As the trail skirted the northern border of the Laughing Jungle, the Party spots a wisp of smoke on the horizon, coming from a small Zenj village huddling under the jungle’s eaves. When its inhabitants spot the party approaching, they quickly attempt to make contact with them, seeming quite eager to trade goods as well as share their hospitality. The villagers invite the party to join them for supper. The party eagerly follows.
Villagers smiled, toting baskets of fruit, meat, and laundry. Others sit in the shade weaving leaves and vines. Barefoot children dart about chasing each other around the small huts. The only person who seems uninterested in the visitors is an older woman with a painted face who, upon their arrival, ducted into her hut and pulled a cloth across the doorway. One of the villagers said “she is our shaman, and is old and wary.”
Supper consists of flatbread, fresh fruit, and a tasty porridge seasoned with sweet tubers. After the meal the party is offered a heady wine and treated to an impressive performance of acrobatics, dancing, and fire-eating as night falls. As folks head out to their huts, the party receives a visitor at their hut. The old village shaman.
After a few moments of silence she speaks in thickly accented common:
“I am an old woman, and set in my ways. My master taught me long ago that foreigners like yourselves carry curses. But this village suffers under a curse already, and all my magic has so far failed to lift it. The spirits do not help me and I have nowhere else to turn. Perhaps I have been wrong all of these years, and perhaps you are the ones who can help free us from this curse.”
The party assist the old woman and are set upon by a pair of Chemosists that night.
After defeating the Chemosists the old women gives them a Zenj Spirit Fetish (has a one use dispel evil cast upon a shriveled monkey head).
Later the next day in their travels the party encounters an Ankheg Sinkhole and they destroy three ankhegs.
A day and a half after entering the open plains the party attracts the attention of sharp eyed avian scavengers. One such large bird, two Geiers (giant vultures) decides to attack the party and are quickly slain.
Just before reaching Kalabuto the party notices:
A tall and leafless boab tree standing alone in a clearing, its wood burnt black. A circle of tiny bones surrounds the tree. Over a dozen human bodies hang from the branches, making grisly silhouettes against the blue sky. More bodies lie on the ground at the base of the tree, frayed ropes still around their necks. A circle of tiny bones surrounds the tree.
The party dispatches eight plus plague zombies at the tree, with ease. Welcome to Kalabuto!