawn of Aomak.
The Party continued on from there.
Soon after leaving the Lake of Vanished Armies, the party encounters a Mzali warband at the junction of the Pasuango and Korir Rivers. The Mzali wait in hiding and ambush the Party when they are believed to be the most vulnerable. The Party dispatches them quickly.
About 2-2 1/2 days after encountering the Mzali warriors, the Party enters the Screaming Jungle. At this point the river widens. In the center of the widest spot a herd of hippopotamuses wallow and graze. Three lizard folk decide to anger one of the bull hippos with a spear and send the Hippo’s stampeding. This event is dealt with by the Party and the party proceeded towards Tanzion.
The Party enters the Screaming Jungle. The trees grow broader and taller here, their gnarled branches rising to a tangled canopy that blots out the sun. Digging into their roots, giant, parasitic corpse-flowers blossom across the forest floor. Littering the banks of the river are several humanoid corpses, their armor and bodies ripped apart as if by large claws. Suddenly, a series of loud slams and crashing noises echo through the jungle, sending small monkeys in the treetops screaming in all directions.
The Party is attacked by a Possessed Dire Ape. Possessed by what you say? Itombu the shadow demon.
This was a difficult battle for the party and was truly an epic battle. Shadow demons are no joke. The bodies are the remains of a pathfinder expedition, that thought taking the river this far down was a good idea. The Party recovers a ring of sustenance from one of the dead pathfinders.