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Remaining Cult Members Found Dead
A macabre discovery was made on a small jungle island this morning. Tyree Higginbothom, a fisherman from Serpent’s Hold, had to make an emergency get away when a kraken ran him ashore. He found himself on a small stretch of beach where a family of alligators were sunning. "I dinna wanna be gator fodder anymore’n I wanted t’ be feedin that kraken," Higginbothom said. "I seen a vine hangin an’ I made a grab fer it, prayin it were as strong as it appeared t’ be." 

Alligators snapping at his heels, Higginbothom scaled the trunk of the big tree, pulling himself up with the vine. Safe in the treetop, he looked about and saw what appeared to be a village that extended in every direction within view. "I figgered I must ha’ found them monkey men I been readin about, them ones that stole that gardener up Brit way." The fisherman began to explore the huts carefully. 

"I thought me shanty was common enough until I seen these huts o’ theirs. Downright base, if ye ask me." Higginbothom described the huts as being crudely built of straw, cane and dried vines braided into ropes. Most were barely large enough for one person to comfortably lie down. Eventually, he came to an open gazebo-type structure. It was there that he made the gruesome find. Huddled together, naked and in distorted positions, were the remains of what appeared to be the last of the Plentyn o’ Coeden cult members. 

Constable Trouper Truehart of Trinsic issued the following statement: 

At approximately ten o’clock this morning, we received notice that a number of bodies had been discovered in a tree-top village on what is commonly called "The Temple Island." An investigation of the scene has recovered a hand-written text, the dead limb from a tree, a pitcher of a thick green liquid and another pitcher, empty, with residue resembling what was in the full pitcher. Analysts at the Lyceum are now trying to identify this substance. Forensics experts have found no evidence of foul play, but have ruled it a mass suicide.

Constable Truehart went on to read the text found among the corpses. Written by cult member Eril, the book stated that since the "war with the infidels," the group had lost most of its brethren, most importantly its leaders, Exetor and Murtogh. They blamed Evie Vandergellen and her team of explorers for the death of the ancient tree they worshiped, The Mother, and said that the theft of The Mother’s seed was the greatest transgression against them ever known. Exetor had instructed them, Eril wrote, that they should "lift a toast to the brotherhood and join us in the Great Green Valley" should anything befall him in the anticipated battle Sunday night. 

In related news, funeral services were held today for former cult infiltrator Jase Heinz. Heinz, known to the Plentyn fellowship as "Roald" was killed during a confrontation with cult leader Burton near the Shame area last week. According to a representative of the Heinz family, Jase, who was mute since childhood, had penetrated the cult in an attempt to avenge the death of his great-grandfather, Roland Heinz, who had fallen victim to the Plentyn o’ Coeden. Decades ago, the cult led an assault in the Hidden Valley against local militia, employing the use of a terrifying tree they had created and called The Death Willow. Having heard the lamentations of his great-grandmother and his grandfather over the years, Heinz was determined to see justice served. He admitted recently to Isobel of the Skara Brae Rangers, and friend of Evie Vandergellen, that it was his goal to kill the ancient tree the cult worshipped, believing that it would be enough to topple the group. Heinz’s mother, Frieda Witon Heinz, stated, "Jase was a good son and well-loved by all that knew him. It is unfortunate that the seed of vengeance was planted in him so early and we lost him to the hate that grew from it. It makes me happy to know, however, that the cult responsible is gone now. Hopefully, no other mother will have to endure such trials as these." 

Britannian scholar Bainlyn had also permeated the cult’s ranks for a time in his youth, conducting research for his book Misguided Roses, an exploration into the founding, theology and practices of the Plentyn o’ Coeden. When asked for comment about today’s tragic news, Bainlyn said, "It is most unfortunate that they have met such a bitter end. So misunderstood, so misled. I will always believe that the majority of the brothers had their hearts in the right place. They were drifting as lost children, fallen leaves blowing about in the breeze. Their songs of the beauty of nature come back to me at night when I think of them and I hear their sweet voices ring in this old head of mine. They simply loved The Mother too much, the world too much. Loved it to death." 

Britannian judiciary offices and scholars agree on this point and urge that citizens remain cautious. In instances such as this, history has shown time and again that the lunatic fringe may ride the robe’s hem of these occurrences to form new allegiances based on the ideals of their predecessors. It is possible that "copy cat" groups may spring up soon, seeking to fill the niche carved out in history by the Plentyn o’ Coeden. Travelers are advised to take precautions when journeying near or around the Temple Island. 

Published: March 2001
Please Note: Some dates are estimates as exact dates were unavailable.
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