“A hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.”
— Christopher Reeve
THE JOURNEY OF THE STAR GODDESS
The Star Goddess had been missing for about two weeks before the adventuring Ranger called Wynn discovered the wreckage. The large skyship from Halruaa had been sailing from Neverwinter to Chult for months before the influx to the dark continent due to the Death Curse. Afterward, they made plenty of coins bringing adventurers and explorers to seek out the secret of the Tomb of Annihilation. However, they owed a favor to Renaer Neverember which sent them on a rescue mission to locate a famous Drow wizard named Vrea’Ree Everhurden, one of the Neverwinter Nine and friend of the King.
The Star Goddess was successful in their mission, tracking down the famous wizard and his coterie of adventurers. However, instead of returning to Neverwinter they requested that the airship take them deeper into the Chult jungles towards the Aldani Basin, a huge swamp in the middle of the jungle. Shortly after dropping off the adventurers in the swamp not far from the village of Mbala, they were shot down by a pirate ship called The Blackball.
Captain Thasselandra Bravewing hoped that Vrae’Ree and his friends would come to rescue them. However, as days passed, it was obvious they had moved on without concern for the crew. The Captain knew they needed to try to save themselves.
A RESCUE MISSION
Wynn was a ranger who frequented the jungle of Chult as a guide and advisor for The Harpers. When the Death Curse was discovered to be affecting the people of Toril, all fingers pointed towards Chult. As people started to pour into the dark continent, business started to boom for Wynn and other guides. But when the Harpers contacted her about entering the Aldani Basin to located The Star Goddess, she was more than a little incredulous about the idea. If they have been out in the swamps for a week then it was likely they were dead. She knew it was a popular feeding ground for dinosaurs and swarms of deadly insects. Tall plateaus and walls of dense foliage enclose the marsh which is named after the aldani, a race of lobsterfolk. Many Chultans recall childhood fables about the eerie lobsterfolk that lived in the rivers and lakes of their homeland. No reliable witnesses have reported an encounter with aldani in decades, so most Chultans believe the aldani perished. In fact, the lobsterfolk retreated to the secluded lakes of this basin, where they’ve kept hidden for a century.
But a Harper does what a Harper has to do, so to the Adani Basin, she went.
And after two days of exploration, she found the wreck of the Star Goddess.
THE WRECK OF THE STAR GODDESS
It was hanging 50 feet off of the ground hung up within the huge trees branches, broken into three chunks. The stern was the lowest piece, hanging precariously by its rigging about 50 feet above the ground. The middle section appeared to be 15 feet higher, and the bow section was firmly wedged into a nest of branches another 10 feet above that. Climbing up into the ship was relatively easy, thanks to many vines in the trees and lines of rigging hanging from the ship. Wynn explored the ship to find that it was empty. All supplies had been scavenged (hopefully by survivors) and no corpses were present.
A little more investigating on the ground allowed Wynn to find the camp that the crew must have been using after the crash. She discovered the graves of five crewmen and a stockpile of cargo that must have spilled from the ship when it wrecked. Wynn’s common sense as a ranger told her that the survivors had been kidnapped by goblins. The tell-tale signs were all around the makeshift campsite. Batiri goblins had taken them. Wynn knew this meant they would be on of two things: food or sacrifices.
The Batiri were feared by the other races of Chult and were considered “bloodthirsty” creatures. They usually hunt at night and especially talented at the skill of tracking through the jungle and were experts in the lore of the jungle. Being cannibals they would usually take captives to be eaten in celebration later. However, sometimes the captives would be reserved for ritual sacrifice to their god, whatever that might be. Each tribe of Batiri worshiped its own patron deity chosen by the tribe shaman.
Wynn knew that the Biting Ant Tribe was the closest goblin tribe in the area. It would be those little bastards who kidnapped the crew of the Star Goddess. The village was about a day’s walk away, but she didn’t have time to waste. Once again, she touched her magical pendant and closed her eyes, whispering the magic words.
“Friendship is magic,” she whispered.