Onmyodo Islands

Killing Elder Hatimel and saving Haru's Bride
and the stories of the Nagaji Pit-Brethren

Writings from the Travels of the Chieftain of Longfen Village, Devana:
Translated from Nagaji into Common

As I sat, resting, if only for a moment, I thought – why did I come here? I wanted to help these adventurers who saved me from my capture. After all, we had become friends, and they had helped me reach my status as chieftain. But as I sit here, my bones aching and my skin burning from these disgusting demons we had fought, I had wanted to turn around and go home.

I thought about something an old friend once told me:

“Nagaji are strong warriors. Naga believe that they are stronger, yet they are wrong. They enslave us and try to control our entire race, but what if the Nagaji would turn on the Naga? If every Nagaji would betray their master – turn around and cut his throat – what then? The Naga would be the ones who are enslaved.”

These words from Ketzal echoed in my mind, as I remembered the deal I had made with the Dragon Knarix earlier – Kill Elder Hatimel and his southern nagaji. Elder Hatimel, the naga controlling the southern nagaji, was supposedly in the next tower. Though I was rattled with disease, these words from my pit-brother Ketzal echoed in my mind, and gave me the courage to pick up my greatsword and keep going. I am strong, and I will kill this Naga.

My companions proceeded to open the door, and the witch fell unconscious when a blade struck her. As we enter, I see Hatimel disappear and send his two elite guards to fight us. Silver and I charge at a guard and kill him with Saito’s help, and our companions deftly deal with the other. I look around the empty room, trying to decipher where this slippery Naga is hiding – as Saito shoots something at the ceiling, causing dust to fall down and reveal its location. I charge at the invisible figure and cleave my greatsword into its flesh, as Silver digs his teeth in. My companions and I continue in this fashion and eventually Hatimel falls.

Ketzal was right, these Naga are not so strong after all. Even the Elders fall at my blade.

As we continue up the stairs, we find Motoko, our companion Haru’s bride, in a cage. He runs up to the cage, releases her, and embraces her. As my companions and I search the room, we find an ancient holy tome on the rituals, lore, and worship of Nalinivadi, and my companions graciously agree to give it to me. We also find a letter that explains that the Naga on the island are related to a person named Yura somehow.

We then escort Haru and Matoko to the shoreline, where we say goodbye to them and the other Aidonese nobles that were here for their wedding. These adventurers have many adventures ahead of them, but I as Chieftain of the Longfen Village cannot assist them with all they must do – I must go back to my village to lead. I tell them of a friend that should be arriving on the Yamado that may be more helpful than I – my pit-brother Ketzal, the great Nagaji that is an inspiration to his brothers, that led me out of slavery and to this land. I wish them luck and head back to the village.

Entry from the Account of the New Adishesha, Ketzal’s Memoirs -
Translated from Nagaji to Common

After escaping from Nagajor, me and my companions decided to search for a land that one of them had heard of – a place where Nagaji are no longer slaves, and serve their own purpose – The Island of Byakku. We decided to head there, and send one of strongest men, Devana, as a scout.

Devana has recently written to me that the island is indeed inhabited by free Nagaji, and he has successfully assimilated himself into the Longfen Village – he’s even become their chieftain.

This news brings me great joy, as the weight of responsibility has been lifted off of my shoulders – I was not meant to lead by practice, I was meant to lead by example. I must show my fellow Nagaji that our race is stronger than Naga, and that with practice even a “lowly” Nagaji can fell the strongest Naga.

I decide to tell my companions on the Yamado, a ship that is docked near Byakku, to head to Longfen Village and that Devana will take care of them. While saying farewell, I was approached by an odd adventuring party – A man named Saito, a woman named Suni, a man named Kai, and a young fox-boy named Kyo. They told me that they knew Devana, and that they were told to look for me if they needed any assistance. When I found out they were enemies of the Naga in the south trying to enslave my brethren, I decided immediately to join them. I will lead my brothers out of slavery, if not directly, then by example.

I will kill every Naga on this island, and the bards will sing songs of my conquests.

I will sever their heads, and mount them on mountains, and all will know of the Nagaji’s strength.

I am the new Adishesha, the new First King of Nagas, as I will be their conqueror.

My new adventuring party and I head out and land on the main island of Byakku, discovering an abandoned campsite that presumably was occupied by worshippers of some water-god. We picked up a few journal entries that we found, and they detail the movements of the group and also mention some creature called Death Worms nearby. As Kai, the oracle, reads that part, I start sharpening my nodachi.

We eventually camp for the night on the north side of the river, and Kai explains to us in the morning that he saw large, glowing red eyes in the Desert on the opposite side of the river staring at them in the middle of the night. I double-check the sharpness of my blade, just in case there’s trouble.

As we head south through the desert, we see a large cyclone. My companions explain to me that this must be the Taigong cyclone that they’ve heard about, and supposedly its rumored that there’s a dungeon underneath it. We spend some time searching around the harsh desert storm, and eventually find a cellar door.

I pull out my nodachi and rub my thumb against the blade. The warm liquid on my palm tells me it’s ready. The cellar door opens…

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THERE BE DRAGONS HERE
(well, really just one dragon)

Today, we were very fortunate to have had the help of Haru, and Davana.

We decide to go rescue Haru’s bride. We were almost certain she’s was being held at the pillared city. In preparation for our adventuring we study painting out painting, and receive +2 healing each round. When we arrived at the city, we came across a rope bridge that appeared to have been used recently. I cast invisibility and flew up to take a look. Atop the tower, I saw two nagagi from the Venema Tribe. The bridge seemed to lead to a door into that tower.

Davana crossed the bridge and opened the door. Inside he found that the round had a stone bridge along the perimeter, with ladders leading down into the water. All of a sudden the tower filled with mist. Davana fell into into water where a water naga was waiting. It attacks Davana. All the while, Tampopo and I are handling the ugly guys on the roof. After many periods of six seconds, we slay the attackers and proceed down the hallway.

There is this weird intense heat…. in addition to monster poop. It’s all very unpleasant, and rather frightening. I hear someone speaking draconic. We stealthily peer into the room and see a very large female red dragon yelling at a Nagagi. She is telling him that she will not give up any more of her resources to help him, and that all of her Drakes are dead. Despite our best efforts, we are noticed in the room.attempts to make peace and negotiate.

We learn that the Dragon’s name is Kanerix, and that she has been dealing with Hatimel, who is the leader of this region’s Nagagi tribe. Eventually after it becomes obvious that Kanerix is not trusting us, Davana asks for a trial by combat. An epic battle ensues, but Davana comes out the victor. Kanerix says that she would like our loyalty. To repay her for her killed drakes, we must kill Hatimel and all the southern Nagagi. She even tells us which tower he is in.

As we enter the other side of the structure, we cross a bridge and 2 daemons are summonded. Again, unpleasant. But this time it is much much more disgusting, because the daemons have gross rotting flesh and are full of diseases. Throughout the battle we all become sick. Eventually, Saito slays one of the beasts, and it explodes into maggots, and flies, any other incredibly gross bits. We finally get rid of the other daemon. IN the adjoining rooms we found a Jade sword. Saito babbles on about how it is a naginata, hilted, green snake something or other. And we decide that it is definitely inspiring enough to bring back to our friend the blacksmith on the Yamado.

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Tampopo is my favorite
oh yeah and other stuff happens too.....

We are standing in the chambers where the ice toads had just been vanquished when we notice the creepy frozen monkey. We think it’s strange, but proceed on anyway. We enter the next room and see a jade kimono, and get a feeling that there is necromancy at work here. All of a sudden there is this adorable little girl peeking into the room. I send dancing lights her way, and she comes out to meet us. Her name is Ona. She says she was traveling with her mother some 200 years ago on this mountain. We should have taken this as a warning….but I had a moment of motherly weakness and allowed her to hug me. Upon doing so I am told I became completely useless. Longtuk later recounted for me that she was a Yukiada, and had a snow dependency. Apparently we have a rather rough battle where most people get pretty near frozen to death (or eyebited if you’re Kai), but eventually we do enough fire damage to kill the silly thing. Longtuk takes the Kimono, and the monkey began to de-thaw.
His name is WooKong, and he was the monkey lord of the temple. He serves Master Boo-yawn. Kai, out of nowhere, volunteers us for a repair job, which we immediately back out of. There is a broken doorway to the spirit world in this temple. When repaired, we could enter that world. While we rest up, we eat delicious food prepared by wookong, and Kai speaks with him about a fortress that the Masters Rhonan want to build here. Wookong agrees to meet with Dimyo Anguo to determine if he with give him permission to build the fortress. So the next morning we begin the trek back to the village to get Dimyo. On this glorious day, I make my very first wand!

Along the way we run into a shrine of Ama Teresu. It’s pretty small, and on the back there is a painted golden symbol of amateresu in flames. Apparently there are linked shrines all over the island. If we light incense at all of them, we will cleanse the shrines. While we are cleansing this one, a fire elemental attacks, and we defeat it with ease.

We finally make it back to Longfen, and upon our arrival we learn that Divana is now the village leader. He tells us of Hscorey Blackblood, a cleric of loshen in the soot-scale tribe, who works for all three of the nagagi tribes. We immediately decide to spend the next few days taking Dimyo back up the mountain. While we are walking he tells us of all the crazy things he’s done in his lifetime. There are a lot of stories, since it is a 4 day walk….again.

Once we get back to the top of the mountain, we see that the temple has been completely restored. There are 2 Kitsune clerics taking care of the temple now, in addition to Wookong. We decide to ask wookong about lifting Dimyo’s curse, and he agrees, if we go into the spirit world once he opens the path and find a fountain. He reminds us that we must find the same Torii in order to come back to this world. We contemplate our pretty pretty painting and then jump right through.

Everything seems so much more alive in the spirit world. And it is incredibly beautiful…but also dangerous because all of a sudden, there is a huge plant monster attacking us. Longtuk and I are caught by a root and dragged in. And epic plant battle ensures. Even my lightning bold is powerless against the damned plant. Rue eventually kills it for us. Thank the NPC gods for her! All of a sudden we hear tiny laughter… it’s a delightful tiny pipe fox! He says his name is Tampopo, and he is carrying an acorn because it is apparently Boo-yawn’s birthday! I think this is absolutely the greatest thing ever, and decide that I would very much like to bring Tampopo with us everywhere from now on.

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The one where the party takes a tour of the island
and stuff happens
  • Journal Entry – Presumably Kai’s *

It has been a moon or two since I’ve had the chance to write in my journal, which is unfortunate, but now I have a moment of respite to log the events our party encountered.

We had just returned to Longfen village and discovered it had been destroyed. Elder Razmaga had been acting suspicious, so we followed him and soon found out that he was a wolf in sheep’s clothing, so to speak – Razmaga was actually an evil naga in disguise.

We face him in epic combat, but his control over the undead proved to be his weakness as I channeled positive energy across the battlefield.

We returned to Longfen village and reported the news. Elder Rattletail directed us to Razmaga’s hut, and after carefully searching through the home we discovered two things of note: a masterwork adamantine scythe (which I took greedily), and a journal. The contents of the book were indecipherable, save the last two pages which mentioned the “Hung La ruins in the Ravine”.

After uncovering this exciting clue, our party decided to take a break from adventuring and make a trip to the moving, mechanical island: the Yamato.

On deck, Bao and I meet a decrepit old man who stands under the flag of Maisanda’s Ronin. After hearing his story, however, we discover that this man’s elderly façade is a side-affect from an arcane infection; a spell he was hit with a couple of moons ago. His name is Daimyo Anguo, and we agree to take him to Saikon Shock.

We meet up with Saito, who reminds us of the apprentice blacksmith who needed inspiration; we swing by and I begrudgingly drop off the scythe. Hopefully we can get something useful out of this.

While Longtuck and I were meeting Daimyo, Suni had been off doing her own thing. She and I get along pretty well, so she felt comfortable sharing that she had caught word of a pretty, young Lady and her four handmaidens who were on the ship for a sort of vacation. This news brightened my day, but little did I know things were about to get extremely dark.

Coming to the crew quarters, it doesn’t take us long to realize that panic is in the air and energy is chaotic. Crew members are running around as though the end of the world were upon us; some are clasping their heads and screaming, some stoically removing buckets of blood from a particular hallway. We head towards the chaos and are abruptly stopped by a guard. Saito puts on an air of superiority and bluffs his way past the guards, granting us entry.

We saw blood covering walls, ceiling, floor – every inch. Bodies and body parts were strewn everywhere, making it hard to walk. We approached an open door, taking note the room we were coming to was the captain’s body guard, Gar Lee.

Once inside, I suffered a traumatic flashback to my farm on Genbu. Gar Lee’s body was mutilated and displayed on the floor in the very same fashion my brother had been. There is also a bag of soul gems in the corner of the room. I have no doubt the murderers are one and the same. And the zodiac wheel seems to me to be a clue as to their motive. They’re obviously collecting soul gems from people who fall under specific astrological signs. What this could mean, I have no idea at the moment.

After all the emotional trauma we had been exposed to, we decide to visit the tavern and hopefully dull the pain. There, we meet our bartender friends and a bunch of beautiful, young women who happen to be on vacation.

We drink, we flirt. We drink some more.

I don’t remember much from that night, but I do recall the kiss of one of those young ladies. I guess I do alright, for a cripple.

The next day, we didn’t feel ready to take on a new adventure. So we decide to take a two day lap around the island and become more familiar with the territory.

The following are notes I took on the pleasure cruise. We hired a shipmate to point out major landmarks, so you can be sure of the factual accuracy.

First thing we see is Longfen Village, followed by a massive mountain called Mt. Fushiyama. Daimyo exclaims that this mountain would be perfect for the first Shenmen Fortress, and we later help him start this dream.

Passing the mountain we see a massive cave going into the side of the island straight from the sea. Past that a mountain range borders the southwest shore of the island, but Suni’s owl manages to scout past them and uncover an abandoned Lao Shen temple. We pass the Venoma Tribe and we see Myanmir Flags flying deep in the desert.

We next docked at Longfen and heard about a mysterious dungeon underneath a perpetual Sandstorm.

We traveled west toward Mt. Fushiyama and eventually found ourselves in a petrified forest, and discover beyond all odds a strange case inside one of the trees. The case contains a Di Kang painting of a naked woman. There’s a strange power emanating from this painting, but before I have a chance to realize what its source is, giant worms burst from the ground.

The last thing I remember is Suni summoning an awesome wave of ice that decimated the emerging creatures before the adrenaline took over and the details become cloudy.

After surviving this assault, we made our way to the great mountain, where the heat from the desert soon turned into a blistering cold. Half way up, we were attacked by the spirits of monstrous Yetis, but we survive and continue to climb.

At the top we are greeted by a large, ocean facing statue of Bu Yan guarding the entrance to a stone temple set into the mountain side. We cautiously enter the temple and discover four massive sleeping frost toads in the corners of the entry way. We manage to slip past them easily, and at the top of some stairs we find a Monkey Man trapped in a block of ice.

Just past this frozen vanara is a doorway to the inner sanctums of the temple, but as we try to go further a Gong sounds and awakens the frost toads. They attach viciously and without mercy. Their suction-like tongue grab Saito and Suni and the two seem to be lunch for a couple of frogs. But in a matter of seconds Saito’s katana burst through the frog’s face, letting the inquisitor emerge victorious. Almost in unison, a fiery explosion bursts through the other toad’s throat, allowing our witch to rejoin the fight.

I send out a couple waves healing energy, but just as I thought we were in the safe zone -—-

The rest of the journal entry has been torn away, but can be found in the vicinity

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Rhapsody in Rue
Once More, With Feeling

Rue shifted again in her axebeak’s saddle. The beast was ungainly, its saddle doubly so, and in the past three hours she’d yet to find a comfortable position astride either. She was undine. She was of the salt and tide, not the sand and smelly birds. But the undine also served, she reminded herself, minus a few deviants. Rue was no deviant, and so she served.

Still, she wished her duties could have taken her somewhere more pleasant at least once.

She glanced at the four she’d been dispatched to aid. Kai, the cripple with faraway eyes. Suni, the owl-keeper with skin as blue as Rue’s own (What is it with this party and birds? she wondered). Saito, the fast-talking drifter with a hard face. Longtuck, the quiet old man whose affinity for water surpassed even Rue’s own. They were as odd a bunch as any Rue had seen on her travels. They’d also walked into the jaws of every danger Genbu and the Yamato could throw at them, and ended up as the ones doing the chewing.

As a bard, she knew that image made no sense. Then again, neither did their continued survival.

And yet, here they were.

Saito and Kai rode at the front, discussing the finer points of swordplay. “Your scimitar’s nice and all,” the drifter was saying, “but it’s got no reach.” He patted the katana sheathed at his side. “Those extra inches can mean a lot when it counts.”

Kai grunted. “Is that wisdom you’ve heard often, Saito?”

Saito rolled his eyes. “You can do better than that.”

Just behind them, Suni kept flicking her wrist. Every time she did, four small lights appeared in the air around her. They would bob up and down a bit, then wink out of existence. The witch clapped and squealed her amusement, then summoned the lights back again. Next to her, Longtuck sat straight up in his saddle, arms folded and eyes closed. Rue was fairly certain he was actually just asleep.

Her left fingers tapped across the strings of her pipa, but her right didn’t dare pluck them. Now was not the time for a serenade. “How much further?” she said.

Saito glanced back at her. “Right,” he said. “You water types probably don’t like the land so much, huh? Should be in the next mile. And don’t worry,” he added with a grin. “Last time we were there, we gave them all the water they’ll ever need.”

#

By the time they arrived, the water had become something else entirely: so thick with blood now it had practically turned black. Rue couldn’t help but stare at it. She felt a connection to any water nearby, but she shrank from this. Water meant life, and this naga-ji blood was anything but.

The village looked as if it had been through a typhoon. Houses lay ruined or burned. The ones still standing had naga-ji cowering inside behind locked doors. It had only been a day, but already the bodies had begun to stink. They were laid out in a line, covered in blankets that seemed more meant to keep the flies away than anything else.

“Listen, you wrinkly sack of scales,” said Saito to an elderly naga-ji, whom Longtuck had called Razmaga the Elder. “Do you not see us covered in naga-ji blood here? And naga blood, while we’re at it? If we’re naga spies, we’re really doing a shit job of it, don’t you think?”

The old naga-ji’s eyes burned intensely enough that Rue had to take a step back. He spoke in the strange hissing language of his people. As he spoke, another naga-ji, the oracle Anil Rattletail, translated: “He says that an attack so soon after your last visit is too much of coincidence. Freeing the traitor Devana did not help your case, either.”

Saito gritted his teeth and looked ready to bark back with something nasty, but it was Kai who spoke. “When last we were here, you mentioned a burial site,” he said, “with weapons your people could use to defend themselves. If we bring them to you, would that coin to buy your trust?”

The two village leaders immediately began hissing at each other. Rue was completely lost, but their body language wasn’t hard to read. The elder grew more and more agitated, while the oracle never lost his cool. After a few moments, Razmaga bared his fangs at all of them, then turned and shuffled away as fast as his old legs would carry him.

“He is not distrustful without reason, and with our leader Sharyrar Spike-Tongue dead, it is to him we look for wisdom and guidance,” said Anil. “Do not mistake my leniency for trust.”

Longtuck crossed his arms. “Noted,” he said.

“But hey,” said Saito. “We’ve learned our lesson about going in without backup. You want us to do this for you, we’ll need the best warriors you have.”

In reply, Anil nodded grimly to the line of rotting corpses behind him.

#

To Rue, the idea of a graveyard seemed itself barbaric; the only proper place for the dead was beneath the waves, not rotting underfoot. This place did little to assuage her feelings. It had been hastily thrown together, a pit that had been filled with the dead and then topped off with soil. Something in the air seemed to whisper: Keep moving. You have no place here.

It was midday on a desert island, and yet she still shivered.

“The nerve of that guy!” Saito said as they dismounted.

“Saito, that happened, like, four hours ago,” said Suni.

“He could’ve just said, ‘No.’ Wouldn’t have been that hard.”

Rue allowed herself to smile. She’d begun to understand how the four of them worked. In a way, they were like the iconic players in traditional theatre: Kai the hero, Saito the clown, Longtuck the sage, and Suni the…

Well, it wasn’t a perfect analogy.

“Where’d they say it was buried?” said Suni. She looked around, hand visored across her forehead, as if expecting to just see a sign pointing to the exact spot.

Longtuck jerked his head towards the edge of the burial mound. “They said that way.”

Rue hung back with Suni as the three men trudged off to start digging. She slipped her pipa free of its strap, once again fingering frets but not playing strings. She knew plenty of harmless songs, but some deep-seated instinct told her that in this atmosphere, her music would be somehow disrespectful.

Out of the corner of her eye, she noticed Suni staring at her, head cocked. From atop the witch’s shoulder, the witch’s pet owl was looking at her in precisely the same way. Awkwardness bubbled up inside her. She’d briefly adventured with these four, but she barely knew a thing about them. Now would be the perfect time to say something to Suni…but what?

“So,” said Suni. “…You’re blue.”

Rue nodded. “Yes,” she said. “Yes, I am.”

Suni nodded back. “Me, too.”

And that was the last time she and Suni tried making conversation.

Not that it mattered; soon enough, the air was full of enough words to make theirs unnecessary. At first, it was just Saito’s constant stream of curse words on the wind. But after a few moments, Rue’s pointed ears pricked up as they detected something else.

“Suni,” she said. “Do you hear—?”

A skeletal arm erupted from the ground like a particularly terrifying daisy. And then another, and another, until the five of them stood amid a prairie of bones.

“Necromancy!” shouted Kai as the skeletons hauled themselves up to the surface like swimmers from a pool. “Everyone stay back!” He hadn’t drawn the curved sword at his belt, but white nimbi of energy had begun to coalesce around his hands. He bowed his head and immediately began chanting.

As the others armed themselves, Saito smirked. “Nothing we can’t handle, guys,” he said. “After the shit we went through yesterday, a pile of bleached bones’ll be a wash.”

“Speaking as resident magical expert-slash-owl tamer,” said Suni, looking over the shambling horde surrounding them, “if there’s necromanc_y_, there has to be a necromanc_er_. Also: dancing lights!”

Saito shrugged as the glowing orbs flitted around them like fireflies. “Some egghead with a scroll and something to compensate for,” he said. “Bring it on.”

Sure enough, the next being to step into sight was none other than Razmaga the Elder, ever-irate leader of the Longfen tribe. Rue’s brow knitted. Had the old naga-ji followed them here to lend his assistance? Had he just wandered here on his own by accident?

A moment later, a third possibility presented itself.

Razmaga’s mouth yawned wide—wider than possible, so wide no set of jaws could possibly stretch that far—and from it erupted a massive, horrifying snake with a screaming human face and curling, ram-like horns. As its old skin crumpled to the ground like an empty bag, it righted itself and then immediately streamed for the five of them, murder in its eyes and a spell on its lips.

Rue felt a jolt of terror at the sight of it. She’d just done battle with those monsters and their armies, and somehow managed to survive. But open war wasn’t a life she was meant for, and she didn’t like her odds facing a naga again.

Her ad hoc companions didn’t show nearly as much concern. “Naga’s mine,” said Saito. “I could use some snakeskin to go with my pelt collection.”

“If you can get to him first,” said Suni. The air around her eyes had begun to coil, as if heat were radiating from them.

“We should leave it alive,” said Longtuck, whipping up his water. “It may tell us where to find Motoko.”

The old monk said her name so casually, but those three syllables caused shame to spread through Rue like blood in water. She was undine, and undine served. Hers had been to serve Lord Onizuka in battle, and she had proven unequal to her own task. The kidnapped bride was proof of that. Though she dreaded the howling beast before them and its sickening perversions of the magic arts, what she dreaded more was leaving a task unfinished when its fulfillment still fell to her.

“I don’t believe we’ll be getting a very warm reception the next time we visit the Longfens,” said Kai.

“I don’t believe I care,” said Suni.

“On three,” said Saito. “One—”

Everyone surged forward.

“_Hey!_ I said—oh, by the tanuki’s mask…” he muttered.

And so as Kai’s first wave of energy stopped the skeletons in their tracks…

As Longtuck unleashed a spray of ice shards, glittering and deadly…

As Suni’s eyes turned an angry red, making all they looked upon ripple and boil…

As Saito brandished his green blade and threw himself into the fray with a roar…

…Rue’s fingers slotted themselves into familiar places along her pipa’s neck.

And as the battle sounded its first chords, she began to play her counterpoint.

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Tales from the Dry Lands...
Beginings of Byakku

10th Day of the Rat

After causing much ruckus aboard the Yamato, we’re finally venturing to the Island of Byakku. I am not looking forward to it. Too much sand and not enough water. While all of the Earth is sacred, I can’t help but be biased towards watery areas.

We have arrived at Sun Rise Rock at the most northeastern part of the island. This land is over 1,000 years old. I have heard that there used to be large metropolitain areas, but the God Storm destroyed them and they have since become another part of the earth, hidden under the sand below our feet.

There are three large tents not far from where we docked. We can tell they haven’t been there long, but it is unusual for there to be habitants on this part of the island -or really much of the island itself. “Let’s go bring them a fuckin’ casserole,” says Saito. Despite his crude demeanor, we go over and investigate the tented area.

The first person we met was a large woman –perhaps even larger than myself- named Ki-juun. She is the bodyguard to Eikichi Onizuka. The group is here for the marriage of Haru Pike and Motoko Onizuka.

We inquire about any disturbances in the area, just so we can know what might lie ahead. The nagagi tribes on this island are at war. They used to attend the Onizuka family weddings every time they came to Sun Rise Rock. Now the nagagi have decided to stay away –they even scared two young children. We know that the Longfen –green- tribe is in the north not far from here, the Sootscale – black – tribe is in the middle of the island, and the Venema – red tribe is in the south.


Noon

With the help of the groom, Haru, we decided to investigate the Longfen tribe to try to get some answers. On our way to find the tribe, we were stopped by some of their warriors. A large man approaches us – clearly he must be the chieftain of their tribe. He tells us his name is Sharyrar Spike Tongue. Hi group brings us to back to their village to be investigated. When we get there, we see that there are about 100 nagagi inhabitants living here, rice fields surrounding the area and Lo Shen statues standing guard. We speak to Spike Tongue, their elder Razmaga, and then we speak to a man named Anil Rattletail. He has one blue eye and one yellow eye, a curse that has rendered him blind. After a spiritual ritual done by Anil, we are welcomed into their village.

Our group has learned much about the nagagi inhabitants on this island. 400 years ago, a huge group of nagagi, lead by three brothers, escaped to the island of Byakku. There they found an ancient Hung-la temple dedicated to Lo Shen. The nagagi dropped their worship of Nala Nevati because the spirit of Lo Shen protected them when they arrived on the island. This is what started the war with the naga. The naga have since then started to make these tribes their slaves. They are angry that these nagagi no longer worship Nala Nevati.
We also learned that Razmaga does not trust humans. He believes he saw a human kill one of their warriors. But, thanks to Anil’s ritual, we are the exception.

Later in the day we meet a merchant named Sing-ha. He asks us to find 20 death worm fangs during our travels on the island.

In the most unfortunate circumstances, we found Devana being held hostage! Devana did not fully understand what was happening on the island, so he did not realize that his worship of Nala Nevati would be unwelcome in these tribes. The Longfen tribe thought he was a spy. We were able to convince the tribe to let him go, in trade for us to create rain for their crops (this island is unfortunately dry).

Day 11 of the Rat

Spent the day creating rain. I finally feel a little more comfortable in this environment.

Day 12 of the Rat

We leave the Longfen tribe on a good note (with Devana). We’re worried that there’s still another threat out there waiting for the day of the wedding. We will all keep on guard during the day of the big event.

Day 13 of the Rat

The wedding has happened… we were attacked… stuck in a huge battle…. we may not survive…

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Steam rooms, fire benders, and Yasha, OH MY!
in which Saito nearly dies (or dies and then undies).

After our encounter in the hallway, and some hilariously-dialected negotiating work by Saito, we brought Pheonix to the Captain. Pheonix gives us some information about the attack as we walk. He tells us that Yasha is carrying out the attack even though the other members of the Triad have already left for Seiryu. Saito (still talking in his ridiculous accent) asks Pheonix if he would abandon the attack on the Amado and if we let him live. He tells us that a lot of his men are headed to Si-con-chalk, and that he will head to Seiryu to meet up with Genengi. So we send him off in a boat, hoping that Saito has made us an unlikely friend.

We continue on to inform the captain of the attack and happen upon Rue. Turns out she’d been promoted. We tell her of the plans to overthrow the ship and she takes us to the Captain. We also run into Garalee, the guard of the captain ( whose name is Gogi Blue Shadow). I, and I would assume everyone in our party, was shocked by the size of our captain. He is rather obese. We told him all we had learned and he immediately called to the engine room, but there was no response. We ask rue to come with us to take on the bad’ns, but not without a blessing from Kai.

As we come down the corkscrew elevator to the “iron works” we smell burning. Everyone is dead. There is a lone female survivor, whom Long-tuk heals.

All of a sudden there is a firebender attack! The room is full of steam and it is incredibly hard to see. Long-tuk does a good deal of damage with her water blasts, and after much spell debating I send a lightning blast. I hear Saito shriek like a girl, so I can only assume I hit him on accident… Oops. Later in the day Saito tells me that he had the most epic of ninja struggles with a firebender during this part of the battle, involving much stabby stabbing and grapplely grappling, culminating in pushing a guy off the Amado to his death. However I saw none of this.
Eventually we kill everyone and disable the engine. By doing so we gain a couple of wands of hydraulic push.

There are stairs leading up. There are two robed women with Yasha in there. I fly up and begin attacking. Saito shoots a man bane arrow at Yasha from the level below, and with some mysterious power I can only call DM-writeup-writing-bonus-power, hits her. We have a small issue climbing the ladder as it would take Kai far too many seconds to climb up and join the fight. But eventually we get everyone involved and Long-tuk triple water blasts an enemy clear off the side of the ship. Yasha smashes a white gem and an air elemental appears. While attempting to fight it, Long-tuk gets pushed off the boat! He begins to swim for dear life. Everyone is casting spells left and right, and all of a sudden a lightning bolt hits Saito and he falls down dead. Like really dead. Like dead as a doornail dead. And then this funny thing happens, that I would liken to the Munchkin card “clerical error”, and Saito seems far less dead. People are pissed off, and we struggle for many many series of 6 seconds. But eventually saito manages to kill Yasha with a mane-bane arrow. When we get a moment to breathe, we notice that the ship is filling with water. Kai uses a scroll of water control and we try to stop the valves. We just barely do it and prevent the ship from sinking, but it has sustained lots of damage.

We go back to the Captain to tell the tale of our battle with Yasha. We notice that he has a painting of a woman standing by the sea by Di-Kang. We sell him our similar painting for 3000 gold.

We learn from Rue that she has a series of tasks she must complete before receiving her rank, and that the first mate needs us to honour the Sun Goddess by taking the trident to the temple of the fire goddess Ama Teresu on Biaku. Long-tuk learns that Chiwayloon from the temple on the Amado needs us to look for the wild stallion with writing across the sky in a crater. Kai and I exchange funny glances, and agree to keep an eye out for this oddity.

We rest up for awhile and sell our loot before disembarking at sunrise rock.

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Yamato, Part One
THERE WAS A FIREFIIIIGHT

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?

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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.

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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…

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