Onmyodo Islands

Yamato, Part One

The air was thick with fire, and it sat heavily in Kai’s lungs. It wasn’t smoke—not yet, anyway—but rather the kind of oppressive heat that could turn a corridor into a cookpot. Considering they’d been in battle for less than a minute and his brow already beaded with sweat, it appeared they were well on their way.

Longtuck’s ice barriers stood between them and their ambushers: nasty things, jagged as Adaro teeth. There was little the keen edge of his scimitar couldn’t cleave, and he doubted even that would leave a mark on them without some serious effort.

Of course, when it came to breaking down ice, fire held a distinct advantage over steel.

“How are they doing this?” he yelled over the roar of flying flames. “I don’t detect any magic!”

Longtuck grunted and re-shaped some of his ice barrier that was starting to melt. “Not magic,” he said, batting aside a firebolt with a long tendril of water. “These are firebenders.”

Kai looked at the red-vested enemies arrayed against them. Sure enough, they were punching and kicking at the air, their every motion punctuated with angry bursts of flame. It was similar to the techniques he’d seen Longtuck use a hundred times, but not the same. Where the old monk’s motions were fluid as his patron element, these gangsters’ moves were showy, acrobatic, and explosive.

Also, there was fire. That was a key difference, too.

The room Saito and Suni occupied burst open. Kai’s eyes darted to identify who was emerging. The girl, Maho, hadn’t seemed as if she were physically capable of overwhelming Saito, and she certainly didn’t have the kind of spellcraft that would let her stand against Suni. But he didn’t let himself truly relax until he saw Saito’s armored form join the fray, flaming sword in hand.

“It started out with a kiss,” the drifter said. “How did it end up like this?”

Suni appeared next to him so suddenly she seemed to have sprouted from the floor. “Because you’re bad luck.”

“Me?” said Saito. “You literally create misfortune!”

Suni gestured. The smell of ozone spread through the air. A moment later, a bolt of electricity lanced from the Samsaran’s outstretched fingertips and took a Zii Tong man straight through his heart. He fell to the floor, twitching as smoke curled from his body.

“I also create lightning,” Suni said brightly.

One of the Tongs vaulted over the ice wall. It was a clumsy jump, and he landed on the other side with blood streaming down his forearm. But nonetheless, he’d gotten past their defenses and started to slide into what Kai was quickly recognizing as a firebending stance.

Saito brandished his sword and rushed to meet him. “Less bantering, more chantering!”

“That isn’t a word,” Kai said.

“Shut up!”

With his companions arrayed around him, he shifted himself to their center. They’d been traveling together for a while now, leaving a trail of blood and cucumbers in their wake. But even though he still wasn’t totally sure he trusted these people, he couldn’t deny that they’d developed a strong team dynamic. Longtuck worked best at a distance, Suni destabilized their foes with her spellwork, and Saito did a lot of hitting before his foes got snatched out from under him by Longtuck.

And then of course, he had his own part to play.

He bowed his head. Instinct told him it was dangerous to do so in the middle of a battle, but his faith told him to do it anyway. He closed his eyes, began chanting, and felt positive energy spark to life inside of him—his own kind of fire.

“Yu mo gui gwai fai di zao,” he muttered. “Yu mo gui gwai fai di zao.”

A white aura burst from him, swallowing his companions whole. His eyes were closed, but he knew what he was missing: cuts were sealing themselves shut, burns were shrinking away, and his allies were standing up a bit straighter as they all caught a second wind.

Instinct urged him again to open his eyes. This time, he listened—

—just in time to see Dagato the Phoenix hurtle into the fray, throwing a firebolt straight for him. But this one was different; this, his senses told him, was proper spellcraft.

His reflexes had improved of late; he’d begun to train himself in combat techniques he’d observed in some of the enemies they’d come across on their quest, and Saito had become his occasional sparring partner. But even with that on his side, he only managed a partial dodge. His entire right side side erupted with agony, and his scimitar clattered to the floor.

He fought for control of his mind. Control would let him heal this. Let him make the pain go away. If he lost his cool for even a second, it would be the death of him. And without him, he didn’t know how long the others would last. They were a formidable bunch, but they’d escaped almost every encounter by a razor’s margin.

Saito leveled his katana Dagato’s way. When he spoke, it was with that strange affectation of his, the one he’d used to infiltrate the Triad. “Oh, it’s time for you and me to dance, little bird,” he drawled, before thundering off at the gang leader.

In a spare moment between beats of pain, Kai had to admire the man’s commitment. His alter ego, Muto Kenji, had been exactly the sort of steely-eyed braggart that Saito wasn’t. During their meeting with the Triad and Yura the Spider, the drifter had assumed the part so fully that at times Kai had found himself forgetting that that wasn’t how Saito was all the time. Even through the haze of his burn wounds, Kai noted the strangeness of that. It seemed out of step with Saito’s other talents. Someday, he’d have to ask the man about it.

He flooded his burns with more positive energy, and the pain ebbed as if he’d put a balm on it. It gave him enough lucidity to properly take stock of everything that had happened. It wasn’t a hard inventory to take; his companions stood, while sword, sorcery, and ice shard had put paid to every Zii Tong.

Every one, that was, except for Dagato the Phoenix.

Saito had a swordpoint at his throat, but while the man’s posture said surrender his eyes spoke only of defiance.

“You want to kill me?” Dagato said with a sneer. “Do it. They don’t call me the phoenix for nothing.”

“Friend, you don’t look terribly avian to me,” Saito-as-Kenji said. “And I sincerely doubt your ability to shrug off the immolation I have in store for you in the event of your insufficient cooperation.”

Dagato smirked. “You might think you can scare me,” he said. “But I see you all for what you are. You’re a bunch of losers who’ve gotten this far on dumb luck. At least, that’s what I see, and my sight’s pretty—”

Suni struck him across the face with a bolt of purple energy.

“Ahhh! My eyes!”

“That’s a blindness curse,” Suni said. She spoke with the same kind of pride that a cat might exhibit when dropping a dead rat at its owner’s feet. “And it’ll never go away—”

“—Unless you tell us what we need to know,” Kai interjected, sensing opportunity.

Suni looked at him as if he were stupid. “No,” she said, “it doesn’t wear off—”

“Yes, it does,” Kai said loudly.

At long last, Suni seemed to understand. She gave a big, theatrical nod…and then wagged her tongue at Dagato, mere inches from eyes that could no longer see it.

“It’s your choice,” said Longtuck, folding his arms over his chest. “You may tell us what the Zii Tongs are planning, or you may live the rest of your life with our friend’s face as the last thing you ever saw.”

When it was put into those terms, even Dagato seemed to think it was an easy choice.

“What’s so bad about him seeing my face?” Saito said later as they frog-marched Dagato to the law enforcement deck.

Longtuck smirked.

“Hey, don’t pull that strong-but-silent-old-man thing with me. What’s wrong with my face?”

“Nothing,” Longtuck said, still smirking. “Nothing at all.”

Off to the side, Kai and Suni exchanged glances, then indulged in smirks of their own.

But Kai’s quickly faded when he considered the scope of what Dagato and Maho had told them. If they were to be believed—and Saito insisted they were—then the Zii Tongs were set to stage a takeover of the Yamato.

In a few moments, his thoughts roamed all over the decks they’d seen, visiting memories of all the people they’d met. Young Wang Fire, keeping his potion shop open for his father. Tsuten, hoping to prove his worth to Kanna by crafting the perfect weapon. Asaba and Arima, following their wish to make an honest living in defiance of their people. All of them were strivers and dreamers, drawn to the Yamato by opportunities the rest of the world would never offer them.

And unless something was done, they and everyone else aboard would become flies in Yura’s web, or kindling for Genenji’s inferno—he wasn’t sure yet which.

It figures, he thought. The Yamato was a true wonder of the world, a living testament to harmony and free trade. He’d heard stories of it since he was a boy on Genbu. Of course he’d finally have his chance to hobble aboard right when it was about to plunge into crisis.

But then, he thought, his return home had also heralded crisis. And from the sounds of things, they were about to hit Byakku when there was trouble brewing. And who knew what else lay ahead on Seiryu or Suzaku, let alone on the remaining two decks of this ship?

He cast a glance around at his three companions. And for the first time, he wondered: did they find trouble? Or did they bring it?

The Veil is Lifted
Bruce's Demise

On the 6th day of the Rat, the party found themselves exploring the Adarro fortress, the Razor Kingdom. After tricking their way into the deeper parts of the stronghold, the team rescued an Undine named Rhadid, who happened to know a little bit about Shigure. With such an important clue to Bao Longtuck’s past, everyone was now eager to get off this island. Thus the adventurers rushed to route their way to the deepest part of this dungeon-like kingdom of shark people.

“Hey guys,” Kai’s voice echoed through the ancient magi-mechanized loudspeaker of the submarine he and Suni were opperating. “I’m sorry, but I seem to be struck with a momentary case of amnesia… What the hell did we just do?”

“Aw yew kiddin’ me?” Saito replied, his strange accent slaughtering the phrase. It mattered little, however, since no one could hear him underwater. He swam to the giant metal door in front of them as Suni retold the events of the last couple days to their dumbfounded friend, who seemed to sincerely have no recollection.

Suddenly, the door was flung open and the party was cofronted by a collosol Adarro and a magical creature known as a Lightning Elemental; three smaller Adarro at their forefront. If the group had lived at the beginning of the 21st century of the Roman Calander on Earth, they might have described the giant shark warrior as resembling Bruce from the acclaimed animated feature “Finding Nemo”, but that’s neither here nor there.

Davanah and Silver rushed into the fray, past the smaller brutes and straight for the large, subposed leader.

Saito took aim at the Adarro in the far-right of the room and swam toward his target as Kai grabbed the controls to the sub and set his sights on the center shark-man. Before they could land their attacks, however, the giant elemental in the corner began to pulsate. With a piercing crack, electricity filled the underwater room, shooting through the group’s veins and dealing considerable damage to the sub. This didn’t stop them, though, as they managed to strike their targets with full force. Gaul the Whalehunter (aka Bruce) drove his massive Blade through the water, but Devana was able to manuever around the attack and slice into the giant’s side; his Great Sword slipping in between two of the sharkman’s ribs and splitting open some internal organs.

Silver took advantage of this moment of weakness to rip a piece of flesh off of the whalehunter’s stomach. At the side of the room, Saito was cutting into a victim of his own as the submarine made contact with its target as well. With a ball of condensed water, Bao Longtuck sent the center Adarro to its watery grave.

Out of nowhere, the third, forgotten Adarro rushed into the center of the party and delivered a full-force blow to the sub, cracking the glass and effectively destroying it. As water rushed into the sinking vessel, Suni spat a magical incantation and stunned the dangerous elemental in the corner. The glass broke and the occupants were now in over their heads; seconds away from drowning.

A powerful wave of warm, positive energy rushed out of Kai and filled the room; magically stitching the party’s wounds back together. Devana blocked another attack with his mighty Great Sword, swung it over his head from his defensive stance, and brought the massive blade down into Gaul’s shoulder, tearing through to the spinal cord. The bloodshed continued as Saito managed to behead the Adarro he was fighting. In a moment of post-kill inspiration, he turned his attention to the lever in the corner and hastilly swam to activate the water-lowering mechanism. Bao condensed some powerful water orbs and tore the stunned elemental apart with a series of blasts. Suni finished the fight with one of her spells directed at the remaining Adarro. Kai tended to everyone’s wounds as the group was granted a moment of respite.

“You guys are lucky I’m here,” he said, positive energy pouring out of him like light from the sun.

“Aw yew jokin’? Dijoo SEE ow many things I kill’t?” Saito retorted, desperately making his importance known. “And whaddabowt that levah? Yew think it pull’t itself?”

The party moved through an empty room with levers in the corners, and approached a pair of steel doors at the end of a short hallway. Suni and Saito opened the doors with no problem, but were greeted with a tidal wave of rushing water which knocked everyone off their feet. Bao and Saito managed to grab onto the walls, but the remaining members are pushed to the far wall at the opposite end of the room. Saito released his grip on the wall and let the current take him arround the corner and straight towards a lever. When he pulls it, grates open up and the water drains out the bottom of the room.

Finally able to perceive the contents of the room they’ve just opened, Bao takes note of an Octopus-human hybrid and an Adarro mage and begins pummeling the pair with condensed water blasts. Kai lets out a wave of healing energy as he, Devanah, and Suni rush to join the battle. Before any of them can be of any use, though, a ball of fire appears out of thin air and begins wreaking havoc on the adventurers. Xaga, the red squid-like witch, attacks with bolts of lightning and super heated water as more and more orbs of fire appear and forcefully push through the party. But after a few moments of intense battle, the two sea-born enemies fall, and the group reaps their spoils of war. Other than a few pieces of impressive equipment, they also find a diamond that produces hurricanes and storms. With this magical relic in their possession, the team will finally be able to get off this island. They discover a vent at the back of the room, which leads to the ocean floor just off the coast of the island. When they swim to shore, they recognize this beach as the one they woke up on so many days ago.

The group visits Nippon village for the last time and says farewell to all the friends they’ve made. Having been granted some new equipment and strengthened by their experiences, the adventurers head to what will be their new home for the next couple moons: the massive city-ship, The Yamado.

Entering the Razor Kingdom
Excerpt from Longtuck's Journal

3rd Day of the Rat

After speaking with the turtle spirit, we knew we had to find a way off this island, but first we all had a few quests to attend to. We looted the Genbu Temple and left to meet up with Toco Green Water, Obudibu’s son. There he gave us a decanter of endless water, an item that will prove most helpful on the next island Byakku.

4th Day of the Rat

With Kohru the Swan in tow, we returned to Nippon village to deliver him to Maisanda’s Ronin. I am happy with the progress of the Ronin and hope its presence will continue to grow throughout the Genbu Islands. There is one more task I must complete before I am officially a member of their group. We must find a priest named Ryoshi. He’s not far from the (soon to be Maisanda’s) temple we cleared out.
We gained a hefty bounty and sold some of the unnecessary loot we found at the Genbu temple. I know that Sunni stopped off at the Dragon League, but I do not know her business. My only hope is that one day, with the two of us on each side, we might foster the relationship between the Dragon League and Maisanda’s Ronin.
The party ended the day with a drink at the local tavern. I can’t imagine ever drinking their ale. We met a wayang named Tsubasa. He was a strange fellow who asked for a ride off of this island. My only hope is that we could all find a way off this island. I must continue my search for Shigure so we can fulfill our dream of traveling and mastering our bending skills.
Tonight we rest at Than’s place. I am happy to see he is getting along with the local lady. I hope he is happy and at peace. He will be forever in our debt.

5th Day of the Rat

We made our way to the coast and found the priest we were looking for. Ryoshi was meditating under this large tree covered in charms and magic. He told us he had to spend all day meditating in order to keep this evil spirit at bay and held in the tree. Knowing our party’s strength, I knew that we should dispel of this creature so that we may free this man of his noble, but harrowing duties.
We fought the creature, a mighty pairaka, with great valor. Our companion Devana finished this creature with a mighty blow! It is great to have such strength on our side.
Today was the first time I was able to use my healing powers to great success. I was able to aid Saito before he became greatly ill. I am happy to be able to help my companions.

6th Day of the Rat

We finally arrived at the Razor Kingdom – the adaro stronghold on the island that we believe will give us the answers for how to get off this island. Vaifum met us there with his mechanical underwater contraption. It was useful in this situation. We had to travel underwater, which for me is the most ideal situation. I felt right at home in the water, though uneasy at the trials ahead. With Sunni and Kai in the ship, Saito’s potion of water breath, Devana’s bottle of air, Silver’s crocodile ways and my ability to bend water away from my face, we descended into the depths of the cave.
In the first large room we entered, we encountered two large adaro and a tojanida named Spock (but not really, because I could not remember his name). With my quick wit I was able to outsmart this tojanida and trick him into escorting us to the next part of the fortress. The next room we were not so lucky. With our great strength and our diligence we defeated three sharks and two adaro! I can feel our party growing stronger every day.
In this room we discovered multiple levers. With these levers we could drain the water from the rooms. This did not bode well for our ship, but perhaps we will get to an area of the fortress where this ship will be unnecessary. We do use the levers to our advantage to propel the ship into the next room.
We discovered more clues to this island’s mystery in this room. There was a shrine, but none of us could identify it. Perhaps it is of a spirituality that I am not familiar with. We also found a book about Dagon, Demon Prince of the Sea. I am looking forward to discovering more about this strange man named Dagon. All was fine until we were attacked by a large Shoggti Qlippoth! He was no match for our party.
We decided to keep exploring. We entered into a room full of cages with different dead corpses. We were lucky to find one survivor, a man named Rhadid. He was the first mate from the ship the Yamato. He said many of his crew were captured and either killed or sold as slaves. He told me he has seen Shigure! My first major clue. Shigure was taken away by Yura, the woman who hired the undine to recover the jade shell. I am worried he is going to be sold into slavery. I can’t let this happen! We must continue on…

In which we fight a lot of monsters...

After we woke from our rest, we saw stairs leading down and decided we should explore the remainer of the temple. After much debate as to who would go first, Kai entered the room and enconters an etheral rotting ooze. It takes a moment, but we realize that the cerature has a negative energy field and that curring it would actually do more damage that inflicting wounds upon it. Kai healls everyone in the room and kills the monsterous ooze.

The following room is a Lo Shen temple, that appears to have been used as a bedroom. We find a smal statue guarding a fountain. It bows to me since I am wearing a Loshen figure. In this room we find the following letter

To Kyoya,
Now that it hass been successfully extracted from the Yin, I wish or you to take the Yang Genbu Spirit and that snake charm you had recovered in Aido and bring them to byakku. I need your expertise on removing the Byakku sYang spirit, the situation with the Nagaji tribes is proving to be more volatile that we had initially expected. I should not have entrusted such a delicate task to Naga who can only conceptualize power in such a narrow way. Once the demon in Jade has risen we shall see that all the snakes on Byakku are driven into the sea! -Yura

At this moment, we did not realie that our mission on these isles was going to grow into a journey to reuinte the Yin and Yang spirits that reside in the islands, and restore peace.

In the next room, we find a small obsidian turtle and a painting for a woman commanding waves like Loshen. The painting is signed by Dakang, a famous painter in the Hung Lao empire.

In the following room we finally encounter Korru the Swan, along with 4 tengu. The battle is incredibly well faught by both sides, and continues for many many minutes. At one point Chokobo get stuck in the door, but as a kindness to Kai, i won’t dwell on that moment….eventually we defeat our enemies and knock Korru unconcious. Kai decides to tie her to the Ax Beak and carry her with us in order to recieve the 3000 gold piece reward for her capture. We find the scroll of the Ishikawa family ( a noble family on Aido), and decide to rest in the fountain room and heal our wounds. In the morning we see a large red door and hear snoring from within. The door is near impossible to open. After spending minutes attempting a number of spells and rituals, we notice a yin and yang symbol on the door. We send Kai and Saito into eperate temples and they pray with insense. This opens the door. We send Mogu inside the room, and immediately he is showered in acid rain. We look up to see a large three headed chimera with the head of a Lion, dragon and goat. An epic battle ensues. The Chokobo is a wounded pile of blood and feathers, Saito gets chomped to bits and collapses. Longtuck gets ripped up as well, and I finally manage to sleep the beast. We heal up quickly and attack. Saito strikes it with a judgement and it explodes in flames. The collar around it’s neck says Higen nd Morary. We remember the Higen is the name of another person that had been hunting the sleepwalker. On the desk of the room after the chimera is a letter from Xaga to Master Higen. We also find a bottle of air, and a spidershaped barret. The letter reads as follows:

To Master Higen-
The Adaro have sunk every ship that has come anywhere near the island and we’ve plundered each of them for a great haul. I’ve been selling some of the wreck’s survivors to Vudran traders stationed on the Yamato. The great mushroom gang has proven to be excellent partners in the slave trade, the’ve been at it here for generations. When you hvae completed your business at the temple, come see me in the Razor Kingdom. I’ve provided a bottle of air. Use it to visit the cave near the reservoir. One of my men will help bring you down and avoid some of the …other dangers that lurk in the cave. I know that you aren’t one of the Sakura fanatics like Yura and her brood and that, like me, seek power. The Adaro believe that I am the son of Dagon, the fools! Under my leadership no sea in the world is safe but I’ll need a partner on land. Think on this offer my friend. The Razor Kingdom is ever expanding! -Xaga the Red.

Inside the next room we encounter 2 humanoid figured in twisted black armour. We also see a man with a firey scrimtar who we believe to be the magus Master Higen. As well as a Voodran woman with a septer and bright white hair. Our dear friend Mogu gets hurt very badly. All of a sudden the moan transforms into an enormous sanke creature. Her name is Ra’shma All of a sudden I am completely fascinated by the creature. Eventually, Saito kills Higen, and my darling Pura kills the snake beast, freeing me from her spell. The remaining humans vanish in fear. We receive a number of items, including a spell book, which I look forward to delving into at our next rest.

We notice a great tapestry on the wall. We sense that a neutral spirit is trapped in the tapestry. We pray and prepare the space. A great good presense seems to reach out at us from the tapestry. We douse it in holy LoShen water and a wash of light pours out. It is a great turtle spirit. He tells us that each island has a spirit , and that in order to restore peace e musst unite the islands yin and yang spirits. He also tells us that he feels that one of the islands is already dead. As we leave, he gives us a spirit’s blessing.

We learn that Higen has a twin, and a woman with a spider barett, but for the life of me I cannot remember how we figured that out….
Suni's Death
Tiger Fortress

As the oni’s blade sawed through her spine and burrowed into her guts, Sunni couldn’t help but think that this could’ve gone better.

The sword that had killed her was as big as a man, and its wielder strong as ten. She wouldn’t be long in dying. She would know; as a Samsaran, she had a bit more insight into the process than most. She had seconds to live at best, and she’d be spending them here, bleeding out on a temple floor while the fight—and with it, the world—raged on without her.

And she’d done so much. Come so far. Just the day before, she’d helped free a friend’s son from chains and bathed his captors in lightning. Those mushroom folk and their slaving operation had been one of the last traces of corruption on Genbu, and one of her final acts had been to destroy it.

Not half-bad for someone who was half-mad.

From the edges of her fading sight, someone bellowed a war cry. Probably Saito, who was by now more pelt than person. The man talked out both sides of his mouth and and sounded like an idiot from each, but he’d proven that even an idiot could be a good companion. And even she couldn’t deny his value in a fight. She hoped he wouldn’t wind up on the floor with her; no one deserved to die like this, even him.

Even her.

At least she’d made her last moments count. Kai the oracle had been close to death, as usual, and she’d managed to get to him and purify his wounds before he succumbed to them. And she’d had all of a second to thank Lo Shen he would be alright before the giant shadow swallowed her, and agony followed suit soon after.

A small, soft comet hit the ground near her, and she felt her heart break as surely as her spine had. Pura. Without her master, the owl wouldn’t last two heartbeats. Their bond was too strong. She wished there was something she could do for her familiar, but even with all the power she possessed she hadn’t been able to save herself. They both had only a few seconds more, but she hoped hers would run out faster than Pura’s. She couldn’t bear to feel her own familiar die. Surely Lo Shen could be that merciful, at least.

She couldn’t see anymore, but her other senses still worked. She heard water whipping through the air, and a dull roar as something erupted into flames. The tengu in the chamber with them was chanting some horrible mage song. Mogo the tanuki had joined in as he fought, but he was substituting all the lyrics for ones about drinking and women.

And somewhere in the distance, she could hear Kai muttering frantically under his breath, trying to flood the room with healing energy. It would keep Saito and Longtuck on their feet and probably clean out Mogo’s bloodstream in the process, but Sunni was too far

gone. All the positive energy in the world couldn’t heal a flower if it had been nipped at the stem.

Everything else was fading out now, even the touch of cold stone against her cheek. The only feeling she had left was fear. She’d died countless times before and come out the other side with ten fingers and toes, but each time the smallest, most bestial part of her mind still felt that ripple of dread right before everything went dark.

Well, at least this life hadn’t been wasted. She’d lived doing good, and died doing it too.

It wasn’t much, but it was something.

There was darkness. She didn’t know for how long. It wasn’t like standing in a room where there was just no light—even then, she could still tell that there were other things to share the darkness with her. This was just the purest black. It wasn’t even actual black; it was just the absence of all color. The absence of everything.

Including her.

But a moment later, there was something else. A voice.

“—Yu mo gui gwai fai di zao.” The sound was familiar in her ear. Kai, chanting as if his life depended on it.

No, she realized. Hers.

Her eyes snapped open and she sat up—because to her astonishment, she could sit up at all.

Kai knelt next to her. A glowing scroll was in the process of dissolving in his fingers, but his permanently haunted eyes stayed fixed on her. When he saw that she had fully come back from the other side, relief crept into his face. At least, she thought so. With Kai, it was always hard to tell.

He seemed to sense the question on her lips. “Scroll of Resurrection,” he croaked. “Thirty thousand gold, down the drain.”

Her muscles and bones came alive with pain. Her body was in one piece again, but apparently resurrection didn’t include painkillers. She winced and tried to shut it out. “Was it worth it?”

Kai gave her a drum-tight smile. “Depends on who you ask.” He jerked his head over to the side. The two tengu lay dead, and Mogo sat amidst them, quite literally licking his wounds. The oni also lay on the ground, his head separated from his shoulders by a good fifty feet or so.

Saito and Longtuck stood there, arguing. Well, Saito was arguing. His atrocious accent rang off the temple walls as he gestured wildly with a flaming sword. Longtuck, as usual, just stood there with a serene expression on his face, arms folded. And the more agitated Saito got, the calmer the old man seemed to become.

“—could have gotten us killed,” Saito said, the spots of his kamadan pelt wardrobe dancing in the firelight. “We’re never letting you pick our heading again, ever. Seriously.”

Longtuck just grunted and shrugged.

“And by the way, what the actual hell?” the drifter continued. “I hit that bastard with fire, and it seemed to hurt him—really hurt him. I assume you’re not blind, so what about that sight made you think to yourself, ‘Oh, fire seems to be effective. You know what I should use? Fucking water!’”

The old monk shrugged again, and Sunni got the impression he was rather enjoying himself. “It worked.”

“Worked? Were you in the same fight I was? I cut the thing’s damn head from its shoulders while you were busy giving it a bath! Maybe I should just be thankful you didn’t go all crazy-face on us and try to kill Kai again!”

Longtuck’s expression darkened a shade. “I told you,” he said. “That was a floor rune.”

“Oh, don’t give me that again—”

Sunni would have laughed, if she weren’t so certain that doing so would be utter agony.

Kai helped her to her feet, and she hobbled over to Pura. The owl’s eyes were closed, but her chest rose and fell. The witch felt a gush of her relief and scooped her familiar up into her arms. The fall had broken her wing, but it was nothing a quick spell couldn’t fix. It was the sight of her owl, alive and relatively well, that finally hammered the message home for her: she was going to be okay.

Saito broke off from his ranting when he saw Kai and Sunni limping towards them. “Whoa,” he said. “You look like hell.” He smirked. “The fuck happened to—”

She cut him off with an irritated flick of her wrist. He immediately went cross-eyed as his body went limp. His sword clattered to the ground, extinguished, and a moment later he followed suit. By the goddess, she thought. He even snores in that stupid accent.

“You know, that can’t be good for his brain,” said Longtuck, smiling.

Sunni rolled her eyes. “I can’t hurt what he doesn’t have.”

Kai had moved to tend to his axebeak’s wounds. “So what now?” he said as dark patches of frostbite shrank and disappeared beneath his touch. “That fight took a lot out of me. I’d welcome rest.”

Sunni’s mouth twisted. “So we rest,” she said. “We prepare.” And with a determined glint in her eyes she added, “And then we come back and clean this place out for good.” Lightning crackled between her fingertips, and she could feel her hair start to bristle.

The others nodded in agreement. She gave Saito’s sleeping form a nudge with her toe.

Alright, it might have been a kick.

“Okay,” she said, sighing. “Whose turn is it to drag him?”

Longtuck's Journal
Kai's Farm and the Tiger Lord

-returned to Kai’s family farm. Inspected the house. Found 7 soul gems, Kai’s brother’s skeleton, and a ritual circle shows the Wheel of Life (used in reincarnation rituals) in the living room. One soul gem for each member of the family except one, which we realized was Kai’s younger brother Ten. We ran into a gaggle of ghouls hiding in the rooms of the house. Longtuck and Sunni inspect the basement. The both have a vision of a person with blue skin wearing a black coat and cat mask stabbing Kai’s younger sister. The house was cleansed and we rest for the night. Next day we clear the barn of undead axe beaks. We then burned down the property.

-went back to Nippon village. Bought supplies and visited Maisanda’s Ronin and the Dragon League. The DL gave kristy the dragon Munn.

-On the way to returning the dragon we were delayed by four yellow Oni. They tried to steal Munn from us. After Sunni permanently blinded their leader, the battle began. We were, of course victorious.

-We returned the dragon to her new home.

The group goes to the tiger lord fortress. We decided to act as new recruits for the tiger lord’s thug gang. Before their initiation could start, Longtuck kills one of them in one hit. We take the 6 thugs down very easily. We go into the main building of the fortress. First through the tiger’s den (no tigers), then into the sleeping quarters, then the room with the mannequins where there was a trap. Sunni spotted this trap and effortlessly disabled it. The next room we found Isa Tigerlily high off of a tea. We go into the next room which is the main hall on the second floor. There were a few tiger thugs and a tiger, which we kill rather quickly. The Tiger Lord tries to defend his fortress, but by the end of the battle he is cornered against a wall. After one last brave attack, we end the life of the tiger lord.

Saito's Journal
The Adaro Resevoir

Hey. Saito here. A lot of sharing and caring happened last time, and that was great and all. But this week was all about the action, and I’m sure you all know exactly how much I love action (also: comas). Our spellcasting powerhouse was down for the week with a case of debilitating gonorrhea, so our party had to head on without her. Fortunately, we had Devana with us, and I’ve gotta say the guy and his croc more than earned their keep.

We made the decision to head north and circle back around the Tiger Fortress in hopes of finding some kind of vulnerability in the bastard’s defenses. But on the way, we decided to check in on the mechanical skeleton we’d seen that one time. Sure enough, it wasn’t there, but in its place were some pretty clear signs of it having been dragged away. Tracks that, oddly enough, led straight back to the silver mine from our previous adventure. Seeing no other real option, we headed back in.

We didn’t have to worry about how our armor would hold up; apparently the rust bugs were gone. In their place, though: mechanical spiders, which I was totally thrilled about. We killed some, but it was really all Devana here. And he was equally helpful in the next room, when we came across a tiny dragon named Gangzhi.

In my defense, making fun of his size seemed like a great idea at the time.

The little iguana summoned a couple magma elementals and proceeded to chuck fire at us. He was saying a bunch of stuff about us being his new subjects, which didn’t play so well with his audience. I’d like to say I was the one who finished him off, but have you never known good old Saito to lie about anything? Once he was done with, we had a chance to burrow down into the Dark Lands, which would have been an even more terrible idea than our usual ones. We decided it’d be best to lick our wounds and head on.

As we continued heading north, we found a lake with a chest at the bottom and proceeded to spend a hilarious amount of time trying to open it without actually getting near the damn thing. Finally, we sent Devana’s croc down under, amazed that we had been so stupid as to forget we had an aquatic party member. It was great. We’d kicked a boss’ teeth in and we were about to go and get ourselves some treasure. Things were good.

But everything changed when the Adaro attacked.

These were not the sharky chumps we fought on the beach way back when. These bastards were bigger, tougher, and older—practically sea-orcs. And unlike the others, they actually managed to get their poison to work on us. I killed a couple before getting all comatose in the sand, while the rest of the party took turns saving each other from drowning under the influence of poison. By the end of it, the only one to come out of the whole thing relatively unscathed was Silver, who got us into the damn thing in the first place.

Once we weren’t all mostly dead, we opened the box. There was a bunch of treasure in it, including some magic armor that I added to my collection. The real prize, though, was a belt with Shigure’s name on it. I think it’s kinda weird to put your name on your belt and all, but at least now we know Shigure was taken by the Adaro. Just as well; they seem to be behind everything on this gods-forsaken spit of land.

At that point, Kai realized that we were actually near his family’s old farm, and so we set off to go take a look. The place was deserted, but my magical detection abilities told me we weren’t alone. While Kai explained stuff and I tried to get a bead on spirit signatures, Longtuk wandered over to the well…

…where Shigure clung to a rope for dear life.

At least, that was what it looked like.

The thing was actually a spirit. It chucked our waterbender down the well, and probably had every intention of doing all manner of ghostly shit to him. But while I prepared to bless my weapon and bash its ethereal head in, Kai stepped up and used some kind of oracle juju to dispel its influence. But with one spirit down, I turned my eye back to the farm and saw a place scarred by the hereafter and those that would inhabit it.

And in the face of it…only us.

Suni's Journal
Kofu Thickshell

Episode 4 Summary:

On the 13th day of the Boar, our band of travelers were standing outside of the Hungloa ruins after just having cleared the interior of bugs and other nasty creature, when we witnessed a strange display of green light emanating from the central ruins of Genbu. We remarked that this was probably similar to the event that caused us to become shipwrecked on this island, and that, PERHAPS, we should wait to encounter whatever was causing that green light until we were feeling a might more powerful. (Though, admittedly, we were all feeling about 1level’s worth of additional power).

We decided to, instead of risking our collective skins, travel back towards town and deliver our artifacts to Seefu, and restock our provisions before journeying back to the Kappa cave of Kofu-Thick-Shell. I am fairly certain that our friend Longtuk has a bit of a lunar superstition. He kept mentioning that it was in our best interest to attempt this task from Obudibu on the 14th day of the Boar. I found it rather strange, but as always, am all for an adventurous battle against Kappa.

We parted ways with Mogu, who was suffering some rather deep wounds, and we promised to bring him the Sake we owed him on our next visit to his hut.

We began our journey back to Thanh’s residence, but along the way we came across what can only be described as a clockwork creature. He seemed to not be functioning quite to par, but, as always, Saito was overly skiddish for a party fighter, and begged us to move along quietly. I was rather opposed to this choice, and normally I can count on Kai to back up my keen urge to dive into battle. But he didn’t like the fact it was a skeleton. These humans and their fears of anything reminding them remotely of their mortality… It is something I will never quite get used to…. So we moved on.

We continued to Thanh’s home where we gave him a small sapphire in exchange for our continued welcome in his home. The next morning after we continued to Nipon village where the following took place:

  • In the Sake House:

o Longtuk and I gifted Seefu with the vase from the Hungloa ruins. He gave us a number of level 5 scrolls (invisibility, bullstrength, hold person, and summon monster II)

o We purchased 200gp worth of Sake for Mogu

o Saito had a lengthy discussion with the bartender, and later told us that 2 men named heegan and Reshma had been seen recently and were also looking for the sleepwalker.

  • In Whore House:

o I continue to restrain myself from the pleasures of another woman’s company, and so do not visit this place.

o Kai spends quite some time here…. Everytime we’re here. But this time, he comes out looking rather happy, and dare I say, 1 pt stronger? He does not tell us about a

third young lady that worked in the house, named Isa Tigerlilly, who was traded by the Maiden of the whore house to the Tigerlord in exchange for exemption from the island “tiger tax”.

  • In the Dragon League:

o I gave a small sapphire to Lord Disuke as a token of good faith that I would do as he requested.

  • In the Maisters Ronan:

o Longtuk prayed a lot.

o We relayed the information of the massacre we had encountered the previous days and told him we were in the process of gathering more intel on the Tigerlord before launching our attack.

  • In the General Store:

o We sold a bunch of sapphires, large and small.

  • In the Harbor:

o We informed Rue of the ill-fate of her crew, and cautioned her not to leave the island quite yet. We also told her she could go stay with Thanh. Because we like taking advantage of his hospitality.

After finishing up our business in Nipon, we began our trek to the Kappa cave on the 14th day of the Boar. As we came upon the cave, we noticed 6 Kappa graves outside. As we entered into this cave, which we assumed (idiotically) that we knew, having been there already, we were ambushed! As soon as Longtuk dove into the water to scout, he was attacked by 3 kappa. But Longtuk seemed exceptionally strong, and trapped one of the Kappa in what appeared to be an ice net. I’ll admit I was rather shocked but his brute force. Perhaps his lunar lore is a bit more noteworthy than I had imagined…. As Longtuk battled the Kappa (with some attempted help from Saito), a GIANOURMOUS turtle swam over the underwater battle and approached Kai and I as we were standing on the beach! We threw every spell we could think of at it. Longtuk battled all three Kappa valiantly, however the true victor of the battle was Kai. He slayed 2 of the three kappa, including one with a sleep assist from myself, in addition to shattering the shell of the large turtle and ultimately killing it with his scrimtar.

We proceeded to swim through the caves and came upon a sandy beach with a Kappa statue and a shrine to the “stone lizard” Fu spirit of the caves. Thankfully Kai recognized that we needed to pay tribute to the spirit, and did so (\some of us more adequately that others). The spirit looked upon us with great favor, and nothing came to pass in this room.

We continued on to the crabby beach. As we exited the water we noticed 4 Kappa snacking on the crustaceans. We used this moment to attack! Each of us did some damage, but Longtuk was the hero of this battle, despite the swarms of crabs that attempted to engulf us. I did manage to roast a few to bring back as a present for Obudibu. After clearing the beach room, we noticed a “stairway” leading to a hole into the wall. We journeyed up, and as levitated (for the very first time!) I was attacked by what I could only imagine (as ultimately was) Kofu-thick-shell. At this pointed I summoned a wolf to fight for

us. But as soon as I did, a strange mist came out of the room. No one could see a thing. I leapt bravely into the hole and prepared for battle, as did the other members of the party. The next part happened so quickly, but as each person began to enter batter from the fog, I ran from the mist to attack, but failed to notice a trap in the floor and fell through the floor into a large body of water. Thank Lo-Shen for my gift of feather-fall! Before I fell, I saw Kofu-thick-shell and some Shaman Kappa in the room, but that was all I saw. I began to swim, and swim, and swim, and run, and swim, and run in an attempt to make it back to aid my fellows. As soon as I burst back into the room, panting, I yelled SLEEP! And slept the Kappa Shaman. At that moment, I noticed that Saito was rather wounded, but he managed to pull together enough strength to kill the shaman as it slept. I am unsure what happened to Kofu-thick-shell while I was gone, but he was indeed vanquished.

After that was all sorted out, we searched the room and found an armored coat, a scroll of obscuring mist, a masterwork battleaxe, and what seems to be a ring of swimming and climbing.

We plan to rest a bit after this and journey back to Obudibu and tell him that we have solved his problem with Kofu-thick-shell, and seek our reward from our water-headed friends.

Kai's Journal
Hung La Ruins

Session 3 Write-Up

Seventh day of the Boar.

After teaming up with our new tanuki friend, Mogo, we decided it might be a good idea to head back to the kappa caves to the south. As we were traveling, however, Mogo’s keen eye caught a corpse in the ravine. After some careful investigation of the body, we discovered a note which stated that Kohru the Swan had come into possession of a certain “Obsidian Shell”. We followed the dead man’s bloodstained footprints north. What we found there was shocking: a clearing filled with the dead bodies of shark-people, kappa, and human thugs.

We found and followed a trail of blood that led to the final resting place of one of the shark-people. Unfortunately for us, the corpse had become a meal for some local boars, and we had to fight them off. We found the elusive ‘Jade Shell’ on the body and decided to take it North to the ruins with us.

As we neared the entrance to the ruins, we saw two massive centipedes lurking outside. Our resident witch provoked them with spells and we were forced to defend ourselves. It was a tough fight, but with the tanuki on our side, we were able to fell the foul beasts.

Inside the ruins, we found another pair of giant centipedes. This time, we used our surroundings to our advantage. Our water bender managed to knock over a pillar or two, crushing one of the centipedes, as we focused our attacks on the other. The pair was dead in a matter of moments.

As we ventured deeper into the ruins, we came upon a large dark room. At first glance, it seemed that all the walls were moving as though the were alive, but on closer inspection we discovered that the room was filled with millions of bugs and insects, including about four giant beetles. Once again, we were forced to defend ourselves, and we ended up squashing them with relatively no problem.

In the deepest room of the ruin, we discovered a Jade Alter guarded by a stone samurai statue. After some deliberation, we decided it was a good

idea to set the Jade Shell into the alter, at which point there was an earthquake and a Jade Light filled the area. We did not have time to fully investigate what exactly had occurred, however, because no sooner had we set the Shell in its place did the Samurai Statue suddenly come to life and attack us. Luckily, our water bender had trapped the entity in a cube of ice before hand, which bought us sometime in the grueling fight we faced. We eventually beat that statue until it was nothing more than a pile of stone fragments.

I think I speak for all of my companions when I say that the experience I’ve gained in the past couple days have filled me with new energy. I feel stronger than I did before, and have even taught myself how to wield a scimitar and manipulate my body so that it expels pure, healing energy. Needless to say, I think we will have no trouble taking on the Tiger Lord at this rate.

It’s been a week since we awoke on that fiend-infested beach, and we are finally gaining some ground on finding out what happened on that fateful day at sea. After we rest to our top physical condition, we shall investigate what our actions in this temple have caused to occur on the

Saito's Journal, Ep 2
Rescuing Vypham

Session Two Write-Up

Alright. Saito here with another report of what’s very quickly becoming the worst vacation ever.

We started things off on a good foot, getting a pack of axe-beaks for saving Thanh from that Tiger Lord’s guys. Between my natural charms and the crazy blue lady’s bug-eyed stare, we netted the location of the Tiger Lord’s fortress, plus a pretty good idea of what he had lying around to keep us out. Translation: more than we could chew. We worked him over for all the information he had, then dumped him at the feet of the ronin in town. Not our problem anymore.

We spent the afternoon talking to everyone in town. And it turns out:
-One of the girls at the pleasure house has gone missing. I could’ve stood to hear a little more about this. Or maybe investigated it myself, if you get what I’m driving at.
-A pack of Amado went inland with a valuable jade turtle shell, leaving their junk parked in the harbor. Makes me wonder if it’s got anything to do with the turtle statue I’ve kept around since the beach. Signs point to “probably.”
-Kohru the Swan, thief of the Ishikawa Scroll, is working with the Tiger Lord, and apparently her last job didn’t go so well. Fortunately, Lord Stripes doesn’t execute the people that fail him, so our bounty’s still good.
-The harbormaster had a falling out with his apprentice, and now he feels bad about the whole thing, and suddenly it’s our job to apologize on his behalf. I don’t know where he got the notion that we should care; my job description says “traveler,” not “carrier tengu.”

At the end of it all, we somehow decided that heading east was a good idea. And it wasn’t the worst idea in the world, at first. At least with the axe-beaks it was relatively painless; I don’t want to imagine what traveling on foot would’ve been like with the cripple. Eventually, we hit a small harbor where a pair of twins had been left behind by pretty much everyone in their lives that was supposed to be taking care of them. Their father went north with a nobleman’s party to hunt the Sleepwalker, while their harbormaster, Dypham, disappeared to work on something. We pushed further eastward after that, Sunni jabbering on about clams the whole way for some reason.

Heading further east, we ran into a bunch of kappa, saw that they’d murdered one of their own, and for some reason decided that this was a sign we should follow them, not head in the opposite direction. I made sure it was on the record that I thought we were stupid for doing this and that we were all going to die, and then we followed the trail to a cave. We ran into four kappa there, and even though they chewed up a couple of us in the ensuing fight, Montak waterbent one into submission while I took out the other three with the help of my trusty bo staff. My group, of course, didn’t even thank me for saving them from the consequences of their awful decision. Can you believe the crowd I’ve fallen in with?

Anyway, we sent that witch’s owl into the next room, and apparently all it saw were plants. I was still uneasy, but did the group listen? No, they just had to barrel in there, and the blue witch thought it’d be fine to just yank up the first cucumber she saw. Joke was on her, because it turned out the cucumber was part of a cucumber monster.

Yeah, that wasn’t a typo.

The thing ate our witch right off the bat, which is just great in a combat situation. She spent the whole fight getting digested, and Kai had to keep her stable while barely hanging on himself. But she did manage to hex the thing, which I guess ended up saving our lives. Maybe.

Against my better judgment, I decided to rush the thing with my sword, and I actually managed to get in one good shot. Unfortunately, so did the monster, and I spent the rest of the fight licking my wounds. Montak saved our asses this time, stabbing it from below with ice shards until it keeled over. And right when I was about to finally rejoin the battle, too. And what was our reward for that particular near-death experience? Cucumbers.

Montak swam ahead to see what our options were, and it turns out our choices were sneaking past a giant snapping turtle or swimming into a cave full of crabs. Finally, the group listened to sense (AKA me), and we got the hell out of there to sleep off our wounds.

The next day, we started things off by running into some more adaro who apparently didn’t like that a wayang stole their look when he was building his submarine. We learned our lesson from the previous night, and so instead of charging in we just hung back and shot at them. With some ice arrows courtesy of Montak and a blessing courtesy of Kai, I managed to take down most of them (though I’ll admit it helped that one was asleep). Seriously, my group would be in a bunch of shallow graves right now without me.

When it was done, we healed up the wayang, who it turned out was that Dypham guy. He’d wanted to investigate all the strange things happening around the island, but all he was able to see were storms surrounding Genbu, plus an army of adaro led by some kind of octopus thing. We sent him off to check on the twins, and went on our way. He offered to give us a ride in his submarine sometime, which the group seemed to want. Naturally, I’ll do everything I can to keep us the hell away from him from now on.

Courtesy of some ventriloquist fun from Sunni, we eventually ran into another kappa tribe led by someone named Obadibu (or whatever—I wasn’t really listening). Turns out our little cave escapade was actually some accidental kappa gang warfare, and that if we went back to finish the job, there were amulets in it for us. We said thanks, but no thanks, and got on our way.

Finally, we headed north and came across a house in the forest. Kai showed off some drumming skills I wouldn’t have expected from the twitchy bastard, to the entertainment of the leshy around the house and their tanuki owner. For a weekly salary of sake, said tanuki, Mogo, has joined our party for the time being. It’s not like I have any reason to care one way or the other, but I guess it’ll be nice to have ourselves a fifth member for a little while.

Wait, didn’t we used to have a ninja in our group? What ever happened to that guy?


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