You never thought that your PhD project would send you to a
remote corner of the world, but the research grant came
through! You and your team of anthropologists began in India,
sailing up the River Ghaghra where it departs from the
Ganges. Last night, you entered Nepal on the river, but were
forced to come aground when navigation was made impossible by
the twisting, narrow stream.
For years now, there have been rumors of a civilization still
existing somewhere on the fringe of the Himalayas, living as
people lived thousands of years ago. Several expeditions have
searched for the tribe ofKhazhadim without success. Reports
have filtered back of terrible tragedies -- members of
expeditions who disappeared without a trace, others who were
found later, either dead or unable to recount what they had
suffered at the hands of-- what?
This morning looks like a good one to start exploring the
area. After breakfast, you're planning to set out on foot,
perhaps talk to a few natives for any information they might
give you, and hire a guide. As you sip your coffee and scan a
map of the region, one of your crew approaches, holding by
the arm a wrinkled old native, dressed in long robes and
wearing a headdress.
"Beware! Beware the temple of Raaka-Tu!" the old woman cries.
"Do not go into the jungle -- you will never get out!"
"We found her snuffing around outside the camp. She keeps
yelling something about temples and gods, and 'Beware,
beware!'" your photographer says. "She won't talk to anyone
but you. Says she has to talk to the leader."
The old woman is seated beside you, where she unfolds an
unbelievable story about the god Raaka-Tu and his temple of
sacrifice. The woman tells of the treasure kept in the
temple, the hideous monsters Raaka-Tu employs, and the
Khazhadim who serve Raaka-Tu and guard his temple.
Though the woman will not consent to be your guide, she
points a bony finger to the west, pleading with you one more
time to turn back. Seeing that her efforts are useless, she
rises, tracing a sign on your forehead for luck, and
disappears into the undergrowth surrounding the camp.
At last ... you have the key to finding the Khazhadim tribe,
and much more. You don't want to alarm the group with the
story the woman told you, yet you are anxious to begin the
search. Extinguishing the fire with your coffee, you set off
alone in the direction the woman pointed, and you are soon
surrounded by the impenetrable jungle.
It's up to you now ... good luck, and may the gods of the
jungle smile upon you and grant you a safe journey.