Glowing Embers

Session 21
In Which There Is A Battle
  • With most of the Dragon-Blooded engaging the Lintha at sea, and with the Golden Lord at hand, his banners being flown by their armies and Loxodon sporting all the regalia of one he has blessed, the party successfully convinces the remaining generals that they are the enemy of their enemy and won’t hang around, and gain reluctant “I’ll just pretend I didn’t see you and your armies” permission to save An-Teng’s butt. With their siege weaponry and armies in place, the Mountain Folk explode dramatically from the ground behind the front lines, led by Bhael.
  • Battles ensue, and the siege weaponry lays waste to the Lintha ships (and a few Dragon-Blooded ones “by mistake”). The armies combat the units of Elephant cavalry and Mask-controlled animals, and the party track down the puppet prince and remaining Shadow Assassin nobles. Bhael knocks them unconscious with a Jadeborn grenade, and the Golden Lord agrees to take them all into custody and see that justice is done. *And alas, we run out of time before the aftermath can be done justice, but the near-future plans of the party-members are shared, and they agree that someday they will meet again…
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Session 20
In Which a Battle is Planned
  • Charging Crouching Panther with recruiting the Ssaanethi and as many of his Dragon King allies as possible, the party set of for the Pinnacle of Mercy to recruit the Golden Lord to their cause.
  • Upon their great success, which warrants Loxodon an endowment and assures the Golden Lord’s full cooperation and support, and after some serious strategising, Bhael parts ways to recruit the Mountain Folk, at which he is phenominally successful!
  • Er…
  • That’s it.
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Session 19
In Which A Strategy is Formulated

Temporary version

  • On the boat, Loxodon summon (house-modified) Alveua to heal those of the party unable to heal themselves.
  • On arrival at the Manse, they find Bhael already in its grounds. Ryu, Loxodon and LBF have a private discussion, during which time Bhael investigates LBF’s prisoner- or would have done, had her method of restraint not been so creatively disturbing.
  • They hold a war meeting with Crouching Panther, who volunteers to recruit Ssaaneth and his Dragon King allies to help them ensure the SSV’s defeat. Ryu suggests appealing to the Golden Lord for his aid, and after a collective prayer, they decide to visit the Pinnacle of Mercy to speak to him in person, as while they receive the impression that he received their prayer favourably, he did not appear to them. Bhael says he can most likely persuade the Mountain Folk to assist them, especially as the SSV are allied to the Lintha; to which even Loxodon exhibits a level of disbelief regarding Bhael’s connections (while the others having no clue as to what the Mountain Folk are beyond Bhael’s previous mentioning of them).
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Session 18
In Which A Life Is Spared, and Others Not So Much

Temporary Version

  • Each Lunar is attacked in their sleep by an Akuma. A significant battle ensues, from which the Lunars emerge victorious and without casualties- though Corvus seems to have vanished without a trace, and one member of the Sworn Brotherhood wasn’t seen. Zinan is spared at Lady Bright Feathers’ insistance; he is then drugged to keep him unconscious.
  • Tacitus successfully sneaks out and steals a cart, which they pack up with their belongings and drive to their boat. They then set off up-river towards Crouching Panther’s manse, where they plan to recuperate in safety and plan their next moves.
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Session 17
In Which Plans Are Made

Temporary Version

Loxodon lies ill with plot fever (though is well-tended by Tacitus, and Corvus brews a remedy for him that would’ve cured a lesser malady); Ryu works on his craft-projects and sacred-hunts an alligator; LBF sacred-pursues and seduces a pretty young lady and knocks her unconscious to acquire her form, and later sacred-hunts a gull; Corvus tutors Braith in the history of alchemy; and Tacitus studies his tutor-gem, sneakily uncovers Ryu’s secret project with the aid of Corvus, asks Loxodon for a lecture on the subject of Exaltation Shards, and anonymously leaves LBF the set of moonsilver-leaf armour as a gift.

The visit to Braith and Rukia is discovered, and the party investigates the whereabouts of Seki and Taro, the named perpetrators. Discovering their home address, Corvus sends a gilmyne to investigate, and when it doesn’t meet him at the designated spot with little sign of a struggle, he decides to summon a decanthrope, and that evening sends a single body to investigate the house. It returns in the designated time, and describes the presence of the twins, Zinan, and their parents, along with three demons- a tea-kettle, a passion moray and a needle-maker; all material.

As they sleep that evening, the ominous call for a wits+awareness roll that nobody succeeds heralds serious trouble just around the corner…

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Session 16
In Which Mahila is Neutralised

Temporary Version

The party discern Mahila’s location and observe her activities, including a meeting with other members of the Seven Stranded Vine where they discuss the pros and cons of escalating events to accelerate their coup further. The decision which is reached is that “dealing with” General Shuri should be their priority, and they should remain low-key.

Party go to the barracks where Mahila is staying at night, and attempt to murder her in her sleep, succeeding in killing her and her loyal lieutenant Atsuko and escaping before reinforcements arrive. They leave Loxodon’s demons behind to take the blame, who attack the soldiers who first arrive on the scene before being Banished (presumably by a dragon-blooded sorcerer).

While they were out, Rukia (formerly Kharyu) and Braith receive visitors, who explain the situation to them and receive their Sashes back.

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Session 15
In Which the Pack are Visited by the Cousins

Temporary Version

Tacitus scouts out the burnt ruins of the house they torched last session, and finds Cathak Horus on the case. Meanwhile, LBF tries and unfortunately fails to knock an Air Aspect female dragon-blood unconscious to steal her form; Ryu crafts; and Loxodon sends his Decanthrope to spy on Mahila, the Earth Aspect Akuma who’s next up the chain in the Seven-Stranded Vine. Just as they’re all at the house and about to leave to confront Mahila, some children are heard in the garden. Ryu opens the door to two 9-year-olds and a 19-year-old, claiming to be cousins of the girl someone fitting Ryu’s description rescued from a house fire the night before. This checks out with Loxodon’s memory of the girl’s aunt’s memories, and so they are invited in for some (marvellous) tea. The pack are on edge, but don’t do anything rash (mostly). The children depart safely, with invitations to return. The pack decide against moving further on the SSV that day.

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Session 14
In Which A (Not-So-)Innocent Family is Slaughtered

Temporary version:

The party went to the safe house Crouching Panther knew of, and slaughtered everyone but the young girl there, who they Peacock Shadow Eyes-d into believing they (as indistinct figures) rescued her from a house fire (instead of murdering her aunt right in front of her!). They then looted the house and set it on fire, saving the girl and leaving her with a guard.

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Session 13
In Which Corvus is Overprotective (but also Useful), the Party Arrives at Salt-Founded Glory, and the Satrap is Announced to be Dead
  • Loxodon’s hallucinogenic herb use has left him incapacitated for 50 hours.
  • On the boat, Lady Bright Feathers converses with the mortal crew, and uncovers that rumour has it that the Prince of the Shorelands (renowned for his idolisation of the Dragon-Blooded) was assassinated and something stolen from his palace, while the Prince of the Highlands (renowned for his distain of the Dragon-Blooded) suffered only a cat-burglary. The Prince of the Middlelands also suffered a theft, and was confronted with a bloody murder outside his chambers, the victim and perpetrators of which have yet to be identified, though the authorities believe it to be the result of an internal fight between the anathema responsible for all the attacks, the ruckus it caused leading them to leave before making an attempt on Kiotaran’s life (if indeed they intended to).
  • Ryu struck up conversation with Corvus’s ward in order to find out more about their new compatriot, and discovered that he generally respected mortals, while not holding Exalts in great regard. He is also wanted in at least one place, largely for crimes against Dragon-Blooded- in those places, he is strongly suspected if not known to be an Anathema. Ryu turned the conversation towards more pleasant matters, first asking how Corvus treated his ward (well, indeed as though she were his younger sister), then towards an attempt at seduction.
  • Corvus noticed the shift from innocent discussion to seduction, and made his way over to the conversation, and from behind Ryu, used Peacock Shadow Eyes to make his ward distrust Ryu as a cad. Confused at the ward’s sudden shift in behaviour, Ryu attempted to disuade her of her sudden new opinion, but was unsuccessful.
  • The rest of the day and a half is spent uneventfully, with Ryu working on his crafting projects, Tacitus ensuring the boat continues to function properly (and sneaking a diamond for his troubles), and the others mostly resting.
  • On arrival in Salt-Founded Glory, a large crowd has gathered to observe the arrival of this strange new contraption, and the port-master greets them with surprise that they do not appear to be Dragon-Bloods. He asks Ryu to please reveal his nature, as in this times of sudden Anathema activity one cannot be too careful. Ryu attempts to circumvent the question, but simply causes the port-master to press the question harder. Corvus comes the the rescue, using Peacock Shadow Eyes to convince him that none of them could possibly be Anathema. Apologising profusely and insisting they waive the port fees to make up for his rudeness and suspicions in the face of such obviously trustworthy and innocent folks, the port-master clears a path for them to leave their boat. Unfortunately, while Ryu’s lemur-man form doesn’t fully count as a true form, and Tacitus succeeded in leaving the boat most stealthily, Lady Bright Feathers and Corvus’s Tells shone forth to those of sharp minds, and the cry went up of “Anathema!”
  • The port-master protested that such couldn’t possibly be the case, and Lady Bright Feathers quickly activated Cobra Hypnotic Method, freezing the mortals in place, though the Dragon-Blooded present shook off the influence and attacked.
  • Ryu threw a smoke grenade before blasting two of the Dragon-Blooded with his alchemical fire weapons. The fight was over quickly, the Dragon-Blooded too cautious of the mortals surrounding them to risk flaring their animas, and the Lunars showing no mercy. Lady Bright Feathers activated Forgetful Victim Prana, then the party activated to “rescue” the Dragon-Blooded’s personal effects before dumping the bodies in the river, then Lady Bright Feathers hid in the boat’s cabin to avoid her anima flare giving the others away, Tacitus snuck off (though kept the others in sight), and Corvus and Ryu posed as innocent bystanders in the crowd, counting on their hoods and the smoke to have hidden their identities.
  • Just getting away with it, Ryu led Corvus and Tacitus to rent a townhouse with a garden shed that could be used as a workshop, and then went to purchase some crafting supplies. Corvus left to go fishing and contemplate the world, while Ryu and Tacitus proceeded to go to a tavern. Ryu listened for any anti-Dragon-Blood talk, and upon hearing some, somehow managed to convince the dissidents to accompany him (a complete stranger) to a back room to talk. Tacitus remained in the main section of the bar, just overhearing the local gossip and enjoying a quiet drink.
  • Ryu talked to his new friends about dissident matters, and tried to convince them that Luna was a goddess worthy of more worship, though they seemed unconvinced and slightly suspicious at that. Meanwhile, a messenger of the town crier ran through the main entrance of the bar, announcing the sudden death of the Satrap before leaving to proceed to the next establishment. A waitress took up the cry to the side-rooms, and Ryu calmed her.
  • Everyone returned to the townhouse for the night, Ryu conveying directions to Lady Bright Feathers and a slowly recovering Loxodon.
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Session 12
In Which Kharyu is Rescued, and a Plan Formulated
  • The party run through the secret passageway, out of the safe-house, and through the streets- Loxodon appears as a brightly glowing, Moonsilver-tattooed man; Lady Bright Feathers is in her Beastwoman form; Tacitus appears as a normal-looking man; and Ryu is in his Beastman form as usual.
  • Upon arriving at the Seven-Stranded Vine’s ‘abandoned’ teahouse, Loxodon hangs back so as not to directly associate the others with him, as Tacitus melds into the shadows, Ryu starts stealthily casing the place, and even Lady Bright Feathers succeeding in becoming unobtrusive to mortal gaze.
  • Ryu detaches the lock from the front door without alerting anyone within, and he and Tacitus sneak inside. Both neatly avoid the people on watch-duty, and Ryu finds his way immediately to the room Kharyu is being kept in, quietly placing some explosives as he goes at strategic points. He finds her on a futon with another mortal girl, skillfully tosses a smoke grenade in the direction of the quietly-chatting, Gateway-playing cultists; and snatches up the apparently sleeping girls before escaping in the confusion.
  • Meanwhile, Tacitus sees a guard and takes pre-emptive action, punching him and, when the guard moves to respond, transforming into scorpion-man form to knock him out before he can raise an alarm. Doing more damage than he intended, he quickly stabilises the hapless chap with bandages, before making his way to the room Ryu entered. Despite the smoke grenade, Tacitus succeeds in moving the cultists’ Gateway game along a few plays before following Ryu out at top speed, the explosives detonating cinematically behind them, damaging only architecture.
  • In the street, a man spots the group, and recognises the other girl on Ryu’s shoulder- the man’s name is Corvus, and the girl is his ward and apprentice in the arts of thaumaturgy. He agrees to go with them away from the chaos, and Crouching Panther conjures the Cloud Trapeze for them and flies them post-haste to the entrance to his manse at the Thousand Dragons Gazebo.
  • At the manse, Lady Bright Feathers immediately retires to her room, exhausted. The others discuss what they intend to do next, deciding to go to Salt-Founded Glory and help restore and/or ensure the stability of the Shore Lands. Crouching Panther agrees to go to Jade Plum Citadel to discern the state of the High Lands. Loxodon then meditates and talks with Corvus for a while, and when Corvus excuses himself to become better aquainted with Crouching Panther and his manse, Loxodon selects some hallucinogenic herbs from Crouching Panther’s garden and meditates through the night. Ryu works on a couple of craft projects in Lady Bright Feathers’ room (planning stages and suchlike so as not to disturb her!), and Tacitus does the same elsewhere. As time passes, Ryu leaves LBF’s room, and he and Tacitus work together on a brainwave that had occured to them simultaneously- the steam engine, to quicken their passage to Salt-Founded Glory! They work through the night.
  • In the morning, the party (now including Corvus), with the two mortal girls, return to the Thousand Dragons Gazebo, purchase a boat from the nearest Guild trader (who slightly over-charges them), and Ryu and Tacitus fine-tune and install the steam engine. As they set off down the river, many gaze in awe and wonder at this strange contraption. The day passes uneventfully, as Loxodon smokes his herbs and ponders the necessary sacrifice he must make to initiate himself into the Sapphire Circle of Sorcery, and the others busy themselves with their own matters and helping the crew keep the boat in one piece and on course. Night falls..
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