The colony’s first government began to take shape. After christening the overall colony as “New Salam” and the town as “Westgate,” the various luminaries of this fledgling community were elected to suitable offices (or in Yu-Chen’s case, unsuitable ones.)
The party met with the Kambral craftsmen from across the river as they set about liberating the secure crate from the boat in the river. They were able to identify the metal as “titanium,” a legendary substance associated, as the name would indicate, with Titans, legendary giant humanoids.
Hirase apologized to the bird people, who accepted her apology and took their leave of the colony.
The Kambral craftswoman, Anjis, also informed the group that they had discovered a stela across the river. After Talis helped them unload the reinforced crate and Yu-Chen nearly undid that help, they resolved to investigate the strange stone. A boat ride later, and they were attempting to puzzle out the glyphs on the stela and the pedestal under it. A combination of magic and linguistics allowed them to deduce that the letters were a simplified version of Bea’txo. Each of the seven sides of the stela bore words of protection, and the pedestal held a common text warding against the restless dead and the desecration of graves.
Yu-Chen thus argued that these were grave markers, and there was probably a tomb or burial mound under it. She was able to infer that the stela and pedestal would be part of a set bounding an area, and that there would likely be more. Talis asked the Kambral if they would like to move across the river, but the pair preferred their distance and privacy from the main colony.
The group made preparations to explore the surrounding area, in preparation for further settlement inland. Traveling up river, they encountered crumbling river banks, tasty flightless birds, and stalking jaguars. Friday and Hirase set snares, just barely missing out on capturing the jaguar and instead performing an act of animal cruelty. On the second day, Yu-Chen proved that survival is easy by making a contribution of roasted tasty flightless bird to their supplies. Traveling onward, Talis found quicksand in the marshy terrain by walking into it. After helping Talis brush herself off, the group found a grove of breadfruit trees, greatly pleasing the Pymlion, who apparently fancies himself an arborist.
The next day of travel saw the group encountering an asp, which failed to kill any of them before being burned by a particularly impressive word of power from Yu-Chen. Further scouting uncovered a likely nest of asps in the cleft of a boulder, which Yu-Chen dealt with via repeated fire spells. The rest of the group hunted asps in the surrounding woods, Friday gaining many samples of venom and more grilled snake. On the last day, the group encountered nothing of note, but managed to determine that the lights and drums they saw were at a higher elevation than one would expect given the terrain, adding a further air of mystery to those events.
The party returned to the settlement triumphant, bearing breadfruit, extra food, a single male flightless bird, and knowledge of the surrounding terrain. While they were gone, a few more injured colonists succumbed to infection and the Captain of the Steadfast remained comatose, and withering away to nothing.
During a discussion with Carmen about how she was communicating her reports back to Salamport, Talis and Yu-Chen noted that the scribe Gael had an interesting sigil on his pack and deduced that he was from the house of Tovash, a royal bloodline separate from the Zalamir.
Meanwhile, the Pymlion engaged with his native culture, pursuing some sort of rite to less than stellar results, judging by the sulking Pymlion. Yu-Chen took the opportunity to be smug all week in his presence as they tended to the tasks of their governmental positions. While performing his role as spymaster, Friday figured out that the sailor turned priest Bon was actually a monkey-form Dunyabetia, as Mengzhi calls them. The Reliant finally departed, with a mixture of original crew and some from the Steadfast who did not want to stay in the colony, nor with their cursed ship.
After a week in the office, the party continued their scouting expedition into the marsh south along the coast. A large area of valuable herbs was discovered; Friday helped Mengzhi collect sufficient samples without over-thinning the area before the group moved on. The marsh took its toll on the travelers by infecting Hirase and Yu-Chen with a disease. The wetlands further afflicted the party with a giant crocodile attack, nearly claiming the life of Mengzhi. After using the divine power of light, focused through Talis to put the scholar back together again, they continued onward, with Yu-Chen and Mengzhi discovering that Hirase can speak Bea’txo, and with a different accent than most Meseidiarens. The next day, Yu-Chen’s fever broke while Hirase continued to suffer. The misery was compounded by the discovery of a giant slime, which gave the party much grief before it finally fell to the fists of Talis and the bullets of Hirase.
The party decided to press onward from the marsh rather than returning to the settlement. Their first venture into the adjacent jungle helped them discover a grove of hardwood trees. Such an environment turned out to be a great habitat for leopards, one of which ambushed Hirase and brought her down. Mengzhi grabbed his walking stick and nearly killed the thing with a mighty blow to the head before being brought down himself. After Talis finished the great cat, the party decided to rest for the day.