Thousand Gods, Thousand Graves

Chapter 6: At the Library

As the party rallies around Kun to make sure he will survive the arrow shot, Asika takes to checking the would be assassins(?). Asika is no stranger to the Shadow Warriors of Agando and she is immediately sure of their point of origin. In addition to their blades, one of them had a tincture in a small vial. The owner of the house is warned to get back inside.

Kun gets up and looks at the grey mark on his chest that morphs into the shape of a persimmon tree that grows and then drops its fruit and leaves. At that moment, Kun zones out and says “Get me to some water.” At which point, he starts tracing lines into a water barrel with his finger while staring into the air. As Shao watches, he can make out some of what his former master is writing. They are directions. As to where, he cannot discern.

The incident is over within a few minutes. After which, the party and Kun make their way to Jido to report the odd attack. It doesn’t take long for Kun to put the pieces together and name Wumacan Trow as the one behind the assault. Trow is a former citizen of Agando, banished some years ago from the City of Secrets. Trow had been at the Great Library of Zhenji eight years ago, in the season of the Silver Rice. Kun apparently did not take a liking to the young wizard and thus did not fully open the library to Trow’s researches. Despite this being a not uncommon incident, Shao is able to dimly recall this particular unsatisfied customer. Trow was a screamer and tantrum haver. Those parts of Trow’s exit were memorable enough to stick in Shao’s mind. Kun can have that effect on people.

Kun then instructs the group to accompany him to the library to help figure out exactly what Wumacan Trow has exacted from him.

At the best of times Kun comes across as gruff, even rude. This was not the best of times. His condescending attitude, long experienced by Shao, is new to Asika and Karvara. Asika is immediately tasked with making tea while after Karvara demonstrates his knowledge of the library’s geography, his muscles are put to use getting Kun an ottoman for his long pained leg. Shao is then sent off into the bowels of the new library to retrieve a list of books and documents. This is definitely a new library and many of the rows of books are still untamed. It takes Shao quite a while to fill Kun’s marvelous red satchel with the requested titles.

It soon becomes obvious that Karvara is not able to meet Kun’s monumental demands of the maps set before him and the Red Prince is set off to the kitchen to make the next round of tea. However Asika, to Kun’s exceedingly pleasant surprise, manages to properly recite the poetry of Ranak the Bold and reveal a specific insight. That success gets her invited to his table to look at another book. Shao does his best with the next round of texts and the search goes on for sometime before Kun says, “He wanted to know where we hid the Treatises of Gotal (I-IX,X-XII are MIA) because he is searching for Otota, the lair of the Serpent Queen.” It is soon explained that the Serpent Queen can answer any question for a price. She resides in the high mountains of the God’s Peaks. They separate the lands of the Badohan from the lands of Veydoharrapa to the South. “He asked me the wrong question, the idiot.” says Kun. He asked for the scrolls and not the actual location. He could have saved himself a step. “As if some of us couldn’t figure out the mystery with only some of the clues…”.

Kun further explains that as it became apparent that not all of the library could immediately be smuggled out of Zhengi before the Badohan invasion, he had Minh begin stashing titles in around the area. The treatises are in a fishing town north of Zhenji — an area now controlled by the Badohan. While the party may not know Trow’s ultimate question, they all agree that it would be best to stop him and be default perhaps return some of the books to the library.

Chapter 5: Goodbye to Lapis

The party, wounded and near exhaustion, leave the caves of Lapis and emerge into the daylight on a small beach. Above them, on a rocky outcropping are a contingent of Corusan soldiers. They are cheering their leader, Dormant, who is riding one of a pair of giant Sea Cranes, a sea gull-pelican hybrids the size of a small sailing ship, chasing the Grey Tooth. His giant bird is able to get to the pirate vessel in time to drop a load of vomit and a droppings on the rigging. At which point, a large swell forms behind the Grey Tooth and the wave carries it out to sea and away from Lapis. Victory!

Atop the cliff, the party is able to see the large baskets of fish and other instruments used to ritually summon the giant birds. Dormant lands and the group watches the huge creatures fly directly West a few miles away. “That is their home.” Dormant says. Karvara makes a mental note to avoid these waters with his ship.

En route back to the plantation, Dormant thanks the characters for their service and lets them know he will make a reply to Jido.

The Corusan’s celebrate their success that night and the next day hold the pearl diving event. The characters are each invited to participate. Karvara and Shao fair well enough to find a pearl of their own. Asika, to no one’s surprise, does exceedingly well. She finds a series of black pearl the size of nectarines. She keeps one while the rest go to the coffers of Lapis.

The next day, at the dock, Dormant sees the party off. He gives them a letter for Jido and etches a temporary tattoo on each of them. This tattoo he says is a special thank-you from him personally and should aid them in their endeavors.

Nanumas is punctual and picks up the party. They ask him about the Sea Cranes to which he knowingly acknowledges their existence. “Yeah, I avoid those waters.”

Back in Figgins, the characters are debriefed by Figgins. The letter from Dormant is positive and lets them know that further negotiations will be taking place. The West Willow thanks them for their hard work and gifts the party with credits to the newest public bath house for some well deserved rest and recuperation.

Shao makes his way there and soon encounters his old master, Kun. Kun, normally stand offish, does seem to soften some this time around near Shao. Karvara and Asika catch up after awhile and the group of them spend the evening listening to Kun, who is maybe a little tipsy.

On the walk home, Asika hears a blade exit its sheath as they pass an alley. She immediately throws herself between Kun and the assailant, a black masked would be assassin! She strikes and is able to hurt the ninja. At which point a quick battle ensues. The party, while not completely armored, is able to resist the two assassins that seem to be targeting Kun. Karvara moves himself to better protect the librarian. After dispatching the two ninjas, a third one appears from a roof top and shoots an arrow into Kun. Kun falls to the ground. Asika makes to climb after the ninja but cannot because of the crumbling masonry.

Karvara, stooping to help Kun, pulls the arrow free, which seems like compressed ash in his hands. The wound is a magical one, and not from a traditional arrow.

It has left a mark on Kun’s chest. A mark of the city state of Agando. A city to the West and one that fell to the Badohan before Zhenji.

Chapter 4: Caves

With the orcs routed, the party soon goes about helping the Corusan’s securing their area. Karvara, used to giving orders, sets about getting the wounded help. Asika begins checking the bodies of the orcs while Shao undertakes last right and final words for those that have passed on both sides of the battle.

However, the peace does not last long as a volley of arrows is released from the jungle into the Corusans on the gate. A small scale sniper battle begins.

At that point, a grey pinprick of light grows into a sphere. The sphere is a reality bending path that has Tovik Vanst at the center of it. He motions to Theo and says “The time of choosing has arrived. You must come with me now.” At which point an orc arrow flies through the half formed bridge to the city of Dagmar. Tovik scowls in displeasure, spins and unleashes a grey swath of necrotic magic with his scythe into the jungle. The energy fells tree and orcs alike. The grey beam cuts them in half and rots them at the slice. “Now!” he yells at Theo. With a shrug, Theo walks up to the sphere and beyond. At which point, the spell resides.

The three remaining ambassadors then check the pool where the orcs had emerged inside the compound. There, they find one of the orcs has died. He drowned when an oyster trapped him underwater. Besides good equipment from the Western continent, he also had an ivory thumb ring for his bow of note.

Please that Karvara was able to help his niece, Dormant then asks the party if they will continue into the caves to pursue the orcs. If they follow the caves, they will lead to the coast. Dormant will lead a team overland in the same direction. Ideally, they can find out what happened.

The party agrees and begins their search of the caves. They are each given a Night Stick torch to help them in their search. They soon see the holes the orcs made to drain the pool of water. In addition, the group can see a number of holes that lead into a series of water filled caves below them. After a little bit of searching and following the bloody hand prints of a wounded orc, the group comes to a large cave that has a series of columns rising from the depths. The orcs obviously used these columns to get in and out of the caves and lift themselves up and out of the water filled cavern. However, they covered their trail by cutting the ropes for climbing.

After a few minutes of preparation, Asika soon uses her climbing skills reestablish the rope connections and makes a hand over hand bridge for her two compatriots. All goes well until the very end when Shao slips and falls into the water for a momentary dip. At which point, the two surviving orcs make their appearance. They had been hiding in a canoe in wait of any that would pursue. However, it does not take long to dispatch the two orc archers. Between crossbow bolts, furious shuriken and Shao’s lightning sword techniques, their resistance is soon overcome.

The adventurers then take their newly acquired canoe and continue down the passages. They travel much faster by boat than by land. After a quick trip down a waterfall, the party found itself again under fire by another batch of orcs. The party quickly beaches and assaults the rock face perch of the lookouts. Karvara makes quick work of the sword wielding guards while Asika takes out a couple of the archers. Shao is able to contribute and soon the orc number is cut in half. However, two of the orcs are shamans. One of which is able to drop the tired and wounded Karvara with a magical bolt from his staff. Asika and Shao then work together to help bring Karvara back to standing. However, it is a tough battle and all are severely weakened after their victory.

Chapter 3: Dormant

Dinko and the party relax on the veranda for some time enjoying the breeze, music from magical statuary, sipping chilled wine and playing games of regicide. Dinko is a good host, but does seem to get lost in his own thoughts from time to time, staring off to the East and the vast sea.

After some time, Chalt, now awake and joining the group, and takes a seat on Dinko’s hammock, seemingly oblivious to any sense of decency or decorum. After a few minutes of awkward conversation, Dinko retrieves for Chalt a small icecream with sprinkles. Chalt soon becomes dozy and is sent off to bed. However, guards have been gathered in the great hall looking expectantly at Dinko. With a slump of his shoulders, the halfling goes off to prepare dinner.

The rest of the evening is pleasant and relaxed. Dinko has prepared yet another meal. During which he serves some exquisite Yellow Divers Tea to Shao. The last batch was made some time ago, but a small glowing ward diminishes as the seal is broken so it has remained fresh.

The group is set with accommodations for the evening. Asika and Karvara soon make their way out to explore the fortifications. It is easily apparent that there are not nearly enough guards to support this greatly damaged building. The guards were alert for sure, just not numerous enough to hold off a sustained assault. So,any attack other than the front gate would have a high margin of success. In addition, the guards were using Hao-Ying (owl-hawks), sleek nocturnal predators to help monitor the structure.

The next morning the group’s suspicions that they had taken people’s rooms are confirmed when they go downstairs to see several guards getting up after having slept on the couches and chairs in the great hall.

Dinko prepares a nice breakfast for their journey. To get to Dormant, the characters must cross the island to go to his plantation. “It’s hot and a jungle and there are bugs.” says Dinko, obviously not envious of their trip whatsoever. Hagata will take you and the mule. Bug juice is given to everyone and a thick envelope as their introduction to Dormant. “Good travels” says the earnest halfling as they set off.

Hagata is able to hack his way through the rapidly overgrowing path and take get the characters to the plantation just as night is falling. Although, it is a jungle and not everyone could escape the inopportune leeches. Dinko did manage to get the box of Yellow Divers Tea into the beast’s saddlebags as a parting gift.

The plantation guards give a grim welcome to the heroes in the dark. Hagata seems to have to remind them who he is before they let the group through the large gates. The guards seem a little edgy at things in the night.

Dilz, the major domo, intercepts the party before they get too far into the fine stucco and tiled roof house. Its broad and surrounded by a large thick wall. Between the wall and house a series of large pools set at intervals along the main path. Dilz is polite enough to give the group refreshments and a quick introduction to Dormant, master of the house, before sending them to bed.

A large breakfast is being held the next morning. There are many guests and most are dressed in swim clothes. There are also a large number of crowbars and digging tools at their belts. At first the party is given rude glares and snubbed for being outsiders, however, one lady introduces herself. She is Elise, Dinko’s wife. She lets the group know that today the Corusans are celebrating their crop of oysters. There will be a pearl diving event and there is a competition to see this year’s crop.

Dormant leads the celebration with a few spoken words. The divers begin to take their places among the pools. One young woman at the far end of the field screams as an orc clubs her in the head. Soon, dozens of orcs begin to make their appearance on the field, all climbing up from the oyster pool.

Orc pirates have orchestrated a simultaneous attack. The main gate is broken as the same time a group makes its ways out of an emptied Oyster pool. The group immediately joins the counter attack. During the fight, a number of orcs are dispatched by the party. A dozen Corusans are killed or wounded in the melee. The party’s presence makes the crucial decision during the conflict and the orcs are soon routed with three orcish archers retreating down the emptied oyster pool to make their escape.

Dormant makes his appearance at the very end. He is armed with an epee and helmet. Seeing a wounded Corusan girl, he picks her up and begins sobbing.

Chapter 2: Lapis

The Faithful Star returns to port along with its pirate prisoner. En route, Shao sees to burying the dead on both sides of the conflict.

Back in port, the party along with many of the other passengers sans Milos and Tovik, begin interrogating the orc. Ojas takes the lead and uses his powerful innate charisma to convince the orc to cooperate. The orc’s accent is hard to understand, but ultimately it comes out that he was a crew member of the Grey Tooth serving under Captain Fever Hand, an orc pirate with a red and blistered right hand. He usually prowls the Northern waters, but has recently come South. They have made a couple of raids, including a Corusan fishing vessel just a few weeks ago. When pressed about why they came South, it seems to have started after a meeting with the Grosho the Stalker, a hobgoblin pirate and Captain of the Carrion Crow. The Captains made some sort of bargain on the island of Tubo to the North and Fever Hand ended up getting the Storm Caller banners. The prisoner did not think that the Grey Tooth was sent to specifically attack the Faithful Star, it just looked “sloppy” and was therefore an easy target.

Jido is able to add to the conversation by informing those present that there is a small human fort on the Southern side of Tubo. Apparently a dragon was routed from there a few years ago.

During the interrogation, Jido recognizes an opportunity and asks Shao, Theo, Asika and Karvara to go on a mission to the Corusan island of Lapis and meet with Dinko Hagley. There they are to make introductions and feel out what it would take to make a formal treaty with the island of Lapis. This could be important because the Corusans have access to at least two warships. Also, the timing could be right since a fishing vessel was just attacked.

They group spends some time trying to get more out of the orc and then uses their own resources to find out more about pirate activity, Tubo and Lapis. Not much is discovered other than the waters to the North are pretty hostile, but most already knew that.

The next day the group meets Jido for a quick breakfast with horrible tea. He drops some coin on the table and tells them they will be sailing with Captain Nanumas who will be making a trip to Lapis. He gives them a small bag of coins to cover any expenses and then is called away by a messenger.

On the way to Lapis, Nanumas directly asks what the group could be up to and why Jido would be paying for such an endeavor. When the group explain their diplomatic mission, he agrees that it makes sense. Besides, having more warships patrolling these waters would make his job easier, especially if there are orc pirates thinking about coming South. Nanumas says that he will be back in about 4 days depending on the tide.

Lapis, like many Corusan establishments, is known for its fine wines and brandies in addition to their giant pearls. However the port to Lapis is daunting and Nanumas has to direct all of his attention to the ship in order to not be dashed on the giant cliffs and rough breaking waves. The party departs and winds their way through the narrow path and meets up with their first guard.

An immediately good rapport is established with the guard, Hagata. Especially after the party gives him some much coveted sugar cane. “Sweets!” he exclaims. He runs them up to the path and past the various murder holes and other defensive emplacements. The fortifications of Lapis are for the most part in disrepair. Roughly a third of the building seems to be intact and the once intricately decorated walls have been repaired in a rather more functional manner.

It doesn’t take long before Dinko Hagley comes out to meet the diplomats. Dinko is a well dressed halfling in his prime. The party is a bit surprised that this is the Corusan they are to meet. Instead of trying to impress the party with the “riches” of Corusan, Dinko welcomes the party to a cozy and very well stocked kitchen. It is obvious that he has been preparing a meal. Dinko also introduces the group to Chalt Hagley, the head of this household.

Like all Corusan business dealings, the meal and wine comes well before the idea of talking specifics. Dinko is a great cook and in addition to awesome food and drink at his disposal he has made a sorbet. Chalt has a hard time keeping up with the conversation and Dinko soon puts him down for a nap.

Once some privacy is established Dinko takes time to listen to the party’s request, especially since Jido is named. Dinko also tenses up when the Storm Callers are mentioned. “It won’t be easy, you know.” Says Dinko. He goes on to describe how the Corusan’s are unable to verbalize their weakness. It seems their pride to too strong. However, Dinko agrees to set up a meeting between the party and Lord Dormant, ruler of Lapis.

Chapter 1: Maiden Voyage
The Faithful Star is attacked on its first outing

Members of the attending a party in the City of Figgins celebrating the inaugural voyage of the Faithful Star, the first ship in the coast guard’s new fleet. The movers and shakers from each nation’s colonists have gathered to witness exactly what their collaborative efforts have created. The easily recognizable members of the Big Table are all present: Jido Liumin and Kun Yat-Sen from Zhenji, Kjell Mayse from Igeliask, and Ojas Maurya and Kolo Krann from Veydoharrapa. In addition, Milos Cranzter, Tovik Vanst also appeared. Usually these wizards are hard pressed to leave Dagmar for any reason.

Tovik’s arrival causes Minh to stir, so Shao moves to the other side of the balcony. There he encounters Captain Nanumas eating spicy prawns. Nanumas’s parents died a year ago in one of the many storms and Shao was able to help see them to rest. As half elf and half sea elf there were many aspects to be covered to ensure a proper funeral.

Nanumas is a well respected merchant in the Thousand Isles known for having either outsailed or outfought many pirates in the Middle Seas. Nanumas was apparently the Big Table’s first choice to captain the Faithful Star, but turned it down. “Don’t like the lines.” “It may be a collaboration of each nation’s ships, but why didn’t they take the best parts?” “You know, I bet that bottle Kjell brought doesn’t even have liquor in it.” He didn’t get to say too much more before his wife and children showed up to take him away.

Jido made sure to have his new favorite pupil, Theo, got a good view of the ship’s christening, while seeming to ignore Karvara. From Asika’s vantage point, she witnessed her brother, Racht, preparing costumes while Pranay lead the celebratory dance.

There were many speeches about togetherness and while of different peoples they are all united on these multiple islands before the actual voyage took place. Once at sea, everyone was introduced to Captain Geenan Marrappa. Geenan has an imposing figure with a feline appearance save for the short horn growing out of the middle of his forehead. He was a Captain in the Veydoharrappan navy, but lost his ship during the nation’s fall.

The Faithful Star sails well for the first few hours and makes its way under great fanfare from each island passed. However, as it makes it final round, clouds begin to form in the East. The pending storm was identified as unnatural with its swirling green formation. Beneath the clouds, a giant wave rapidly approaches the Faithful Star. Riding the wave is an Orcish hammership, designed to give a jumping off point for their fierce raiders. It announced its presence by letting loose a volley of fire coral to distract the crew and passengers. The stinging sensation of the coral does not have as much of an impact as the orc pirates would have wanted and Geenan orders his sailors to retaliate. Milos and Tovik, while unexpected attendees at the party, were well useful passengers on the Faithful Star. Their combined magic tied up the magical defenses of the Orc pirates.

Asika, Shao, Karavara and Theo were quick to engage the Orc boarders. They were bolstered by the sorcerer powers of Ojas and his commanding voice. Once Asika started sinking her blade into the orcs she ended them one by one. Theo found them hard to hit at first. Shao moved aft to defend the non combatant passengers and did well in this naval engagement. During the fight Jido and Kun were attacked. However, Jido’s monkey, Hoo Zi, defended them viciously before further help arrived. Karavara held his own and his broadsword took the head off of an orc. Captain Geenan jumped ship and made an attempt on his rival. However, the orcs were able to defend against his claws. It did not take the combined forces of the Faithful Star and her passengers to rout the Orcs.

As the Pirate Ship disengaged the Faithful Star was able to take a prisoner of one of the orcs.


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