After the marvelous cockfight, Aldis hung around for a while to discuss magic monkey heads with some withered crone while Akker taught his new chicken friend to carry messages for him. Eventually it was time to leave the clump of pitiful dirt farmers behind and make haste to Kalabuto. Along the road the party met a trade caravan and bartered for supplies and then came upon a village full of effusively friendly natives who gave them food and did not murder or poison them for some reason. Late at night, the village elder appeared and revealed the truth: the village was plagued by the murderous gorilla-bear beasts known as Chemosits and needed aid. The pale/rock-skinned foreigners would have most certainly already been forced into the stewpot if not for this great need!
The old woman sat on a rock by the campfire and spoke to a rock near the campfire. She told Vanua and Hauk how the chemosit would steal into the village and abduct the unwary. It would drag them off into the brush where it would split their heads open like a melon to get at the delicious brains. The old woman promised a reward if the adventurers could slay the chemosits, or at least drive them away to split other people’s skulls like a melon.
At dawn the party conferred and tracked the vicious monsters to their lair in the woods. A pair of them dropped from the trees and very nearly split Vanua’s stony skull open like a rock melon. Bellow the Bear sprang into action alongside Hauk’s axe and Thorodd tended to the monk’s extensive wounds. With a mighty blow, one of the chemosits split Lash’s head open like a melon and sent him back to Parts Unknown. Erethemos summoned a celestial dog to protect the party just as a third chemosit thundered out of the trees intent on splitting Akker’s head like a melon. Through careful application of battle tactics and fire, the group slew the chemosits and were rewarded back in the village with a magic monkey head and a treasure map showing the location of lost underwater gold. Soon!
The party soldiered on towards Kalabuto, past creepy-ass undead and giant vultures to find another merchant caravan. They agreed to travel together but this, in retrospect, was a mistake. The “merchants” ambushed with poison in the night and Vanua’s Parade of Misadventures continues when her neck is very nearly slashed open by a Red Mantis Assassin. Upon further investigation the caravan is revealed as a sham, provided with not even the most basic of rape whistles and silk rope for trade. It all had to burn.
The party finally reaches Kalabuto and does a bit of shopping. An unctuous urchin girl attaches herself to Thorrod and they spend much of the day looking for a rumored two-headed dog (what a sight!) before everyone is reminded of the mission. The party reconvenes on the waterfront at the Shrunken Head Tavern where they make rendezvous with the dwarf Chiton, who holds the key to the next leg of the journey. He is a dwarf of broad experience and awesome goggles and leads the group in a night of heavy drinking and boasting before offering everyone a place to crash (except Vanua, who he worries will put a divot in the couch.)