When we left our intrepid heroes, Kor’lec had just returned to humanoid- from dire rat-form after having chewed away Jask’s bonds. Kishtari made an amazing leap to dispatch the Thrunefang chef keeping watch over the prisoner. Meanwhile, Monica and Dornas were concealed in the nearby brush, waiting with baited breath.
A voice from Naga, Kish’s crystal homunculus, warned its maker that trouble was coming and she needed to hide. Just beyond the nearby door, a pair of Thrunefangs guarded the lighthouse foyer. The psion’s action had made a clatter, so the cannibals were on their way to see what was the matter.
Rather than hide, Kish made her way down and across the prisoner corral to help Kor’lec lower Jask into the hole. The Thrunefang dual opened the door and immediately noted what was going on. The cannibals ululated battle cries that echoed across the camp.
Monica conjured an illusion of a wall between the party and their discoverer’s line of sight while Dornas tied a rope to a post to help his teammates climb out the cesspit. The rest of the cannibals began to awaken from their central lodge while others descended their makeshift watchtowers. Still more were returning from the diversion the heroes had tricked them with earlier. Jask’s would-be rescuers were facing a wave of slavering man-eating barbarians. At their backs was a four-hundred foot drop onto sharp stones and shark-infested sea.
As if the spiky club-wielding warriors weren’t trouble enough, a trio of witch-doctors (and their evil goat familiars!) waded in among them. One of the scarred shamans kayoed Dornas with a sleep enchantment just as the cannibals were closing on him. And if all of that seemed enough to spell doom for our protagonists, the Thrunefang witch Malikadna emerged from her hut while her howler monkey familiar pranced and hooted on her thatch roof.
The primate’s gaiety was interrupted by a coconut busting against the back of its head, presaging the timely arrival of Likki! “Monkey make too much noise!” quipped the goblin. But the much hoped-for host of Mongrukoo warriors weren’t with the little oracle. Neither were Nemanji or even Tyst. Likki was it to save the day and had garnered Malikadna’s full attention.
“Should have stayed in your trees, Mongrukoo!” crowed the old witch. “We’ll burn your nests and feed your corpses to the Devil!” Likki struggled a second to find a rejoinder in Common, then threw a firebomb at her.
No Enemy Survives Contact With the Plan
The two barbarians from the lighthouse finally stopped gaping at or trying to climb Monica’s illusory wall only after being reprimanded by a witch-doctor who followed them from the building. One of the pair leapt from the porch and dug his spiked club into the nape of Kishtari’s neck. As the rest of the Thrunefangs were taking the most direct route to the heroes’ position, the plan was to either circumvent the village around the corral and lighthouse – or take their chances and jump off the cliff. Likki was an unexpected complication, as the cannibals were clustering between him, the witch, and the heroes. The goblin would have to escape the way he came.
Jask was in bad shape until Kor’lec healed the Garundi with a curative spell while helping him into the pit. But the priest was still old and slow, and bereft of any sort of equipment. But his god must have been with him, for from the muck of the pit Jask recovered his holy symbol! And a fortunate find it was, enabling the cleric to tend to Kish’s neck trauma.
The rejuvenated psion focused her mind on the Thrunefangs standing over Dornas’s unconscious body, and all but one of them dropped to join the magus in sleep. But one remained awake, and he was poised to put an end to the mysterious Taldan. As the cannibal telegraphed his killing blow, he got a sudden faceful of dinosaur when Kai entered the fray.
Kor’lec called upon the wrath of nature, and it responded with entangling roots that burst up from beneath just about every part of the Thrunefang’s camp. This severely curtailed the cannibals’ favored method of engagement, which was to scream and charge blindly. The few spellcasters among them had it no easier, the writhing vegetation interfered with magic gestures and choked the magic words from their throats.
Though they were singed by a shaman’s fire-spewing hand, the heroes succeeded at jostling Dornas awake. Rather than climb to his feet, the magus magically floated up toward the overhanging branches of a tree. With a somersault and a twirl of his staff, the human unleashed a spray of dazzling color into the astonished eyes of his inbred aggressors. The overstimulation struck several of the cannibals even dumber – and down.
Monica casually leveraged her gun and blew away the barbarian who’d wounded Kish. The hot lead burst his head like a water balloon filled with blood. Likki was keeping Malikadna busy, jabbing the flaming witch with his spear while she rolled around in the gravel to extinguish herself. She too was frustrated by the wriggling roots while her opponent capered just outside their area.
With sleeping, dead, and otherwise helpless cannibals piling up around them, the heroes reconsidered their escape plans. Notably, there wasn’t much left to escape from. Dornas levitated himself down from the tree, and took the last witch-doctor’s head in his hands. With an icy expression, the Taldan flash-froze the savage shaman’s head with necromantic cold, and cast it to the ground with a shattering crash – like a discarded glass.
Only Malikadna remained a threat, and she was no longer aflame. She whipped out a wand and slapped Likki with it; its fell magic vampirized Likki’s life-force and repaired her own wounds. The party couldn’t let her get away with that, furthermore, Malikadna had spent more than enough time not being on fire. As the adventurers finished off the entangled remnants of the once-fearsome Thrunefang tribe, Kishtari blasted the witch with pyrokinetic force. The fire smashed against and shoved the old woman down the stairs leading up to her hut. Her charred corpse finally came to rest against the pen where she kept her animated skeletons.
Malikadna’s monkey spontaneously combusted, leaving nary but a soot smudge on the hut’s roof. As for the skeletons, their eagerness to join the battle, or do anything of consequence, was quieted when Jask showed them the business end of his holy symbol. Those of the group’s living opponents who still drew breath were finished off by blade, save one of the fallen witch-doctors who’d probably come to wish he had been. The party walked all day through heat and pouring rain and had slain seventeen men (and an old lady) before suppertime: when the Castaways had questions, it ordinarily did not go well for those who might have answers.
Where was the Thrunefangs’ not-looking-all-that-brave-right-now chief? And where was Ieana?