Children of Fear

Session 16

In which innocent animals are mercilessly killed

As the group waits for Albert’s situation to stabilize, Tenzin takes Marta aside to begin – with limited success – to teach her the words of the upcoming ritual. And while Marta struggles through the ancient phrases, the others run into a bizarre western gentleman: The Prussian representative of the Silver lodge, Franz Wilhelm, introduces himself to the group. Visions and predictions the lodge had about impending doom have him seek out Tenzin to assist him on his quest. Since the adventurers are spellbound by his mesmerizing Teutonic moustache they quickly agree to welcome him on board. And so after a heartfelt goodbye from Albert the khaṭavāṅga is employed once more to travel into the vague area of the mysterious valley.

It is a shock to everyone when they are hit with stormy blasts that nearly carry them off the cliff they find themselves suddenly on. A nearby mountain reminds Tenzin of what he expects the entrance to the valley look like and so the investigators shield themselves against the winds and journey around the chasm. While Marta notices that the bowls vibrate with the lightning strikes, the rest of the group notices nearby inhabited huts. Picking up the language of the lowland Lopa tribe, the group decides to inquire about the way to the valley. Barnes enters the first hut – decked out with a white ape rug like most buildings here – and in a multitude of broken languages befriends the confused locals. Marta’s ill-judged interjections have Tenzin intervene and he communicates with the local man whose tea the investigators keep insulting. The local however is unwilling to lead the group into the valley out of fear with the cryptic “The Migyu aren’t the only Migyu” being his only explanation. Apparently two different species of ape creatures are roaming the area.
Since no other information seems to be gained from the Lopas, the investigators cross a nearby bridge and make their way up the mountains slope. A set of human and ape footprints have Barnes run off immediately to pursue his simian game, and Tex and Marta enthusiastically follow along.

After only a short time of exploration the three find a dark cave and when they follow a gnawing sound from inside they discover two of the large white ape creatures. And even though they seem harmless and probably not even fully grown, Barnes’ rifle makes short work of them. The pelts of the innocent young primates prove less satisfying to the Lord than he expected, but nevertheless he goes upon the dirty work of collecting them. Once he has obtained his grizzly trophies the trio is ready to descend back down the mountain, when Tex suddenly loses his footing and humorously threatens to tumble down the mountain. But Tex’ complaints about the crumbly walls make the group think to follow a breeze deeper into the cave – and indeed they manage to find an outer wall.
Only a quick gunshot later nothing is achieved except giving Marta a horrible ringing in her ears. And so, not to be defeated by the stoic, impassable rock, Marta’s magically warded fist meets the wall repeatedly. Even an unexplainable buzzing sound doesn’t deter her from her aggression until a wiggling tunnel is opening up in the stone. And so Marta does wiggle indeed, pushing herself into the cramped, claustrophobic, lightless tunnel.

The others meanwhile find their way into a forested terrain where the sound of the bowl, in harmony with the occasional lightning strikes, appears to be even louder than before. The noise also attracts an unexpected visitor: A Migyu has approached and peacefully plays with the musical bowls. But when it is spooked by the echoing boom of Barnes rifle shot, it absconds, bowl still in hand. Franz barely hesitates before firing upon the peaceful creature, wounding it horrifically. With the rare animal screaming in mortal pain, the bowl is retrieved, but a shouting match ensues between Hans and Franz over the slaughter of innocent wildlife. With an unsurmountable rift breaking between the two, the group only slowly resumes their trek.

Finally reaching the Monpas village above the tree line, the group led by Hans introduces themselves to the locals. In basic Tibetan they communicate that the storms have been hitting the area for months now, limiting their access to their hunting grounds. The village spokesman tells them about the Migyu; How human-like they behave and even create artworks on the walls of their caves. The shaman Goran unfortunately also thinks the Valley of the White Apes a myth and wouldn’t even know a valley in the area at all. Nevertheless he invites the travellers to stay the night, warning them not to travel in darkness since ounces are on the prowl.