Water Vampires and Tembos Cohabiting
Recorded by scholars studying the life of Androcles.
While Dazeel was off prettying herself up for the nobles’ ball, the rest of the party decided to check out their new digs, the Zatla Ranch. They were led to their property by Magnus, a tarek neep farmer who worked the fields there. He had sought out the heroes of Qarbjanoob for their assistance in dealing with a mysterious beast that had slain two of his fellow farmers.
The party was dismayed to see the state of their land’s disrepair. A deep gulch, overgrown with scrub and brush, lined the edge of the property, and the bridge spanning it had collapsed. Magnus led them to the ramshackle hut in which one of the dead farmers had lived. Androcles was surprised to find that this humble neep farmer had amassed an impressive library, and as he thumbed through the pages of the books, his companions searched for some clue, some trail leading from the scene of the crime.
After some investigatory work, the party found a trail leading through the thick brush at the edge of their holdings. As they followed it, they sensed something lurking in the growth, seemingly inches from them, so close they could feel its breath upon their necks. Magnus had told them tales of the tembo, a foul beast of the desert, possessing an animalistic cunning and a necrotic aura that could scour skin from bones. But when they sought to confront the beast, he had faded back into the brush.
Eventually, they stumbled upon the collapsing remains of the manor house. The darkened interior seemed to be empty, but after only a few moments of exploring, the creature materialized seemingly from nowhere, launching itself at Bost. Its appearance was half cat, half lizard, and its shadowy aura was poison to the adventurers’ bodies.
As if the tembo weren’t threat enough, before Androcles could act, an ancient man appeared out of nowhere and grabbed him by the throat. Calling upon his psionic might, Androcles teleported the stranger out of the manor house and moved to flank the tembo. Together, he and Bost would take the beast!
But the stranger would not be denied. He ran back into the fray, bypassing Zuri as if he wasn’t even there, and grabbed Androcles from behind. “I’m so sorry,” he whispered into Androcles’ ear. Within moments, he had drained much of the water from the psionicist’s body, leaving a dried up, unconscious husk lying upon the ground.
Together, Zuri and Bost held their own for as long as they could against the tembo and the water vampire, but without their mighty companion, the battle was hopeless! While Bost distracted the villains, Zuri snuck over to Androcles’ inert body and force fed him a healing fruit. With Androcles revived, the tide of battle turned. The three of them together were strong enough to destroy first the tembo and then the water vampire. Zuri looked upon the dying vampire and was surprised to recognize features similar to those of Murter Dyan, disgraced senator and suspected co-founder of the True, executed before a bloodthirsty crowd for his crimes—clearly a relative.
Together, the party returned to Magnus to tell him of their victory.