Realizing they were being spied on by a monkey, our heroes debated their next course of action. They decided that if it was under the sway of evil, it was too late to stop it, so they chose to leave it be. And they badly needed rest.
In the morning, rather than a hidden monkey, they found a chimpanzee sitting quietly on the edge of their camp. They quickly decided it was friends with the monkey.
They made peaceful contact, but were unable to communicate beyond basic sign language. But they agreed to follow it (and the several dozen attendant monkeys in the trees).
They were led to a clearing with a wide pool feeding a stream. They quickly became aware that there were other things hiding at the edge of the woods. Suddenly, there was a surge of bubbles and a creature emerged from the pool. It looked like sahuagin in its head and chest, but the lower half was covered in wet fur and clawed feet.
Sadly, they could not speak its language either, and Saerin used his magic to speak with the chimpanzee, who in turn communicated with the mongrel sea devil.
The ranger assured them they were peaceful, and that they were hunting the wizard Menso. He added that they also sought to destroy the flying lightning-hurling lizard.
The odd creature weighed this information, and conveyed that they should make a sacrifice to prove their sincere intent.
The group had many opinions about how to make this ‘sacrifice’, and Boomah even offered to cut his hand and bleed for them. The chimp suggested that perhaps he would move the blade to his chest as a more worthy sacrifice. The goblin refused the suggestion.
They decided to offer up the dragon statuette as a token of real value to them, and the creature accepted. Then, a raised hut appeared on the edge of the clearing that did not appear to be there just moments ago.
Inside the shadowy hut, our heroes met the mongrel shaman Müt. The elderly creature seemed to have command of the common tongue, and claimed that here tribe had been in the vale for a very long time. Before the flood. Before the invaders. Before the humans. But not before the Pale Mother.
This Pale Mother was some kind of god to them, who had once nurtured the tribe before they failed her and she turned her back on them. But she was not even the first in the valley, for the creature claimed that was he who came before.
The group noticed the symbol of the legendary wizard Sciao Si’ang carved on the hearth, and Müt said that it was the sign of he who came before.
She seem to indicate that they no little of him, and that he was indeed gone (not surprising, being that he was known to live at least 1800 years ago). Pale Mother did survive, but she was in a mist-shrouded vale that her people did not visit.
Her people were aware of the flying lizard, but no one had seen a wizard pass. But there was a hunting party that completely vanished more than a week ago, that may have come in contact with the stranger.
And that the lizard had been seen near the vale of the Pale Mother.
She returned the dragon statue to our heroes, but could offer little more assistance to them. She offered hospitality to them, as the night had fallen and the forest was dangerous at the best of times.