Shadow of the Colossus
Current status is that the Empire still rules and protects it citizens beneath the gray sky, while a rebellion stirs at the fringes and in secrecy beneath the clouds. The lumbering silver-backed mountain known as the colossus, still ambles about the countryside leaving wreckage in it's wake.
This campaign will start in Eigyou, a trade city dealing mostly with agricultural goods traveling to the imperial capital of Shuto across a narrow channel called Dogleg Straight. Eigyou is near the heart of the Empire of the Clouds and therefor, weapons and armor are strictly controlled by the Empire.
Characters will be random adventurers in Eigyou whom Teernan has recruited.
If you are an outlander, you will likely have to register with Imperial guard who you are, what your business is in the empire and what armaments you carry. Depending on how you entered the country and what your business is, I'm willing to entertain the possibility of avoiding such a bureaucratic legitimization of your visit, if your backstory warrants it.
Possible character threads:
- Any of a plethora of basic adventurers not tied to the setting. These could be fortune seekers, pirates, information brokers, con artists, traveling entertainers, ancient sages seeking lore from the imperial libraries, aimless youths soul-searching, ex-convicts seeking refuge and redemption with the southern monks, rich nobles in seek of real estate ventures or countless others.
- Someone from Kara-Tur sent by the Emerald Emir on an urgent quest.
- An Imperial Gray Coat on business for the Empire.
- A player could be one of the Dark Templars carrying out Imperial orders.
A player could be sided with the rebels or the Empire or neither. If you have ideas for the Rebellion, let me know. It is far from developed. It has been shown in one small instance that the rebels were dealing at some level with the western barbarians for combat training, weapons and armor of their great western steel.
Characters will start with 200 points with the following specifications. No more than -100 in Disadvantages, dropped attributes, dependents, wealth and so on. No more than a score of 14 on an Attribute without supporting back-story, as a 15 is immediately apparent and draws constant comment as per description on pg 14. Tech level = 4.
I would also like to recommend that characters think of a handful of skills that help define your character and how they act in a given situation. These should be your primary skills and should have a skill level of at least 14. Then you should have another handful of secondary skills that it wouldn't make sense for your character not to have and have at least a level of 11. You can then add other background skills to flesh out your character.
An example would be if I were a pirate, I would probably have at least, the following primary skills: fencing (rapier), crewman, swimming. Then I may have the following secondary skills: boating, knife, gambling, intimidation, detect lies. And maybe some background skills that help define my character, like fishing and cooking because I used to be a fisherman and maybe slight of hand (for gambling) and brawling because sometimes the gambling doesn't go so well.
Maxwell Maddox played by Dan
An Outlandish bunch
This story begins in the Falling Sun in in Eigyou. Brigett sits at a table against the back wall of the Falling Sun Inn with a well dressed man who would normally be rather attractive were it not for the dark rings about his eyes which could only mean he hadn't slept for days. Teernan mentions to you (Brigett), "you're big enough, that's for sure and if what you say about your sword arm is true, then I have a need for you right enough, but how do we get your gear out of the city? If only we had someone to forge us a doctrine of right to carry, or even better, right to brandish." Brigett not knowing the city and not at all the socialite simply shrugged. Teernan then left the Inn so see if he could rustle up some documentation for her.
Having overheard the conversation, a dark-haired fair-skinned man crept from the shadows over to Brigett and offered his services as a forgery artist. Brigett was too shy to discuss much and told Maxwell Maddox to wait for Teernan. He drifted back to his table in the corner. While they waited, Teernan returned and spoke with Max, then again left to procure some needed parchment and ink. While he was gone, an outlander woman arrived in the Falling Sun and began asking the bartender about a man named Teernan. She introduced herself as Esme Harrington. Shortly after, a noble looking half-blood entered the establishment and after a confident scan of the occupants decided the man he sought was not present. Vasker Raiden decided to take a seat.
Moments later before Vasker sat, Teernan entered and the two met. Vasker told Teernan he had government business to discuss and Teernan sat with him and the two parlayed obscurely but eloquently. Max left from a back door and came in the front to sit near the two men and listen in on their conversation. Shortly after, Max and Brigett were gathered to Vasker's table and joined by Esme who learned from the bar tender who Teernan was by giving him a self-portait drawing.
Max and Brigett went to obtain her armor and weapons with forged documents. After Brigett dropped her armor in the cobble-stoned street and drew the attention of a city guard, the excursion ended with her unregistered implements of war locked in a guard station. Once the party reconvened, Vasker obtained Brigett's gear and the group left the city heading west.
Late that afternoon, an hour out on the main road to the west just before the dusk, the group heard a loud pop and saw a bright flash over the horizon followed by some screams. As they hurriedly crested the rise in the road they looked down into a valley where just as the road wove into some thick bushery, an old man with a donkey seemed to be fending off three bandits.
A brief combat ensued where two of the bandits were subdued by the old man,Yang Chao's, staff and the rest of the party. Max chased one of the three and a hidden archer deeper into the bush, but did not find them as Yang penetrated the bush behind him shouting overconfident challenges to the fleeing bandits. Vasker dismissed the remaining two bandits after demanding an apology to the old merchant. Yang introduced himself as a alchemist with extraordinary potions and began giving his snake-oil pitch to the party as they continued on to where Teernan claimed there was an abandoned barn with a nearby melon patch to supplement their dinner.
At the barn, Teernan picked melons and the hidden Eye of the Mountain from the poisonous melon vines and had a brief discussion with Esme about his curse and the stone, which she seemed determined to take back to the king of Cormire. Late that night while Vasker was on watch, Teernan spoke to him from the darkness. The minstrel asked if they could speak privately and the two shared some secrets, including Teernan's intent to go south and dispose of the Eye in hopes that it would rid him of his curse. Vasker urged Teernan to stick with them to the west until his business was finished at which point he would join Teernan on his quest south where Vasker had some friends he would like Teernan to meet.
The party journeyed through two of the three small villages in route to Ramiin to the west. They stayed at inns and lightened spirits through Teernan's masterful lute playing along with Vasker's recital of the Dragon's Jaw. Yang also worked some science to produce alchemical powder from the melon vines he gathered outside the barn.
On the fourth night of the groups journey west after some debate about a campfire, Esme confronted Teernan about his curse. After some outbreak within the party and Yang brewing a tincture to help Teernan sleep, Teernan told of his past with the templars and his acquisition of the Eye of the Mountain. He told of his run-ins with wizards and his shipwreck and how the cursed stone stayed with him. He then refused to give the stone to Esme so she could take it far away because he believes the only way to cure his curse is to take the stone back beneath the Gods Teeth far to the south and give it back to the mountain.
That night, while even Teernan slept soundly, Brigett kept watch from an eroded ledge above the road with the scant moonight. Suddenly Teernan awoke with a start. He seemed to hear the black garbed wizard's laughter and was mumbling for it to stop. Brigett heard nothing and told him there was no laughing. Moments later, a small purple-skinned ram-horned demon sailed bleating out the blackness into the camp.
The shriek/bleat woke those sleeping. No one was overly frightened and all leapt into action as the Demon danced around Teernan bleatingly laughing and pissing on him. The urine was scaldingly hot and reaked nauseatingly like an outhouse. When attacked by Max's poisoned dart, Vasker slamming it to the ground and Yang smashing it's face with his oaken staff, the demon farted loudly creating a visible cloud of noxious gas surrounding the demon. When Brigett's mighty blade cleft the demon it stuck the skull rod into the ground and vanished in another visble fart cloud and the skull began laughing maniacly to be heard by all until it was destroyed by Vasker's quick blade.
After the demonic encounter the party moved further west before sleeping through the night while Vasker kept watch. During the next day's journey to the 3rd village, Teernan told of his previous encounter with the demon and how wounds from its blade were unenjoyable. In the third village Teernan acquired clothing and returned Max's borrowed cloak, Esme inquired about curses and Vasker queried seeking knowledge off Imperial or rebel actions while Teernan played to delighted townsfolk.
The following day passed similarly in the fourth and final village before Ramiin. Additionally, Vasker gathered that the colossus approached from the south crushing the outhouse and farm of a townsman's relative.
The following morning, the party ventured into Ramiin where Teernan sought out more foppish clothing at the market, quizzing Brigett on her fashion opinions, while Esme found the library and searched for lore on curses, the colossus and the Eye of the Mountain. Meanwhile, Vasker found the Imperial post and acquired knowledge, an additional pony and travel supplies while Max and Yang tried to peddle potions before Yang found an apothecary and purchased some reagents for the Essence of Grace.
After convening, the party gets rooms in Fudo's. Vasker and Brigett went for a walk, Max tried to meditate before going down to the tavern where Teernan and Yang were piecing together the song they'd heard children chanting earlier.
Tree people tree people where have you gone? Out in the trees you hide in the the bright sun.
Skin of white, yellow, green and blue. Like spiders less two from the trees they watch me and you.
Tree people tree people where have you gone? Out in the trees you hide in the the bright sun.
If lost in the trees child, you ever do tarry. Then off into the forest you'll surely be carried
Tree people tree people where have you gone?
Out in the trees you hide in the the bright sun. Tree people tree people where did you go? If we're good little children we never will know. Only bad lasses and lads go out in the sun To live with the monsters and never have fun.
Vasker and Brigett followed Brigett's impulses to a small stone inn called The Sentry which stood out in Ramiin being primarily constructed of stone bricks rather than elaborate wood. At the inn, Brigett saw Durl's Axe which she was compelled to have. After offering the one-eyed barmaid 100 gold for the blade, they learned that the Inn was owned by a Mr. Fudo who runs multiple inns in Ramiin, including Fudo's where the party was staying.
After returning to Fudo's, Vasker found Mr. Fudo in the staff only area on the 2nd floor and quizzed him about the sale of the axe. Fudo needed the night to ponder Vasker's proposition.
The party then discussed plans to journey to the colossus the following day when they were approached by a blind prophet. Fortune for a gold? Do you care to know your future?
Vasker paid and the old man gave the curious Esme her fortune:
You seek many things. Some lost, others found. Many paths to the future, there are. That you have chosen recently is wise as your prior path would have left your journey short. Ooooorrrrraaa you would be wise to fear the men in dark.
Teernan then tossed a coin up for his fortune.
The curse that burdens you was no fault of the stone. Rrrrmmmmmmm yet it was the stone that brought the curse upon you. You are right to give the stone back. It is the thing you should do. he seemed to finish, but quickly turned back, But you must give it to its rightful owner or the land will forever quake.
The old man ended his display by shaking the table while shouting about the land forever quaking before he nodded once curtly and ambled off.
The following morning the party waited for Mr. Fudo who indeed sold the axe to Brigett.
They then made haste to head southeast and find the beast. As they approached, Max sensed a tremble in the earth. Vasker rode ahead to gaze upon the Colossus. He was approached by a dark rider and tried to stop the party, but Esme and Max continued on toward the lumbering beast. Vasker and Templar Peeyong exchanged words.
Peeyong told of one of his archers, San Won who tried to scale the beast during his night watch and fell, breaking his back upon landing. His screams awoke the men, but there was little to be done for the man. He was bent about, his heels were beneath him, touching his shoulders. So ends the tale of San Won.
Peeyong anticipated Imperial investigation and punishment and did not fear it.
My story will end here. I am at a loss as to what can stop this marching monument. It seems driven by a witless will I cannot ponder. We've seen it stop occasionally. It seems to sway back and forth almost as if looking out across the lands with it's cavernous dark eyes. Surely, the emperor would send a Gray Coat or more Templars to learn why I've not reported back my success. But you are neither. He shook his head defeatedly. No victory can be had against it and its plodding. He had resigned himself and his men to protecting the citizens from the colossus, having failed to stop or control it. Vasker insinuated that Peeyong had betrayed the empire to which Peeyong said if that was Vasker's stance, then their words were done and the two rode apart.
The party hastily constructed a plan to parley with the beast offering the Eye and if that were to fail, they would attempt to climb the monstrosity and replace its lost eye. There was some grab-snatch played between Esme and Teernan concerning the giant gem, before Vasker spurred everyone into action. Yang, Teernan, Brigett and Yang's disinterested ass watched as Vasker and Esme on one pony, followed by Max on the 2nd pony raced towards the marching mountain.
As we closed, they noticed Peeyong motioning his men towards the party and Brigett's grip tightened on her new axe as Teernan began humming a new tune.
Returning Sight and Discoveries
As the two ponies raced towards the Colossus, a third raced in carrying Peeyong who urged Vasker back away from the beast. Vasker and Esme reached the beast as Peeyong approached followed by eleven soldiers. The templar demanded to know what lunacy Vasker and his outlanders were up to as Vasker tried to get Esme to hand over the gem in order to offer it to the ambling mountain before them. Esme again withheld, and Vasker tried to parlay with the beast while Peeyong's soldiers formed a firing line and Peeyong rode over to the group as Max dismounted his unhappy steed.
Peeyong and Vasker exchanged some small talk and Peeyong kept a wary eye on the approaching axe-wielding Brigett while watching Esme begin a laborious scaling of the Colossus' leg while Max scampered up the beast like a gecko along a tera-cota wall. Teernan, Yang and the soldiers also watched as Esme hang over the beast's mammoth brow and placed the Eye of the Mountain into it's gaping socket. The beast stopped mid-stride and seemed to look about before its gaze settled on Teernan, the old man, Yang, and his ass.
Teernan feared the cursed gem now brought the attention of the beast upon him, but after some deduction on the part of the party, it was revealed that the old man was the center of the Colossus' attention and that the walking stone and earth giant followed the old man. Upon this discovery, Peeyong requested an audience with Vasker.
After a brief discussion, Peeyong and Vasker agreed to interrogate the mysterious old man. After Vasker took Yang into Peeyong's tent, Vasker returned to the party who was camping some 20 yards from the Imperial camp. He reported that Yang had been taken into Imperial custody until his relation with the Colossus could be reported and investigated further. Upon that proclamation Max began questioning the rights and authority of the Empire and the party discussed options of rescue or abandonment of the strange old potion peddler. It was decided they would join the soldiers for dinner and gather more information about the encampment before proceeding. Character Points
After joining the Imperial soldiers at their fires for food, the outlanders are left to themselves at one fire while Vasker joined Peeyong and his men. Max drifted into the darkness to check on Yang while Teernan began playing a loud and distracting tune. As Esme approached the soldiers' fire, Vasker escalated tensions calling into question Peeyong's right to hold command over the group. This escalation led do combat in which Max was twice speared by a darted guard in Peeyong's tent where Yang was bound and gagged. Also, Brigett cleaved two imperial soldiers and the Templar with Durl's Axe in a berserker frenzy while Vasker jockied for command of the unsure soldiers in the fog. Character Points
With the chaos of combat settled, Vasker rallied the remaining troops as Yang Chao saw to the injured. Esme and Teernan looted the imperial tents where Teernan found a locked chest containing some potions, a strange stone and some powder. Vasker had the injured and dead put into a tent and a watch posted while other soldiers were told to get some rest for their watch rotations.
Yang Chao and Esme went to inspect the colossus and Esme climbed to the beast's back as Yang Chao returned to the campsite to sleep in the half-tent next to the passed out Max. Vasker interrogated soldiers as Teernan listened in and Esme searched around the back of the beast.
As most slept, Vasker paced and kept watch until the gray dawn began to show through the clouds and fog. Pai Pai whistled from his mid-way outpost and Vasker awoke the party. Two dark figures approached as Vasker and Moonch marched out to meet them. The two attacked and combat ensued while Max tried to mount up and ride into combat amid swordplay and shouts from the soldiers' tent and raining fire arrows. A shout, "Feeble Templar! Following your shrouded emperor has brought you only death!" pierced the fog from the far side of the camp as Yang stopped Max, urging him to lie low in his heavily injured condition. Max finally complied and hid under a cloth cot and table after having flashbacks.
From the attackers and the burning tent a woman, to whom Vasker referred as "sister", walked through the thinning fog and entranced Brigett for a moment before Brigett came to her senses and attacked the attractive dark haired lass, nearly losing her arm to a delicate, yet devastating counter attack. Yang Chao and Max watched while Yang Chao toyed with throwing potions into the fray and Esme tried to retrieve the Eye of the Mountain. Character Points
Esme inspected the empty socket of the Colossus hoping to reveal what held the gem in place. Vasker and Suki walked and talked, followed by Suki's large cohort Ta. Yang saw to Brigett's wounds while Max listened in on Vasker and Suki's discussion about rebels, imperials, the protector and the ancients that summoned it. Moonch upon the advice of Vasker submitted and was stripped, tied and placed in the tent with Chao and Luey by Suki's men.
Esme, having wandered back to camp and introduced herself to Suki, searched the tents and found Peeyong decapitated and Teernan missing. After trading Yang a potion of the essence of grace for Brigett's sword, she promptly readied a pony and told Vasker she was going to find Teernan. Vasker asked Suki to send one of her men to aid. Ding Dong was sent to aid Esme.
Suki and her men, having gathered their wounded and all of the imperial armor and weapons, other than those on Vasker, left the camp after a riveting and heart-wrenching good-bye speech from Vasker.
Vasker gathered the party away from the soldiers and a conversation regarding next steps was had.
Esme and Ding Dong encountered Teernan with two men wearing imperial armor. After Teernan had explained that he went and gathered the scouts for backup, the group began back toward the camp. They were intercepted by Suki and her men and all black-clad warriors; Suki continued northward while Esme and Teernan returned to the camp.
Most of the party rested while Esme cooked up some left-over antelope and imperial rations and Vasker helped Moonch and Chao bury the fallen with a eulogy honoring the fallen as men and warriors that would draw a tear from imperial officers as well as from the fallen soldiers' sisters and daughters. After feeding the men and himself eating, Vasker passed out from exhaustion.
Brigett dreamed of a dwarf:
In the fogs of your dream you are approached by a heavily muscled stout little man. He is a very scarred dwarf who says...
Ah, my lad! I've been waiting for you. It's been a long while since I've been cast from the land of the living to walk the void. Waiting for a final end to that demon Akhad.
As he speaks, you realize he is not a pink fleshed living being, but a bluish cloudy apparition...
You see, I pledged my life soul and spirit to stopping that power-monger, another reckless move as I'm sure Shen would be quick to tell me, bless her old elven soul. But that pledge, and having her soul-bind me to that axe, is what's kept me here and now lets me see you, my distant blood-kin. Wait...(rubbing his apparitional eyes with a hammer-like fist) you're rather big for a dwarf...er...Is you a woman?
As you pause and ponder what to say, the apparition begins to fade into nothingness, then in a reality shift so common to dreams, where he stood only the axe you now carry remained, about to fall to the ground, but you swiftly reached out and grabbed it, feeling it's power course through you. You then awoke, laying where you slept, with your hand clasping tightly Durl's Axe.
The party awoke, one by one, and ate of Esme's antelope slop. Teernan, suspecting Esme of foul play, slighted away his slop without consuming the poisons he detected within.
When Vasker awoke and groomed, he listened to the debate of whether to go south to the God's Teeth and be rid of the Colossus and Teernan's curse or to go north to Ramiin and seek healing and medical attention. He called out while shaving that Yang should elaborate on the rest of his story for the party.
Yang slowly revealed that he once worked for the Emperor himself and that he had fled Shuto, having been the victim of some strange attachment. He revealed to the party some gray shell-like structure growing on his shoulder and down his arm to just above his elbow. It also seemed to be growing down his back, gray and crustacean. Esme asked about the Atum and there was discussion of Suki's comments about the ancients, and of the song Teernan learned from chanting children in Ramiin and of Yang's strange visions he attributes to the thing on his shoulder.
After more discussion as to where to go next, Yang tried again to communicate with the Colossus, first silently, then by shouting for it to sit. As Yang shouted to the beast, he staggered towards it and mumbled incoherently before speaking out in a language no one recognized as he apparently reached to embrace the massive form before him.
The old man then lowered his outstretched arms, staggered back a few silent steps, and fell to his knees. Vasker caught him as the others watched the mighty Colossus slowly lower its massive rocky head to look down upon the astonished party.
How a night was spent in Ramiin
In Ramiin, rooms were acquired in Mr Fudo's inn, where Teernan began eating, Esme went to her room, and Max went out to interrogate the stable boy as to medical attention. Vasker quizzed the two men drinking in the wee hours, before rousing Mr. Fudo to seek council. He was denied until morning.
Max learned of Dr. Hau and sent the stable boy to retrieve the old doctor for a night call rather than waiting until morning. Vasker and Esme went to the soldier station to gather intel on the area, the Colossus and recent happenings.
Dr. Fudo replaced Brigett's stitches and sewed her chest and nether regions while demanding hot tea from Max. Vasker lingered and waited stoically while Esme retreated to Vasker's bed, sharing a room with Teernan away from the commotion. Dr. Fudo then also helped Max by removing an infection and setting his splintered leg, finishing his work just before dawn.
The next day Esme and Teernan went to the apothecary to fill Yang's shopping list while others slept in. Esme bartered with the shop owner for a drawing of Brigett and a future date with her. Esme then went to the library to later be found by Max and Vasker while Teernan got Brigett up and had her bathe while he procured her new clothes, including a baby-blue silken shirt, then paid her off for her body-guard duties. Esme found a childrens' book telling the tale of old wise men who summoned a great protector to defend them and the lands from black-skinned demons who traveled in shadow.
He then took her to lunch with the shop owner while he sought out Vasker. Teernan drifted off to find some more of the items on Yang's list and the others retrieved Brigett and the goods from the apothecary. The owner was torn between Vasker's imperial demand for a 72.5% discount and helping Brigett, whom he seemed smitten by.
Yang was visited by a blue-robed traveler who asked of outlanders and of Yang's contraptions as he was doing science.
The party left Ramiin trying not to be too late for the mid-day rendezvous with Yang. However, Max insisted that they stop outside Ramiin so he could bathe in the river. Teernan caught up to them while they waited for Max.
Upon returning the the grove of trees, they found Yang still laboring over his science and gave him the ingredients to make Troll's Blood, a regenerative salve. Max got some more dye from Yang and went to the river to rinse his hair and re-dye it.
While Max was coloring his hair, he was attacked by the blue-robed stranger who met Yang earlier. The stranger mentioned how Max had broken their house and acted dishonorably, before throwing shurikens at the topless adventurer. Max yelled for Vasker's aid, but had felled the assassin and was busy breaking his fingers when Vasker and Brigett ran up. Having drug the unconscious man back to the camp, Max claimed it was an assassin and disallowed Yang to heal him, while the stranger was bound. Character Points
Into the Dulso
After having seemingly talked the assassin, Tofo, down and freeing him, the party discussed what to do about the Colossus. Yang asked it in an ancient language to stay and await his return. Having tested that the Colossus merely stood and watched Yang, the party broke camp and headed into Ramiin
Brigett sought out the owner of the Blooming Shroom Apothecary, followed by Max who pilfered some itch-vine and Yang who negotiated for some Essence of Grace components. Meanwhile, Vasker acquired traveling goods, courtesy of the Imperial reserves and Esme learned she carried a Power Stone from the Templar's tent and traded it for a different magic stone. Max also pilfered a cash box from a distracted vendor and was successful in price haggling to obtain some ratios for the journey.
As the party reconvened at the fountain statue near the market square in Ramiin, they were again greeted by the blind prophet:
"Rmmmmmmrr To the north...and west...an ancient warrior of peace...corrupted by power mmmm....his soul was cast out for a lifetime of lifetimes. Recently found itself iiiin the circles of hell ...fought his way out ...back to our world. He now seeks his former power. The Orochi hold de shield. He seeks de shield."
"The shield is near what you seek. Relics. Relics protected by dark magics. Daaark magics are locked in the Dulso. Bewaaaaare."
What else lurks in the Dulso?- "Huge brutes, the Orochi, giant spiders....squirrels."
As Yang walks away- "Rmmmmm Two spirits. Odd. Rare. Powerful. But room .... only for one."
Tree people?- "Orochi are not like you and me."
What of the Atum?- "Atum, the ancient race? You are imperial?" I am a man. "Ha ha, you are a man. (nods and grins knowingly) A man. "As your friend," as he points to Yang wandering some two blocks away.
As you all drift away from the old man- "De shield....was cast down a well. Deep into ruins. It was his before he fell. The angry ancients protected it after that. Then a dwarf.....a lion-crow.....a deceitful half-breed....others.....stole it from the ancients."
The party then searched for the missing Teernan before deciding to leave Ramiin without him. Before they left Vasker left a message for Teernan with a beggar in case he returned. They rode and walked north stopping briefly after Vasker removed his imperial armor and blades to talk to a rice patty worker who knew little of anything. They entered the Dulso forest and soon came across a seven foot tall pale green stone statue with hair of dark moss, an elongated face and four long narrow arms ending in three digit hands. Esme identified it as some sort of warning totem. The party continued further northwestward following a trail along the main vein of the disseminating river.
At the second such statue, the party decided to send scouts northward on the road on ponies to look for woodsmen before breaking off the trail and heading westward into the woods. As Vasker and Esme rode north, those waiting were surprise attacked by the imposing Trarch, roaring like great bears. Brigett having sustained a smashed arm and hand dispatched the beasts with a little help from Max leaping from an overhanging branch to deliver a crushing kick to the last beasts thick skull. Esme and Vasker returned. Vasker helped Brigett remove her crushed armor as Esme removed jewelry from one of the beasts and immortalized them in charcoal on parchment while Yang removed various bits from the monsters to use for his experiments. Max meanwhile used the huge beasts as target practice for his blowpipe and throwing stars.
Having journeyed westward into the woods, the party found strange green stones embedded or grown in the trunks of trees. Esme borrowed Vasker's crowbar to obtain one of the stones before the party made camp for the evening after some debate of whether or not fire or lanterns should be used. As they marched through the woods to find a stop to make camp Esme mapped the trees with the green embedded stones with help from Vasker and Max.
In the morning, Esme thought she'd seen something high in the trees before the party broke camp and continued westward. As the morning slipped by with the party following the strange embedded stones every few hundred yards, the woods grew foggy. Eventually Vasker called the party to a halt saying it was too dangerous to move in such dense fog. Max climbed a tree and could see over the fog which hung low. The party moved on slowly with Max and Esme hopping up trees to scout out a path, eventually seeing a strange break in the fog. The party approached it and came upon an old man.
As they walked through the thick fog, they came to a small clearing in the blanket of cloud. At the center of the hemisphere of clear air sat an old man, looking tired and worn. The pipe in his hand streamed a gray line up and into the fog overhead. He glanced from beneath bushy brows with weary eyes at Vasker.
"Ah, at long last. You, captain," motioning at Vasker's sash with his pipe, "must be Vasker Raiden." It's been a harrowing last few hours, since the news has reached Shuto."
"I have somethings for you." He rises slowly and then reaching into the bag at his hip, produces a cloth-wrapped package, which he hands to Vasker. The parcel feels like the Eye you previously held and is wrapped in a soft linen cloth bound by a fine silver chain clasped with a spider-shaped medallion. When you touch the clasp it feels warm and comforting. The old man notices you looking at the clasp and nods, grinning. "She said it will keep you warm in the cold of night and remind you of her love. My work here is done, now my path lies to the west." He nods to the party and ambles westward as the fog seems to close about him.
Trouble in the Trees
The party briefly discussed the Grey Coat before deciding to have Vasker carry the 2nd eye and to continue further northwest following the jade stones against Yang's wishes to return to the Colossus. When stopping for lunch, Vasker noticed something in the trees just before seeing an imperial soldier creep out from behind a nearby tree. Vasker went back to the party and notified them as bow-readied soldiers and a Dark Templar approached. Vasker gave brief orders to remain calm while he talked it out, but if that failed, then for Esme and Yang to ride south with the eye to the colossus while the others sacrificed themselves for the greater good.
The Templar,Hiroyuki's patience grew short as Yang proceeded to ignore his demands for submission and merely smiled at his inquisition. Hiroyuki ordered his soldiers to attack, causing Brigett to charge him. In a few moments, Esme had fled on Vasker's pony with his bag containing the second purple gem, Yang had ridden his pierced ass off into the woods as Max scampered about in the trees looking for his best option. The combat ended with five-foot arrows flying from high in the trees to kill the soldiers and finish off the Templar who had sustained multiple axe wounds from the crippled Brigett before stabbing through her face and into the ground, then being knocked to his knees by a lizar-leaping Max from the trees above.
Sadly, after the combat subsided and Brigett's vision cleared from her frenzied assault, her body gave up. As Vasker watched an Orochi brachiate towards them, Max verified that Brigett had no vital signs.
After a quick assessment, he Orochi hastily removed Brigett's armor and carried her off into the trees after pointing the two remaining men in a direction. Max gave a short chase until he noticed Vasker was not at his heels at which point he turned back and helped Vasker gather what gear they could before trying to follow the Orochi carrying the slain outlander.
After Yang had urged his ass onward despite its wounds with a draught of Yang' Virility(a.k.a Second Wind) the two fled at haste deeper into the Dulso Forest before being stopped by a large creature dropping from the trees above. Yang and the Orochi spoke briefly before it went to the trees to find Yang's party, specifically the young woman with bad teeth on the pony.
Notes from Orochi conversation: *"They do not belong here." *"You don't look like ancient of legend. The matron said she sensed an ancient coming." *"Many of our warriors have been sent to the ancient ruins. A veiled creature from the west leads a mercenary band to them. We fear they seek to awaken the dark ones."
Tree People Tree People
After a short absence in the canopy, the Orochi returned and led Yang to the Orochi village where he met the Matron who was working on Brigett who appeared to be in very bad condition.
Esme was also stopped by an Orochi who ushered her and Vasker's pony to turn about and guided her to the Orochi village.
An Orochi sentry eventually returned to Vasker and Max and also guided them to the Orochi tree village.
There was conversation with the Matron Orochi.
Points from conversation with Matron:
- "Welcome ancient one. It has been long since the Atum have walked freely, unoppressed by Kijin Tono"
- "The Dulso is not a safe place right now. Most of our sentries have been sent west, to the borders of the swamplands in hopes to stop the barbarians from waking the dark ones and there are an unusual number of Imperials in the Dulso" She then eyes Vasker.
- "Are you seeking refuge from the Empire, or are you here to aid against the waking of the Dark ones?"
- "The Dark ones long oppressed us, before the uprising. We were their slaves below ground. Toiling away in their mines before one of us escaped above ground and found the light, the leaves, the forest and life above. So unlike the cold dark of the tunnels below. He returned to rally us and plot an escape. We rebelled and escaped on the night the Dark ones ritualistically communed with their evil gods. While the majority of them were busy we over-powered the few guards and escaped. A small faction agreed to stay back, first distracting the Dark ones, then fighting them off to buy us time to escape. Since escaping, over a hundred years ago we have never went back to the Dark ones temple. We forbid it. We tell only our most trusted sentries about them so they know not to stray too near the temple of the Dark ones and too keep a wary watch shall the Dark ones rise against us."
Matron summons large turkey-sized spider guide to lead party to swamp.
Yang rides giant volkswagen-sized spider south through the Dulso and onward across the rice fields and farmlands to the Colossus despite awe-stricken rice farmers.
Party reviews pieces during week-long journey to the swamps and the temple of the Dark Ones in order to aid the Orochi.
Yang and giant spider ride the Colossus north to the swamp. Yang saw band of Orochi north of temple and rode out to meet their leader. He also saw glint of metal on temple as he rode past.
Yang gathered Vasker to help plan with Orochi leader atop the great Colossus. Upon asking the Orochi for rope and watching as one of the archers brought him a fine spidersilk rope, Vasker saw Ta with the Orochi warriors and learned that Suki Raiden was further back towards the woods aiding the wounded.
- find secret entrance
- treasure room
- barbarian confrontation
- creature awakens
- retreat, without brigget
- esme packs up
- battle atop the temple
- brigget ax, ninja max
- yang plows under the temple
After the temple falls, what does everyone do?
- Esme: Esme backtracks and finds where she hid the other eye and with all of her treasures gathered and accounted for she heads for Eigyou. Once there, she sends letters to her fellow archeologist friends in Cambria, to north. She then waits patiently to get out of Nouchi with her findings. In the meantime she starts working on some articles for the World Geographic Journal and learning more about the people of Eigyou.
- Vasker: Vasker's interest is in ensuring the Colossus is laid to rest peacefully back in the mountains, but the pressure of two dead templars (and his longing for Inarra) will soon call him back to Shuto to face his fate. First though, a heart-to-heart with sister Suki with the goal of keeping in touch and helping each other in the future, where feasible.