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)
- 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.