Xue Lingsu (Purple Cavern Sect)
Xi Kang(Affiliated with Mr. Red Claw)
Zhi Zhu (No Sect)
Long Shu (Purple Cavern Sect)
Min (Purple Cavern Sect)
Rong (Tree-Dwelling Nun Sect)
Nuan (Xi Kang's Disciple and a former Flying Phantom)
Niang the Demon Hunter (A martial hero who knows how to kill the Yao)
The party had just fought Bone Breaker, after attacking his boat with Thunderbolt Balls and forcing his heroes ashore. They killed him, his Flying Phantom assassins, cut off the hands of his ally Abbot Firebrand and forced Zhang Kang (a giant monstrosity working with Bone Breaker) to surrender and flee west). From Abbot they learned that Bone Breaker was on a mission to 'invert heaven' by restoring the Demon Emperor. He had just obtained a talisman that would enable him to get closer to his goal by stealing the Key of Yao Feng from Red Mountain Villa (the talisman was a kind of teleportation device).
The party had just left the city of Yuizhing, where they tried to destroy the emperor's lacquered heart boxes (an act that would destroy him demon bodyguards), but the hearts they found were fake and part of an ambush. They learned that the real heart boxes were in Fan (a city to the north east). Abbot Firebrand revealed that they were inside the Statue of the Bold King.
Min had cut off Abbot's hands and when he recovered he pleaded with the party to take Bone Breaker's body for proper burial. They refused but he promised to cooperate if they did as he asked. As a sign of good faith he told them that Bone Breaker had two important letters in his armor vest.
Inspection this body they found two letters. The first was from the Senior Grand Councilor of the Empire. It instructed him how to safely take the Face of Vaagu from the Kailing (by using a scroll to contain the energy from Iron Sky Realm). It also revealed that Bone Breaker was under an agreement with Heavenly Palace Sect and had promised to send his son into Yao Gong Palace with the Heart of Yao Feng before his 18th birthday. This would result in his son becoming the demon emperor. The penalty for failure was his son's death.
The other letter was from Bone Breaker's son, Zhang Yong. The letter expressed the son's belief that his father intended to betray the Senior Grand Councilor and had some sort of plan to get around their arrangement with Heavenly Palace Sect. He expressed gratitude, admiration and a willingness to obey his father. He also said he was happy that his father had finally returned to the righteous path.
Abbot also explained that the statue was well protected, that it was really a likeness of the Demon Emperor and that the interior walls could absorb intruders and turn them into iron guardians. The third or fourth floor of the statue had two boxes with parts of a key that could open the heart boxes (contained in the head of the statue).
The party decided to take Abbot with them to Fan. They went by boat and when they arrived immediately set out investigating the town. In the middle of the settlement was the Lake of Rebirth, where the sunken remains of Old Fan rested below the waters. According to locals, anyone who went near the lake would be drowned by water spirits. The only people spared by the ghosts were descendants of the original king (the current King resided in an island in the middle of the lake).
|Sketch of Fan from my notes|
Kang went to The Tower of Good Fortune, a gambling hall run by Master Pan. He approach Master Pan and asked to hire thieves to help him break into the Statue. The master agreed and gave him three men for 15,000 spades. However on their way to the statue, the men drew their swords and tried to detain Kang. He killed them and fled. Later he saw Master Pan issuing orders to guards with spears, learning that he was the chief of a ward in the city. He snuck into the Tower of Good Fortune while Master Pan was bathing, and slit his throat.
Rong went to Menzi's Wine Shop and learned more about the waters at the Lake of Rebirth. She also learned some of the history. The men in the tavern told her that the old city was flooded when Demon Emperor first appeared nearly a thousand years ago.
Zhi Zhu went to the Statue of the Bold King and spied on it for a while using her Stealth of the Spider Demon Technique. She learned that there were four guards out front who changed shifts every four hours. She also observed an Imperial official in black robes, who looked like a Yen-Li practitioner, inspecting the statue occasionally.
Rong investigated the possibility of using the water from the lake to breach the statue (her reasoning was that if the old town was connected to the arrival of the Demon Emperor, perhaps the spirits were still angry and the water could be used to harm the statue). However as Rong approached the waters of the lake, she saw a shape with long black hair flowing beneath the surface, getting closer with every step she took.
They decided to find a Yen-Li temple and hire a priest to help them (perhaps he would know a way to utilize the water). They went to Flowing Mirror Pavilion Temple where priest Mak and his wife Lau resided. The priest told them that the spirits of the water were dangerous and possessed people, but that it might be possible to find a person who had been possessed and get some information from them about the statue. For a fee he agreed to help them. Mak retrieved a magic lantern and his wife grabbed a bundle of rope, then they set out with the party.
The lantern ticked and helped reveal the presence of spirits and demons. This eventually led them to a confused looking woman in the market. The party approached her saying they knew she was a spirit and eventually got her to speak. She told them that she might be able to temporarily block the statue's protective magic if she sacrificed herself on its grounds. She was willing to do this because she wanted revenge against the demon emperor.
As they talked, the Yen-Li priest and his wife had snuck up on the group. The wife lassoed the woman and the priest began chanting as he unstopped a gourd at this belt. It was clear they were trying to trap the spirit, so Zhi Zhu used arms of silk to tie up both of them. As the rest of the party secreted the woman away, Kang negotiated with the priest, explaining they just needed a little help from the spirits. The priest protested that the spirit was evil and needed to be destroyed, but eventually relented. He gave Kang a coin and said he would give them a day if he put the coin on her person so the couple could track her later.
Having one spirit in their service, they decided it might be beneficial to acquire another. So they scoped out the statue again and began making note of the guard's habits. Zhi Zhu found one who seemed unpleasant and cruel and followed him home. When she heard sounds of violence from inside his home, she ran in and grabbed him with arms of silk, then pulled him into an alley where she knocked him out. Kang dragged the man to the lake and dropped him in the water. When he surfaced he was confused but the spirit woman touched his arm and said "we are going to destroy the Demon Emperor now". He nodded and agreed to help the party.
Kang followed another guard and got drunk with him. He helped the man stumble home and stole his uniform. The plan was for Kang to go in with the Spirit Man and get to the heart boxes without setting off any of the protective wards. At the appointed time the woman would rush the entrance to neutralize the statue's powers.
Before they approached the statue, Zhi Zhu spied on the temple where the official had been staying (about 200 yards from the statue). She snuck in when he was sleeping and stole his seal. This was a box for placing orders inside.
Bringing this back to the party, they put an order for a guard to retrieve a heart box. Kang and the spirit man went in dressed like soldiers and walked up the spirals stairs on the interior. On the third floor there was another guard, who they presented the talisman to. He read the order and retrieved the key halves, telling them they had fifteen minutes.
They went up to the head. Rong, positioned on the ground, grabbed two thunderbolt balls and used great stride to enter the statue through the eye socket. As soon as she appeared, two lashing cables appeared from the statue wall and struck at her, but she whirling dodged out of the way. She immediately used Great Stride to leave. Kang hid the Thunderbolt Balls as the guard from below came up to ask about the racket.
Kang said "a couple of birds flew in and set of the protective device". The guard muttered something about it begin the second one that month and returned to his station. They lit the Thunderbolt Balls. The Spirit Man stayed behind, readying a dagger to do himself in. Kang Flew out the eye socket, and was nearly cleaved by a blade trap. He then released a divine powder signal, and the woman charged the guards at the entrance. The head exploded and the party fled from the city.
They later circled back and Zhi Zhu spied on the statue grounds. The official, who they had determined was Senior Grand Councilor Cai Yuanyu at this point, had the guard who was protecting the key beheaded as men brought down bits of ash and fragments of wood for him to inspect. It appeared they successfully destroyed most or all of the heart boxes.
The Senior Grand Councilor went back to the temple so Zhi Zhu followed him. He met with a man who looked like a martial expert, and the man took a horse to go north. The party followed him and eventually trapped him by a river.
They captured him and he revealed he was going to kill the emperor and steal something from around his neck. He talked the party into helping him, explaining that he was appointed some time ago as an emergency replacement for the emperor's Yao bodyguard. This would allow him quick access to the palace and he could bring the party in with him. They figured the object from the emperor was the Heart of Yao Feng (or something equally terrible) and said they couldn't allow it. The man, who said his name was Wei, understood and suggested they form a pact, where they help each other kill the emperor, agree not to fight until that task was complete. Kang proposed that they work together against the emperor and that the two of them duel for possession of the necklace. The man agreed and they made a formal vow.
This is where the session ended.