Arlen, Murmer, T'an S'en, and Jebs have returned to D'Orshan and begun to brace the villagers for an attack they fear is immanent. But as they fortify the wall and plan their deployment, a bedraggled runner from the Protection staggers in to the village. Gurthark (for this is the runner's name) informs them, between gasps, that a much larger and strategically vital village, Nana'shan, may already be under siege. Protection forces from two other villages are already on their way.
Despite the urgency, the party decides that Gurthark must rest before they can continue on, so they pass some time in D'Orshan. But as the sun gets low, in rushes a scout—the jungle creatures are headed this way! Our heroes keep the city gates, and the villagers man the walls.
Creatures leap from the jungle, and to the attack! First come a wave of reptilian beasts, the size of large dogs, with tails that bear a club-like object at the end. Our heroes face two of them. They don't prove too difficult, but by the time they're defeated, a beast the size of a small barn, with vicious horns and skin like boiled leather, has burst through the undergrowth and is heading for the village gates! And shortly behind it are three more of the dog-things, one closer in size to a leopard!
There are some close calls, but the party—and the village—survives with no actual loss of life. The characters stay on for the night to rest, to heal their wounds, and to argue about whether to head straight for Nana'shan (as instructed) or to explore the tantalizing ruins just a little out of the way. Duty prevails, and the characters, being given a heroes' farewell, make their way towards the (likely) besieged town.
That day passes uneventfully, but the next day the party's amulets send a signal! A member of the Protection (or at least someone who's got an amulet) is up ahead needs help (or wants our heroes to think they do)!
The heroes hurry towards the amulet, watchful for a trap but anxious for the life of a fellow Protection member. And indeed, a Protection member it turns out to be—a heavily wounded woman who calls out to them. The party's best fighters run towards her, but before they can reach her she falls dead, a spear protruding from her back. And it's obvious where the spear came from—it's what looks like another set of adventurers, but from a twisted dimension. They walk upright and carry weapons, but they're (gasp!) not human. It's also obvious they're not friendly, so the battle is joined.
These baddies are tough, and so's the landscape—although it's harsh on heroes and chads alike. The trees try to ensnare and entangle people, but to those who escape, they provide both cover and a combat boost—firing needles in the same direction as any attack made from within. The fight rages for a long, long time—the single heavily armored chad and a robed chad that casts spells are eventually brought down, but it takes a minutes-long war of attrition before everything is settled. Our heroes are battered and bloody by the time the last chad falls.
Even so, there's only time for a short rest (and a search of the bodies—though the weapons and armor generally seem crude, and so the heroes take only the robed chad's sword, they were carrying something of note: flat stones, about the size and shape of coins, with unidentifiable runes on them) before they hurry off towards Nana'shan to help with what they're sure is impending disaster. But when they get there, they discover that the disaster has already happened—days ago. There are many dead chads, but even more dead humans. Not a living soul seems to remain.
After this anticlimax, the heroes decide to rest up for the night and track the origin of the chads' tracks. They came from the ruins! Or, it turns out, something just a little ways off from the ruins—an obelisk of a smooth, white material, referred to as a Spire (there are only two in all of Colo'Shi). Tracks lead from this obelisk, but none lead to it, so the party decides that it must have been the origin of these chads, or at least their gateway into this world.
Initial searches of the obelisk are fruitless—it's as smooth and featureless as it appears at first glance. But when Arlen approaches it closely, his bracelet glows—as do two previously invisible runes, and a circular depression appears below the rune. Arlen recognizes one of the runes as meaning something like "Go" or "Travel," and the other meaning something like "Home" in an arcane script, although using the two of them to mean "Go Home" would be unidiomatic.
The depression looks just the right size for a stone "coin," but the ones from the dead chads are immediately spat out. But the characters search the ruins and discover similar coins that have symbols close—tho not identical—to the symbols on the coins procured from the chads. The characters hold hands, the coin is inserted in the depression, and a door opens into the dark.
DM Note: Excellent write up! There's a lot of info there. I made a very few tiny corrections. The coins from the ruins have a symbol that is similar to the symbol on the coins you got off the chads. I also noted that the obelisk is referred to as a Spire. Thanks for putting in the effort to create such a great record of the session – much appreciated!
DM Note: I have changed (ever so slightly) the description of runes and circular depression on The Spire. When Arlen's bracelet is in proximity, both runes AND the circular depression appear (i.e., the runes do not function as buttons).