Tales From the Yellow City

Matchmaking in the River

Kai Leng nudges his fellow party. “Did you hear that? There’s nothing you should be hearing animals.”

“Kai Leng, did you sleep?” Con Rua asks. Frogs ribbit around the boat.

“It’s so quiet. Don’t you see it? There are no animal sounds.” Just as he says it, a bird passes by, loudly cawing.

Worried, Mu hits him over the head with an oar so that he would “fall asleep”. Kai Leng falls over with no issue. Squiggy pops out, worried.

Mu and Rohan study. Dyuang takes point and also takes up rowing. He hears rustling. Enemies? “Who is there, man or beast?” he shouts, in the Trade tongue.

A voice speaks back, a heavily broken accent: “Territory”, “Alon tribe”, “trespass”.

Dyuang rushes back to grab Mu, who cries out to the tribe that she is a friend and a member of the tribe. They ask her her mother’s name. Mu replies. “When was the last time you were at the tribe? Have you sworn allegiance to the Nipan tribe?” “What, no! Why would I defect from my mother’s tribe?” “She died three months ago!” they tell her.
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They arrive at the village. “You have not been here for a while, little girl,” a wizened old man tells her. Together, they talk. Apparently there was a misunderstanding; Mu’s mother was still alive and well.

The elder sprinkles Rohan and Dyuang with salt and gives them a garland of garlic. “And you must also hold an apple all the while,” he says.

“It is bad timing that you have. Another tribe has engaged war with us, because they do not agree with our culinary tastes. Our cannibalistic tendencies are our treasured cultural heritage.” the elder adds.

Mu leaves the party to visit her mother.

While Mu speaks with her mother, the Elder takes Rohan and Dyuang to an aromatic massage parlor. The Alon tribesmen carefully rub in herbs into their skin, making sure to really baste their nooks and crannies. Rohan, panicking, conspicuously mentions that he is a priest of a God. The tribesmen respond that they are actually familiar with Con Rua. “Oh! Wow. Is there a local shrine here?” Rohan asks. “Yes, our opium master, Ni Lan I keeps a small statue in her house.”

They head to Ni Lan I’s house. The floor slats are unusual: they are narrow, and spaced two feet apart. Dyuang rolls to avoid getting tripped up; Rohan follows. Mu decides to walk across the floor the traditional way: gripping the slats with her toes.

Ni Lan I offers Mu opium. Mu gratefully accepts. It is a stimulant. “We have come here for a business proposition, cousin,” Mu explains. She introduces her friends. Rohan introduces himself especially as a priest of Con Rua.

Ni Lan I displays her wooden statue of Con Rua. It is the exact same statue that’s been missing from his shrine. “I bought it from a really desperate looking high priest,” Ni Lan I drawls. “He had a fear of death in his eyes.”

Ni Lan I offers to sell it, but for 3,000 SP.

The gang decides to do a favor to her — recovering the bodies of her dead husbands — to get into her good graces. In return, they decide to ask for the location of a good stimulant opium to that can be profitably sold to students.

“You want it to be good for students, highly profitable—which means you want it to be very addictive—well, I’ll give you something. Grab the Eyes.”

A female servant hands her a puzzle container. Ni Lan I opens it to reveal a blue paste. "I call it Eyes. But, it is more formally known as the Sight of Asura.

“Now here is the problem. The problem is that there is only a limited amount of poppy that can be generated in a year. Unless you live in a very specific area in Sughd. As it happens, I am in contact with the oligarchy who leads over such land.

“Because of the special rarity, aside from that particular area, the process of constructing this will already require around 30 sp worth.”

Ni Lan I can help the gang get into a contract with the oligarchy so that they could receive it in seed form. The seed could even be planted, but the process of growing it is very difficult. It flowers very rarely. The expected yield is only about 10 flowers a year. Ni Lan I offers 10 seeds for 400 silver.

Alternately, she can offer a letter of recommendation, for only a one-time payment of 100 silver.

“Ni Lan I, um, just to ask about the old high priest,” Rohan asks. “What did he exactly get for the statue?”

“Information,” Ni Lan I says.

Rohan and Ni Lan I talk about the Con Rua religion. Ni Lan I reveals that she is not actually a true believer, but only kept the statue out of a love for loot. She also mentions that there is a Lamarakhi tribe, the Pawik, that worships a turtle god of disease.

“Well,” she says. “I am in need of a new husband. Hm. What we could do is, a god for a god. The Lamarakh believe that there is a pair of kinnara somewhere within the jungle. If you can kill the female, capture the male, and bring him back to me, then I will have a new husband.”

Rohan taps into his bank of religious knowledge. The Kinnara are demigods.

Changing track, he decides to give her 9 gold coins for the information that she offered his high priest. Ni Lan I is pleased. “When I was young, I had the distinction of being able to enter the Topaz Dragon’s lair unharmed. And since you paid me, I reckon you are entitled to this.”

She gives him a map of the Topaz Dragon’s lair.

“The lair would’ve changed since I last went there, but it should still be at least 70% accurate.”

Dyuang pays Ni Lan I for the letter of recommendation.
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They head to Ma Hek, seeking answers to questions about the kinnara. Ma Hek lairs in a large abandaoned tortoise shell. Crows fly overhead as they approach her lair.

Darkness seems to stretch out six arms. A teenager pops out and informs the gang that Ma Hek is still preparing herself. The crone herself appears.

Ma Hek tells them of the kinnara. Kinnara can take on human wives, but the change must be quick. “When you capture a kinnara, it is very efficient to keep a part of its soul. It was something that you could take out of a kinnara.”

“Now if you don’t mind…” Ma Hek takes her leave. But just as she enters her house, her body seems to dissipate and her clothes fall down to the ground.
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The gang decides to retrieve Ni Lan I’s dead husbands’ bodies. The fighting happened near the Sacred Waterfall.

A greenhaired woman rises from the water to meet them. She speaks Sughdian. “Will you allow us to retrieve the bodies?” Dyuang asks. She stands and performs a backstroke. As she swims back, her naked form reveals all.

“The vagina is making me tingly,” Rohan says. “I wish to know her better.”

“This is a relationship is based on boners! There is nothing that can come from this,” Mu protests.

Rohan grapples with Dyuang, who is intent on stopping him. Rohan falls into the lake and flounders. Just then, another figure appears, this one male. Mu falls for his charms. Dyuang attempts to stop her as well, although luckily this time he is successful. He grapples her.

Rohan swims towards the female. Dyuang, torn between keeping mind on Mu and going after Rohan, attempts to instruct Squiggy to keep an eye on Mu. “Squiggy, take care of her!” Squiggy, being Squiggy, does not understand. Dyuang jumps overboard and swims after Rohan.

Rohan, swimming nearer, encounters a crocodile. The crocodile attempts to bite, breaking the charm on Rohan. He dodges. The sight of the crocodile also snaps Mu out of the spell.

The greenhaired creatures look back, shrug, and dissolve into water.

Dyuang throws a rope and attempts to pull in a corpse. While doing so, he accidentally breaks its neck, spewing dank fluids onto the sacred lake water. The greenhaired creature reappears, and spits poison at Dyuang’s eyes. Rohan prays to the creature, seeking its forgiveness and permission to recover the bodies. The creature nods, then dissipates once more.

They successfully recover the bodies and head back to the village.
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Ni Lan I personally thanks the group with a small statuette, a replica of the Topaz dragon. She also hands them a small group of five seeds of Sight of Asura.

The group then attempts to do a MATCHMAKING SERVICE with the greenhaired dude and Ni Lan I. They return to the Sacred Waterfall at dusk.

“Spirits of the lake, we seek an audience,” Dyuang cries, in Sughdian. The male appears; Mu turns her back to avoid being charmed by the magical penis.

“A fair lady seeks your love,” Dyuang prompts. Instead, the man turns to Rohan. “You. Magic of Gods,” he speaks in Trade. “Holy Man. We protect Sacred Waterfall. We cannot leave until other protects Sacred Waterfall.”

“Is it possible for anyone to take on this responsibility?”

“Take sacredness. Free us.”

“What do you mean?”

“Take sacredness.”

“How…how can one take sacredness?”

“Agree.”

After back and forth, Rohan agrees…to take the sacredness. The green-haired man seems jubilant. “Finally duty ends. Finally, duty transferred to you. Come, come.” He leads Rohan, who can now magically walk on water, towards the waterfall and in a tiny cave.

There are three small golden statues: one of a kinnara, another of a turtle god, and the last of a crocodile. Rohan is presented with several scrolls, and a holy book containing the names of thousands of gods. “So….if I take the sacredness, do I have to stay here?” “No!” the green-haired man shouts. “Leave our home alone.”

“Oh. Okay. I take the sacredness.”
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They take him to Ni Lan I’s hut. He takes one sniff of the opium-drenched den. Noped.

The gang thanks him anyway. “By the way,” Rohan asks, “Where did you get the sacredness?”

“High priest of Iskandar entrusted it to us,” green-haired man tells them. With the group’s thanks, the creature returns to his lake.
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Rohan and Dyuang speak to the tribe. The tribe agrees to give them tea, looted from the traders they kill, in return for the group’s silver. Their contact is Rr Zmdn Grrmrski (best effort).

Pleased with their efforts, the team retires for the night.

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Back to the River
Month of Libra and Virgo

Mu and Kai Leng plan an expedition to the Alon Tribe in Lamarakh to secure a connection with Mu’s second cousin and opium master Ni Lan I. Kojo unfortunately could not come with them, but lends them his boat as well as a map showing the optimal route to the place.
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Kesht Malaba later on introduces Dyuang to Kai Leng. Kai Leng tours Dyuang around the palace academy, who is pleasantly surprised by its vastness. “It’s like the bird hall,” he wonders aloud. “You mean, the place where they keep birds?” Kai Leng quips. “From time to time, they even let people in, to stare and marvel at the birds.” “What a barbaric practice!”

Kesht Malaba leaves parting advice. “Try not to kill students.”
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Dyuang goes on his quest to find the perfect Tea Bong. “It’s a strange barbaric practice”, Kai Leng mutters, appearing out of nowhere. Desperate, Dyuang buys an opium bong instead and attempts to smoke the Nyuang Sag tea there and there on the spot. Luckily, the bong works perfectly!

Kai Leng is fascinated. “Where, where can I source this wonderful tea?” “My, is this a business proposition?” Together, they walk off from the shop, deep in talk. They head to the laboratory at Rohan’s shrine.

Kai Leng takes a hit of the tea bong. Nyuang Sag feels similar to Caterpillar Sleeper. A brilliant idea: what if they market Caterpillar Sleeper as the Sughd variant? They try smoking Caterpillar Sleeper to check whether it can pass for the more premium product. It tastes like Nyuang Sag in the same way that poop can taste like corn. “ARE YOU TRYING TO HAZE ME?” Dyuang cries out in outrage.

They try out different combinations: Caterpillar Sleeper smoked, Nyuang Sag drunk, mixture of the two, smoked and drunk… the latter two are horrible. “Good morning!” the slug alchemist greets, as he enters the laboratory and into his work area. The slug, curious about what the others were doing, grabs the mixed tea concoction. “Let me have that”, he grumbles. One hour and one wave of alchemical expertise later, he brandishes a small sheet to the party. He holds up the sheet to the bunsen burner. The ashes are then mixed into water. Rohan, Kai Leng, and Dyuang taste it…and it’s good. So good, in fact, that it’s better than the two individual tea mixes.

They scheme, gleefully. If they find a reliable source for the Sughd tea…and if they launch the concoction at a hipster event with crab art exhibits…then they can make bank. So much bank. ALL THE BANK.
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Meanwhile, Rohan markets the Caterpillar Sleeper to his market adherents. Celine, however, hates its taste. “Ew, this tastes kind of like my sweat.” Rohan blinks. Oh right, he forgot he needed to ask about that. Uhm. Is there any good way of asking about sweat without coming across as creepy af? “W-where do you bathe?” he nearly asks. Wait. No. Scratch that. He’ll think about it later tonight.

Kai Leng sells the same Caterpilla Sleeper elsewhere, but at a higher market rate. “You can get the same product cheaper at the Con Rua shrine, though,” he advises customers, driving more converts to the shrine. Just as planned.
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With that, the month of Virgo passes.
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The Lamarakhi expedition commences. The party travels upstream through the God River. All is peaceful until the third day, when they are suddenly attacked by a humongous, man-eating arowana! Using teamwork, oars, and the power of Con Rua, the party was able to subdue and behead the enemy. Slicing the arowana open, they find…a bag of 160 gold! HOOOOoooly shit. They are minted with the iconography of the topaz dragon, but surrounded with Old Sughd symbols. Spoken aloud, they speak of the origin of the coins: a strange location called Alexandria. “Property of Alexandria,” it said. “City of Knowledge”.

The party preserve the arowana, pickling the meat. Hurrah, lots of rations for later!
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3 more days pass. Twilight approaches. Boats pass, but as darkness falls, they number fewer and fewer until eventually the party spot no more. They rest for the night.

The boat rocks.

Mu goes out to check, and is horrified by the sight. Men, with arowana heads, emerge from the water, climb aboard the boat and begin to corner her. She rushes back inside the boat. “We’re under attack!” she cries. Kai Leng and Dyuang waste no time barricading all portals. The men burst in, in the form of strange, half-amalgated dream forms of their worst fears. They crowd. They attack. They sandwich the heroes in a deadly squeeze.

Rohan prays to his god and sees the truth! It was fake all along. A deadly magic cast by an enraged Naga. “Guys, wake up, it’s not real!” “What do you mean, ’it’s not real’?” Mu retorts. “This is the God River, this is normal!” She was too entrenched in the illusion to see the reality.

Kai Leng and Rohan, followed by Djuang, fight the abomination, while Mu battles it out in the dream vision. Desperate, Mu jumps into the water, casting darkness at the area to debilitate the monstrosities. Breaking the line of sight breaks the illusion, and she finally sees the Naga attacking her friends. The Naga shouts in Lamarakhi, “How dare you anger a river spirit! You killed one of my most faithful followers!” “We’re sorry!” Mu exclaims. “It attacked us first!” “But you pickled the meat! The predator feasts on its prey, but then returns the remains to the river!” the Naga shrieked back. Survival of the fittest, it understood. Pickling, much less so.

Mu translates it for the party. Rohan and Djuang quickly act by throwing the rest of the pickled arowana back to the waters. The naga wraps around the barrel and submerges, disappearing from their view. Her anger was, at last, mollified.

And so the eventful first leg of their journey to the Lamarakhi concludes. A new day begins.

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Found a City of Yellow Brick
Month of Virgo

The month of Virgo is known for the fertility festival. It’s your typical Holy Day; you know, with lots of orgies.To Kai Leng E’Kansh, this festive season is the best time to curry favor with Ru Pi‘s boss. As his criminal activities grow, Kai Leng will inevitably meddle in with this crime lord’s business if he comes in blind. So it’s best to meet this Jaka the Slug before that happens.

Jaka the Slug, as it happens, owns a seedy cantina. From the few familiar places, everyone seemed to think that this was a hive filled with the scum and villainy that prey upon the academy.

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Their server looked like a lamarakhi, so Mu took the chance to strike a conversation. He called himself Mar Duk, and he seemed quite interested in the stories of the party. Meanwhile, Ru Pi arrived and provided them with hints on how to deal with Jaka. She wasn’t of much help, though, as she seems to have hired some… men for the Virgo festivities, herself.

Finally, Jaka calls on Kai Leng. “Ha! There you are. Let me see you, Kai Leng of the E’kansh Clan. Now, now, we should talk business.” Jaka laughs as he presses a button to release a trapdoor underneath a happy dancing crabman. “The fool!” the patrons laugh. “He didn’t know he would be food!” Kai Leng looks around – they are also standing on trap doors.

The laughter suddenly dies when Jaka declares that they are talking business. People start to fill out. Kai Leng apologizes for cutting into their student profits and offers gifts for his consideration. But repacked and repackaged, in the off-chance that this was accidentally stolen form him.

Jaka takes this as an insult. “DO YOU THINK I CAN’T AFFORD THESE THINGS?” He shouted.
Ever the smooth talker, Kai Leng appeases him. And soon the objection has morphed into “VERY WELL WE WILL TAKE THESE GIFTS. YOU SHOULD BE RELIEVED THAT IT PLEASES ME.”

Jaka then notes Kai Leng’s skill in moving products, and propositions him into circulating some of its wares throughout the academy. Every month, 500 SP worth of product will be provided, which Kai Leng must then convert it into 1000 SP of silver. He negotiates him down to 800. “Well, Master Jaka is a shrewd negotiater, but fair.” Said the cockroach herder.

“HA-HA! HE FELL FOR IT. I AM TRULY A MASTER NEOGITATOR. ALRIGHT, RESUME FESTIVITIES.”

Before they are dismissed, Mu nudges Kai Leng. “Ask him about the crab art thingy.”

The group proposed a funded expedition to retrieve crab folk art. They can show it in an exhibit, charge exorbitantly high fee for viewing, and then sell drugs to attendees.

CRAB ART SCULPTURE? IS THIS THE THING THAT YOU WERE TALKING ABOUT, MAR?” As it turns out, the lamarakhi server is exceptionally-dressed assistant to the slug.

“AH. THE HIPSTERS. AND WE CAN MOVE PRODUCT RIGHT UNDER THE MALABAS’ EYES!”

FIND SOME OF THIS ART, AND I WILL FUND THIS EXPEDITION. TRULY, I AM SMART.”


Meanwhile, Rohan decides to pay Leri a visit. They worry about the disappearance of the Topaz dragon, and their de facto positions as its ambassadors. Rohan is nervous. Leri is hopeful that maybe the daragon just forgot forgot. Rohan really wishes it did.


Mu tries to call for a GA (fund-raising) but finds out that Ling has become vice president of her org. So she tags Kai Leng and together they go to the Discordians. Ling is ecstatic as he shows box of scroll. But once he rips box open. he realizes that the scroll inside is wrong. Ling rages like they have never seen before. He tells Kai Ling and Mu to steal it for him, throwing 333 SP in their direction.

Kai Leng decides to investigate. He first checks out the library and it’s obvious that the Discordians have been here. Traps have been triggered.

Baffled, they talked to Afagu. As it turns out, the Malaba family devised the trap gauntlet to deter potential thieves. But they transferred the actual scroll to Pa Pali, a slug who lives in the West of the Yellow City. Afagu tells them Malabas have been planning to steal it by manipulating the Discordians into getting it for them. Mu dissuades Afagu and Kai Leng corroborates how dangerous it is to use Ling for the mission. Afagu instead proposes that they just tell the dragon that the scroll is in Westside, but the party dislikes the idea as it means that dragon may come and just go on a destruction spree.

They instead decide that Mu will send a missive to Dian about the scroll problem.

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The Library of Zorlac
Month of Taurus

Construction is ongoing in the Malaba Palace Academy, with the E’kansh Clan members as the primary laborers. There is a scroll encased in glass, and traps are being built around it. Pola Haru, a slug, is overseeing the construction with Afagu. Polaha Vo tells Afagu that it thinks there may be trouble, so it has contacted Pa Pali, another library owner, to help with the situation. Pa Pali does not want to come to the Eastside, though, but can be persuaded to do it for a price. It’s this bribe that it hands to Afagu to take to the West, and which he must not look into at any cost.

Afagu is also reminded to be back by the end of Taurus, because their eggs together are hatching! (!!!)

Afagu prepares for the trip, but first asks a beggar that lives in the library to keep an eye on the place, especially the scroll. Then he takes Slave 47 with him, and is introduced by Kai Leng to Ru Pi. Afagu is just in time for one of Ru Pi’s trips, which she does every other day.

The Westside party discusses with each other the plans of going into Pa Pali’s basement, and the clan members they have to hire to come with them. Because Kicara is cheap and doesn’t want to pay extra, she takes it upon herself to make Man Ju La feel better so he accompanies them. “All I need is two hours and an elastic band,” she says, and proceeds to give Man Ju La the ‘Lotus Script’ treatment.

Tersi has hired a fleet of street beggars to keep an eye out for a Rakosh; after a day, they return to him with sightings of six people with ‘reverse hands’. Tersi grimly marks their haunts, and checks up on those he recognizes – Lau Rush and U Ke seem to be normal people when he gets to them. Dre the beggar hates U Ke, though, and U Ke explains that he and Dre fought over investments five years ago.

Ru Pi’s caravan comes by, so Tersi moves off to meet her. She introduces Afagu to him, who quickly interrogates him on his business. Afagu divulges that he is looking for a colleague, and Ru Pi recommends Tersi as a guide for Afagu, which Tersi also happily offers. Ru Pi gives Tersi some alum for U Ke, and Afagu makes mention of his intention to buy a Crabman slave later.

Afagu offers Tersi a larger fee for his services for the day; Tersi offers him half of the amount plus a favor, which he swears will not be harmful to Afagu or his interests. Afagu, either because he is naïve or—no, he’s just naïve – agrees to Tersi’s new condition. Tersi then completes his delivery of alum to U Ke, who gives him two extravagant dresses, one of which is dyed purple.

Tersi introduces Afagu to the rest of the party. Kicara talks to him in slug, but then is immediately drawn to the box that Afagu has been having his crabman slave carry around for him this entire time. The box has a lot of eyes.

The party makes their way to Pa Pali’s place nearby, where they are escorted in by the butler. The rest of the clan is told to prepare in the courtyard, while Afagu makes his way inside. Kicara blusters her way inside by talking to the butler in slug.

Pa Pali contemplates Kicara for a moment, before asking her to dress like a slug next time – that is, genderless. Pa Pali finds genders odd, but seems to be interested in the One Who is Not Burned.

Afagu is finally able to present the box to Pa Pali. To his surprise, Pa Pali says that Polaha Vo wants him to take care of its box, and in exchange can expect a service from Afagu. Afagu is understandably bewildered, since he knows nothing of this deal. Pa Pali laughs, and says that if that’s how Polaha Vo wants to play, he can just give the box to Kicara. Kicara promptly begins counting from 20, pressuring Afagu to agree to Pa Pali’s favor to take his place in the library exploration.

The library delving party thus far: Kicara, Fa I, Tersi, Dian, Afagu, Squatter, Sher, Ma Ga Na (at Dian’s request), and Man Ju La.

The dungeon entrance seems to have become infested with mold since the last time Fa I was here. The mold seems to be poisoned mushroom that eats paper, and has eaten much of the books lining the corridor. The crab body is gone.

spiral.jpgAs they travel through, the party comes upon a dome-ish area full of shelves, lanterns, some furniture, and a desk. Two of the lanterns are lit, and there’s a ladder to reach the books. The walls are also lined with still-life paintings, and all the books are dusted and in good condition, though a closer inspection reveals that they have not been read lately. After some looking, they realize that all the books are cookbooks.

Kicara peruses the C-section and finds Dian’s cookbook – the very same book she has been writing on, and was missing just this morning. Irritated, Dian takes it and investigates the higher shelves. As she drops books to the ground, one hits the chair and it topples over, opening a hidden passage to the south that opens down into a spiral staircase. Afagu is forced to leave his crabman behind to guard the chair while they venture forth.

Downstairs is a kitchen and a dining set, and two doors at the far wall. There is a statue of a human divided in half. There is also a bunch of edible and fresh fruit, as well as a chest of preserved chicken and pork. The cutlery is silver, and a fork and a knife have been freshly washed. Tersi finds a hidden door to the south, revealing another set of spiral staircases.

The two normal-looking doors reveal a bridgeway each, and a deep chasm. The bridges are not visible from each other. The bridges seem to only be held up by doors at the end, which in turn are not propped up on anything. Dian, tied to the slab of a table in the kitchen, ventures through one of the bridges and opens the door – behind it are five dining sets, and another door. The tables have statues on them: a woman, an iron dwarf, a wooden lamarakhi, a porcelain xing human, and a clay human.

Dian and Fa I experiment with the door for a moment, before giving up and venturing through the next door. Behind it is a bedroom, and a human sleeping on a bed, snoring. The two sneak around the bed and pin the human down, before waking the man up. His name is Lorb, a pale blond human from France, and very sorry for sleeping in his master’s bed. Kicara interrogates Lorb by straddling him down the bed. Dian is very baffled.

Lorb is aware what a Lamarakhi is, and explains that this is the library of Zorlac, a human. All of his books are cookbooks, and Lorb is a cook. Apparently, Lorb was also the one who took Dian’s book, since “all books belong to Zorlac”. He further explains that a passage had “opened up”, enabling him to go to the Yellow City.

Upon persistent questioning, he explains that the library is not exactly underneath the Yellow City – “it’s not 3d” – although the Yellow City has the most entrances to the library. Lorb says that he hasn’t heard from his master in a few weeks; Zorlac is referred to as THE Librarian, and apparently keeps a dividing demon as a pet! All books are offerings to Zorlac. The books on the bedside table, in fact, are from the martial arts school and from Pa Pali’s own library.

Nonplussed, the party decides to take him back to Pa Pali – but first, they loot the place best as they can.

The Ipixangga party presents Pa Pali with Lorb and their loot. The slug seems surprised to see his book among the returned possessions, and takes well to the idea Kicara presents to use Lorb as a guide and a hostage. He takes his choosing of the books and leaves the clan to rest as he researches this alien space.

Further looting ensues, because why not.

Kicara, meanwhile, makes a deal to help Afagu if Afagu will speak about Nawabh. All Afagu wants is so own part of the library they uncovered. They cry at Pa Pali to open the box and show the contents to their burning curiosity. Pa Pali remarks to Afagu that he should not be so trusting of other slugs, even as it opens the box and shows them… the scroll!

Pa Pali explains that a number of high priestesses in the East killed each other trying to get to this scroll, and that it is rumoured to be able to summon a god. Kicara promptly tries to stop herself from salivating.

Kicara suggests storing the scroll in Zinzimar’s old temple, and talks about the economic value of the property to the slug that will own it. The temple is currently now owned by anyone, and Pa Pali proves amenable to the plan of acquiring it and helping in restoring the temple. Kicara further suggests that the temple can have a library, which Afagu can manage as a librarian. Pa Pali likes the plan so far and promises to draft the deed.

All in all, it’s a happy day of looting and deals struck. As the party sells their loot and returns to their clan base, they hear an explosion in Pa Pali’s palace. They rush forth, where the crabs are trying to push onlookers back. The room where the library entrance had been is burning, the smell mushroomy. The Zorlac library entrance seems to have collapsed as well.

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Fa I, Dian, and Squatter rush to the prison, where they find that Lorb has been able to pick his way out.

Tersi and Afagu salvage the books in the library. Tersi figures out that the mushroom used to explode the place is different from the mushrooms they encountered earlier.

Kicara rushes to the study and finds Pa Pali dead with a dagger in his chest. She immediately makes for the safe, where she knows the scroll was placed, and frantically picks the lock of the safe. She is able to make away with both the scroll, and a deed recently signed and still drying for 5,000sp in donation.

The party returns to the elders, who are in panic at the death of their sponsor, Pa Pali.

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The Topaz Dragon
Month of Taurus

The isle of the Face in the Rock was home to strange wonders and, as it turns out irate slugfolk. After a day’s worth of rest, Kai Leng, Mu, Rohan and their companions decide to head further inland to explore. Muskan stays behind, content to apprentice for the astronomer slugman.

The group follows a stream and comes upon a humble village set around a large pond. Lowly huts scatter to the sides, and lead the eye to a strange feature cut from the cliffside: the infamous Face in the Rock. Between the Face and the group however, lay several obstacles: the pond, and marauding fishfolk who’ve begun staring at the group in suspicion.

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“Does anyone know how to speak their language?” Mu whispers.

“I do,” Esgreth, a Fasashi student, speaks up. “I speak their vile and worthless crab-language, yes.”

“Er, that’s not very polite, but maybe you can ask them if we can visit the face in the rock.”

“We can just kill them and go straight to the Face?”

“No! Oh gods, no. That’s a horrible idea. Please ask them. No killings, please.”

Esgreth shrugs and makes the hand gestures. From time to time, her violent movements are emphatically punctuated with outstretched middle fingers. The group looks at her, mildly horrified.

Luckily, the fishpeople, though offended, agree to escort them to the Face. The path they take brings them through the middle of the pond. As they near the carving, they begin making devout gestures towards the Face. “They’re worshiping the thing. Filthy heathens,” Esgreth mutters.

Just as she finishes her words, however, Esgreth is suddenly dragged underwater by one of the fishfolk!

.

Meanwhile, Kai Leng, who a few moments earlier decided to discreetly separate from the rest of the group, looks for things to steal. Or for things to turn into drugs.

From the poor, impoverished village of fishfolk. This is all a legitimate line of business. Obviously.

Kai Leng manages to stumble upon some iron ore, as well as a barrel of saltwater kelp that might be useful to keep. As he tucks the find away in his pack, he realizes to his fascination that the kelp was…sentient? Most interesting…

.

Back to the pond scuffle, Mu tries desperately to hold on to Esgreth as the fishfolk attempt to drown her. From what the group could understand, the fishfolk deemed that sacrifice was necessary to access the Face in the Rock. And, unfortunately, the strangely hostile Esgreth was as good a sacrifice as any.

“You know, that actually sounds pretty reasonable,” Rohan whispers to Leri. Leri nods in agreement. Unfortunately, Mu was having none of it, and refused to let the fishfolk have Esgreth.

Disgruntled, and without an ample sacrifice, the fishfolk eject the group from the village. Esgreth curses all the way.

“We should just kill them all!” Esgreth exclaims. “I have this, poison from the Ipixangga Clan! It dissolves in water — this should be enough to wipe out all those horrible creatures.” She reveals a vial filled with a foul, black substance. The contents were seemingly alive, pushing against the glass container in anticipation of a kill.

“Uh, no. Please no.” Mu, horrified, confiscates the vial with Kai Leng’s help. “If you hate other cultures, why did you even join Fasashi in the first place?”

“I believe the best way to eradicate non-human entities is to learn about them. Meet non-people, kill non-people so to speak.” Esgreth nods in satisfaction. “It has been a most fascinating experience thus far.”

Their conversation is cut short when Kai Leng realizes, to his horror, that the sentient kelp could move. And that one had escaped the barrel…and had latched on to his neck.

Crying in surprise, Kai Leng removes the errant kelp and begins to check everyone else for signs of infestation. Esgreth had several kelp happily attached to her legs. When peeled off, the kelp revealed smooth, pink, baby-like skin. “SEAL THE BARREL WITH TAR,” Kai Leng cries.

The companions quickly comply, sealing all openings to contain the strange material. Satisfied, Kai Leng nods and proposes that they move on ahead to the location of the Godsmoot.

They head out in the hot afternoon sun.


Their kayaks navigate the waters, under the skillful guidance of Kojo. Tired and exhausted, the group decides to camp out on a forested island. As the day ends, they set camp and assign watch for the night.

.

Kai Leng is first watch. His shift is uneventful, yet still somehow unnerving. He felt he was being watched, though no threat was visible. Unnerved, he ends his watch and passes it on.

The night deepens. Around midnight, the group is shaken awake by Rohan — a tiger is stalking the camp. Kai Leng takes charge of the situation and instructs the group NOT to make any large noises nor fire nor light, and to also double up on the guard assignments for all latter shifts. A fortuitous decision: not more than a few hours later, the group is rattled again, this time by the shouts of Esgreth, as her fellow watch Chan Chai is mauled by the tiger-like creature.

Black_Tiger.jpg

Kai Leng, Mu and Rohan rush out. Chan Chai is on the ground, incapacitated by the strange creature. The creature looks almost exactly like a tiger, though its fur was black and its stripes orange.

A Bhoot! The ghostlike remains of a strong-willed animal, come to haunt the island. And now it has set upon their camp.

The group acts fast. Kai Leng strikes the creature with excessive force, and Mu assists by quickly blinding it with a spell. In pain, the Bhoot turns invisible just as Esgreth plunges a spear into its body. Thinking fast, Mu casts Light on her oar and stretches it up high, revealing shadows cast by the unseen creature. Rohan makes the final attack, and the Bhoot disippates into inky smoke: alive, yet in retreat.

Nonplussed, the companions regroup and decide that this island may have dangers too much for their own capabilities. They push on in pursuit of the Godsmoot.


The Godsmoot island was tiny — in fact, it seemed practically overshadowed by the bleached whale skeleton lying on its shores. Along its beach, the group stumbles upon corpses, seven haphazardly strewn about. They also stumble upon the faint marks of human presence, carefully covered up…

.

Mu tries not to show her joy at the sight of the corpses. “It’s not disrespectful if we cut a few of them up and turn them into pack lunches, is it?” she asks Kai Leng in a whisper. Kojo, happy to help, takes out his knife and begins to make fillet cuts.

.

Rohan finds his high priest in one of the dead bodies. “No,” he gasps. Rohan kneels down to study the corpses carefully. What did they die of? Perhaps they fought amongst themselves, violently securing their ownership of the Summon scroll? But no…as Rohan investigates even further, he realizes that these priests did die fighting. But they died fighting together.

.

Meanwhile, Kai Leng explores the whale skeleton with Squiggy in tow. He sniffs the air. Herbs. As he approaches the skull, his sharp eyes spot crates and crates of excellent goods and spices hidden within.

“Fucking awesome,” the janitor whispers to himself, as he tips open a crate’s cover and inspects its contents. Opium, tea, herbs. This was easily worth thousands of silver, if not more. Holy shit.

.

Rohan confronts Leri and asks her about her high priest. He couldn’t find her priest among the corpses, so where was he now? And, more importantly, what does Leri really know? What happened here?

“I cannot speak of it. I already told you, I am incapable of telling. I’ve already helped you with this expedition so you can see it with your own eyes but — OH dammit, come on. You’re smart, figure it out!” Leri cries.

The group looks around once more. Clues…what clues should they be looking for? Mu spots a tree, unnaturally dried to a husk yet with no signs nor marks of burning. Rohan and Kai Leng consider the state of the bodies. Given what they know of the Topaz Dragon’s timely activity with the Godsmoot…the gears in their heads begin to whir.

They realize that the Dragon is behind the deaths. But why?

“Wait, is your High Priest the Topaz Dragon?” they ask Leri.
“What? NO! No he is not!” she replies, outraged and mildly offended.
“Was he working with the Dragon?”
“I…I don’t know. I don’t know what the dragon has to do with all of this,” the priestess admits.

There was one way to find out.

Luckily, not only did they know where the Dragon’s lair was, they also had a bounty of offerings to give it, thanks to Kai Leng’s excellent find.


This was the plan: first, they would approach the Dragon with open arms and offerings. In addition, Rohan and Leri would strip their clothing of any priestly vestments. Chan Chai‘s Yellow City Flag (why was he carrying it? It is a mystery) would be quickly tied to Mu’s oar to assuage the Dragon and let him know that the group meant no ill will.

That should get them in its good graces enough to ask a few questions. After that, the group would, very non-offensively and very cordially, get the hell out of the place.

Plan seems foolproof. Really, its core nugget was simple: DON’T PISS OFF THE DRAGON.

.

The Topaz Dragon seems to fill up even the very air of the cavern. Its incredible size meant that at any point the group could only see one facet of its body at a time; the rest lay in shadowy darkness.

THIEVES!” it bellowed. “THIEVES IN MY LAIR!”

“Now now…we’re not thieves!” Mu cries, as Kai Leng offloads two or three of crates of the most choice loot.

Mu leads the conversation, spinning a yarn about how they admired the Dragon, how they were interested in exploring new cultures, and as it just so happens, very much interested in what Dragons do on a day-to-day basis…say, within the past six months or so?

Placated, the Topaz Dragon told its tale.

Topaz_dragon.jpg

Several months ago, the Dragon’s most valued Makara scroll became lost. Stolen, by eight dastardly thieves from the Yellow City, each a High Priest from its own cult. The Dragon hunted them down, and killed them — but not before one of them escaped with the scroll. Leri gasps. The Dragon was describing her high priest!

“He thought he could escape me,” the creature continued. The Dragon described how he had carefully stalked the high priest, transforming into human form so it could follow the thief into the Yellow City. How it had slain the high priest, though it was too late: the scroll was gone.

.

The Topaz Dragon casually lobs a head into the group’s midst. “This is what remains of that thief.”

Leri tries to hold back her sobs.

The group and the Dragon come to an agreement. The group would “assist” the Dragon by publicly displaying the head in the Yellow City, and proclaiming that the Topaz Dragon would not suffer thieves in its lair. The Dragon would give them a topaz scale as proof for the Yellow City denizens…and would, of course, let the group go scot free and with no harm on their heads.

As they leave, Mu asks which body part the scale came from.

“You don’t want to know,” the dragon replies.

.

The group trudges back to their kayaks. Exhausted, they head back to the Yellow City, though not before they making a short detour to an unfortunately crabfolk-filled island. Daunted, the group decided that it would have to be an adventure for another day.


In the city, the group is lauded as the Knights of the Topaz Dragon. Rohan makes his (heavily edited and abridged) report to his cult, while Leri takes advantage of the death of her high priest to renounce his actions and position the Cult of Baku as a newer organization. Mu and her club have lots of new trinkets and trophies for the club room (plus! dead priest lunch packs aw yiss) while Kai Leng sits on a veritable hoard of loot.

The group decide to return the scroll to the dragon. After all, it’s absolutely the safest place it could be — in the protective claws of a genial yet possessive, and centuries-old, powerful creature. Of course, there’s the minor problem of stealing the scroll back from the University Library, but everything seems achievable after all the trials and tribulations they just overcame.

.

All seems well.

Really.

So long as the group doesn’t think too hard about the fact that the sentient kelp seem to be capable of escaping their tar-sealed container…or about the fact that miles away, a gathering of Bhoot have begun to muster and convene…or the fact that very, very angry smugglers have just found out that their cache was missing.

And gods forbid they find out that the Scroll was no longer even in Eastside.

View
Figments and Deceptions
Month of Aries

It’s been four days.

The figment is still in the party’s shared room, since it hasn’t eaten as they wait for Kicara to get a day off. The teenage clan members have been watching it for them.

Tersi meets Chao, the head chef of the Cockroach Martial Arts temple/restaurant.

Fa I goes to a blacksmith to ask for armor. He meets Chan Dak, a four-foot tall monk, who is the blacksmith, and tries to negotiate discounts with him. Kicara softens him up by sleeping with him, so the party is able to buy chain armor, shields, and spears for a lower price. They only get to take home one chain armor (for Fa I), though, because the rest will take a month to make.

Fa I continues on with his shopping list and heads to a general merchandise store. This time, the person manning it is actually a dwarf. The shop is full of herbs; Fa I finds paper, Kicara buys salt and orange orchids for sleeping, and Dian buys a sack of flour. They learn that the dwarf, Tordekk, is a worshiper of the Mistress of the Mountain of the Moon. After shopping, the women head back to the clan while Fa I continues on to the fletchers.

There is a crowd gathering in the Ipixangga clan house. Sher is there regaling people with a super embellished story of their adventurers in the Old Town. The Figment is there, and so is Ma Ga Na, Dian’s sister. Kicara is upset at seeing the Figment out of their room and takes the cage.

Ma Ga Na is the fashionable cockroach siren, who is very popular both within the clan and her audience across the Yellow City. She has recently been gone to do her gigs in the Eastside, and is back to perform at Pa Pali’s request. Man Ju La is very taken with her.

Later in the day, Fa I bumps into Man Ju La in the city’s marketplace. Man Ju La seems to be looking for Tersi — Fa I points him out towards the sewers to get rid of him, though later Tersi does indeed come up from the manhole talking about compost, mushrooms, and other things. It seems that he missed Man Ju La down there, though. Tersi, on his side, has been busy making deals all morning, trading between materials of various producers in the market. He mentions a Lamarakhi who is rumoured to be preaching about the endtimes, a worshipper of the black orchid Bhawan. The rest of Bhawan’s followers also seem to have a tendency for violence.

otyugh.JPGTersi is also told that there is a shiteater in the sewers, which prompts some concern as he realizes that Fa I told him that Man Ju La is down there. He prepares to go down to fetch Man Ju La from the sewers, but Man Ju La emerges after having fought — and won — a battle against an Otyugh, the tentacled shiteater. Man Ju La seems relieved to have finally found Tersi, before he passes out. Tersi drags him back to the clan house to look for help — the rest of the party apply first aid while Kicara is called, and then Kicara heals him.

Man Ju La finally gets to talk to Tersi! Apparently, Man Ju La used to b e in the gangs, and owe them a lot of money (500sp worth). He wants to help the clan, but feels underpaid by Fa I (even though it wasn’t Fa I who tried to underpay him!). Because of this, he wants Tersi to talk to Fa I on his behalf. In exchange, he tells Tersi about the information on the transmutation teacher that he’s found out — the man is Chan Chai, a priest of Baphomet, and he is actually a teacher in general studies. Unknown to them, Fa I is hidden over their heads and eavesdropping on their conversation.

The night has come for Kicara to feed the Figment her dream! Unfortunately, she begins her dreams with a nice dream of Nawahb, instead of the Black Orchid. The Figment, unappetized by this, rusts his cage and takes a mirror from Fa I. It points the mirror over Kicara’s head and twists it.

In Kicara’s dreams, she is confronted by Bhawan, talking to her about being worthy. Bhawan is Lamarakhi. Insects burst from his mouth. He walks on water.

Kicara jolts awake after the Figment eats her dream, and sends a messenger for the Crone. In the morning, she sends another one. Fa I puts the mirror on Tersi and twists, but of course it has no effect. Dian goes to the baths with Ma Ga Na, who apparently doesn’t want to bathe in public because she’s so popular. Meanwhile, Fa I shows Squatter his new waterproof paper.

Tersi goes about investigating the Lamarakhi. They say that they have been getting attacked by people who think that they will bring about the endtimes, which has been problematic for them. The informal head of the loose group is a member of the Hunters’ Guild, and is named Vendane. Understandably, the Lamarakhi want the priest of Bhawan found and killed, so that the problems will stop. He’d rather kill this priest himself, though.

At night, the Crone finally visits Kicara. The Figment seems hypnotized, and allows itself to be dissected by the Crone. True to her word, the Figment doesn’t dissipate. The Crone says that their opponent is a Baital, a dead spirit taking on the form of Nawabh, and that this will become Kicara’s quest. She explains that Bhawab is not a god, but to enter our world, it needed to be the reflection of something. Somehow, this dead thing took on the reflection of Nawabh, and is its opposite.

Ma Ga Na returns to their room. She says she hasn’t heard of Bhawan, and Kicara proceeds to regale her with her religion.

In the morning, Tersi interviews more people about the Priest of Bhawan. It seems that the priest doesn’t preach, but the religion operates more like a pyramid scheme. Tersi sets forth to follow the rumours.

Fa I and Kicara join Ma Ga Na on her trip to Papa Li so that they can present the evidence of the theft to Papa Li. Dian also joins them. When they get there, Ma Ga Na is whisked away to prepare, and the rest are invited to be part of the audience. Kicara talks to Papa Li before the concert, and joins him with the other slugs in attendance. Kicara presents her evidence to the slug just as Ma Ga Na begins her flashy performance. Papa Li multitasks it, and asks if they retrieved a topaz. Kicara answers no (though she has it).

Nonetheless, Papa Li is happy with their progress. “I was right to rely on you rather than the Ekans Clan.” Meanwhile, Dian notes that Ma Ga Na’s performance seems to have become even better and more daring since the last time she has seen her sister.

Papa Li also talks to Kicara about the Yellow City being a giant library — Alexandria — and that he’s been able to unearth a new section right in his basement. Unfortunately, it has hostile elements, and he would like to retainer the party to find books for him. He is offering 1000sp for every task, and commission.

Kicara then asks Papa Li if he’s let Nawabh in his life. It seems that she wants him to sponsor her efforts to reclaim the Zinzimar temple. Papa Li says he’ll think of it if Kicara takes his request first.

The party eventually converges and converses with Ma Ga Na. While talking, Kicara takes her hand and realizes that they… are inverted. It is the Rakosh, who tells Dian that she has her sister. Dian seethes, unable to do anything as the Rakosh leaves. Her cockroach dogs follow her, which the party catches.

rakshasa.jpg

They go back to their room and go through Ma Ga Na’s things. They have a severed little finger in a box, with a note, “See? I‘m keeping her alive.” Tersi is very apologetic and Dian is very upset. Fa I lets one roach go, covered in ink.

Dian talks to Pa Ni Ta and asks for time off. She also gives Kicara her cleaver to bless. Tersi promises to research on Rakosh, and Fa I goes off in search of the dog roach he had marked. Kicara returns to Papa Li to ask him where he got Ma Ga Na’s concert schedule, which Papa Li says was in the Eastside, and that he found it when he was visiting the Malaba Palace Academy.

Fa I tells them about Man Ju La’s knowledge of the academy professor they saved, which Man Ju La says is because he saw him while he himself had been in the East. They tell Man Ju La about Ma Ga Na.

Tersi thinks of going to the east to meet Shan Chai. He hitches a ride with Ru Pi to get to the Eastside — “Rakosh problems, huh?” — and she tells him of the brotherhood of Rakosh. Apparently, when she goes through the Old Town, she sacrifices a kid to it.

Dian decides to follow Ma Ga Na’s performances through the city, which isn’t difficult because the posters show up at her door and her tickets are provided for her. Whenever she goes to a performance, she gets more and more irritated at the small realizations she is getting, about the bath tub, the feather pillow, and the cheating way the Rakosh handles Ma Ga Na’s cockroaches.

Kicara sets about blessing the cleaver everyday, and calls out to the Crone to ask for help. She says that while the Rakosh relishes attention, it still needs to eat at some point, so Ma Ga Na may not be safe for long.

Fa I visits Tordekk and asks if the dwarf has anything for hunting demons. Tordekk replies that sage may keep them at bay, so Fa I buys a bag of sage and some rations. Unfortunately, if he wants cold iron stuff, he’ll have to ask the dwarves up north for it.

Tersi arrives in the Eastside after traveling with Ru Pi, and immediately heads for the Malaba Palace Academy. There, the receptionist tells him that Shan Chai is preaching by the river, where Tersi does find him. Shan Chai seems to be preaching about Faerun. When confronted by Tersi, he becomes very theatrical and insists he cannot help. Tersi tells him about Ma Ga Na, which prompts Shan Chai to offer help in exchange for a favor. While he thinks that the Rakosh are unbeatable, he says they are vulnerable to blessed arrows. He gives Tersi an arrow that he blessed in the course of ten days.

Mu also shows up, needing Shan Chai to sign a fieldtrip form; her group seems to be going to the Topaz Isles. The man seems incapable of remembering her one-syllable name, sadly.

Tersi asks for access to the library in the academy.

Dian asks Fa I to look at the location pattern of the performances, from the posters she has been collecting day by day. It seems to be centered around Papa Li’s mansion. Could it be the haunted basement?

Armed with this clue, Fa I visits Papa Li during a time when he knows Ma Ga Na’s concert should be ongoing, and says he is here to assess the basement the slugman wants explored. Papa Li shows him a passage he discovered behind a bookshelf. It seems to be laden with traps, as evidenced by the dead crabman near the entrance. Papa Li explains that they have been hearing wailing from the chamber, and will be happy to pay Fa I in books for their effort. Fa I pushes the crabman along the passage to trigger more traps. At the end of the corridor, Fa I and Papa Li arrive upon a fork. When he calls out, however, the wailing that comes back to it is very supernatural in nature.

Fa I asks to check Papa Li’s map, and sees that the chamber is marked there but is very old. Papa Li insists that he wants to be with the party when the exploration happens. Fa I asks for two days to decide, and for Papa Li to mark down other sources of strange noise.

Fa I is walking out of the mansion when a backward pair of hands make a grab for him — he dodges the Rakosh, who beckons him into a corridor. Inside is Man Ju La, tied up. Fa I immediately says he is willing to trade Man Ju La for Ma Ga Na.

The Rakosh says that he finds Fa I interesting because he hates Man Ju La so much. So, he wants to return Ma Ga Na, and in exchange Fa I must watch him eat Man Ju La. The Rakosh begins with his finger. Fa I bargains to get Ma Ga Na before all this eating commences, and the Rakosh says he knows the party broke into this mansion before. Ma Ga Na is in the abandoned wing they broke into, actually.

Fa I throws his crushed sage at Man Ju La and flees to the abandoned wing. When he gets there, Ma Ga Na is indeed there and appears to be hypnotized. Fa I pulls urgently pulls her along, and tries to take her to the slugman — they run into a crabman instead, who leads them back to Papa Li. Fa I tries to explain to the slugman that there is a demon in the compound and if he can take care of Ma Ga Na a while — Papa Li refuses, and seems unworried about a Rakosh in his compound. He is an accomplished magician, after all! Papa Li does get a crabman to lead them out, and Fa I manages to retrieve Man Ju La along the way before he returns to the clan grounds.

The whole time, Dian was in the fake Ma Ga Na’s performance. Are there two of them?

The party reconvenes, though the other members are confused that Ma Ga Na has been recovered already, and that Man Ju La seems to be in a state of trauma and missing fingers. Fa I breaks to them the news and says that their new trouble is that the Rakosh will tell Papa Li that they broke into the house. Perhaps they should tell Papa Li first?

View
Topaz Tribulations
Month of Taurus

Ru Pi hands Kai Leng a knapsack containing white poppy seeds. “ White Stims”, she says. “Not particularly addictive…the boss wants to see you succeed in selling it.” Kai Leng recalls that Mu recently founded Fasashi, the foreign students org. Perhaps they would like some supply of quality stims… He talks to Mu. “This is…erm. Artisanal opium. Marinated in the highest-quality cockroach manure.”

Rohan decides to mentor Celine in the priestly arts. One problem though: she’s never gotten sick. Even being sent to work with Kai Leng seems to do no good. Celine is teary-eyed: “Why can’t I get ill?” He hatches up a plan to get her addicted to blue stab to weaken her immune system. Rohan purchases the drugs from Gagan, using the temple coffers.

Celine smokes the drug. “It’s okay, I guess.” Rohan is amazed. The blue stab fails to affect Celine in any way.

Kai Leng visits Muskan to see if she could help the priest through her knowledge of sorcery. But according to her research, it wasn’t sorcery…it was religious in nature. As the two hurriedly confer the professor’s voice cuts in: “What…is the janitor doing in class?”

“Uh,.something something, message for Muskan…Yeah okay, I’m leaving,” Kai Leng mumbles, excusing himself.

Meanwhile, Mu just finished all the paperwork her fellow club member to go on the trip. Ling declines, citing his busy schedule. He leaves her the cryptic words, “A shark will leave a trail of blood, but none will notice.” She also asks Kojo to accompany them. They feast on a freshly dead female corpse before they leave.

With preparations complete, the following persons embark on the expedition:

  • Leri, 2 guards, and Chan Chai
  • Muskan, Jarvis, and her mercenary
  • Mu, Kojo, and 5 Fasashi members (Sesnia the Red, Mordika, Bastet and others)
  • Rohan
  • Kai Leng, Squiggy

Kojo warns Mu that a typhoon was imminent. But this was strange: it was the month of Taurus, the height of summer. “It shouldn’t rain,” Chan Chai muses. “But if it does, we can punch it.” Muskan uses her sorcery knowledge to detect that the storm was magical in nature – and that whatever it was, it wasn’t done casting. It’s powerful.

They approach an island with an existing small settlement. The people are panicking, reinforcing their homes and locking their valuables in anticipation of a violent storm. Kai Leng offers them the party’s help, while discreetly pocketing anything he could find. Muskan does the same. Rohan, meanwhile, prays to Con Rua that everyone should get sick and feel better after the storm. Chan Chai punches things.

One of the Fasashi members informs Mu that these people are pearl divers. Mu requests the village to share a cultural artifact or keepsake for her club.

By nighttime, everyone congregates in a tent for a warm evening of storytelling. Sesnia, a starry-eyed redhead Fasashi member, tells daring tales of Jonan the Barbarian. Kojo, meanwhile, tells one of a beautiful maiden who he once led to a butterfly grove. His touching tale told of his valiant sacrifice by taking an arrow for the lady fair. Midway through, Mu stands up to use the restroom, only later realizing that…hey…the story sounded kinda familiar.

As the night passed and the stories continued, a loud, young voice suddenly asks, “Father, why don’t you tell a story that matters? After all, this is her doing.” All eyes snap to the man. He explains.

“Many islands away, there lives an immortal witch. She is generally benevolent…but there are times when she gets in a rage. This could just be one of the angry nights. We try to appease her as best we can.” Kai Leng asks where the island lies. It’s dab smack on their path to the Godsmoot Island. “But how do you appease her?” Mu asks. “DON’T TREAT WITH THE WITCH,” the man cries. “You will always be on the losing side.” “Has anyone done that and lived?” Kai Leng asks. The man reluctantly responds. “Yes. But the witch always asks for a price higher than could be paid.”

Stories continue to be shared:

  • Kai Leng learns about an island famous for the face in the rock, an entity from whom questions could be asked and answers obtained. Each person is entitled to three questions per lifetime.
  • Rohan hears about the Shallow Atoll, where a god resides in the midst of ray-infested waters.
  • Muskan hears about the Topaz Dragon, the inspiration for the Yellow City’s sigil. It was said that the Topaz Dragon still lives, and that its lair lay in the Topaz Isles.
  • Mu listens to rumors about an eccentric magician, residing in a small rocky island. The wizard believes that he could transform sea foam into jewels.

One day later, the storm subsides.

The party decides to visit the face in the rock and avoid the Witch Island. The detour adds three days to their travel.

They push on. “That’s odd,” Kojo mutters. “Those rocks, do you see them? They form a perfect circle.” As they go closer, Leri exclaims, “Those are statues of crocodile heads! But it doesn’t seem like a Baku ritual.” The water around it is clear and shallow.

Kai Leng rows to the middle and peers at the water. As they near the circle, he realizes that they are jewel-eyed crocodile-man statues, holding real, though larger-than-normal weapons. One of them has outstretched hands. Corals thrive beneath the water.

Muskan decides to jump into the water and place a stolen blue egg into the hands. As soon as the egg touches the statue, a voice grumbles. “THIS IS NOT THE OFFERING I WAS ASKING FOR.” Muskan freaks out and flees. The rest of the party watch her, bemused.

“The statues depict Makara,” one of the Fasashi members say. “They’re known for two things: viciousness and magical artifacts.” Flummoxed, the party decides to move on.


From the outside looking in, the isle of the Face-in-the-Rock seemed typical, albeit large. Jarvis, Chan Chai, Kojo, and one of the Fasashi stay behind.

They come across a castle built from the same yellow stone abundant in the isles. The closed door has a keyhole in the shape of a star. Cylinders jut out of windows dotting the walls of the tower. Mu successfully scales it and investigates one of the cylinder: it seems that they move easily so long as she pushes it. As she vigorously shakes it, a short sword comes out and stabs her! “There are people inside!” Mu gasps, barely holding on to the tower walls.

Rohan meanwhile has forced the door open, and the rest of the party enter. Four guards rush down and confront them. “You’re trespassing on the boss’s property!” one brusquely shouts. They engage in furious combat. Their skins look like a patchwork of colors; their wounds do not bleed but ooze a congealed liquid.

“We’re students! We come to your observatory in peace!” Mu shouts. The man inside isn’t having it. “Master! They’ve come to steal your research!” Frustrated, Mu decides that there’s no way to go but up. She continues climbing…40, 60, 80 feet up. She nears the top, but is left in a precarious situation: one wrong move and she dies.

The rest of the party is just as unlucky. The guards are tough and take heavy blows as if they were mere flesh wounds. Leri casts Butt Magic and blesses Rohan as he himself takes damage.

With a haul, Mu pushes herself over the top where she is greeted by a door..as well as the largest cylinder yet. “LAY YOUR ARMS DOWN! I WILL FUCK UP YOUR PRECIOUS RESEARCH EQUIPMENT!” A voice behind the door relents. “Don’t touch it! Come in, come in, we can talk about this.” Mu opens the door. A fit, muscular slugman stands behind it, looking worried. “People keep trespassing to this place. It’s just a nice isolated place for my astronomy tower.”

The rest of the party walk up. “We’re sorry. You didn’t really have a sign up, or a fence, we didn’t kow it was private property…” Rohan and Muskan say. Kai Leng, frustrated, picks up a wooden board and paints a sign on it to dissuade future trespassers.

“The cyclinders look to the stars,” the slugman explains. “Well, except the large cylinder, that points to something else.” He invites Mu to look through the eyepiece, where it is trained on a cave located further away. “Fascinating isn’t it? The topaz dragon’s lair! And yes, three months ago (at the time of the godsmeet), it flew away. Quite extraordinary.”

Mu offers to help the slugman in any way as apology for their trespassing as well as thanks for his information. He is keen to acquire a scale from the magnificent beast. The party confers amongst themselves. They decide: perhaps it was time to meet a dragon.

View
Three There Will Always Be
Month of Aries

Kicara begins the session by sending the clan’s young messengers to contact the Crone (Seeress in Wetness) and the Hearthslime (She Whom the Salt Does Not Burn) about her dream. She receives a response two days later that the meeting between the three priestesses will be in the Old Town in a month, during the full moon. Dian is of course aghast that the meeting will happen at night.

The party considers their next steps to get Kicara safely to Old Town. Fa I insists they take hired guards — Dian suggests hiring from the clan, like Man Ju La, much to Fa I’s displeasure. As if on cue, Man Ju Lah enters their discussion and gets into a negotiation with Kicara for the price of his service. He volunteers at half-price, which Kicara wishes to halve even more — for Nawahb, you see — but Fa I surprisingly defends Man Ju Lah’s initial number.

Pa Ni Ta promises to get them a muscle as competent as Man Ju La and gives them Sher, a woman armed with bagnaks. She is friend to Ma Ga Na, Dian’s younger sister, and her weapon is named Sunny. With the addition of Squatter into their group, they prepare the rest of their things and decide to enter Old Town through the Yellow City exit found in the Ipixangga territory. To prepare for the trip, Tersi gets a map of the Old Town from the martial arts school chef — for the small price of spices he can buy from the party, and Tersi’s service in the kitchen for a week some time within the next month.

The party heads west, past the cockroach school, past the bridge, and past the river.

[First Hex]

The party feels that they are being watched, as they pass through the first area. Nevertheless, Tersi takes the time to acquaint the group with the map — which Dian realizes is 50 years old. As the party members bicker, a funny little voice pipes up, startling them. Dian reaches over and catches a little impish thing with small horns, which Fa I recognizes as a Figment, a manifestation of opium dreams. Upon talking to it, they find out that it was created a long time ago, and that it eats dreams — it’s at this point that it starts trying to walk to Kicara, intent on eating her delicious dreams.

The party springs into action — Tersi tries to get Man Ju Lah, Sher, and Squatter to organize, though Man Ju Lah’s bad sense of direction deters his effort. They discover that Squatter is actually already getting dragged away by three of the Figments without their notice. Tersi runs to cut them off while Kicara, incensed at having these creatures threaten her dreams from her beloved Nawahb, attempts to bash the Figment in Dian’s grasp. She misses. Man Ju Lah helpfully does it for her, and the Figment bursts into shadow.

“Murder! Murder!” they cry, and Fa I throws stones to get the Figments off Squatter. The Figments start attacking the party. Squatter realizes that her Magic Missile can’t identify the Figments, and are useless against them. Sher shakes with fear, her cowardly nature finally coming to light! Things get more problematic as they realize that the Figments have their own magical abilities as well — Dian’s tenderizer begins to show signs of rusting upon contact with one, and another blinds majority of the party that Fa I has rounded up with Color Spray.

Sher strings the blind party members together to keep them moving, while Dian stands guard and bashes a Figment in a shower of blood and gore. This frightens the Figments, who flee and leave. The party doesn’t linger and hurry off to the next area.

[Second Hex]

They reach what appears to be the ruins of the Temple of Zinzimar, the crocodile god of pleasure who hasn’t been worshipped in centuries. Zinzimar contemplates on the possibility of Zinzimar and Nawahb being the same god, and enters the temple in excitement. Sadly for her, the people they find inside don’t even know who Zinzimar is, and is only using the temple as their meeting place — an overturned crocodile statue even functions as their mess table.

There are fifteen men in all, who seem to own architecture papers and are very friendly towards the party. They give a short talk on how they want to take architecture to the modern age, regardless of background and class. While the party is suspicious of this gathering, they accept the generous offer to join the architects on a meal. It’s here that Dian recognizes the architectural pages to be the schematics of slugman structures; one even looks like the abandoned slugman mansion that borders the Ipixangga territory.

Kicara tries to reclaim the place for Nawahb, talking about orgies and the other activities that worshippers must do in the service of her god. This attracts the attention of one of the architects, her new convert Hi Lan. Dian makes conversation about the colony of Figments that the party passed, which reveals the architects as coming from the northern part of the Yellow City. Kicara invites Hi Lan to sleep with him, giving Fa I the opportunity to swap his scroll out. Now the party has “evidence” to present to their patron slugman.

They decide to stay for the night, Tersi taking care of their camping needs while Fa I climbs the temple to look for Kicara’s meeting place in the distance — he sees it far off. During their stay, they search the temple and its grounds for things they can salvage, particularly spices.

Fa I finds the remnants of an altar with a false floor, and finds a chest full of coins in it. He tries to hide the chest from Kicara, but Man Ju Lah, in his ever present desire to both antagonize Fa I and impress Kicara, outs him to the Sacred Harlot. Inside the chest is 3,000 old copper coins and a gilded chalice.

Meanwhile, the search for spices goes fairly well. Kicara finds Yak Spit (4 silver per dose, 5 doses), a type of tea that is used for poison prevention, but requires a yak to function. She takes only half of what she can to preserve the plants. Dian, on the other hand, finds a mint tree and manages to take a bunch without harming it (10 doses, 62 silver each).

[Third Hex]

They make they way out on the next day. Kicara feels uneasy the moment they leave the temple, and realize that this is because the temple grounds have been surrounded by salt by the architects. Nevertheless, they leave and note the place for later.

The party hears whimpering not too far away, and Tersi moves forward to scout. He finds a large arch, from which three bodies are swaying in the air on nooses. He sees a slugman in armor and armed with a scimatar, dragging what appears to be a pleading, high-caste man to the arch. It reaches for a chain, which floats up and ties itself around the arch. The slugman says something about sacrificing the slave and ignores the watching Tersi with a smile.

Tersi returns with all haste and informs the group of the threat before them. Going the roundabout way will add too much time to their journey, however, and Kicara will miss her meeting, so they opt to press forward. They take some salt from Hi Lan and make their approach.

Kicara talks to the slugman in slug, and is surprised when it responds in trade — he says he is pickling a man for eating. Kicara disapproves. Meanwhile, Tersi makes his way past the slugman to the man who is about to be hung, under the watchful but unworried eye of the slugman. The slugman seems interested in Kicara and says that the party may pass the area, except for one.

Tersi learns from the man that he’s a teacher in the academy in the Eastside, and that this slugman had just grabbed him from the city one night and taken him here. He is a teacher of magic, but his magic is being impeded by the chain. He begs Tersi to save him, offering anything in return; Tersi asks him what he teaches, to which he replies that it’s transmutation magic — Tersi seems to find an opportunity there, if he can teach Squatter and Fa I spells, and makes his decision.

Kicara declares that the slugman is not a slugman at all. Found out, the creature sheds its magical disguise and reveals itself to be an apeman wearing an armor, with inverted hands — it’s a rakshasa, a rakosh in particular, and is unhappy at their interruption. Kicara blesses the salt and draws a line between it and the party. The rakosh draws its scimitar.

Kicara demands that her party is allowed to pass; the Rakosh agrees to only take the teacher, but it is at this point that Tersi gets Squatter to free the iron around the teacher’s neck, who then flees into the Old City in terror. The Rakosh strikes Tersi, who is just able to safely cross the salt to join the rest of the party, but not without incurring damage to his person. Fa I throws a rock at it.

The Rakosh snarls, but after taking their measure decides instead to take after the escaped teacher. It bends backwards and gallops on its hands and feet and disappears into the Old City. The party then proceeds to give Tersi a hard time for unnecessarily getting them into so much danger with the Rakosh, but eventually move through the rest of the area and arrive, finally, at Kicara’s meeting place.

[Fourth Hex]

They come upon the ruins of an old courtyard, in the middle of which is the gigantic statue of a big, corpulent slug. They are told in no uncertain terms to not touch the statue because it’s cursed, though of course not everyone is concerned about that. Since they have some time to wait for night, the party moves around to look for things they may be able to profit from.

Unfortunately, Tersi and Fa I are unable to find anything in the abandoned house, and turn their attention to the statue. Tersi finds a hallowed area at the base of the statue, which reveals a mostly-empty space upon being opened. Inside are a pair of cold-forged manacles and 12 unrefined agates (12 silver each). They also find a wand and three balls of yellow-green string. The manacles reveal a dwarven inscription on it, “For binding demons,” which excites the crew. The strings are also salted and can be used as a ward, and the agates when unrefined can be used to hurt demons more than stones. Kicara realizes that this may be a demon hunter’s cache.

They look up to re-examine the statue, which they find to be carrying manacles and a whip. Hm! Dian ends up keeping the manacles, and moves on to look for herbs. She finds ginger roots (3 units, 16 silver each), and climbs up to the rotting roof of the house to ensure that nothing surprises them during their stay there. She sees the Rakosh circling them from the distance, loitering and walking about, but it seems reluctant to come closer. The warning to Tersi and Fa I spur them into action and they begin marking a perimeter with the salted string.

As it turns to night, a raven lands next to Dian and transforms into a wet crone with hollow eyes. Dian escorts her to the ground, where majority of the men see a beautiful, young woman. The crone is introduced as the Seeress of Wetness, and men see her differently based on their preferences. Fa I, however, can see through all of her facades, including a giant spider form and is very disturbed.

A large slug soon joins them, and is introduced as the Hearthslime. The three priestesses of Nawahb begin their meeting, with the rest of the party idling by and blatantly eavesdropping.

First, the two elder priestesses contemplate Kicara’s weight, much to her protest. And then Kicara tells them of her dream, and they contemplate the possibility of this actually being Nawahb. Finally, Kicara tells them about the Rakosh; the Crone tells them that she will deal with him, promptly turns into a raven, and flies off.

The Hearthslime tells the party that they have had to investigate dreams before. They are told that Kicara has to catch a Figment, let it eat the dream, and to bring the Figment to the crone for dissection because she’s the only one who can kill Figments without them dissipating. Kicara complains, and is given the usual response of, “It builds character.”

The Crone returns and tells them that she has talked to the Rakosh, and that the Rakosh will leave them alone for the rest of the journey until they return to the Yellow City. The benefit of this is that the Rakosh will be forced to hunt them outside of this area of the Old City, which is the territory of the Brotherhood of the Rakosh — if they kill it outside of its territory, it will not stir the Brotherhood to action, because they will view it as deserved for the Rakosh’ weakness. The Crone warns them, however, that the Rakosh can spend a very long time waiting before it moves, so they will be forced to watch over their shoulders for a while.

The Crone says she will fetch the Figment from them later. The party ends up spending the night in the abandoned house, where Dian makes a crate and ties it with the yellowgreen string. It is this crate that they carry with them to return to the area with the Figments, but not without stopping by the area with the arch on the way back.

The transmutation teacher is notably not among the hanging bodies being pickled in the wind — Fa I climbs up to them and rifles through their belongings. He finds an aquamarine necklace and a proposal note to one Muscan of Clan Aji, and takes the ears of the victims to use as scapegoats for the slug later.

They return to the area with the Figment colony, where Fa I announces, “I am offering one of you the chance to eat Kicara’s dream.”

Kicara is appalled, but catches on, and in pettiness adds, “But only the strongest can eat my dreams,” which incites an all-out brawl between the Figments. The strongest one earns the right to enter the “championship box”, which they carry back to the Yellow City.

View
Freshmen

Bim’s note: to be edited.

First day of school!

Mu plans on building a student org for outlander students. She asks Kai Leng to help her scribe some flyers to hand out to freshmen.

Kai Leng goes to a business connection — a down-on-his-luck contact to whom he had previously sold blue stab, Kalida. She asks for blue stab in exchange for scribe work. Kai Leng agrees to sell her half a blue stab at initial, the rest upon completion. “You’re very kind,” she weeps.

She prints out: ’Hello, Friend! Feeling blue? Want to build exotic, diverse “friendships”? Deviants encouraged to apply, to “Fasashi” (Foreign Students Club)"

Rohan looks for acolytes to buffer up his clergy. “Mister, mister, what’s this shrine about?”

“This is the…great Con Rua, the turtle god of dreams and sickness.” The student balks at the word “disease”. As ROhan struggles to explain, the student huffs and leaves, bored.

“Dammit, I need a PR,” Rohan exclaims.

He returns to the shrine, and speaks with Gagan, the shrine guard. “I can take care of it,” he replies. He plans on getting a…“theography” student to help recruit new followers. Rohan appoints his favorite acolyte, Celline, to man a recruitment booth.

“I’m looking forward to your great job.”
“And I can even get my first disease with this duty. DIsease for everyone!” she says, happy.

He checks Leri out.

Meanwhile, Muskan, stuck in class, broods in her Socery class. Still no allowance from her dad. The professor drones on about conjuration. He asks the class — “How do you specify a creature when casting your Summon spell?” Muskan answers, only to be interrupted by Ling entering the classroom.

“May I ask, professor,” Ling pipes up, “if you’ve actually used the Summon spell?”

Professor Afagu replies, “Well, I only know it theoretically, but I haven’t cast it myself. It’s dangerous stuff.”

Ling probes further, this time asking about how scrolls could stabilize a Summon spell. Red flags raise in Afagu’s mind. “I’m afraid, that, um,” he replies.

While Afagu struggles, Ling invites Muskan to the org house to check out his research on Summon spel. Affronted, Afagu dismisses the class, stressing the homework: a 3-page paper on why summon spells are bad and why they shouldn’t try it.

“And, Mr. Ling, may I have a word with you after class?” he adds.

The class ends. The slug professor finds himself alone with Ling, and begins speaking to him about his strange interest with Summon. Ling suavely responds to his inquiries, and invites the professor to check the safety standards that his organization employs against spells like Summon. Afagu agrees, and the two part ways — Ling’s…shadows…moving after his figure.

Students file past Muskan. A crowd stars to form around her, angry that her biboness in class got them homework. Five of the students mill, demanding she let them have a copy of her notes and homework.

“Now, now,” speaks a familiar voice. “Muskan is a friend of the Discordians.”

Ling appears, and a palpable fear spreads throughout the student crowd. They disperse, and the two strike a conversation about the Summon spell, and Muskan’s lineage as the daughter of the Witch-King. They part ways, with Ling reminding her that she’s welcome to visit the Discordians. Muskan returns to her classes.

Afagu, still concerned, speaks with the master sage.

Meanwhile, Kai Leng seizes upon an excellent business opportunity: selling study aids.

Mu pays Kai Leng 6 sp for the fliers and starts looking for a club adviser. She stikes lucky — a Lamarakhi pirate who also moonlights as a Baphomet priest.

Rohan arrives at the shrine of Baku, looking for Leri. The Baku acolytes regard him suspiciously. Somewhere in the distance, Rohan spots a man in orange — a Baphomet priest — arguing with Leri.

“Now tell me what you know!” the Baphomet priest cries.
“Just because you’re a University professor, doesn’t mean you have the right to harass other religions!”
“No, I’m here as a priest. You know something about the missing high priest!”

Rohan gently asserts his authority and butts into the argument. He learns that the Baphomet high priest has also disappeared in the Topaz Isles in a “God’s Moot”. He also learns that not all religions have a missing High Priest — the priests of Westside, for example, are still active.

Rohan indicates that he wants to propose a joint adventure. The Baphomet adherent insists on meeting on his shrine, as it is safer than Leri’s. “Fine!,” she shouts. “Fine!”, he shouts back. “Fine!” “Fine!”

“Don’t worry about it,” Rohan soothes Leri. “Every priest hates each other. I hate you.”
“I know,” she replies. “I hate you too. I hate your butt.”

Rohan pitches the idea of pooling their resources to fund an expedition to the Topaz Isles. Leri begrudgingly says that she is now amenable to the idea. “I’d rather work with you than work with him. If things go south, have my back, okay? For old times’ sake.”

SHE IS TOTALLY NOT BEING SET UP TO DIE

Mu finds out that his name is CHan CHai.
She heads to the shrine, sees rhino in front of the altar. bowls of uncooked rice, offered. lotsof people from different walks of life.

they fock to this lamarakhi man. he’s big, 6 fet tall, with an eyepatch.

“Stand back, everyone!” he says. “priest/explorer/teacher coming along”
Mu speaks to him excited in Lamarakhi, but he asks her to repeat it in Common. "Well, I just need to believe

“this organization needs my fist. er, my expertise in ounching”. Mu is happy, and tells Chan Chai that she will put his name in the fliers as “Chan Chai the fister, slash explorer, slash Baphomet priest, slash General Studies professor.”

Afagu heads to the library and has a discussion with Polaha Po the headmaster. The headmaster tends to his eggs. Afagu shares his concerns with Ling, and broaches the plan of visiting the Discordian org house. “Would you like me to arrange a safety hazard, professor?” Kai Leng appears out of nowhere, delivering the needed compost for the eggs.

Polaha Po shares the news that the advisor of the Discordians had recently gone.

“Legally speaking, you’re entitled to half of the nest,” he adds. “Another 8 months. Do you remember when you first hatched? Imagine smelling all that manure.”

“I guess that’s why I don’t remember it, then.” Afagu blithely replies.

“Some people find it appealing. Maybe when it’s your time to lay eggs, you will find it nice too.”

“Erm. I don’t think it’s my time yet. Well. Okay.”

Polaha Po nods, and moves on to a different topic: traps, ordered from the Ekanch clan, placed strategically around the scroll’s hiding place. “We believe it can summon one of the gods,” he says.

Afagu leaves,entrusting the gathering of materials for thet rap to Kai Leng. Polaha Po looks over the nest like a happy parent.

Muskan heads to a class. A dwarven face pops and peers over the window and waves to the princess. The dwarf greets her and asks how her classes are going. Muskan replies and makes small talk, before inquiring about the father. “He forgot about you. Then he remembered. Last week,” the dwarf says. He hands her a bag filled with 10 gold pieces — her long awaited stipend.

Muskan returns to class and deposits 95% of her money to a bank account.

Kai Leng speaks with the butcher and confirms the order of traps for the library. “It’s for this magic scroll thing,” he says. The butcher confirms what he knows of the rumor, and adds that a pirate had been the one to have found it. In addition, the high priests had fought over it in the Topaz isles.

At this point I kinda stopped paying attention

Kai Leng and the butcher plot how to best exploit the situation. “It could work,” the butcher says. “We just need to be careful.”

Kai Leng nods, and ensures there’s a good layout for traps.

Rohan returns to good news: new converts, thanks to Celine’s efforts. “You did a very good job,” Rohan says.
“Enough for the first disease?” Celine beams.
“Uh…only Con Rua can grant you that blessing.”
“Dammit, why am I so healthy?” she groans.

Unbeknownst to her, both the High Priest and Rohan had been trying to hget her ill for the longest time. But nothing seems to stick

Kai Leng pops up. (Nobody’s surprised)

“About your high priest,” he says. He steers Rohan into a private, hushed conversation and tells him what he knows from the Butcher. “Remember the scroll? The high priests are fighting over it. And they, uh, all ended up dead.”

“There must’ve been at least one high priest who survived, though.” Kai Leng muses. Rohan agrees. Kai Leng tells him that the scroll is located in the Malaba library, and adds that having more detailed information could get…very expensive.

FIRST FAXAXI FELLOWMEET

penetrate the depths of cultural understnding
spread the essence of diversity throughout the student body

Mu grabs 5 SP from the students as membership fee. Liing shows up. Some come from the Hundred Kingdoms, Sugud, and overseas.

Ling stays back and asks to have a word with Mu. He indicates that he has a gift for her, with a huge smile. Mu backs off, creeped out for the second time.

Muskan goes to the bank, owned by goblins, and plops in her investment.

Afagu inspects the traps and stumbles upon _____ (the beggar) speaking with #47. Afagu asks ____ to look around for suspicious persons in exchange for blue stabs. ____ bargains instead for four shells to better help communicate with crabfolk.

___ reveals that the crabman has a name: Taklalkdsfsdl.

“Erm, I’ll just call you Clack,” Afagu grumbles.


shakes his head sadly to Clack. “I tried, Taklakdfdfs.”

THE NIGHT COMES

Muskan and Afagu arrive at the Discordian org house at roughly the same time. “Ah, professor! Just in time. And Muskan, too!” Ling cries. He welcomes them to the House of the Discordians – a somewhat lavish building.

He explains their group. “For this is what we do,” he intones. “FOR THIS IS WHAT WE DO” the members echo. Ling leads them to a large library inside the house. Muskan spends roughly an hour scanning the books, four hours to read them — oblivious to what happens around her. She starts seeking out any books on Summon. She learns a few key things: the ritual nature of the spell stabilizes it, a technical mind could use the Summon spell to summon an exact creature of his choosing, and that it requires someone of pure soul (a virgin!).

Afagu looks through the library too. He finds a lot of focus on summoning. “My theory,” Ling says, “is that Gods are…outsiders. Things from outside, that we are letting in.” Afagu pursues the line of thought and asks him what would happeen if theseoutsiders were let into this reality. “I believe it will be…detrimental. We have to understand what it is that can destroy the world, so we can stop it.”

“Have you met the muses?” Ling suddenly asks. “Would you like to meet them?”


Kai Leng heads back to meet with the butcher, trap map in hand. On the way, three men stop him in his tracks. “Nothing personal,” one of them say. Kai Leng, understanding too well, flees, heading deep into market district, hoping to lose the pursuers.

INITIATIVE IS THEN ROLLED. WHOOOooo

Luckily, Kai Leng has his thieving expertise to help navigate the twisty pathways. Suddenly, his arm is grabbed - it’s Ru Pi! She drags him and helps him escape. “This is me, warning you,” she says.

“Okay. Who did I piss off?” Kai Leng asks. “My boss,” she says. Kai Leng had been enroaching on the opium trade, and the higher-ups — whoever they may be — are not pleased. He asks who could introduce him to the boss. “I will need some sort of peace offering.”

He meets with the Butcher, unscathed. Kai Leng passes the map, and shares the news that Rohan had been informed of the circumstances surrounding the Summon scroll. “Leri’s the one who returned the scroll to Yellow City, right?” Kai Leng asked. He recounts the failed heist attempt on the Baku Shrine. He also asks for help meeting a boss — the Butcher, however, has no information. He helps, however, with securing two henchmen to assist Kai Leng.


Mu and Rohan arrive at the Baphomet shrine roughly at the same time.

Chan Chai is not too pleased about having to do advisor work — although this is mollified by the fact that he can speak about himself at length during club meetings.

“I’m here about the proposal,” Rohan interjects. “When you said she might knowsomething about the high priest, I think you’re on to something. We should try to interrogate her, when she comes in. We talk to her first, before we do some fisting.”

chan Chai volunteers casting a Sanctuary spell as soon as she comes in. As Rohan tries to leave, he hears a cheerful — “Hey everyone! I’m early!” Crap. Leri arrives. Two bodyguards too.

WHAT ARE YOU REALLY UP TO, LERI”, Chan Chai asks as Rohan tries to think of a diplomatic approach.

Leri asks Rohan what he knows of the situation. She balks at the news that all the high priests are dead. He expands further, revealing that he knew the item was a scroll.

“You know it was a scroll?” Leri asked.

Rohan begrudgingly admits to it. “How did you get it?” he asks. Leri refuses to answer. “Look, I’m sincere in trying to help you find your high priests.”

“Aren’t you looking for your high priest too?”

Leri pauses, caught. “Ah. Yes. Our priests.”

Rohan agrees to the plan for Leri to accompany them to the Topaz Isles. He asks her, however, to help them in any way she can, reminding her that the gods are watching. “I’m telling you everything I can tell you.”

“You could ask our crocodiles, if you must.”


Ling leads Afagu to the muses. He sees the twins. Ling explains, ’They inspire thought. Our academic talk is very animated, because of the presence of our muses."

Afagu asks Ling about the recent retirement of the org’s adviser. “Is that your interest in the org? And here I thought you were the police!” Ling exclaims. He bows and expresses his delight at Afagu becoming their adviser. He encourages Afagu to hang around the org house — and in particular, around the muses.


Muskan and Afagu leave the Discordian House.

There’s a dark room. Muffled voice speaks within – as if he’s gagged. Ling comes in, smiling. A young man, also a student, with faded out fake tattoos, is bound to the wall.

“Too bad that Mu chose not to show up,” Ling tells the student. “I was going to gift you to her. But now that your corpse won’t be eaten by her —” he stabs the student. A brief moment of panic settles – “No! I’m just a student!” — and passes — “who must do what he must.”

View
Egg Errors

It is Mu’s first time in the Westside of the Yellow City, here to fetch some books for delivery. The West is a lot more active than the East, Mu notes as she is carried along in a caravan filled to the brim with vanilla and cardamom. The caravan is being driven by Ru Pi, the intrepid fence who is once again failing to convincingly dress down.

The two are eventually met by Tersi, and the two humans briskly begin to talk business over Mu’s head. Ru Pi is here to unload her cargo – including Mu – and Tersi is only too happy to see an opportunity in new trade. He takes the vanilla to resell, paying a downpayment of 25sp, and turns his attention to Mu. Mu explains that she is here in search of a cargo of books from the house of Ha Pau; Ru Pi promptly gets bored with them and leaves.

Dian and Pa Ni Ta are talking about the missing eggs, which troubles the breeder quite a lot. Ra U Nak has apparently been guarding them – which is problematic, given that Ra U Nak is the clan’s idiot. The eggs have gone missing thrice in the past month, and Pa Ni Ta is concerned that this will affect future supply and production. Dian offers to take a shift with Pa Ni Ta to guard the eggs, which pleases the clan elder.

It’s at about this point that Tersi and Mu come in – Pa Ni Ta tells Tersi to go to the basket weaver for something, and Tersi asks Dian to house Mu temporarily. Dian agrees to it as she attends to her food stall deep fried cockroaches, and Tersi leaves Mu with her.

Ik Sha, the basket weaver, is worried about her husband Cha Nu. Cha Nu seems to be interested in a god… in Nawabh. Ik Sha thinks that Cha Nu wants to cheat on her with the holy harlot, Kicara! After a great deal of effort, Tersi is able to calm her down and suggest to her that perhaps she should be supportive of Cha Nu’s newfound religiousness and join him in his pilgrimage. Perhaps he is not looking to cheat on her after all, and she should not think so ill of him immediately. With that crisis out of the way, Tersi takes the opportunity to ask Ik Sha if she knows anyone who might be interested in cardamom, vanilla, and garlic. She gives him a lead in the form of a chef in a restaurant at the martial arts school. The Ha Pau, coincidentally, is the slug family who owns it.

Kicara’s duties at Nawabh’s Holy Harlot are primarily done early in the mornings and late in the afternoons; now that it’s the middle of the day, she returns to the Ipixangga cockroach stable to fulfill her duties for the clan. She walks into Man Ju La accusing Fa I about stealing cockroach eggs from Pa Ni Ta – since he’s a spider, it only makes sense for Fa I to like eating their produce, right? Fa I is just adamantly defending himself in his own acerbic way when Ma Ju La drops the argument in favor of fawning over Kicara.

Kicara asks the men, “What’s the first cause of loss of money?” Fa I, ever direct, tells her that she spends too much on Ra U Nak, the idiot. Perhaps Kicara will pray to Nawabh for a mine. It’s at this time that Ra U Nak finally makes his late appearance for his shift; Kicara immediately informs him that she won’t be giving him money anymore, but he claims that he hasn’t been spending them anyway. He gives her back 57 copper.

“See? Nawabh provides,” Kicara tells Fa I in her usual serene way, and Fa I is baffled at what he’s just witnessed. Ra U Nak proceeds to stare at the cockroaches he’s supposed to be guarding, in lieu of taking care of them.

Meanwhile, Kicara makes her way to the market place, floating from person to person to ask them how to earn money. Ma Ju La “helpfully” says that he can take her to the mines, hoping for a favor from the Holy Harlot (he receives a pat on the head). What she ends up doing, instead, is selling prayers with Dian’s food for a small additional fee. It works very well, but it annoys Dian to have more noise than usual. The group starts talking about their cockroach thievery problems and how Ra U Nak has been left behind to watch over the stable – this understandably gives Dian pause; irritated, Dian leaves the surprisingly competent Man Ju La to man her stall so that she can go take everyone and fix scheduling with Pa Ni Ta.

In the shed Pa Ni Ta uses for her breeding work, she explains that since Dian had wanted to remove Ra U Nak from watching over the eggs, she had put him at the stables instead. Dian looks somewhat doubtful of this, so they shuffle some schedules over that leaves Kicara to take her shift with Ra U Nak. Meanwhile, Dian, Fa I, and Pa Ni Ta will be responsible for the eggs. The breeder also shows them the boxes that the thief used to mask the missing eggs – the boxes had been used as a filler to keep the volume of the mounds steady despite the theft of the eggs.

Now that he’s in there, Fa I takes the opportunity to investigate the shed for any clues to the identity or nature of the thief. He finds scrapes on the ground where the eggs had gone missing, but it seems like the only way for those scrapes to have been made is if the thief had been standing on the wall itself. Fa I, with Dian’s help, goes through the thatch roof and finds it to be a possible walkway. The nearest other roof is on a slugman’s abandoned mansion. They contemplate investigating it that night.

Dian asks Ra U Nak if he’s seen anything amiss in the cockroach shed during the nights of the thefts, to which he helpfully supplies the information that it was a girl much like Mu – an impossibility, since Tersi’s only brought the girl today, and the man had mentioned that Mu came from Eastside with Ru Pi. In any case, Kicara finishes her prayers for the day and takes her shift with Ra U Nak – to make extra sure that the stable is secure, she casts Sanctuary.

In the meantime, Tersi has been taking Mu around on his leisurely way to the restaurant, which looks like a Buddhist temple that used to be both a library and a supermarket. It’s owned by monks who are also part of the martial arts school. Tersi takes them to the kitchen to speak to the head chef, who impresses them with a dish of eggs – it’s at this point that Mu misunderstands the instruction ‘give it a try’ and makes a mess of the chef’s eggs. Tersi hastily takes her out and, to distract her, leads her into a dark alley.

The alley is actually an opium den, where they find a rotting corpse and an opium addict. Mu wants to help the addict, but Tersi dissuades her by saying they can go and see an abandoned mansion instead. Behind them, the man disappears, held by a monstrous snake that they do not see.

As Tersi and Mu walk along, they are distracted by a commotion in the distance. A priest has taken a young Lamarakhi girl hostage. Tersi takes point and leads the clan members present to surround the man, while Mu talks to the girl to calm her down. The priest babbles on that he saw a vision of a Lamarakh that will come to town and destroy everyone, and that the Black Orchid commanded him to prevent this from happening. Tersi manages to talk the man down enough to separate the girl from him, but the girl promptly turns to her captor and casts a spell that instantly kills him. She then flees to the run with great nimbleness.

Meanwhile, Dian and Fa are in the midst of their shift and casing the abandoned mansion beside their storage shed when the girl comes through one of the thatch roofs. They crouch down to hide themselves and when the girl leaps overhead, attack her. Dian unfortunately hits the girl enough that she falls off the roof and becomes badly hurt, much to the distress of Ra U Nak – this is the Lamarakhi girl who has been playing with him during his shifts.

Now joined by Tersi and Mu, the party takes the injured girl to Kicara, who is fortunately able to heal her. Pa Ni Ta, upon hearing that the thief has been captured, is eager to dismember the girl, but the party is able to turn her away for the time being. Pa Ni Ta reveals that they’ve lost 30sp worth of eggs now – and not even at market price. Dian inquires as to what the girl – Squatter – has been doing with the eggs, and upon learning that she has only been eating them, appeals to Pa Ni Ta’s logic that payment of the value of the eggs should be enough compensation. There’s a lot of multilingual arguing that go around the party at this point, as suggestions like slavery, disembowelment, and outright selling the girl are raised. Eventually, Mu ends up paying for the entirety of the girl’s debt (which has, at this point, risen to 120sp thanks to Tersi).

In the end, they let Squatter go, but follow her to the abandoned mansion that she has been hiding in. She draws a circle on the ground that pops up spiders, which bury into her skin and allow her to climb the smooth walls easily. There is a small pathway through the rafters that leads into the library, where Squatter collects her things; Fa I takes her spellbook, which he decides to keep until he learns how to climb.

While the rest of the party is distracted by Fa I and Squatter’s bickering, Kicara calls out to Nawabh, who leads her to a terracotta warrior, whose insides are made of clockwork gear and a topaz heart. Misunderstanding Nawabh’s intention for leading her there, Kicara reaches in and plucks out the heart, which immediately activates the golem. When Tersi frantically puts the heart back, the golem thanks him by stabbing him clean through with its spear. Thanks to Mu’s fast thinking, she is able to trip the golem and cripple it, allowing the party to retreat with an almost-dead Tersi in tow. Just in time, too, as crabmen begin investigating the ruckus.

Back in the clan house, the party count their loot (for those who picked something up), while Squatter tries to negotiate for her book back. She ends up agreeing to work three major jobs for them. Fa I promises to return it to her after he’s learned what he wants from it (which only really takes two days).

Cha Nu and his wife happily get back together, and the bedridden, recovering Tersi gets the two to help him sell the vanilla and cardamom. Unfortunately, he can’t get any garlic; in fact, it seems that there might be a shortage soon.

Mu is finally able to go to the house of the Ha Pao for the shipment of books she’s been looking for – she and the party are welcomed by the slugman named Papali, who seems very interested in Kicara. Mu gets about fifty books and is dismissed so that the slugman can talk to the clan. Papali is very concerned about the break-in into his mansion that the clan was informally supposed to guard. After all, that is why it was bordering their clan house, right? The slugman wants them to catch the culprit… or find him a suitable scapegoat. The slugman interestingly hides the fact that he has a working golem in his mansion, but does divulge that one of his ‘guards’ injured the culprit with its spear.

The party discusses this grim turn of events between them later on. They find a likely rumour they may be able to stick with, and contemplate passing the blame on to the dead priest.

End scene: A Lamarakhi walks along the sea and creatures crawl out of the ground behind him. He holds up a black orchid to his nose and smells it. In the Western side of the Yellow City, Kicara wakes up in a cold sweat.

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