(First person account, by Jennifer Nau, intrepid explorer & thrower of random objects)
What happened last time? Isaac, Jacques & Richard went looking for a canoe. Found it tipped over with a bunch of little squat pustule creatures under it. The creatures attacked from under the boat. Jacques was hit by one of their poisonous bone darts. The pustule creatures were dealt with by judicious use of gunpowder.
Some Mayans came out of the jungle. They’re from Pomonbalanque, a fortified village nearby. Isaac, Jacques & Richard went with them to their village and had some odd religious experiences. Isaac went off with a Mayan priest.
On our side of the river, we hear a Mayan shout “Xibalba?!?” Jacques & the Mayan and Isaac went off in a different direction. Richard was left alone.
I healed up Chi’ich’s arm.
Richard relates that a giant salamander told him about the layout and defenses of Pomonbalanque. (Pomonbalanque is where a column of smoke rising from the burned hate literature pointed.) We’ve heard stories of Aztecs causing problems in Pomonbalanque, but maybe they were actually worm demons. Is Broken Beak a real Aztec and not a worm demon? He seems real, according to Chicuacen.
Chi’ich and I look for tracks. Chi’ich finds a big, wide, round trail that comes out of the river and surrounds the camp, as well as muddy sandal-prints that follow the river towards the village. I find a scrap of shed skin on the edge of the round path—Chi’ich looks at the scrap and sees a glyph: “beast”. It is clearly unnatural.
I find a way through the jungle that isn’t well-traveled. Chi’ich sends his owl out to scout once in a while.
As we get closer, Chicuacen goes out and scouts out the village. It’s surrounded by a palisade; thatched roofs are visible behind the walls, and a rickety lookout tower stands in the middle of town. A Mayan pyramid is just outside the town. Saba trees are at the four compass points of the village’s walls; one near the river looks rotten and surrounded by white insects. Lots of holes in the ground are located near the pyramid. Smoke is rising from some of the huts, but the village is unnaturally quiet.
Chicuacen throws a powder flask into the village, which goes BANG! She sneaks into the town. At another gate, Chi’ich tried to climb the tree but stabs himself on the tree’s many spines. Richard and I run for the gate. Chicuacen goes into a hut and finds two Mayan peasants; she reassures them a little.
Chi’ich gets up and sees a big snake coming at us from the jungle. Richard climbs the gate; I do an upside-down pole vault over the gate. A big guy with an obsidian dagger and obsidian teeth appears, interested in Chicuacen. She jumps across the top of a roof and lands with her macahuitl out. The guy lunges too hard and launches his dagger into a nearby hole. Two more people emerge from a hut near the sick tree; one of the people looks like he has termites for armor.
Richard opens the gate for Chi’ich, who runs in then closes the gate. I pick up a femur from a nearby garbage midden and whip it at the tower, hitting just the right spot to knock the whole tower down. Chicuacen knocks Mr. Obsidian Teeth into a nearby hole. A woman wearing a beautiful raven mask comes out of a hut near the termite armor guy. The termite armor guy suddenly starts screaming to get the bugs off him; a spell appears to have backfired. The woman slashes her palm with a spine, splashing blood all over the man with termite armor.
We see the guy who had been in the tower; previously, he had been obscured from sight. He looks very icky. Chi’ich runs up and pins him to the wreckage of the tower. Richard screams “The village is on fire!” I throw a skull at the near-dead guy whom Chi’ich had pinned. Chicuacen waits to catch her breath. Chi’ich gets slashed by the guy’s very long nails, but to attack, the guy has to slide along Chi’ich’s spear and can’t move very far. The guy with termite armor starts emitting a cloud of insects, the raven mask woman and another nearby person merge themselves with the Saba tree.