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James declares posting bankruptcy because otherwise I won't start doing these again.

Ander: Human cleric
Dorritt: Human warlock
Himo: Wood Elf rogue
Milo: Human Ranger
Kokai: Gnome Wizard

After putting the Eld in their place, it fell to us to set out in search of Uptow's Heart, whose general location we learned. While our party is second to none in our prowess, it has become apparent we're not quite as excellent as we could be with respect to both hand to hand fighting and certain kinds of magic. Accordingly, we hired five soldiers (Alfred, Bruce, Clark, Barry and Iris) and we accepted into our core group a gnome wizard named Kokai.

A gnome wizard who it seems has also passed the Imperial Exam.

Astoundingly, it seems the college lax enough to allow the gnome entry was none other than the Forbidden City itself! I count myself lucky to have had the skill and intelligence needed to win entry into an establishment that still values true education. Still, I must admit his grasp of arcane matters rivals my own. Of course, his is a wizard's comprehension of applied magic, whereas I maintain the purity of theory unsullied by mere practical application.

Ever gracious to fellow scholars regardless of their comparative talents, I did the gnome the favour of pointing that it would be best if he somehow restrained himself from using those of his spells that affect large volumes when the rest of us are within the volume affected. He claims that he has fine enough control to spare most of us from the effects his spells. Curiously, he observed this would not be true for me. It is an inexplicable admission. Nothing in my impressive grasp of magic suggests that elves are unusually vulnerable to magic. But of course, his college is apparently less than it once was.

We reached the Aldani Basin, Shoshenstar River. Along the way we passed the sad ruins of Camp Righteous and the new, unimpressive Camp Vengeance. The latter is populated by the survivors of the first and it seems well on its way to providing the undead with a second fort jam packed with overconfident fanatics to kill.

We found the Heart of Uptow, not hard as it is a large rock hanging in mid-air. Between our three boats and the Heart, an expanse of marshland. Because it is the rainy season, the marshlands were flooded.

The gnome travels with an abundance of animals: a dog to ride and an owl to scout. According to the gnome's owl, the Heart of Uptow is a vast, heart-shaped rock with vines dangling from it. Red liquid pours off it, flowing off into the jungle. Directly beneath it is depression of some sort.

This is one of the regions where wild dinosaurs are common. The marsh is home to brontosauruses, which we avoided, and that which eats brontosauruses, which we also avoided.

After establishing camp far enough inland that the giant crocodiles were less likely to be an issue, we left the soldiers to guard the supplies while we reconnoitered. This did not go as well as one would hope.

The first alarming development announced itself: loud, foraging sounds ahead of us. As is my lot, I crept up to see what was making the noise. At first glance, it seemed to be four common ankylosauruses, dangerous enough thanks to their size and uncertain temperament. A closer examination revealed the disquieting revelation that these particular ankylosauruses are flesh eating ankylosauruses. Indeed, they show some evidence of being undead.

I returned to the party and shared this information. Milo, whose skill in the woods rival even mine, pointed out that the area was ominously rich in animal remains. Was someone creating undead? Was the Heart itself the culprit? It seemed that we were confronted with questions unlikely to have happy answers.

Fortune provided a distraction from our unhappy musing in the form of an undead giant white ape. An alarming development to be sure but nothing we have not handily dispatched before. The other two undead giant white apes who sprang out of nowhere to join the first one were an unnecessary flourish on a familiar situation.

Lamentably, I only had time to run one of the apes through before their unnatural abilities allowed them to overwhelm even my impressive defenses. When I awoke, it was to the news that Ander had demonstrated his really quite handy ability to drive off the undead. Indeed, the one I weakened exploded from the Cleric's spell. The other two ran away.

For the moment.
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