The Travel Journal of Aleeni Vas, Graduate Student, Bardic College of Lore
I shall be forever grateful to Professor Sanjaya Pandava and the rest of Team Eka for rescuing me from almost certain death at the hands of a hungry lamia. I can only attribute my bardic training in history, storytelling, and lore to my survival. The creature kept me alive only so long as I was an interesting conversationalist.
We spoke and laughed and feasted at her table of rich delights for what now seems to be days. At the time I thought nothing of it, so deep was I under her spell. Her villa in the midst of desert ruins was spilling with water, light, life, and luxury. Her conversation was scintillating, and apparently not entirely lies. Nevertheless, I thought nothing of it when my companions Danica Free and Sthisik suddenly decided to become the Lady's slaves, taking on a golden collar and serving us. I should have realized that was the point where the Lady had killed them and replaced them with illusions.
It seems Sindoor escaped after all, albeit as a slave to the scavenging jackalweres that lurk at the edges of the Lady's generosity feeding off her scraps. The Professor and Team Eka rescued her in Sarya, and it was her words that caused them to return to the Lady's villa in search of me and the remaining members of Team Dvi. It seemed, at first, that they too would fall under the Lady's spell. The Professor, and Saatvik certainly gave a good impression of having done so, though Vinihata seemed a rude guest. Perhaps it was his role to keep the others from becoming too complacent, but in hindsight it seems he was more interested in preventing his companions from eating any of the food…
The food. I shouldn't think about it, I shouldn't dwell on it, but despite their every efforts to protect me from the knowledge, in my heart I know that I have eaten the flesh of my companions, Danica and Sthisik, and it makes my heart and body sick.
The druid Panja broke the spell, entering the villa courtyard like a desert wind, pointing an accusing finger at the Lady and demanding that she reveal herself. A sudden silence blanketed the banquet. As the Lady came under threat the only thing I could do was leap to her defense, enraged that such a kind, generous, lovely, and knowledgeable woman should be assaulted in her own home. It didn't take long, however, for the offenses of her guests to provoke her to sufficient anger to reveal herself… a beastly lion-creature with the upper torso of a woman. She nearly slew Vinihata, and her three jackalwere servants harassed Panja and Xedris, but ultimately the Professor and Team Eka slew her, ignoring her pleas to let her live for a boon. Only one jackalwere escaped into the desert.
With the Lady dead, her illusions faded. The luxurious villa became dilapidated, its glories dimmed. The servants vanished. I had fainted. I was roused elsewhere in the courtyard, kept from looking as Team Eka built a bonfire and disposed of the remains of the feast table. Xedris, bless his soul, did his best to silence the indiscreet commentary of Sattvik on the subject of those remains. I shouldn't think about it. I should focus on the mission.
Tavi had found the lamia's chambers, and within them a golden sceptre and a golden crown, both set with a clear gem casting gentle light. Xedris determined that these were the control crown and control rod for a Titan of the Sun! During my ensorcelment the lamia had told tales of expeditions into the wastelands dawnward and spinward from her home, and the terrible rotting curse that had befallen all those who had penetrated the secrets to be found there. It seems the Professor's information was correct after all, the village of cultists that led us to the Lady's home did have useful information on former expeditions that may have found one of the Titans, and the Lady had procured their treasures before presumably eating them.
I was filled in on the Professor's own discoveries, and added my meager notes to his map. We seem to be closing in on three possible locations of buried Titans, and have two priceless historical and magical artifacts related to them. So far, the Professor's expeditions have proven all his preliminary research valid. I can't wait to hear what successes Team Tri has had.