The Sea Wyvern sails for many days, making its way steadily south towards Burundi. During the voyage the heroes notice that Khyla has taken a liking to the new captain much to the chagrin of Challa her Nubian lover. Khyla claims to have no real interest in Diego, saying that her sole reason for seducing him is to try and win his loyalty and ensure that he will remain motivated to continue the expedition, but Challa seems to have difficulty understanding this.
Yog and Gimlet spend time studying the Serpent’s Skull, along with some help from Yazeed. Yazeed claims to not fully understand the ritual etched into the skull, but Gimlet suspects that he might know more than he lets on. They choose not to press Yazeed on the matter, but his secretive nature makes them suspicious.
In Desperation Bay about 20 miles off the coast of Burundi and not far from the port of Eleder, they locate the island known as Smuggler’s Shiv. The heroes have a map of the island that once belonged to the Nubian and was among Captain Enzo’s treasures. The map indicates the site of a lost Azlanti Temple, and it is here that the Nubian learned of a means of locating the city of Saventh Yhi. They decide that investigating the temple for themselves would be worthwhile, so they prepare an expedition.
The heroes set out with Yazeed to explore the ruins, while Khyla remains aboard the ship. Two sailors from the Sea Wyvern row them and their gear to shore in one of the island’s row boats, and agree to pick them up in a few days. Upon landing they follow a trail to the site of the temple. Along the way they encounter several snare traps on the trail, and soon get the feeling that they are being followed. This proves to be the case when they are ambushed by crazed, devil worshipping cannibals. Fortunately the heroes are alert and not taken by surprise. They fight the cannibals off, slaying several and forcing the rest to flee into the jungle. One thing of interest that they note about the cannibals is that they all seem to be northerners, and the PCs learn from interrogating a captive that they are the remains of the crew of a ship from the Duchy of Red Hand. They had been marooned on the island when their ship wrecked on the rocks just off the island’s coast several years earlier.
Having sent the cannibals a pretty strong message, the heroes continue on through the jungle. Soon they arrive at the site marked on their map. There is no sign of a temple, but they do discover four large standing stones that surrounding a six foot tall stone pyramid that is partially buried in the earth. The standing stones all have deep speech runes carved into them, and Yazeed believes the structure is what the Nubian referred to as a “tide stone.” He also believes that with some study he will be able to trigger the Tidestone, which should result in the nearby lagoon emptying out and the entrance to the temple being revealed.
Yazeed’s ability to decipher the Deep Speech script on the monoliths make the heroes realize that he most certainly knows more about the Serpent’s Skull than he let on. They decide to confront him about this, and Yazeed reluctantly admits that he had been withholding information. He claims that he thought it best if they didn’t know the nature of the blasphemous ritual the skull describes, for fear of the heroes be tempted to try to use it. He goes on to explain that he believes the skull is capable of transforming a human into a degenerate serpent creature. It is magic that the serpent folk would have used thousands of years ago to punish human slaves and create foul, subservient minions. The heroes are more or less satisfied with his response but still somewhat suspicious of the foreign Loremaster.
They camp the night by the standing stones, and the next morning Yazeed attempts to use the Tidestone with the help of Yog and Gimlet. Together they manage to activate the powerful artifact, and they watch in awe as the entire lagoon suddenly drains out to sea, revealing a pair of stone doors that open into the ancient Azlanti temple.
The adventurers light their lanterns and torches and head into the temple. Inside they discover a steep, tall, stone staircase that leads upward. It takes them to grand entrance chamber of the temple. Inside this room they find bronze doors that secrete blood, the skeletal remains of both serpent folk and Nubian pirates, as well as decaying artwork and religious iconography that suggests the temple once belonged to a cult of Zura, the obscure demon lord of vampires.
Further exploring the temple complex, they find a triggered pit trap that had been set off when the Nubian and his pirates explored the temple, and the heroes quickly start to realize that thanks to the Nubian the temple’s defenses have mostly been taken care of. Sometime later they discover the main chapel of Zura. However before they can examine it too closely, they are attacked from behind by a foul gibbering ooze creature that emerges from a hole in a wall. The thing is all ooze, eyes and mouths, and its horrible gibbering overwhelms the heroes with madness. Gimlet suffers the worst of it, and can’t and spends nearly the entire fight insane. The rest of the heroes do a little better. They regain their wits more quickly and engage the gibbering mouther. They find it difficult to kill, and they discover its nasty habit of spitting blinding ooze in their faces. They are also forced to deal with its attempts to drain their blood with its many lamprey like mouths. At one point it manages to pull Kalder’s sword from his hands with a sticky ooze tendril and imbed the blade within its body where it starts to dissolve the weapon with digestive acids. Fortunately, Flower manages to save Kalder’s weapon before too much damage can be done. To make matters worse, the fight with the gibbering mouther draws the attention of other temple guardians- three tiny constructs that vaguely resemble twisted dolls made from bird bones. The little creatures have poisonous claws and are capable of draining the life from a living creature with entropic magic. They don’t prove overly difficult to destroy, but their life draining magic certainly takes a toll on Kalder, nearly killing him before the heroes manage to destroy the foul things. They also managed to drive off the gibbering mouther, which retreats back through the strange little hole from which it emerged. Afterwards, the heroes realize that the hole and others like it access a series of tiny tunnels, though only Gimlet could probably crawl through them without the risk of getting stuck. They also note that the little bird bone constructs seem to navigate them very well.
Having dealt with the temple’s strange inhabitants, at least for the time being, the heroes press on into the main chapel where they hope to learn more about the cult’s connection to the Lost City of Saventh Yhi and determine more about how they might locate the city.