Valindra is satisfied that you will search to the east for her, and report with her scrolls (she gave them to Miss Imogen). Is everyone ready to leave once Qawasha has taken time to pray? Anything else you want to do?
Qawasha noted at Rodrigo's word, and started going up. "This may take some time - Ubtao will not be rushed"
Once upon the top, Qawasha took some time to look at the horizon in every directions, both to see if well, he saw anything interesting from such a vantage point, but also to connect himself with the land. He then bowed, east, west, south and north. He then sat down in the lotus position, closed his eyes, and focused.
"Oh Ubtao, your humble servant beseech you, in this most holy place. Your absence is keenly felt in the land, and the dead walk among us. An evil force is behind it, and seeks to corrupt the land and feed on the soul of your children. Please Ubtao, show me the way!"
Valindra agreed with Rodrigo, "Indeed. Whoever controls the Soulmonger is everything. Therefore, we must wrest control away from whoever has caused this blight. I will levitate you down so that you may continue our search."
On the top of the heart, Qawasha and Hup'lo prayed as hard as they could to Ubtao for aid. As usual, no answer came - at least not in an obvious way: As they stood to leave, Qawasha was feeling dejected. He was angry that his beloved jungle was overrun with undead. Furious that this foreign wizard was occupying a holy site. Frustrated that, though they had discovered a possible location, he still felt directionless.
"Ubtao, why have you forsaken your people?" he thought as he headed for the stone stairs.
Then he stopped, as he saw the beautiful view as if for the first time: The sky was partially clear, and it reflected as if in a mirror off of the Aldani Basin to the west. Qwasha wandered around the ancient, petrified tree in a clockwise direction. To the north, he saw a stretch of grasslands, and a herd of long-necked behemoths grazed as a flight of multi-colored birds flew by them into the jungle to the east, which stretched as far as he could see in lush, beautiful trees of so many varieties. Qawasha could name them all. To the south-east, the high Valley of Embers, where the waters of the Lake Luo were the source of the River Olung.
When he came around to look to the south, he saw the mountains of the Peaks of Flame - three volcanoes forming three points. The westward one was erupting, as they often did, and Qawasha marvelled as a bright, nearly white, flaming ball flew out of the volcano and arched across the sky to the west. It flew many miles from the volcano, leaving a smoke-trail, and it landed somewhere in the jungle.
Qawasha tried to calculate how far it had flown and he had the sudden realisation that the scale was all wrong. He should not have been able to see these things from here. Lake Luo was a hundred miles away. The peaks, a hundred-and-fifty. The ejected rock had flown sixty miles from the volcano and had landed in the jungle even further away. It occurred to him that this far-sight phenomenon had happened before. They should not have ever seen the Heart of Ubtao from the Cliffs of Mbala. Nor the wreck of something as small as a ship!
Thinking of that, he looked to the South-West, where he could see the ship's blue sail (more correctly, a balloon, but Qawasha had never seen one of those) caught in the trees a hundred miles away. This far-sight, he decided, was a blessing of Ubtao, and that Volcanic ejection had been a sign. They could investigate the ship if they wished, but he felt that he must lead them to where the volcanic rock had landed, leaving a scar in the jungle.
He knew in his heart that they would find answers there.
Hup'lo watched the volcanic outbust with Qawasha, he was terrified despite his position of relative safety. The force of the eruption could be felt even here on a mote of land, hung in the sky and so very far away. He followed the druid, ready to donanything that was asked for or needed.
Valindra levitated the Sticks and their allies to the ground saying, "I look forward to your report from the East."
So, are you going to 'pretend' to go east and head south-west to the 'ship crash site'? Someone with the Arcana skill trained (do we have anyone?) might want to have a look at Miss Imogen's Sending Scroll that Valindra gave her.
Harb listens to the description from the others and frowns. He was too used to keeping secrets to like this situation. This woman was obviously attempting to find the soulmonger for her own purposes more than for any other reason. He didn't trust her claims at altruism, but distrusting the sending stone simply shook his head warningly once they were out of sight of the heart.
“Roight. Doom us all,” Dellrak responded to Valindra. Problem was, he couldn’t be sure she was wrong. They weren’t sure what the Soulmonger was, or what would happen if they destroyed it. They might need to study it to determine how to do so safely.
Dellrak cooled his heels on the top of the Heart as Qawasha did his thing. Kasqa sat nearby, idly using his knife to sharpen a stick. He noted the dwarf seemed uneasy.
When they were finally lowered back down to the ground by Valindra and reunited with the others, he hiked his pack up on his back.
“Let’s get oot o’ ‘ere,” he muttered, setting off east, as they had been instructed by Valindra. “‘ow long ye think b’fore we’re oot o’ sight o’ tha’ ‘eart?” He glanced back up at the floating earth mote. They needed to swing around southwest to reach their destination.
Detect Portal (1/R): Within 1 mile Planar Warrior: As a bonus action, choose one creature you can see within 30 feet of you. The next time you hit that creature on this turn with a weapon attack, all damage dealt by the attack becomes force damage, and the creature takes an extra 1d8 force damage from the attack. When you reach 11th level in this class, the extra damage increases to 2d8. Primeval Awareness (action and spell slot): For one minute per level of spell slot, detect within 1 mile (6 in favored terrain) aberrations, celestials, dragons, elementals, fey, fiends, and undead. This feature doesn’t reveal the creatures’ location or number.
Rodrigo Di Castalone - male human fighter
Miss Imogen - female samurai, party member, Zhentarim
Chrysagon - male aasimar paladin, Order of the Gauntlet, Kelemvor
Harb - male human monk
Myrral - Tabaxi bard?
Qawasha (NPC) - Chultan druid
Kupalue (Weed, NPC) - vegepygmy
Hu’plo (NPC) Chultan
Kasqa (NPC) - Chultan warrior
"Given the jungle, we're out of sight essentially when we enter the forest. But I would like to see the item the mage provided for the contact. It may be enchanted to allow her to track us, maybe even to see and hear. And it wouldn't do to show the strangers ways of the jungle. Or to the villages."
OOC: Arcana (with inspiration)+ Detect Magic i.e.+2+1d6 for the skill (cannot roll right now, feel free if you read it before I get home)
Dellrak led the Sticks eastward until they got past the red clay clearing and into the cover of the jungle. Then he and the tabaxi set a course south and west, heading back toward the south shore of the Aldani swamp. Myrral asked Miss Imogen to see the scroll-case, and he confirmed that it was possible for Valindra to easily scry their location from a mark on the scroll-case. Further more, the three scrolls themselves were rigged to send to Valindra, even if the reader intended to use them to communicate with another person. (Valindra would be able to 'listen in' on the communication).
All of these extra enchantments were possible to disable, but they also were rigged with protective runes, which would cause anyone tampering with them to potentially be harmed, by psychic backlash.
You can toss the case and/or the scrolls, or try to disarm each with two (one for the case, and one for the scrolls) Arcana, Sleight-of-Hand, or Thieves' Tools rolls (you can pick the skill - but it requires pen and ink). Both are dc16. Failure on either will result in 20 psychic damage (each).
Myrral's Arcana check: Check: 1D20+2+1D6 = +2+ = 23 Trap: 5D8 = [3, 2, 7, 2, 6] = 20
He lowers the case to the floor and motions others after him for some distance, leaving tabaxi away from, but in sight of the thing.
Looking around and focusing his senses he tries to hear the Song of the trees, to feel the break in the pattern before he describes what he found out.
"We can use the scrolls. But they should be kept away or the tracking magic disrupted. You wouldn't have a case of heavy magic? Or one of those pouches from the legends where entire tribes stock can be kept?"
Miss Imogen is the last to leave the hospitality. Her companions have made clear their distrust of this woman, and she would be surprised if that were not also clear to her. As she departs, she thanks their host politely, complementing the wine, which had been kept ice cool. Miss Imogen pkcks up her bow, and stands, guarding the entrance to the place the woman occupies, while Quawasha continues to pray. Weed had positioned himself on an exposed root beside her, and watched the entranceway along with her.
Of course, no conflict came.
Quawasha returned from his prayers, and Miss Imogen received the scrolls, and the levitation did not falter partway through and soon their feet were back on the ground in the artificial clearing.
Miss Imogen had no intention of discussing their proposed journey until they were well in the trees, and certainly she did not intend to serve as an agent for this woman she had just met (Uncle would never allow such quick passing of loyalties), but she set off to the east along a likely path, where she would continue for a mile before they turned to the Southeast.
She is happy to pass the scrolls to anyone who wants them. When the marks are identified, she suggests burying them in the mud before they turn Southwest, or in whatever direction Quawasha suggests.
Once he felt that they were away from the scrolls (in case spying magic was on them) and looking around suspiciously to make sure no more mundane spies were present (do I make a perception check), Qawasha got the others go come close.
I received a vision from Ubtao - I believe he has been trying to show us the way for some time, but I was not wise enough to see the signs.
There is a limit to how far the eye can see but up there... I could see things hundreds of miles away, as if my vision was greater than the keenest of eagles. I think that this blessing might return, I just need to be upon a high place.
There was a great eruption to the south. A volcano threw a great flaming rock, and while I am not sure why, this rock is of great importance in our quest. It left a great scar in the jungle. Perhaps this has uncovered something. Perhaps the rock itself is an object of power.
But it is far. The volcano was in the Peaks of Flame, 150 miles to the south, and this flaming rock landed 60 miles (edit) to the west. This is quite the journey in this foresaken jungle...
BUT, there is another way. When I thought about the distances, I remembered the ship, in the tree tops. I could clearly see it. It is 100 miles south west of here. I do not believe that it is directly related to our quest... but think of it! Its blue sails are intact. If we could operate it, we could travel in the skies and reach the burning rock easily.
"Ubtao is guiding us - his influence is greatly diminished, but still... what are the odds that I would have been at this spot, precisely at the moment the eruption occurred? And what eruption throws a rock 60 miles? Now that I know that to look for, I hope my guidance will be better".
"But still - 100 miles in this jungle will not be easy. There will be more undead, that I am certain of!"
The stone flew Westward, actually, and the scar is in the jungle between the word "Honor" and the Volcanoes to the south.)
For point of Reference, the Tabaxi Village is in the nice-looking jungle to the right of the word "Basin".
For the Curious: "Ataaz" means "Gorge" or "Canyon" in Chultan. I left those two spots on the map because they were too much work to erase, and aren't particularly secret things.
It's hard to see, but the south shore of the Aldani Basin is just west of the Heart, so you might not bother getting back in the canoes, unless you want to head directly west and then go down through those hills.
The maps looks like we could be faster going east (river travel) then south toward the peek (from the lake over the stones) - obviously, flying is better in the future, but we're also going to be targets for anything flying. Just something to consider