You and your comrades in arms have enjoyed a few successes against local foes of Baron Lokk Mathias’ lands. Over the last couple of years you have brought peace to the barony and even feasted in the great hall of Castle Azzenrock. You have tasted the smallest sample of wealth and glory.
For several months, possibly even years, there have been reports of banditry in the jungles to the south of the Kingdom. Merchants carrying precious loads of rare goods from the jungle lands have been waylaid, their goods taken and their men captured or killed. Even then, those who survived these raids had to face headhunters, brain fever, giant leeches, cannibals, and leopards. Few men ever returned.
The stories they told were fantastic and addled, surely brought about by disease and the horrors with which they had to deal. Singing snakes, twisted and deformed ape-men, men who were not men, and writhing, horrid flowers filled their tales -surely such things were not to be believed. Nonetheless, something had destroyed the caravans.
Furthermore, none of the goods taken from the caravans has ever appeared in the markets of the north, at least as far as the merchants can tell. Some were certainly identifiable - rare pieces of art, scrolls, books, and other items destined to fetch good prices in the kingdoms of the north. It could only mean that someone or something was hoarding a great treasure in the jungle.
Though you have heard the stories before they were always tales of far off lands, but as the local challenges began to dry up and the tales of lost treasure began to add up to a fortune beyond the imagination of most men the lure began to nag at you and your comrades.
Then Cassius Mar, an extremely wealthy local merchant lost his third caravan in the jungle. Left with the choice of permanently reducing his profits by paying Kelian Merchant Marines to transport his goods around the jungle or doing something bold and drastic, he put out word that he would pay all travel expenses for any punitive expedition that succeeded in stopping the banditry so that he could safely move goods through the jungle.
Your group successfully negotiated the terms, finalized preparations to depart for the southern jungle, and spent two-weeks traveling just to get to the edge of the kingdom to where small tribal villages eked out a substantive living in the shadow of the darker jungle.