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The Unpretentious Account of the Obsequious Kuroda Lien

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The Unpretentious Account of the Obsequious Kuroda Lien

Post  TRU on Fri Feb 27, 2015 7:44 pm

18th of Lamashan

Leaving town, traveling north out of Kalsgard.

Watches have been established as follows:
First: Kromyar and Ukshaka
Second: Nerezza and Shalelu
Third: Takion  and Ulf
Forth: Ameiko and myself

Apparently Ulf is particularly excited for this journey as he desires to be the first guide to cross the crown of the world during the time of high ice.


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Kuroda Lien

Post  TRU on Fri Feb 27, 2015 7:48 pm

21st of Lamashan

Pass a settlement. The air is heavy with fog this night. Caught raiders taking cargo. We wanted to take their hands for their crime but in the end we had to kill them.


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Kuroda Lien

Post  TRU on Fri Feb 27, 2015 7:53 pm

4th of Neth

We have come to the edge of the crown of the world. We are about 6 days out from our second stop in Turvic, the last real trade destination on our route until we reach my homeland.


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Kuroda Lien

Post  TRU on Fri Feb 27, 2015 8:53 pm

12th of Kuthona

After 4 1/2 days on a path of Ulf's own discovery we are accosted by a giant. In a booming voice he demands that we leave these lands now for they are the lands of the giants. We have 66 miles travel till we get out of the territory, less than two days of travel by Kromyar's accounts. We try to reason with the giant but it attacks us in turn, hitting Ulf with a rock.
We fight it and it's white wolf companion which Takion takes out after the wolf breath out some sort of frost on my horse. The giant uses a mist to obscure our vision and we take a lot of hits but in the end the giant falls to Nerezza's spear.
Ameiko, in her wisdom, suggests we try to find the giant's home to see if he has anything stashed there that we could use. We tracked back to it's cave while Kromyar and I tried to talk Ameiko from staying out of the dangers of combat. While one was a success, the other was not. We found the remains of a caravan in the giant's cave, along with an important looking map.


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Kuroda Lien

Post  TRU on Fri Mar 13, 2015 7:21 pm

19th of Kuthona

It has been nearly a week since we fought with the giant and received a wagon and map out of the deal. In the days that passed we took the much needed time to repair our wagons, as well as successfully eradicate the rot that had taken to our food supply. Just another week on the trail.

When Piplock, our cook since we plead his case in Kalsgard, came and informed us there was a problem with the food Kromyar was immediately on edge. It was understandable since the gnome had been accused of poisoning food before, and Kromyar is very protective of the caravan. Thankfully it was nothing of the gnome's doing and it could be taken care of with a simple cleaning up of our stores and a few days close inspection.

Today ended on a bit of a low note. Our travel brought us to the Erutaki village of Lost Lake. We had hoped to maybe have a chance at trade, or at least purchasing food but the village had been abandoned, and as Kromyar found, was being vandalized by some hideous creatures. Much to my chagrin, Ameiko came along as we chased these tall monsters and fought them on the iced over lake. The creatures were adept at swimming and had placed holes under where the ice was thin so they dive in and attack again when we were unaware. We had the upper hand when another strange monster came out of the lake. It was identified as a Qallupillak, and it existed as some sort if maternal figure to the other monsters, that were known as Merrows. She surrounded herself with some sort of sweet and briny smell in attempts to lure us into comfort so that we would stop fighting. We ended her and her twisted children.


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Kuroda Lien

Post  TRU on Fri Mar 13, 2015 8:04 pm

22nd of Kuthona

We have been traveling in an area where the lakes and rivers cut into the landscape causing many rugged cliffs to crop up. While traversing one such cliff there was a sudden avalanche and we were immediately attached by a strange amalgamation of beasts called an Arctic Chimera. Thankfully the drivers were able to get the wagons out of harms way so that we could make short work of the thing and be back on our way. As such we were able to sustain less damage to our caravan.

As evening fell we came across another small village. No, it was less than a village. More like a mere camp with a handful of people. Even so, with a shortage of food in the caravan, it is always a relief to see people. The leader of the camp, Tarinak of the Silver Martin tribe welcomed us in and asked if we wanted to trade with them. He assured us that despite their vast distance from any other civilization the Silver Martin's were a resourceful tribe and did indeed have food rations to trade. We take them up on their offer for trade as well as the invitation to dine with them. The food was warm and satisfying. Just as we finished our meal the Silver Martin tribe bring out their boxes of food to trade with us. The "food" was human. We were incensed, infuriated even, that they would try to sell us human flesh to eat. We demand to be given any other stores of food them may have or negate our trade agreement. This offends them and they inform us of the truth that I dreaded hearing. The meal they had served us had been composed of human flesh. So this is what it means to be resourceful. There would be no reasoning with them. In their anger they drew weapons on us and we attacked in defense and killed them to a man. Their actions were dishonorable and I am not sorry to see them wiped out for good.


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Kuroda Lien

Post  TRU on Sat Mar 28, 2015 5:24 pm

4th of Gozran

At the end of Kuthona we came to the small town of Iqaliat and nearly got run out again, dispite the generosity of their hearth mistress. It seems the local shaman had been worshiping some wicked demon lord and was doing anything he could to cause chaos in the town, including inciting a white dragon against them. By the time we got to the dragon it was so furious it could not be reasoned with. There was nothing else to do but kill it. Doing so did not sit well with Tackion.
After taking care of Iqaliat’s troubles we take it upon ourselves to seek out this blue mistress that the shaman was in cahoots with and try to destroy what she was doing in the middle of the high ice with all her storms and hoards of undead. It took us nearly a month to get there, in extremely cold weather with semi-constant storms that made it difficult to travel. We braved frostbite and undead, including a gigantic skeletal mammoth that almost took out my horse. Finally we make it to the blue woman’s tower. A giant thing, black and terrible, surrounded by a poisonous lake, more undead, and topped with a roiling storm overhead. We had to fight to off her many minions just to get to her, getting poisoned, paralyzed, swallowed whole, and nearly killed. We finally finish her off on the top of her beloved tower and destroy the great blue magical gemstones that were controlling the weather.
Ulf pots a course from the devil woman’s tower back to the Path of the Gonhai. We sought to join it at Deadman’s Dome, a place famous for the protection of a warrior spirit who died there defending in years ago. As we got closer we were met with more and more undead that would not leave us alone. Finally we had no choice but the circle the wagons and fight them off. Just as our breathless enemies were about to get the upper hand a great spirit came out and helped us turn the tide. After the victory the spirit would not leave until he had bestowed us with a gift. A boon in the form of a warrior statuette. We were honored to receive it.
Just at the edge of my homeland we picked up some new passengers. An Ulfen man was determined to take his young family across the crown of the world in this treacherous weather. Knowing how close we had come to not making it ourselves we refused to let him go. When he could not be reasoned with we liberated his family from him and promised to take them back to civilization.
We had a little run in at the next town with people sticking their noses where they don’t belong. We talked it over with the caravan and decided that few words response to curious ears would be best so as not to endanger Ameiko’s journey to the throne. One thing nice about the town, however was that we could restock our nearly bear supply of food. We had had to spend a couple of days hungry just to make sure we made it this far.
Finally, at the end of Pharast, we make it over the wall of heave into Tian Xia.

Our first stop at Orduagonhai was strange. When we asked to be let in the town the guards told us that they must search the wagons before we could enter. But before they could finish their search they were interrupted but the servant of the town’s highest official, Prince Bot Sacar. This saved us from having to hide all of the things in our possession that pointed to Ameiko’s right to the throne. Prince Bot Sacar, lover of all things foreign, especially foreign women, invited us to his palace for a visit. He treated us to a three day feast where we managed to disgrace ourselves with a lack of culinary skill and prowess in the traditional feats of strength. Only Tackion was able to save us from true shame by defeating the prince’s wrestling champion in the ring on the third night. After the feast was over the prince formally asked us if we would be willing to serve as his representatives at the Ruby Phoenix Tournament that was to take place in a matter of days in Goku. We concluded that this would be a valuable way to spread our reputation and so we agreed.


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Kuroda Lien

Post  TRU on Sat Apr 11, 2015 12:19 am

9th of Gozran

We have spent the last few days in Goku doing trade and learning what we can about the Ruby Phoenix Tournament. The rules are fairly strict and easy to abide by, necessary to run a clean event. Even so, it seems that the last time the tournament ran in was rife with controversy. Numerous deaths, under the table dealing with a powerful gambling ring as well as the losing sorcerer accusing the winner, a paladin of Iomadae, of cheating.

Now we are on the island where the tournament is to be held. This will be our home for the next few days as the rules state that contestants must stay on the island until the tournament is done. On the ferry over we met a friendly woman named Reesha who was obviously trying to size up the capabilities of our group. How nice to have friendly competitors.

Once on the island we went to the noodle house for food and to scout out the competition a little ourselves. Walking in brought back so many memories; the smells, the sounds were all too familiar. I had to will myself to eat the bowl full of noodles, but they ended up sitting like a knot in my stomach for the rest of the night.

While we were eating we were approached by a noble warrior. He introduced himself as Marthysan, judge of this tournament, and winner of the previous one. The very paladin of Iomadae himself. He was very gracious welcoming us to the event and even answered a few questions we had regarding the safety of the tournament contestants. Ameiko plans to compete with us and in light of the many deaths during the last Ruby Pheonix tournament I had concern for her well being. Marthysan assured us that the group that was to blame for the trouble ten years ago had been quelled. They are called the Golden League and they are known for running a very serious gambling operation in the area. Even so, Marthysan seemed confident that security measures had been taken to assure a safer, cleaner tournament. These words coming from a man of strong conviction did much to allay my fears.

Our conversation with Marthysan proved favorable in more ways than one. After our conversation he offered to let us stay in the extra rooms that he was allotted in his judge’s tent. We accepted his gracious offer and after a little while, retired there for the night.


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Kuroda Lien

Post  TRU on Sat Apr 11, 2015 12:20 am

10th of Gozran

The first official day of the tournament. I awoke with a thrill in my veins. 64 groups of contestants will be pitted up against one another today, and only 32 will be allowed to advance. We will be in the latter group, of this I am confident.

Marthysan woke us with a knock on our door this morning in order to give us time to get to the playing grounds on schedule. We registered our team with tournament officials before entering the grand pavilion. For the time being we are fighting under the name Champions of the Golden Prince. As we are here as a favor to Prince Bot Sacar the name will have to suffice. It is agreed that I will be the team captain and as such I am told to report to the arena to draw lots for day’s fight.

The Emissary gave an opening speech but I confess I didn’t hear most of it. I was too distracted by what I saw on the judges stand. Next to the Emissary and Marthysan stood oni. A Kuwa oni to be exact, dressed in the same regalia that Marthysan wore. I saw him at the noodle house yesterday. My guard had gone up immediately. Seeing oni anywhere there are a lot of people is never a good sign. I had hoped that he was merely a contestant. Or at the least, there on some other business. Either way, I marked him as a target and a potential threat in my mind. I could not end him then, but later I would hunt him down when it was more appropriate to do so. But there he was, serving as a judge for the tournament. I don’t like it. Kuwa oni are known for their ambition. Once they set their eyes on a position of wealth and power they will not stop until they claim it as their own. This does not bode well for the tournament.

I drew lots and we found ourselves against the Monks of the Monastery of the Enduring Spirit as the first fight of the day. The first fight of the whole tournament to be exact. For a while the crowd favored us, but as soon as Emillian cast a healing spell their cheers turned to boos. Apparently our strategy did not suit their taste. Even so we won and received a Stone of Luck as the prize. We watched all the rest of the fights so we could get an idea of the competition we will be up against. Some of the competitors will be a tough battle. I can see now that it will take all our skill and teamwork win this thing.

The day ended with a small festival near the grand pavilion. Much revelry went on, though we as a group did not partake in the alcohol offered seeing that we would need a clear head to be at our best for the morrow’s fight. Marthysan came up to us during the festivities to congratulate us on the day’s win and to warn us that the tournament officials like to get creative and change the arena’s playing field from day to day. His tip was much appreciated. It is nice to at least know what not to expect from here on out.


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Kuroda Lien

Post  TRU on Mon Apr 13, 2015 1:10 am

11th of Gozran

We fought and won against the Khartoum Rippers. Though not without much shedding of our own blood, and of course a little controversy. It is unfortunate when people feel they have to cheat to get ahead in life. The Khartoum Rippers were a small halfling wizard and his two trolls. The wizard we were able to take out quite quickly but the trolls were harder to put down. The two of them were quite good at ganging up on a person and ripping them to pieces. They tried to do so to me and I lost so much blood that I blacked out for a bit. When I came to one troll was down on it’s back and Nerizza was dropping a bit of acid on it to stop it regenerative properties. Then we surrounded the second troll and he soon surrendered. When I approached the judges to receive our prize I was accosted with accusations from the defeated halfling. He claimed that we broke the rules when we put acid on the troll after it was down. I made my argument that our intention with the acid was not to kill but only to stop the regeneration. The Emissary pulled away to make a decision. I felt like I had been very persuasive and that the match would be decided in our favor. Even so, Marthysan approached me and recommended that I give our prize to the loser as a show of good faith. He assured me that doing so would make the Emissary look favorably on us and that we would still retain our spot in the tournament. I conceded to this plan seeing that our chance at winning the tournament was worth more than the prize from one fight. This was the feelings of the rest of the group once I had the chance to explain to them what happened.

Our plan to watch the rest of the matches was interrupted in the early afternoon when we were called away for a mandatory exhibition fight. We gathered in a circle marked out on the ground, spectators standing a few feet away looking on as the rules were explained. Then they unleashed their champion. He was a gruesome headless undead creature known as a Shenzuzhou. He cast some sort of noxious cloud on us causing all but Gin and I to sputter and choke as they tried to keep from vomiting. I fought the monster as best I could but his many attacks had me on the retreat. Emilian was able to get rid of the cloud, thankfully, but only in time for the monster to turn on everyone else and attack them one by one. It managed to send Nerizza fleeing as the fear of it’s inhuman smiling abdomen found a grip in her head. Tackion, Kromyar and I managed to regroup and with another mighty swing of the blade I cut the thing in two.  With our win we are awarded a candle of clean air for a prize. I think the officials have a strange sense of humor.

For the evening meal we set our course to the noodle house again. While we were walking the mile there something caught Tackion’s eye. He pulled aside to investigate and found a badly beaten man discarded in the alleyway. He told us that his wounds were the payment he received from placing a bad bet. He went on to complain that the whole tournament was rigged, explaining that many of the contestants that should have been skilled enough to win had lost instead. What may have been seen as a bitter gambler’s rant struck a chord with us. That very morning we had overheard many of the contestants entering the grand pavilion complaining of overly sore muscles. It came to Ameiko’s mind that she had seen Reesha and the band of hobgoblins loudly refusing food and drink the night before. With the thought that someone may be tampering with the food we have set Emilian to check all we eat for poison, as inconspicuously as he can. Now hearing that the matches themselves may be rigged we are willing to believe there to be some serious foul play going on.

As we were enjoying our evening meal at the noodle house we managed to catch Reesha and her teammates trying to listen in on our conversations. We assume they are looking to overhear our tactics. Nerizza and Emilian also caught the halfling wizard in some back alley deal selling a scroll to our next competitors to give them a boon in their fight against us. So men from another team offered ale to Ameiko, Shalilu and I, which we politely declined. Tackion’s sharp ears caught another group of contestants discussing strange occurrences that seemed to corroborate what the gambler had told us.

As the group looked to turn in for the night I held back and asked Tackion to join me for a quiet conversation in the noodle house. We retired to a different table where I proceeded to ask him what had caused the rage I had seen in his eyes during the fight against the trolls. As his friend I was concerned about his show of emotions. It was quite out of character for him to be on the edge of losing it like he was.

His answer astonished me. In fact I was so slow at catching out that he had to practically spell it out for me. Tackion cares for me. Never did I expect such a thing. Putting it in writing still astonishes me. His companionship on this journey has been invaluable. I do not always find the other companions as approachable… a fault of my own, no doubt. Yet Tackion is ever open and inviting, loyal and supportive. I confess that I have favored his company over the other’s, for when I am with him I feel at ease. To say that I am honored severely understates how I feel. But every time I try to put it to words I fall short. He asked if he could court me, and I did not deny him. He is a good man who lives by good principles which I have come to respect. I believe learning to care for him as he does for me will follow easily. Though Ameiko has my sword, it is safe to say that Tackion has a piece of my heart.

When we got back to our rooms for the night we had a brief talk with Ameiko. Tackion explained his intentions at which Ameiko immediately to free us from any obligation we felt to her. We would hear nothing of it. Ameiko insisted on announcing our courtship to the rest of the group and the news was received with varied response. The reception of our friends flummoxed me slightly. I suppose I expected them to react more Tian. I should have known better. The emotions of the night must have me confused.

Before retiring I spent some time talking to Nerizza. She was very kind to listen to my rambling. She seems to share the same view as Tackion when it comes to my worth. Westerners must measure one’s worth differently than we do here. I do not quite understand it yet, but I hope to. Nerizza also told me that upon returning to the room they had left a note for Marthysan telling him what we have heard about the strange activity happening in the tournament and the possibility that someone is trying to rig the winner. Hopefully with his authority here, he will have some way to solve this matter swiftly and justly.


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Post  TRU on Sat Apr 25, 2015 3:18 pm

12th of Gozran

We were able to communicate with Marthysan this morning. He is indeed informed of the misdeeds going on in the tournament. It seems that one of the teams was murdered the night before and the killing has been suspiciously blamed on a local drake. Thus the Emissary has granted him special dispensation to take care of the matters. He asked if we would help him find the specific players behind this so that they may be stopped.

The group of hobgoblins had no opponents this morning on account of the group who had died the night before. This group of hobgoblins and Reesha’s company are becoming more and more suspicious. We were pitted against a group of bards who tried to best us with their pain inducing music. Despite the fact that the arena was filled with hot coals and the bard’s music sometimes made us want to climb the walls we still managed to defeat them. They however, did succeed in knocking me off my horse with some sort of spell that caused me to laugh furiously and continually. It was a bit shameful.

We did not need to fight in an exhibition on this day so we spent the rest of it doing what we always do, sizing up the competition. As it turns out, we will be facing the Eunuch, a man of great skill who stands alone on the field and defeats his opponents by causing some sort of strife in their ranks. Kromyar thinks the Eunuch may be able to control other’s minds and that is why his foes always fall at each other’s hands. Only once did we see a combatant get close enough to harm him and when they did they were suddenly caught up in his hair and ended quickly. I expect this to be a much harder fight than any of the others we have had before.

Now we are waiting to meet with Marthysan at the noodle house. He told us he would meet us here around the time that many of the contestants turn in for the night. We are the only ones here, but for one table and the owner has already warned us that he will be closing soon. Marthysan has yet to show up and this concerns me greatly. I hope no ill has come to him.


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Post  TRU on Sat Apr 25, 2015 5:04 pm

13th of Gozran

Marthysan was indeed safe, just delayed by boat. We figured this out when we went looking for him because of our concern for his tardiness. It seemed that our group, however, was not safe. Not long after Emilian, Tackion, and I had left to find Marthysan a group of ninjas from the Golden League descended on the rest of our company waiting at the noodle house. When we got back with Marthysan we saw the half dozen or so bodies on the floor and the blood on our friend’s clothes are were able to quickly draw a conclusion. The Golden League must know we are looking into these things and they want to stop us.

Early this morning we received a note from Marthysan saying, “In regards to the matter that we discussed: Meet me at noon, after your match, and we will put an end to it.” Foreboding yet hopeful. These “accidents” have gone on long enough.

On the way to the arena I found out that some of our party enjoy the so called rewards of betting on our team to win. I made my opinions on that matter known but they were not heeded. I nearly feel ill thinking about it. What with the gambler beaten almost to a pulp yesterday and then the blithe disregard for the dangers of betting today I am almost beside myself. I am impatient for this tournament to be over if only to put that wretched vice behind us.

Soon after came our time to fight the Eunuch. Because we vastly outnumbered him he was given time to prepare himself for the fight. We had to either give him that or draw straws to see who would not be joining us in the arena. The Eunuch was indeed a formidable foe. Nerizza got first blood with one of her javelin, however Emilian ended up bringing him down with an amazing feat of marksmanship. He said later that he now realizes he was over thinking the crossbow. I am not sure what that means but I am glad to know his skill has improved. On the other hand, I need to work on my mental fortitude. Near the end of the fight something happened and I did not know myself. The last thing I remember was charging up to the Eunuch and piercing him with Suishen. The next thing I knew Kromyar was near the horse looking at me, his jaw was set and the glowing magically-created axe fell to his side, and I could see the faint shimmer of one of his runes still hanging in the air. Tackion was running up with concern deeply etched on his face. It seems that in my addled state I had tried to harm myself with Suishen, and as with most things in combat, I had succeeded.

As we traveled back through the small town where the tournament is held we found that we had become somewhat famous. It was difficult to go very far without someone asking how we had managed to win against such an impressive opponent. When we finally got back to Marthysan’s room we found it in extreme disarray with a woman marked by the Golden League lying dead upon the floor and more blood, not her own, trailing out the back window. Gin’s excellent nose followed the trail that we assumed to be that of the paladin-judge to the docks where we were met and attack by Reesha and her gang. We tried to reason with them but they saw us as too much of a threat and tried to kill us all. Instead we killed all of them but one, who we kept alive for questioning. Her name was Pirin and with some persuading she told us their group’s secrets. They were working with the Golden League in a plan to help their team, the hobgoblins, win. They were to ensure their own victories than lose to the hobgoblins in the last fight. It was a tidy plan until Marthysan started looking in to it. They had beaten and taken Marthysan to the docks not moments before we arrived, so we found the judge battered and bruised in the bottom of a boat still tied up. Emilian was able to bring him around and we filled him in one the information we had found out from Pirin, including the fact that she said there was a third accomplice in this whole scheme. Someone who was not a contestant in the tournament. I suggested to Marthysan that we look into the oni’s doings when, to my chagrin he assured me that the oni was a servant of the Emissary’s and was bound to serve the tournament for somewhere around 9 decades. I could hardly believe my ears. I questioned if the Emissary knew what he was dealing with and to that Marthysan replied that the Emissary was strong enough handle it. Though Marthysan seems to trust him implicitly I remain unconvinced.

When we returned to the tournament and the hobgoblin’s were faced with the claims against them they denied everything. The Emissary ruled that there was not enough evidence to cease the tournament so he decreed that it continue without obstacle.

Many things have infuriated me today. I find that my emotions are even more out of control than they were two days ago after that fateful conversation with Tackion. I talked to him again tonight, about the oni and my burning desire to have it’s head. It was very helpful to have him listen to my rage filled rants. It helped me see things clearly again, to understand that though my anger may be justified I must not let it rule me. All things will happen at their proper time.


Last edited by TRU on Sat Jun 06, 2015 12:30 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Kuroda Lien

Post  TRU on Sat May 23, 2015 3:47 pm

14th of Gozran

Today was the last day of the tournament. I believe that each of us woke up this morning knowing how long a day this would be if we wanted to win. Our first fight of the day was up against Ganyavesha. She had been handling the competition very well for being a single combatant, slicing through her opposition with her keen blades. To get to the final round we had to get through her. Three tall pillars greeted us as we entered the arena, providing two more levels to our playing field. Ganyavesha was waiting for us at the top. As with Hok Fong, Ganyavesha was given some time to prepare. Kromyar watched her cast, listing off the spells as she went along so that we could know what we were up against. Most were types of protections and boosts to her fighting abilities… and then she doubled in size. Very little of this was of any concern to me, though I know now that I should have been more careful at ducking her blows. As soon as the fight started Ganyavesha called fire from the heavens down upon Gin and I. My skin got quite blistered but I could still manage to fight. I asked Suishen to grant Gin and I the ability to walk on the air. This being done I was able to charge right to her and thrust the blade into her massive side. I must have hurt her badly because the next thing I know she is jumping to the ground to heal herself. This gave the others who were climbing the pillars by hand a chance to attack. I gave chase but she quickly cut me down before I could touch her. Once again, I felt the blackness of near death, half in this world, half out of it. I did not think it was the end, knowing Emilian could bring me back as he has before. I wonder if when I do finally die if I will be able to accept it, or if I will be waiting, expecting to be brought back again…

Then the blackness disappeared and I opened my eyes to see the ghostly hand Emilian uses to extend his reach hovering over me. Ganyavesha was still standing as well, but only for a moment. As soon as I could reach out my newly revived arms I lifted Suishen over my head and cut her in twain.

After that we were all wishing we had time to rest and recharge. We were feeling rather depleted and the prospect of facing two more fights in the arena was a bit uncomfortable. Emilian suggested we go back to our quarters and sleep for a couple hours. He claimed to have a spell that would allow us to sleep only a couple of hours but wake up as rested as if we had slept a full night. And this is what we did, coming back to the arena in time for the next event. We were recounting how we had seen our next opponents fight in the ring when a very anxious Marthysan came running out to meet us. Apparently leaving tournament grounds during the tournament was frowned upon. Marthysan had been looking for us in order to give us a warning. He told us that the creature we were to face next was of such a caliber that it could easily tear the Shenzuzhou we had faced previous to pieces.

So we entered the ring on our guard for what was to come. The oni judge was presiding over our match. Tackion pointed out that the usually emotionless oni was looking pleased. Something about our upcoming fight excited him. This only added to the warning Marthysan had given us. Soon a cage was rolled out and opened. An Atamhuta stepped out. I could tell by the impressive size of him, his red skin and two heads. He was heavily armored and wore an intimidating scowl on both of his faces.  A fearsome foe, indeed. But fortune favored us. With a few well aimed strikes we we able to take him down in no time at all. What relief to us as we still faced a fight against Gon-wai and his hobgoblins who are in the pocket of the Golden League. What pride and joy it was to see the face of the oni judge fall in disappointment, and maybe anger.

Next we were brought back into the arena for our test of wits. I confess in all my strategizing how best to fight the other contestants I had forgotten about this part of the tournament. We were given a riddle, written on four pillars that stood in each corner and were told to solve it in a certain amount of time. It sounded easy, but once we all stepped up to the first pillar to read it a blast of something magical radiated out from it sending most of us reeling. It seemed that all the pillars were trapped magically in some way, throwing us off our equilibrium or causing us to run in a state of panic. If it had not been for Emilian who managed to make it through the traps we may have never solved the thing.

Finally it was time for the much anticipated final battle for honor and the prize. If we could defeat Gon-wai and his group, not only would we be the winners of this prestigious tournament but we would also prove that those who scheme and cheat do not have the power to win, prove that justice will be done. After a speech by the Emissary we entered the arena eighth and final time. Across the way stood Gon-wai, two of his hobgoblin friends, the net user and the one who threw bombs, and a heavily armored halfling who turned out to be their healer. Marthysan winked at me right before the start of the fight. Having spent some time with westerners I have reason to believe he was doing so to encourage us. Either that or he was trying to flirt. I choose to believe the former.

Gon-wai’s team was indeed our most difficult fight in the tournament. I believe they could have gotten to the final two, and maybe even won it had we not been there, without cheating as they did, their skill was so great. It did not take them long to control the battlefield. Nerizza, who had been rendered invisible, and I charged in with Kromyar and Tackion at our tails. One of their number also went invisible and he soon had Tackion separated from the group. They must have been watching us as closely, if not closer than we did to know that Tackion works best when he can fight beside his allies. I breathed in some smoke from one of the bombs that went off (I think the invisible one was throwing them) and it let me feeling weak and sick. Nerizza snuck up and attacked Gon-wai but in turn he hit her with such force that it struck her dumb for a time. The net hobgoblin used that opportunity to entangle her in his net. When she came to her senses Nerizza tried to get out of harm’s way, only to be pulled back by the net she was tangled in. Emilian saw this and came to Nerizza’s aid by pulling her out of there with some kind of teleporting magic. The net wielder then turned to me and yanked me off my saddle. Once I was on the ground with less defense than I’d had before Gon-wai held down my right arm, reached in and pulled out my bicep muscle. The pain was excruciating, weakening me even further. I tried my best to aid my friends but in the end, it was Nerizza and Kromyar that did most of the work. Finally, upon seeing his allies fallen, the one who had been fighting Tackion surrendered. The officials announced the fight to be over but I was still on guard. We had just fought the ones who had put things in place to ensure their victory, surely they weren’t just going to be defeated so easily. Something else was going to happen, I was sure of it.

Something did happen, but I didn’t see it coming as I was wishing I would. Apparently my focus was on the wrong enemy. As the last standing hobgoblin limped off the field Nerizza started shouting for us to look out. I looked where she was pointing just in time to see two malicious looking tian women approaching us from the other side of the arena. The pavilion was already in chaos what with our winning the tournament. When the Emissary saw the new assailants he fled for his safety, leaving behind the two stone lions that sat before his dais now animated to protect his retreat. Marthysan came running to our aid. I focused my attention on the woman who used transformation magic much like Ganyavesha’s, making herself bigger. I charge and am able to take her down. The other one had taken to the air and was harder to reach. I tried to get within range but she trapped me along with Tackion and Ameiko in a magical cage. Thankfully Ameiko’s aim was true and she shot her out of the sky with a well placed arrow. After we cleaned up that mess we found out that these two women were from the team that had been accused of cheating during the last tournament. This has caused them to lose and had made Marthysan the winner. I do not know if they were in with the Golden League but I do not doubt it. I am sure the plans of the Golden League to rig the tournament went along very well with their desires of revenge.

The Emissary thanked us deeply for the large role we took in saving the tournament. He congratulated us on our victory and told us he would take us to the vault of Houzin where we could collect our prize. He also offered us tattoos signifying us as winners of the Ruby Phoenix Tournament and asked us to return in ten years to serve as judges for the event.

We only had a short time in the vault, but even so, many things caught our eyes. None more than a particular hammer that Kromyar picked up. Just seeing the hammer in the dwarf’s hands I knew it had to be the item we would claim as our prize. It was a wondrous weapon called the Hammer of Thunderbolts and Kromyar told us with awe in his voice that it was a legendary weapon, and artifact from ages past. He could not wield it as he was currently but he would find a way.

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Kuroda Lien

Post  TRU on Sat Jun 06, 2015 12:32 pm

19th of Gozran

After the tournament we spent four days in Goka, resting up and getting supplies for the journey home. Tackion and I, along with Emilian, Nerizza, Ameiko, and Koya went to meet with Tackion’s Grandfather to ask him for his permission to marry. Kromyar made a few adjustments so that he could wield the hammer. Once the shortest in our group he now stands the tallest at a towering 8 feet. He is impressive to behold, tall and broad and stern, with axe and hammer crossed on his massive back. When Emilian saw the transformation he remarked that Kromyar was going to need a lot of soap. Kromyar assured him that he had already taken care of that.

We teleported back to Orduaghanhai and were met there by Chooah, our liaison to Prince Bot Sacar. He informs us there the town was preparing a parade in our hour and it was to be held at noon which was only a few hours away. The parade would culminate with a ceremony lauding the almighty wisdom of the prince on this grand occasion of his victory of the Ruby Phoenix Tournament. It was somewhat disheartening to realize that the celebration would not honor us but one who had little to do with the victory. It was to be expected, I suppose, but that didn’t lessen the insult any. I sincerely hoped he would not ask us to hand over the prize. There would be a fight on his hands if he did.

The parade was grand enough for a town of their size. Bright pennants lined the streets and alongside of the weapons we rode through the streets there ran men in the colorful dragon costumes. The whole town came out for the spectacle waving flags as we passed. And yet for all the grandness the atmosphere was severely lacking the festive celebratory air that was common for such occasions.

Even so, it still took me by surprize when the wagon under us was hit with handful of shuriken and smoke began to swirl around us. Emilian, Kromyar, and Nerizza later told of how the drivers in eat wagon had turned and slit the throats of the wagon guards and ninja started to pour out from under the dragon costumes. We were under attack. The ninjas came thick and fast but we dealt them some fearsome blows.The crowd became hysterical, pushing every which way to get out of danger. The ninjas must have seen they were outmatched for they used the crowd to help them slip away.

A young woman with a weapon in hand stepped up and introduced herself as a defender of the Jade Regent. She claimed to have been sent to warn us of the ninja attack but she had regretfully shown up too late. We pulled aside to a quiet shop so we could nurse our wounds and talk privately with this new acquaintance. As we treated Nerizza and Ameiko for ninja poison we listened to the woman tell her story.

Her name was Miyaro and with a quick transformation she showed us that she was a kitsune. She was an emissary of the Kami that reside in the Forest of Spirits. Thousands of years ago her kami benefactors had been charged with the duty of guarding the oni known as the Five Storms in a prison called the House of the Withered Blossoms. One hundred-sixty years ago some of the Five Storms managed to escape with the intent to invade the ruling city of Minkai and take it over. The Kami did not know how the oni escaped. Because of the laws they held to they couldn’t got into the prison to investigate since the Five Storms had left some of their own behind. It was the wish of the Kami that we come and clear out their prison so they could finally figure out what happened.

We agreed that we would indeed follow Miyaro to the forest and seek out the Kami in order to aid them as best we could, but first we had make sure we were ready to leave town. I felt it was necessary to tell Prince Bot Sacar that we were leaving but was greeted quite cooly upon our arrival at his door. His servant Chooah was loath to talk with us and nearly slammed the door in our face. As if we hadn’t been insulted enough.

Kromyar tried to sell some of our excess stores in preparation for our trip to the forest but every shop door was closed and barred. I couldn’t help wondering to Miyaro if Prince Bot Sacar was in league with the Five Storms but she assured me he was not. Though it was possible that he had a great fear of them. Either way, I was glad to be rid of this town.

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Kuroda Lien

Post  TRU on Sat Jun 06, 2015 4:46 pm

8th of Desnus

It has been 19 days since we left Orduaghanhai. Hungry and sore we have finally made it to the edge of the Forest of Spirits. The amount of repairs we’ve had to make to the wagons put us back almost a week. Our food stores ran out yesterday. In our attempts to keep from attracting the wrong kind of attention we have traveled around most of the towns in this region. So we traded the comfort of a full belly for safer travel. Still we weren’t without attacks. Three days in giant tarantulas descended upon us. Then we fought ninjas for two days. Hangman trees hit us with their druglike spores and a band of oni tried to subject our caravan to a search. We had to flee both the trees and the oni. We had met them each with damaged wagons so the less further damage we sustained the better.

Miyaro brought us to a place at the edge of the forest where the line of trees was broken by a small dirt path leading straight in. It barely looked big enough for our wagons to traverse but we would have to try. There would be no leaving the caravan here, it was just too dangerous. Before we entered we had to lift a great stone that was blocking our way. It was a warding stone and it was sacred to the Kami. After doing so, we made a simple offering of gold and a kami appeared. He was a short, very old man by the name of Shukinshi and he greeted us, thanking us for standing his warding stone back up again. He warned us of the spirits that inhabited this forest and told us to especially beware of bad spirits. He told us that is should take about 9 days to travel to our destination through the forest and then before leaving, he blessed us.

9th of Desnus

I met one of the spirit’s of the forest today. Her name is Li Xu. Her beautiful voice caught my attention while I was riding Gin beside the caravan. I stopped, worried that we were disturbing her but as soon as I spoke to her she disappeared. My encounter with her, however, was not to end there, for she has imparted much knowledge to me about our history and culture and I can still hear her voice singing in my head as I write. I do not think this was an illusion of hunger for we were able to find enough food to eat today. I now have two voices in my head. I wonder how long Li Xu will stay...

10th of Desnus

We were attacked by giants today. The caravan was traveling along the high tors when about a half dozen or so giants burst out and started throwing huge rocks at us. They nearly killed Sandru. Thankfully some of us were able to distract them before they buried the whole caravan under their rocks, killing everyone. With some struggle we were able to finally defeat them all. I have never seen Kromyar fight with such zeal, flying around and hitting the giants over and over again with his new hammer. It was a wondrous sight to behold. Sandru wasn’t the only one badly injured in the fight. Tackion also lost a lot of blood. I let him ride on the back of Gin for a while, until Emilian and Koya were ready to heal him.

Once the healing was done Emilian had an epiphany. He said that he remembered that giants usually had a liar where they kept all their stores and treasure. Kromyar was able to track it down and soon we had before us enough meat to last us the rest of our journey.

12th of Desnus

On our journey today we were accosted by a beautiful albino white tiger. As he bolted straight at our caravan I could hear Li Xu’s voice tell me that this tiger was sacred to the kami, as were all other white tigers in the forest. So I knew that no matter what happened next we must not kill the beast. The tiger stopped right before getting to us and started moaning and pawing at the ground. Every once in a while a low growl would emit from it’s throat. The rest of my companions cautiously gathered around it as we tried to figure out how to proceed. I shared with them the fact that this was a sacred beast and Miyaro agreed, though she admitted that this one was acting very peculiar. I got off of Gin in hopes to approach it and maybe calm it down but it must have seen my movement as a threat because it attacked me as soon as I was on the ground.

The tiger’s claws were sharp as it dug into my back. I tried desperately to hold it still and hold it down so that it would do no more harm but it’s claws were in too deep. It had the advantage of me. Kromyar and Tackion tried their best to knock it unconscious but that poor beast had a very thick skull. Finally I was able to break out of it’s hold, deep gashes welling with blood in the few places my armor did not cover. Tackion must have been frustrated by the situation because as soon as I was out of the tiger’s grasp his own claws came out and he began slashing at the beast. Between gulps of the potions I had in belt I begged Tackion not to kill it. Kromyar was also concerned when he saw what Tackion was doing and I heard him tell Tackion to not be stupid. Thankfully, with more patience than I have a right to ask for we were able to put the beast to sleep. We drug it off the path several feet and left it there with some meat laying near by. Emilian said that the tiger looked like it was suffering from grief and Miyaro wondered if it had lost it’s kami. Even after all the wounds it had given me I still felt sorry for the beast.

Later, while I shared Gin with Tackion again, I told him about Li Xu. He was very concerned for my well being, despite my assurances that I was fine, and would not rest from his worry until I promised to talk Miyaro, asking her about my encounter with the spirit. I spoke to Miyaro that night around the dinner fire, telling her and everyone else that wanted to listen the same thing I told Tackion. It seemed that Emilian had also encountered one of the spirits. He spoke of seeing a mighty warrior and feeling great anger but then it had passed. Miyaro said that the spirits would sometimes try to inhabit people whether for good or for ill. She was confident that Li Xu was a benevolent one and didn’t think I would face too many ill effects from having her voice in my head. Tackion expressed his worry that Li Xu could in some way be evil so Miyaro told him that if any of us were to get inhabited by an evil spirit the kami at the gate of their lands would be able to see it. She also said that there were ways to remove the spirits if we so choose.

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Post  TRU on Sat Jul 11, 2015 12:34 pm

16th of Desnus

Over the past couple of day both Kromyar and Tackion have encountered some of the spirits. Kromyar’s came in the form of a wrathful enchantress. We heard him yelling triumphantly at her when he had shaken off her beguilements. Tackion was visited by two spirits. The first was an old tiger huntsman filled with regret. He confronted Tackion while he was riding Gin behind me (as has been our habit since the giant’s ambush). The spirit imparted some of his regret on Tackion leaving him mournful for the rest of the day. Tackion admitted to me that he now has a greater respect for tigers. I found this to be interesting in the light of the last few days events. The second spirit was an angry woodsman. Thankfully we were able to shake him off.

Earlier today Miyaro informed me that we would be approaching the Kami gate at the end of the day. She explained that even though the Kami had sent her to bring our help that they might need convincing once we got to the gate. It seems they do not always make decisions of one accord. She suggested that I prepare myself to present a case before them, giving them a reason to accept us in. After some discussion of what might persuade them I had formed an idea of how to proceed.

Approaching Ameiko, I made my request. I explained what Miyaro had told me and added that I wished to use her as a verification of the case I was going to make. She seemed hesitant, which was unlike her. When I sought what was behind this hesitancy she told me that Kromyar had taken her aside and cautioned her about her involvement after our fight with the giants. His words had made her a bit reluctant. I understood Kromyar’s intent and I tried to enforce it as gently as I could. I reminded her that she must think of her own safety for soon she would be ruling over others and would have their safety to be concerned about. I requested that she would bleed less for the people and breathe more for the people. They are in great need of her life.

That eve, just as Miyaro had predicted, we came to a giant wooden Tori gate, unpainted and weathered by the years. As we made our offering of gold and platinum a warrior-like kami appeared. He announced that he was Zushen, the kami guardian of gates and doorways, enemy of all that is oni. It was to him that I presented my case saying that it was Ameiko’s birthright to take the throne in Minkai and to do so she needed to destroy the Five Storms. We had come to help her do so. I asked him if he could provide us information about these oni to aid us in our mission. I was able to win his favor and he let us through the gate.

Once inside we felt the weariness of the day of travel and prepared to make camp. Interrupting our preparations for the evening Miyaro suggests we stay awake for a while longer that we may meet the Kami. She tells us that the Kami are shy and skittish and that we must be calm and gentle with them when they appear.

The Kami began to appear, just as Miyaro had told us, coming silently through the trees, many accompanied by their wards. I spied Shukinshi, the old wizened guardian that blessed us as we entered the forest. Once the Kami had settled in they began to speak in a tongue that I did not understand. Miyaro passed their words on to us in common speech. It was the tale of the House of the Withered Blossoms, and the oni it had held for time out of mind known as the Five Storms. They told us of how some of these oni had managed to escape and how they had bent their wills on the ruling city of Minkai. In their thirst for power they allied with the usurper to the Jade Regency-the very one we had seen the vision of when we found the Amatatsu seal. They explain again how they cannot go into the prison to investigate until it has been cleared out and they personally ask us if we would be willing to help them. We agreed to it, of course. Taking out each one of the Five Storms is part of the reason we are here after all. Doing this for the Kami will also serve to further our purposes as well. Not to mention the fact that Suishen is quite elated to be this close letting the blood of his enemies once more. As elated as a disgruntled, entitled, ancient katana can be…

As the Kami receded back into the trees after the meeting one small figure approached me. He was a tiny warrior upon whose head appeared to be growing a tree. Wishing to not be an imposition he humbly asked me to accept a special quest from him. It seems his ward-a bonsai tree-was taken from him by the despicable hobgoblins that have been employed by the oni still in the prison. I assure him that we will find his ward for him and with gratefulness he departs.

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Post  TRU on Sat Aug 29, 2015 4:38 pm

17th of Desnus

Miyaro brought us to the House of the Withered Blossoms. A tall porcelain pagoda decorated with depictions of forgotten creatures intertwined with frosted blue violets sat at the heart of a icy, terraced divot in a very sickly part of the forest. It’s size was indeed impressive. I couldn’t help but wonder if we would have to fight through the whole thing, from bottom to top. Just how many forces had the remaining oni collected?

Our first fight was against a nest of Aranea. As soon a we walked into the web-hung room Emilian said that something felt eerily familiar. He had had a vision about this place, that a spider would attack Tackion in this place. What his vision had left out was that we would all be attacked, for there were six, not one, and they were not strictly spiders, but instead a spider-like creature called Aranea. We killed all but one who managed to escape, and moved on to bigger and more evil prey.

There was a hole in the floor of the aranea’s nest. It descended down into the dark. I was only able to see as far as the light Emilian cast on my jingasa allowed. The room we entered was separated in the middle by a high wall riddled with arrow slits and murder holes. There was a door at it’s center but it was barred and upon it’s wicked spikes were impaled two humans, most likely peasant folk from one of the outlying farms. It seemed like our enemies wished to intimidate us with such a grisly image. Soon they would learn our steel’s resolve, but only in time for it to usher them into death.

The hobgoblins that lay in wait on the opposite side of the wall tried picking us off with arrows and “hot pig oil” as Kromyar calls it, but they were sorely outmatched. Nerizza, in her sly ways, was able to breach the wall and open the door to let the rest of us in. As we took care of the hobgoblins Emilian managed to rescue the unfortunates who had been pinned to the door.

A long passage lead out of the room on the other side of the room, but the door at the end was locked, Nerizza informed us after she sneakily cleared the hall of traps. I volunteered to try and break it down while the others wait as it was certain hobgoblins were waiting in the walls to fill us with arrows as we tried to get through. Kromyar had a better idea. He instructed us to stay back as he threw his hammer down the hallway. The weapon flew with such force that it only took two throws to smash the door to pieces. The resounding clang echoed through the place like a clarion call. Our presence was sufficiently announced. Once the door was opened we rushed down the hall dodging arrows the whole way. We made short work of the goblin archers and went on our way.

While we were checking through a room that the hobgoblins had been using for a torture chamber Nerizza was visited by a spirit. It was a vengeful spirit that impressed upon her the passionate desire to kill an oni named Munusakura. This seemed to fit in with our plans exactly.

Next we came to a large cavern with a waterfall roaring down the wall in one corner. Kromyar could see that there was a crevasse up ahead that we would most likely have to cross. Once we got to the other side we were attacked by more hobgoblin archers. We were working to cut them down when they were joined by some giants and a grotesque pig faced man wielding an impressive axe and leading a huge boar. The battle was touch and go. Even Emilian waded into the fray. But we killed them to a man, and when the pig-man was killed Tackion saw a swine spirit leave his body. Apparently the pig-man had been possessed by it.

We continued to go down, more than 200 feet when we came to a balcony that hung over an underground lake. It was there we encountered a golem that we quickly dispersed, but not before he gave Tackion a bruise so bad that it wouldn’t go away. Just off the balcony was another corridor that opened up into a chamber where four hobgoblins awaited us. We had to cross a pit of noxious green slim to get to them. They threw daggers at us as we came across then attacked us with nunchaku when we got closer. We killed all but one who committed seppuku, yelling an oath to this Munusakura as she threw her body into the pit.

In the next room we were accosted by more hobgoblins. According to Emilian, these hobgoblins had some sort of a skin disease. We killed all three of them, with the oracle himself getting the last shot in. He was immediately seized with one of his “moments”, though he didn’t choose to share with us what it was that he saw.

Continuing on we fought an oni known as an ogre mage, and a couple more hobgoblins. The ogre mage spoke to us saying that we were not worthy of Munusakura and that we must die there. I saw that this oni had been trained somewhat as I had in the ways of the samurai. I tried to meet him head to head in battle but alas, Gin had sustained too many wounds and went down, needing immediate healing. Kromyar and his mighty hammer took the ogre mage out instead.

Feeling very depleted after so many encounters with the enemy we decided we all needed a rest. We tried to hole up in a room that we thought would be safe, only to be found by a patrol of 3 hobgoblins as they came through during Kromyar’s watch. One of the hobgoblins was able to escape. We assumed that it had gone off to find re-enforcements. Planning for another attack we set ourselves up in a sort of ambush. Sure enough, not two hours later who should come in but Munusakura and her minions, a couple of snake monsters and hobgoblins. The snake monsters were formidable as was the oni herself. Nerizza nearly got beaten to a pulp, caught between the snake monster’s spells and the angry hobgoblins. I wanted to take on Munusakura but everytime I tried I would get knocked down without so much as scratching her. Kromyar ended up facing her and hammering her down. Once the battle was over and I was conscious again Suishen revealed to me that the naginata Munusakura had been wielding was an ancestral weapon to the Imperial family Suginata. He also informs me with great pride that he has grown in power in the defeat of this oni. Though I wish Suishen to learn more humility I must agree that his gain in power will only benefit the fights we have in the future.

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Post  TRU on Sat Aug 29, 2015 5:08 pm

Desnus 18th

We spent several hours today searching what we thought was another extension of the oni prison, running into the odd monster or three and an embarrassing situation revolving around a certain healing spell. We figured out later that we had been trying to clear out an entrance to the Darkland. A place of some renown that exists deep under the earth. We also systematically searched the prison, finding the bonsai tree ward that belonged to that particular branch wearing kami. We also found a room that had held a portal at one time. It was most likely the source of the kami’s troubles being the place the oni could have escaped from.

When we emerged from the depths of the House of the Withered Blossoms we decided to comb through the upper stories, just to make sure we had done a thorough job. It was there that we found Akanoza, a fat man who believed that he held claim over the pagoda. He thanked us for killing the oni and his gratitude was so great that he would graciously allow us to leave the pagoda alive. Since he was not what we had been charged to take care of we took his “deal” and left him to the hands of the kami.

Upon seeing us the kitsune, Miyaro calls for the kami. The come in droves to the pagoda. One kami with the appearance of a warrior walks over the threshold, then turns and raises his fist in victory. They will be able to investigate freely now. We have been successful in our task indeed. As the kami began to enter the pagoda I saw a familiar face in the crowd. The kami with the branch sticking out of his head came running toward me. Happily I was able to unite him with his ward. Finally feeling like my job was complete I turned and headed back to the caravan with the others.

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Post  TRU on Sat Sep 12, 2015 1:31 am

Desnus 27th

A representative of the Kami met us on our path out of the Forest of Spirits. They pulled Miyaro aside to speak privately with her. She came back from the conversation bearing good news. The Kami have completed their investigation of the House of Withered Blossoms. They had gleaned much information. This is the tale they had to tell.

For eons many oni were imprisoned in the House. They lived in chaos, constantly fighting each other in order to get the upper hand. Then a certain oni was thrown into the prison. An oni by the name of Anamurion whose ambition and power brought order where there had been none before. He became the defacto leader to the imprisoned oni, driving them to find any means by which they might escape. Anamurion lusted for more that he could control and bend to his will and so he set his eye toward Minkai, desiring to make in his.

And they were successful! They found a way to break out of the House of Withered Blossoms and the careful watch of the Kami. But they were clever in their escape, and so in order to exact Anamurion’s plan unimpeded they left one of their own, the weakest one, behind so that the Kami would have no opportunity to chase them down. The oni descended on Minkai with the sole purpose of bringing Anamurions machinations to fruition. Not only did he desire to rule it, but he also wanted to make it into a grand empire of excess and horror. For years he obsessed over siring the perfect son to take over the Jade Regent. After many attempts and failures at providing some one with the right balance of power and charisma, as well as the full acceptance of the populace he was finally able to produce the perfect heir. It is this man who now sits on the throne. The rest of the story is known.

It is now clear that the rest of the Five Storms are ruling Minkai from behind the scenes. As oni they cannot overtly conquer. To do so would break the law they are forced to live by. So they must be clever, using humans mollified by empty promises and willing to do their bidding. We will have to be careful as we proceed. We will have to be more vigilant, for we are walking ourselves into the very den of evil. And yet, hopefully without help. Miyaro told us of a small camp of Ronin who have no love for the current regent. These swordsmen, though few in number, may be persuaded to help us in our quest. Especially if we are able to prove to them the legitimacy of Ameiko’s claim upon the throne. Perhaps through them more will follow...

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Post  TRU on Sat Sep 12, 2015 2:51 pm

Saranith 13th

On the 6th we have made it out of the forest and into the farmlands. The fields and paddies belonging to those peasants brave and desperate enough to try and move to a place that was far away from the law of the false ruler surrounded us. We found the ronin named Hirabashi Jiro . His encampment was small indeed. His second in command, a severe woman named Habesuta Hatsue , was very suspicious of our presence. Jiro was a little uneasy as well, even though he showed us the utmost propriety. We told him our story and asked for his aid. His response was to give us a riddle and a test. The riddle was not hard to solve though the ethical dilemma it posed sat heavy in my heart. It involved a samurai who was charged by his daimyo to test new blades by killing a peasant. The answered seemed easy, disobey the daimyo and keep the peasant alive, but the consequences of such actions would be heavy. Though I realized that the shame of killing an innocent bystander is much heavier than the shame of disobedience to the one you have sworn to serve. To break your word to save a life is to find honor in the midst of dishonor. A noble minded thing…

After we succeeded in pleasing Jiro with our answer to his riddle we were given the test. A group of ruthless bandits were terrorizing the locals and must be stopped. Their base of operations had ties to Jiro’s ancestors. He told us that an ancient treasure belonging to his family was hidden in a vault there. Only a true scion of the Imperial family would be able to retrieve it. It we were to bring this treasure to him as well as defeating the bandits, it would prove our worth. We accepted Hirabashi’s quest and made our way to the bandit fortress.

It took us a couple of days to get there. On the way we were accosted by a pair of gargantuan spiders. We made quick work of them but their poison took quite a toll on Nerizza and I. We reached the fortress without any other incident and much to Nerizza’s dismay, we arrived there in broad daylight. Still she was able to stealth her way around the perimeter and find us a back way in where we wouldn’t cause an alarm right away. Just as we were approaching this way in a guard house was spotted and with Nerizza’s wondrous skill coupled with one of Kromyar’s spells the guard was killed swiftly and silently. Cleaning out the bandits inside was relatively easy as we were able to catch them off guard. Along with the usual warrior types we fought a couple of shape shifters. A woman who turned into a tiger and the man that accompanied her who magically caused his skin to erupt into flame.

After we were assured that we had taken care of all the bandits we went back to a room of some significance that we had found before. It was a small chamber unassuming chamber, just off of some of the sleeping quarters, but inside it was a statue of great significance. It was in the shape of a lady samurai. It had been somewhat defaced but we could still read a could of the insriptions on it. One of the inscriptions bore a name “Hirabashi”, we could only assume it to be one of the ronin’s ancestors. The other inscription read “Empress of Heaven, touch me with your grace”, referencing the Lady Shizuru, in all her glory. Having found no other secret place of holding we could only hope that this was the entrance to Hirabashi’s great treasure. But how to open it we could not guess. We tried everything we could think of aside from bringing out the Amatatsu seal, nigh to the point of making fools of ourselves. Finally it became clear that if this was indeed the cache spoken of that the Amatatsu seal was the key we would need to get in. So we counted the cost and opened the box. The seal did what we needed it to do, for as soon as I touched the statue with it in my hands the floor began to open beneath us unveiling a trove hidden under the floor. Kromyar was able to spot a sword and helm that seemed to have been imbued with some magic in the pile. The katana was inscribed with the name Hirabashi Akikaza. Knowing that it was the one we were looking for we lifted it out of the trove and set it aside to take back to the ronin’s camp.

It was several minutes after the magical vault had been opened that I heard Kromyar calming but urgently trying to get my attention, asking me to put the seal back in the box. Horrified I looked down to see the Amatatsu seal still in my hand. As quickly as I could I put it back where it belonged. Ever since that moment however, I have been laden with guilt. My mind go back to the time when the seal was bestowed upon us and we were warned not to take it out of the box unnecessarily. For the oni are looking for that seal and every time we take it out it calls to them, drawing them nearer, telling them where it is and subsequently where we are. What untold horrors have I subjegated us to?

We made it back, only having one run in with a small group of grotesque monstresses who wanted to feed on our blood. They managed to send Gin running but I was able to retrieve him once the fight was done. Hirabashi was duly impressed that we were able to retrieve his family’s katana and announced before his men that they would aid us in our crusade to establish Ameiko as the true empress and vowed to dethrone the pretender. Now they are all packing up their camp in order to move into the bandit’s old fortress and as soon as they are settled they will join us in the march on Minkai.

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Post  TRU on Sun Oct 25, 2015 11:47 pm

Sarenith 29th

We’ve been attacked by a ninja. Thrice. There is reason to believe it was the same ninja each time. Because of the seal the oni know we are here. The Five Storms are on to us. These are only the first drops in a bloody rain.

The first ninja attack came when we were helping Hirabashi’s men pack for their move into the now vacant bandit fortress. Seeing as how the fortress had once belonged to his ancestors moving in was only fitting. Nerizza was called over to help with a broken wagon wheel since she has such excellent carpentry skills. She was subsequently attacked as soon as she saw the wagon had been sabotaged on purpose. Kromyar, intimidating in his greatness, flew in to assist our girl and was able to save her from death at the ninja’s hands. The rest of us came running but we could not catch him.

From there we escorted Hirabashi and his people on the two day journey back to the fortress. It was the least we could do in light of he and his men agreeing to help Ameiko in her cause. Though Hatsue, Hirabashi’s right hand may not have considered it very much help. That night we were attacked by things called Wood Spirits. They were a construct of sorts. After the fight was over Hatsue’s anger burned. She accused us of not being thorough when we came here the first time. I, believing these constructs to have been sent by the Five Storms, took the blame. The mistake I made, forgetting to put the seal back in the box after opening the treasure cache, still hangs over me like a cloud. Every enemy we’ve faced from that point I’ve believed were commanded by the Five Storms. However, Kromyar pointed out that these wooden constructs were most likely set up by the previous occupants, perhaps as some sort of protection. Why they were not triggered while we combed the fortress the first time, we do not know. Nerizza has her theories, though I am fairly unconvinced by them. Either way, it seems my earlier deductions were flawed.

The second ninja attack came upon the caravan while we were gone. We came back to find that both Shalilu and Koya had been killed by the ninja and one wagon had been burned and was now lost. We were able to bury the bodies but there was very little time to grieve as we must press on. I was able to leave a small offering at each of their graves as is the custom. Emilian and Nerizza were curious about it so I told them that it was something we do here to give honor to the dead. I hope it will help ease their grief. Nerizza vowed to come back and take Shalilu’s body back to Sandpoint where it belonged. Kromyar promised to help her do it as he will have nothing else to tie him here after we see Ameiko on the throne. My heart is heavy for both Emilian and Nerizza and they have both lost people who are very dear to them.

I know this feeling all too well.

The third ninja attack came in Sakakabe. We were given instructions from Hirabashi about who we should talk to next in order to garner the most support on our quest to kill the Jade Regent, false pretender that he is, and raise Ameiko to her rightful place on the throne. One of the people we must talk to who has the ear of many merchants and other people of influence is a geisha by the name of O-kohaku. She runs a tea house of some reputation in Sakakabe and so we pointed our wagons that direction in hopes to gather any support she could give.

Upon reaching town we began to do trade with all the goods we had recently accumulated. Emilian, Tackion and I would talk to people outside each shop, looking for any information about the geisha we would need to meet, while Kromyar and Nerizza would go inside and negotiate the deals. A few shops in and our conversation with passers-by was interrupted by a commotion inside the building. By the time I got inside the incident was over. Kromyar and Nerizza told us that they were again attacked by a ninja, most likely the same ninja who has been following us since Hirabashi’s camp. Chasing him through to the back of the shop Kromyar got a piece of him but, once again, the ninja managed to escape. On our way back through the shop we found the body of whom we assumed to be the previous owner. It’s the ninja had killed the shop owner in order to better catch us unawares. Such a death is tragic, and I can’t help but feel slightly responsible for it. That poor shop owner had nothing to do with our cause. He was simply an innocent bystander who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. But there was nothing I could have done to prevent his death...

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Post  TRU on Sat Dec 05, 2015 3:27 pm

Erastus 11th

The night of the 29th of Sarenith we heard a noise outside our door at the inn. I thought for sure that we were about the be attacked again but we checked it out there was nothing there.

The next day we went to the tea house, Kiniro Kyomai and met with the head geisha, O-kohaku. She opened up to us about the disappearance of one of her favored geisha, a brilliant woman named O-saumi. She promised that if we were able to find her she would do what she could to help us in our cause. It took us a few days, and a trip to the plane of Shadow, but we were able to successfully bring O-saumi back from her captor. Yugureda was crafty as he was intelligent, but thankfully with the note and clues that O-saumi had left behind in her inro we were able to navigate his maze of tricks. O-kohaku and some of the other geisha’s at Kiniro Kyomai were overjoyed, and O-kohaku has stayed true to her word, setting up meetings for Ameiko to meet many of the nobles, merchants, and people of great influence in the area. Starting tomorrow we will begin the first of a full week of such meetings.


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Post  TRU on Sat Dec 05, 2015 3:53 pm

Erastus 16th

Today we spoke to Sekutsu Itsuru, the brother and samurai of Sekutsu Senaka-evil governor of Enganoka. While fully admitting that his brother has wearied him with all the atrocities he has committed Itsuru made it clear that there was nothing he could do about it. His honor as a samurai was commendable. However, Itsuru did say that if something were to happen to his brother that he would inherit the position as governor, and in doing so he would commit to our cause, along with all the armies of the north. Then he proceeded to tell us many details about his brother’s upcoming trip to his hunting lodge, Shuryo Onsen, along with a map to the place and it’s surroundings. He also gave us the information of the ronin who would be willing to help us in any endeavours we may have involving the governor’s demise. To his credit, he never asked us to kill his brother. He didn’t have to. It was as if he already knew that one of our goals was to bring justice to Governor Sekutsu for the crimes he had committed during his time in power. Itsuru knew and he did what he could to help.

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Post  TRU on Sat Jan 02, 2016 5:06 pm

Erastus 28th

The only other significant thing to happen during the rest of our meetings at Kiniro Kyomai was the fourth and final attack from the ninja who had been pursuing us since Jiro’s village. We were speaking with a priestess of Shizuru when we all started to fight the urge to fall asleep. Our tea had been drugged. The priestess succumbed and when we turned around the ninja was on the wall. He tried to take us out as fast as he could but we evaded him. We cut him off so he had nowhere to run and in one swift stroke I severed his head from his body.

Tackion took the brunt of one of his poisons but gratefully Emilian was able to set things to right. Upon examining the ninja’s effects we found many items that pointed to his being a very powerful ninja indeed. He even had an amulet of tremendous value, though it could not be worn without suffering some danger to your psyche. I talked to Nerizza about the amulet, knowing that it’s benefit’s would boost her greatly, and trying to weigh the cost of using it if we so needed. But the danger was off putting enough that Nerizza felt little need to ever use the thing.

Ultimately the priestess of Shizuru was revived from her little touch with sleep poison and we were able to have successful dealing with her and those after her.

We left on the 18th to travel to Enganoka in hopes to meet with the heads of the ninja clans known as the Three Monkeys by the 30th when they will be at the Curio Yang market. Before we left however, near the end of our meetings in Sakakabe, Emilian pulled me aside and revealed to me of a vision he had had a short time ago. He explained to me that he has two kinds of visions. One kind are visions of doom, ones that he knows he must try to prevent or something terrible will befall. The other kind are good visions, visions that he knows must be fulfilled. This vision was one of the latter. In his vision Emilian had seen himself and I walking together in a graveyard. We were both combat ready, but instead of holding our own weapons we were holding eachother’s. I had his club in my hands and he held Suishen. Odd as it may seem, he told me that without a doubt this vision must come true.

On the way to Enganoka I tried to take stock of all our companions. Having to deal with all the political talks over the last week has kept my mind busy. I have thought and talked about Ameiko’s designs to become ruler far more than I ever thought possible. While it has all been necessary and good, I feel as though I am neglecting some of my duty to my companions, my friends. We are all pushing to the next thing, rushing around trying to secure allies as the time gets shorter and shorter before all hell breaks loose. And though we have had physical rest recently, I see that some of us are weary. In some ways the trip through Tian Xia has taken more of a toll than our time traveling through High Ice at midwinter….

As I took stock of everyone I couldn’t help noticing the difference in our giant dwarf. Kromyar is changing. Where once I would have worried that he would lose his temper during times where it was important to maintain diplomacy, I have found I do not have to anymore. He still does not take kindly to disrespect but he has shown great discernment of when to voice his opinions lately. And his manner concerning civilians, especially those under duress, has improved quite a bit. I had a chance to talk to him about his change on the trip to Enganoka. He told me that the note O-saumi had left when she was taken by the merchant-wizard Yugureda had impacted him greatly. It was as if unwittingly in leaving a riddle for us to find her she also wrote a prophetic riddle that applied to Kromyar’s life. He spoke of being “made”, that he no longer remembered, or even knew who he really was before, and that he had no idea what was in store for him in the future. But one thing he was sure of, that he had a purpose.

Upon arriving at Enganoka we went straight away to the Curio Yang market in order to get our bearings a see what it is we are to expect as we prepare to meet the Three Monkeys. Unexpectedly we were able to stop the murder of an innocent man at the hands of devious kuah oni posing as the police. Emilian had seen a vision of what could have happened and he warned us just in time to make our move and save a life. We overcame the oni without too much of an issue. Although I am ashamed to say that I befell one of their little tricks. I became charmed by their magic and Tackion had to remove me from the battlefield to ensure that I would not harm our companions. The weakness of my mind to such magics is one of my greatest failings. To be susceptible to something that is so easy for the oni to do is a severe oversight. I must find a way to remedy this before I bring anymore shame upon Ameiko.

After the scuffle Ameiko gave a brilliant speech, impressing all who heard and saw what we did. She certainly does well at creating a strong impression. All those meeting with dignitaries could only have help her in this area.



Erastus 30th

Today we met with the heads of the most honorable ninja clans in Minkai. The Black Lotus clan is led by a middle aged man who goes by the name Ishibasho. His clan loves to accumulate wealth and their loyalty to each other and to the job is well known. The Dragon Shadow clan is led by the young Hozokiah Kazu, the charismatic mouthpiece for the three clans. This clan is known to employ sorcerers, adding arcane prowess to their physical strength. It is said they are agents to Imperial dragons! The Emerald Branch clan has the only woman leader in Kondo Yori. They have no love for oppression of the weak enforced by the law and they uphold the rights of the people. It is rumored that this clan is comprised of ronin who left their lord after he tricked them into committing grave atrocities against peasants.

After some talk they gave us reasonable prices by which we could purchase either their neutrality or their help. They warned us of a fearsome assassin whom they had heard had been sent by the Jade Regent to kill us. They were duely impressed when we were able to show proof that we had alreadt taken care of this assassin. We were able to purchase all of the clan’s neutrality with the hope of purchasing their support at a later date. They promised to send an envoy to Hirabashi’s fortress in for any further business.


Arodus 13th

From Enganoka we traveled to Shuryo Onsen, the hunting lodge of Governor Sekutsu Senaka. Nerizza had some time to scout the place out so we could get some idea of what we would be getting into. A few days after that we met with the ronin the Governor’s brother Itsuru had told us about. The 9 Pawns. They inform us of the armies laying in wait on the road to Shuryo Onsen. The governor’s armies. The Pawns have a plan to keep the armies busy while we go into the lodge itself and take out the governor and his henchmen. Agreeing that this was a sensible plan we decided to attack that very night.

That was last night.

My companions and I gathered outside of the lodge preparing for the battle ahead. After casting his last spell of protection Tackion called out, “Do not be alarmed. What is about to happen is meant to happen.” He caught my eye to give me a reassuring look right before he transformed into a majestic blue DRAGON! I was astounded. How could such a thing happen? I knew he had dragon blood running in his veins but I never thought it was enough for such a transformation. I must remember to ask him about it later.

Nerizza entered first to take out the off-duty guards who were sleeping in their beds. Unfortunately she was only able to take one out before the others awoke and called for help. That was our signal to come to her aid. I forced all the questions I had about Tackion becoming a dragon out of my head and prepared for battle. Soon the whole lodge was awake and we found ourselves at a standoff with the governor’s men. Nerizza and I circled around to a decent sized window so that we could trap our enemies at their rear flank. It would have worked too, had I not succumbed to a charm spell once again. This time Suishen in his frustration at lack of my desire to kill the oni in the room took over. I don’t know much of what happened after that but I am told that I fought quite fiercely. We all did. I came back to my own faculties after the fight was over. Governor Senaka had been subdued and at Ameiko’s command, Kromayar killed him. Many suffered injuries but Emilian had been killed outright. After sending the victory signal to the Pawns we carefully put the oracle’s lifeless body on the back of Gin. Then we gathered our things and left.

When we met back up at the rendezvous point we found the 9 Pawns were down to 6. Even with their losses they did not begrudge the battle saying that what they did they did for the future of Minkai and pledged their swords to Ameiko.

This morning we were able to use the seal to bring Emilian back to life. The magical powers of the seal will now be inert for 30 days but it is all worth it to and Emilian back with us. If it wasn’t for the Amatatsu seal more than half of us would have gone to the afterlife long ago. It’s power is truly a treasure.

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Post  TRU on Sat Jan 16, 2016 5:49 pm

Lamashan 26th

On the 16th of Arodus we got back to Sakakabe in order to meet back up with the caravan and head North, back to Hirabashi’s fortress. The news of Governor Senaka’s death has hit the city like a shockwave. His brother, Itsuru, has indeed taken control, just as he told us he would. He has made it very public knowledge that he is no friend of the Jade Regent. I left him a note at the teahouse, Kiniro Kyonai, but neither Ameiko, nor I have heard from him as of yet.

We arrived at Hirabashi’s fortress on the 31st of Arodus. The travel was fairly uneventful for the caravan. There was a definite highlight for me on the trip, however. Tackion assumed the form of a blue dragon again and gave me a ride. The thrill was like none other!

While at Hirabashi’s fortress we discussed our next move. We paid the Emerald Branch ninja clan to help us in our battle against the Jade Regent. In account of what we had done to the former governor the ninja clan gave us a significant discount to their original price. We discussed where and when to move the troops that they may be ready to assault the Jade Regent’s troops. During this time of preparation we were told that Ameiko must acquire the blessings of the past emperor's if she is to take the throne.

On the 3rd of Rova we received a message for Ameiko. It had been smuggled out of Kasai and said to be from Asachi Isao, a sympathizer to Ameiko’s cause. He claimed to have known her grandfather and to also have control of much of the Amatatsu assets. He offered us room at his mansion in Kasai as a base of operations. He offers the assets he has managed to liquidate, as well as knowledge of what we need to do to prepare Ameiko for the throne. And so, on the 4th of Rova we left for Kasai, caravan and all. We had some trouble on the road with a certain group of Typhoon guard patrolling the road. They cleared the caravan for travel with the exception of Ameiko and myself. Apparently all women were to be taken as special guests of the Jade Regent. I felt uneasy about this and tried to argue with the head guard that we were to stay with the caravan but he would not listen to reason. We had to kill them. Asachi told us later when we arrived at his place that the Jade Regent, when he heard that his throne was threatened by a female, started taking women captive. Even his daughter was taken.

Upon arriving at Kasai we were subjected to another search. Since the city was in lockdown the Typhoon guard was being extra careful. We prepared by having Nerizza take the Amatatsu seal and hide (not the first time she has had to do this). Ameiko and I disguised ourselves as men in order to elude the guard’s detection. That, however, did not work, as the guards were able to see through Ameiko’s disguise and try to take her. This is when things went a bit awry. Kromyar looked straight at the guard who was trying to haul Ameiko off and him point blank, “You’re gonna wish you chose discretion.” Then he hit the man with his massive hammer, nearly killing him. Once we had defeated all of the gate’s guards mass chaos ensued. Our caravan was nearly carried into the city by the wave of people behind us who were rushing in. It seemed that many of them wanted to get a free pass into the city while they still could. The mob was helpful in the long run, allowing us to get lost in a sea of people. We made our way through, cautiously, hoping to avoid any more incidents before reaching Asachi’s manor.

The trip through the city was as quiet as one of our reputation could hope for. It is hard to stay lost in a crowd for long when most of your group is foreign, and one of them happens to be an eight-foot tall dwarf. We could not shake the feeling that we were being watched. Kromyar was able to deal with a couple of insignificant meddlers who were thinking of reporting us to the city watch for what we had done at the gate. With the help of Suishen I was able to note that there were troops of the Typhoon guard patrolling the city in flight. Thankfully none of them came after us specifically.

Once we made it to Asachi’s manor, we felt much safer. The venerable man welcomed Ameiko with open arms, filling her in on all he needed to. This gave the rest of us some hours of respite. It was early evening when Ameiko emerged from her talks with Asachi to inform us of her intention to liberate grain from the Jade Regent in order to give it to the starving poor. It seems that not only did he have the city on lockdown but he had also taken all grain away from the lower class people, giving only the rich access to the granaries. Ameiko would not settle until she saw justice for the poor and she believed that we were the people to do it. So with what little time we had before curfew we went out to scout our targets.


Lamashan 28th

We had to fight four magical constructs, made to look like tigers, at the largest granary, but after doing so we liberated two caravan loads of grain. Asachi assured us that he had contacts capable of getting it into the right hands.

That was yesterday. This morning we set out for the Imperial Island, to seek the blessing of the former emperors. Asachi set us up with a fisherman friend of his who gave us a ride out to the isle when the fishermen set sail that morning. He promises to check for us again when he goes back at the end of the work day. I am beginning to think, however, that we will not be there at that time to meet him…

The first thing we came across on the island was a shrine. It was mostly empty excepting one lone keeper who went by the name of Kiyomoi. She asked if we wanted a guide but we gently refused. I asked in turn why we would need a guide, and she returned that we looked like we could handle any dangers that came our way. She informed us that some of the spirits had become quite malevolent and duplicitous as of late, especially with something stirring them up. We took her words of caution to heart and continued on, not giving her existence here on an uninhabited island a second thought. So later, when we encountered a group of vicious shadowy figures in the graveyard it came to our great surprise to find this same Kiyomoi with a vastly elongated neck and bearing fangs at us at our rear flank. We took a lot of damage in that fight, Kromyar and I both needing the healing powers of the seal in order to restore our bodies from the shadow’s damage. Emilian, who was trying to pull Ameiko out of danger was the first one to encounter the monster visage of Kiyomoi. He managed to hold her of until we were able to defeat the shadow-like figures and come to his aid. We were able to dispatch her as well, but not before she put me under another of those mind altering spells. I only did minimal damage to myself this time, and not to any of my companions, especially Tackion. I have wounded him while under the influence of a spell more times that I would like to count.

But I feel I must pause in my recollection of events for a moment in order to point something out. In my entry on the 28th of Erastus I made mention of a vision Emilian had told me about. It had involved he and I walking through a graveyard holding eachother’s weapons. Emilian had insisted that this vision was one that we allow to come true. So upon leaving the walls of the shine and seeing what was before us on this island Emilian and I did indeed trade weapons. I wondered what danger we would face that would require such a switch but I trusted the oracle’s vision and proceeded. When we encountered the shadow beings I found his simple cane to be insufficient for the task. As if reading my thoughts, before he retreated with Ameiko for her safety, Emilian threw my sword toward me. Once the fight was over I asked Emilian if I may have his cane back. He waved me off, saying I was fine and should keep the sword. This puzzled me, and I voiced my confusion. Why did the switch of weaponry seem so arbitrary when it was so important in the vision? What was the purpose in it? Emilian got a strange look in his eye and began to explain. He told me that he thought I would hurt myself less if I had his cane. Continuing on he told me that the vision had actually been one where I had committed seppuku, and no one had been able to save me in time. He had thought that if he changed the vision to something else when he relayed it to me that I would be less apt to follow some sort of honor-bond need to do the unthinkable.

I called him a liar.

I was rash and Kromyar rightly reprimanded me.

And so, because of my petty anger, when but a few yards further I encountered the overwhelming grief and hopelessness I still had Suishen in my hands. Feeling it was the only right thing to do I took Suishen in my hands and began to try and cut through the armor protecting my abdomen. I am too ashamed to try and give anymore details. Let us leave it by saying that, thankfully, they were successful in tying me up before I could do any further damage to myself.

After that we fought two different kinds of humanoid shaped, constructed monstrosities. One was made up of grave stones and the other was some type of furnace. We presumed later that the furnace was what they had used to cremate the bodies of the past emperors. Kromyar did most of the work dispatching both of these monsters, saving Nerizza from burning in the furnace belly of the second. After dispatching the former, a monstrosity that bowled us all over but the dwarf, Emilian informed us that he had reached the end of some of his most useful capabilities. After making sure it was okay with the others I suggested we keep moving. We wanted to be back at the dock by evening if at all possible.

It was at this point that Tackion came to be in some distress. He said that something on his shoulders was bothering him. Not remembering him getting hit there in any of the recent fights I went around to check it out. I started to pull back his robes, embarrassed to be doing such an inappropriate thing, when something blue flew up and unfurled in my face. Tackion, dragon-kin, had grown wings! Beautiful blue dragon wings! It was mesmerizing…

We had left the gravestone portion of the graveyard when we fought the furnace and were entering into the sections with more small shrines for the wealthier dead. In one such shine we found an earn marked with the name Amatatsu Onoko. This was one of Ameiko’s more honorable descendants. We tried to invoke her blessing but to no avail. Finally we cross the bridge on our way to the great mausoleum. Something about this part of the island seems familiar to me. Looking around more closely I remember that the well standing on the other side of the bridge was part of the visions we had all received upon acquiring the Amatatsu seal. In the vision it was the spot that Emperor Shigure, the previous emperor of Minkai, had been murdered. We searched for a place to speak with his spirit around the well but came up with nothing.

Finally we entered the mausoleum. There we finally found the spirit of Emperor Shigure Higashiyama. He was quite agitated, feeling deeply about the injustice that was done to him. Before he will grant Ameiko his blessing we must first find his body that was lost in the Well of Demons. Then we cremate his body and place it in the proper burial urn. We must also secure the blessing of the five other imperial families. He tells us that some of these may need to be sought, or bargained for while we are in the Well of Demons. He directs us to where we will find this well and we go forth, before we incur his wrath.

The Lake of Tears that is beside this Well of Demons is only a short distance north of the mausoleum. Upon reaching the well I find the urge to throw myself into it’s gaping mouth irresistible. The casting of air walk on myself and Gin are the only things that keep us from dashing ourselves on the rocks below, as the spells control our falls. Emilian and Nerizza were both overcome by the same urge, only to be saved by flying spells of their own. Ameiko was not so lucky. She had been riding behind me on the back of Gin when we entered the well, allowing the spell cast on my mighty steed carry her to the bottom. That was until the urge hit. Ameiko threw herself off the horse’s back with such speed that she was falling before I noticed that she was gone. As she careened toward the bottom Tackion, who had not been effected by the urge along with Kromyar, saw and saved her. Kromyar cast a flying spell of his own on her so as to allow for her safe landing.

The first cavern that we searched was guarded by six dark winged women. They held in their hands bows that were made of fire with which they used to shoot at us. Not but a few seconds into the fight with them I became overcome with irrational fear and bolted from the cavern. When Tackion came to find me later he encouraged me by saying that my fear had been magically induced. We talked a bit about the wonder of his new wings but were interrupted when we heard a scream. Rushing back to the others we found that Emilian had been attacked by an assassin. Kromyar caught the worst of the assassin’s poison. Once the assailant was taken care of I had a chance to use the box and bring our dwarf back for the doorway of death.

In the next cavern over we found a richly decorated woman being guarded by two of those dark winged ones. She claims to be Amatatsu Maemi and she approves when she see’s what Ameiko is about. Her only request is that we pull her out of the well in order that she may rule with Ameiko. Then she will give her blessing.

Ameiko refused, saying that she will not share the throne with one who was well known to oppress the poor and lowly! We stand behind her readying ourselves in battle stance.

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