Exploring the Lotus Swamps
Having secured the services of a native guide, the band of Nemedians took off along the Styx at dawn, abroad the skiff piloted by Kamoses, a weathered middle-aged Stygian of the labouring class. The expedition was planned to last for two weeks, with a provision for a few additional days, as long as the foreigners were willing to pay. Kamoses had many years of experience on braving the Lotus Swamps, which showed in the many scars left on his skin by the whip-like fronds of the Lotus. The men would have to spend several nights on the shore, making their camp well clear of the riverbank, lest they were devoured by beasts such as the famed river horse or the great Stygian crocodiles. As dusk turned to night on the second day of the journey, the camp was set upon by strange beasts with the body of a leopard and the head of a snake, though the aberrant animals, most likely driven to investigate the travelers out of curiosity, were promptly dispatched by Alchemides.
The Nemedians broke camp at dawn and headed off towards the swamps. The ruins of an abandoned Stygian city at the edge of the swamp piqued the curiosity of the scholarly Nemedians, who also persuaded Alchimedes and Noam to come along with the promise of possible treasures, disregarding the warnings of Kamoses. The ruins were mostly unremarkable, though they were assaulted by what appeared to be a large, mobile carnivorous plant of some kind. Fending off the creature with fire, the party explored parts of the ruined settlement, discovering ancient relics of Ibis worship and a pouch of seeds, which the scholars of the group suspected being the seeds of the infernal Emerald Lotus that had attacked them.
As the band was led deeper into the swamp by their guide, they finally came upon a number of Black Lotus plants. Trusting in the power of a wet blanket to guard their breath against the sophophoric miasma of the legendary blossom, the Nemedians set upon the mystical vegetation, and promptly fell fast asleep. After waking from a haunted slumber, the band reassessed their tactics. Cutting down even one fully grown Lotus plant proved to be quite the labour for the men, especially given the constant lashing they received from the poisonous fronds. Noam seemed especially resilient, as he would not fall down despite a score of wounds crisscrossing his body and limbs. The band, dissatisfied with their meager harvest, decided to stay for another day. Next morn, the group came across a very large Lotus-tree topped by a huge blossom and flanked by smaller Black lotuses. After a struggle of steel and sorcery, the band prevailed, and set off on the journey back towards Khemi. Along the way they were attacked by a huge crocodile, upon whose back seemed to grow an emerald-green plant like the one that attempted to exsanguinate the adventurers in the ruins two days before. After a fierce battle that almost saw Alchmedes meet his doom betwixt the jaws of the monstrous reptile, the Nemedians returned to Khemi, exhausted but triumphant. The lesser blossoms were ground up to be used in a smokable form, while the party decided to sell the great blossom to the temple harlots of Derketo.