The jungle between the den of scum and villainy that Al-Korar and the mountains are hot, humid and sheltered from the refreshing ocean breeze. Taking a break before the arduous climb, our heroes talked about what they might do when finally get back to the mainland. Ahmed talked of seeking out his tribe to find out of the visions created by Jabal the Black held any substance. Salim similarly seemed to feel the effects of his vision, but not with quite the concern or passion that Ahmed displayed. Areceli and Menivis were grim, knowing that they cannot truly outrun this Curse. Tabari was deep in thought. He had many options but in reality less and less time.
The expertise of both Arad the Pathfinder and Areceli combined with the climbing gear resulted in a difficult but manageable climb. Remnants of other expeditions were visible along the route, including bones of past explorers on the main landing of the climb. Then a screech was heard and huge flying humaniods closed in on the group. As they closed, their bizarre features were revealed – the head, and antlers of a stag blending into the body of a huge eagle. Most perplexing was the shadows cast were that of a man or other wingless/antler-less humanoid.
Tabari identified them as Perytons, which is thought to be humans from a cursed city long ago that denied the existence of Iblis and evil because they were so good. They seek the hearts of people so they may break the curse, yet they are then damned for the sin of murder. Ahmed danced his way through, killing most of them. However, two of the porters were slain by the Perytons, with one having his heart ripped out and eaten by his killer.
During the rest, Tabari gave the full lore of the creatures as he knows it:
Long ago in a city called Peryton the citizenry was so good and righteous that they would not even acknowledge the existence of evil. While certainly it was an affront to Iblis, the other gods agreed that to deny the existence of a god was a slippery slope that should not be tolerated. They let Iblis impose a curse on the people of Peryton so long as there was some way to break it. Iblis reshaped the people into a horrid mix of eagle and deer. The deer represented their false love of good and peace, and the eagle imparted on them a desire to return to their own form. In day to day living, they are themselves as shown by their humanoid shadows. They are vegetarians as they would never harm a living thing. That is, until they encounter a humanoid of their former self. They then attack with the intent to rip their target’s heart out and devour it. It will then free them from the curse. However, Iblis is a crooked one. Committing the act taught the Perytons the meaning of evil. But it also resulted in a mortal sin. While their body return to human, their now true nature is reflected in their shadow – that of a horrid deer/eagle mix. Upon their death, their souls are now marked for Iblis.