Gamos the 21th, Tekin — The Year of Fever
The group enters Ezzo Bherd, the Gnashing Teeth’s main encampment, where they are hit with the smell of roasting meat and smoke. There are two wooden lookout towers, on raised stone platforms, with guards posted. The two guards nod and let them pass. The path leads up to a small (15ft) cliff face and wooden stairs leading up.
Once inside the camp, there are large tents and yerts scattered about. Each of them have small cooking fires going and hyenas that are lashed to posts. Some of the hyenas yip and yap at you as you pass, but are quickly reprimanded, while others just look lazily up at you before laying back down. Just off the center of the camp, there is a large pit about thirty feet in diameter and four feet deep with groups of gnolls around it shouting. There are a pair of gnolls fighting within the pit. Although it looks like any other gladiatorial combat, the gnolls are using dull weapons since this is a training exercise.
Off the right of the pit is a large, wooden longhouse where meetings with tribal leadership are held. A pair of gnolls armed with polearms that are decorated in multicolored feathers stand guard before the entrance. Above the longhouse, the tribe’s banner flies in the wind.
They all enter the large longhouse and are invited to sit in the circle before a small fire. Around the fire are an assortment of various animal firs that, when sat upon, are extremely comfortable. Seated before them was the tribe’s chieftain, Long Laugh. Next to him, two on each side, were his trusted advisors. To his right are Three Thorns and Soft Wind. To his left are High Clouds and Rocky Brook. Before entering, the characters are asked to leave any and all weapons at the door, which is customary. Once in, Pickles scampers up to Long Laugh and circles around him before taking a seat, after he gets a head pat of course.
After the pleasantries are exchanged, Long Laugh continues what he was doing previously. A board lays out over the fire in front of him. He grabs a piece of coal, a single piece of straw and a bean. He proceeds to tell the following story.
An old woman has some beans that she intends to cook over her fire. Being in a hurry, she grabs some straw to make the fire light faster. She pours the beans in the pot and, being in a hurry, she drops one on the floor which lands next to a piece of straw. Soon the fire is burning nicely and a hot coal jumps out and lands next to the straw and the bean. They discuss that they have narrowly escaped the fire, and they band together to flee.
At a river, the straw lies down to let them cross. The coal, being hot tempered by nature, immediately sets across. But when the coal is halfway across, the water rushes underneath, and the coal becomes terrified of being drowned. So he stops, too afraid to go on. The straw catches on fire from the coal, and splitting in two, the straw and the coal are swept downstream.
The bean cannot help but laugh at the misfortune of his comrades, and indeed he laughs so hard that he bursts his side. He is in trouble, but luckily there is a friendly tailor nearby who sews him back up with some black thread, and ever since beans have had a black seam on their side.
A short discussion ensues about who the three items represent. In truth, it is not known and may or may not be taken as prophecy.
Long Laugh fears that his nephew, One Bite, is the one behind the attack. However, without direct proof or One Bite being present to defend himself, the tribe can take no action against him. Long Laugh invites both Alphonse and Vera to participate in a ritual to determine what happened. The ritualists fall into a chanting as the circle is transported to where the attack took place. Not actually transported, but more their consciousness is. The view the horrific events from above as the group of gnolls and hyenas burst out of the ambush holes and mercilessly slay the guards. They do, however, catch a quick glimpse of One Bite as he waves his hand and tosses one of the carts. The albino gnoll looks up at them as the scene fades to black from a powerful spell.
One Bite had been banished from the tribe for his worship of the Demon Lord Yeenoghu. An argument occurred between One Bite and Long Laugh about the current state of affairs.The puny humans were the ones that invaded our territory and should be extinguished. While yes, the gnolls once were more prevalent in the area, it was hardly the humans fault for their dwindling numbers and certainly not the fault of the Millport residents. When One Bite assaulted Long Laugh with a punch during the argument, he was almost slain by Rocky Brook. However, Long Laugh stopped him. He took pity on his nephew and, instead of executing him, banished him instead. When One Bite left, a large group of about 400 gnolls left with him. It is not known where they had gone.
Legend has it that the king’s possessions were still present in the crypt, but none have ventured to explore it. Perhaps One Bite is seeking out something from the tomb? Long Laugh provided a pair of tracking hyenas to the heroes for the hunt.