Xue Lingsu (Purple Cavern Sect)
Xi Kang(Affiliated with Mr. Red Claw)
Batu (Kushen Tribesmen)
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)
The party had just decided to march into Bone Kingdom and retake the Face of Vaagu. As they prepared their strategy, a Kushen Tribesmen named Batu approached the group and said he had been sent by Togu to help them. He explained that Togu came to him and asked if he would help his companions recover the face, because he was still in poor standing with their Kaghan and was uncertain if he'd return.
Kang decided to read the wine once again, spitting it against local rocks and interpreting the meaning. Based on his reading, it was fated for Batu to join them. Together they approached the mesa at the center of Bone Kingdom. On their way, a massive serpent like creature of bone, with the skull of a great Markhor emerged from the piles and attacked. Lashing Kang with its sharp tail.
Batu let loose an arrow that sunk into its skull but it kept going. The party had some trouble hitting it clearly, but they wore it down and Rong dispatched it with Storming Daggers.
At the Mesa, the went up the stairs near the caves, careful to avoid detection. They climbed up the wall about midway up the stairs and Rong used Great Stride to appear behind the one guard at the entry way. She stabbed with her dagger and missed. As the guard was about to cry for help, Zhi Zhu used Arms of Silk to wrap his face and body. Kang them bashed his skull with the Bone Breaking Stick. Looking through the entry way they saw a garden, leading to a great hall, which was guarded by a sentry. They also heard the sounds of people gathering beyond the hall. Zhi Zhu lurked around the building and climbed up the wall, finding another courtyard behind the hall, where the Face of Vaagu rested. She also saw three official looking members of the sect eating at a table with five disciples. When she returned, Zhi Zhu told the party what she'd seen.
Putting on the guard's uniform, Kang walked into the entrance way and motioned for the other guard to come help him. When the man came out of the doorway, Zhi Zhi used Arms of Silk and once again, Kang killed the man as he was bound.
They walked into the garden and checked a side hall that looked like barracks. It was empty, but had recently been used. Kang went into the back courtyard, using his disguise to move easily among the people. He then used Tai Lans Staff Strike to hit everyone at the table. The disciples all dropped, but the others were tougher. Now there were three: a man with an unusual demeanor, a woman dressed non-descriptley and another woman dressed in blue robes, with a blade fixed to a forearm that appeared maimed or amputated.
The nondescript woman raised her hand and said "You can still stop Fearless Cat if you leave now, and I can help you."
Confused, Kang paused as the rest of the group came in. The woman explained that her name was San and she was in charge of the sect in the absence of their leader's wife, Fearless Cat (also known as Lady Xiang). San claimed to be the sister of Bone Breaker (the sect leader) and said she had been secretly working against Fearless Cat's plan to 'invert heaven'. She even asked if they received Abbott Firebrand's message.
It took some time, but eventually San convinced them she may be telling the truth. Kang promised not to kill them if he could tie them up and they accepted him as sect leader. She reluctantly agreed.
Once they secured the three leaders of Bone Breaking Sect the party discussed its options. They asked San for information about the plague sent against the Kailin, and found it came through use of a Phoenix Talisman possessed by one of the three sisters who lived in the caves below the mesa. Their sect had a kind of agreement with the sisters that was beneficial to both groups.
She told them that Fearless Cat had used that connection to unleash a plague upon the warriors of the Kailin Tribe, and that she had also gone to Heaven Palace Sect and exchanged her eye for the Immortal Killing Sword (perhaps more as well). With the Immortal Killing Sword she intended to go to Red Mountain Villa and kill the Five Immortals, so she could take the Key of Yao Feng (which would allow her to restore the Demon Emperor).
Kang asked her to take him to one of the sisters and tell her that he was the new leader of Bone Breaking Sect. She agreed and he untied her. She then asked if he wanted to see the sister who was most cruel, the sister who was most compassionate or the sister who was most beautiful. Kang decided to see the most compassionate sister. Together they went to the cave of Dawa, the middle sister. San shouted to Dawa from the entrance, asking if she could come in to speak with her. They heard a voice say 'enter' and went inside. They came to a room filled with cages containing Monkey Owls and say a withered old woman in the corner feeding a creature in another cage. San said "This is Kang, our new leader. He has a question to ask you."
Kang then asked the woman about the Phoenix Talisman, if it could be used to destroy an enemy. Dawa said yes but the cost would be great. He would have to perform some important work to make up for the destructive power being unleashed. And it would involve tremendous effort. Kang thanked her and said her needs time to think.
He then asked to see the most Beautiful Sister and took Batu with him. He asked her the same thing, except decided to ask for a different outcome: he wanted to use the talisman to cause someone to stop or become paralyzed during a battle when he issued a key word. Liling asked them to send San from the cave. When she was gone, Liling said she could do as asked provided he could meet the cost. When asked what she wanted, Liling said she would do it if he arranged for her to marry Chen. Unsure who Chen was, Kang said he would do so and they agreed to use the word Phoenix as a trigger for the Talisman's powers.
Returning to the Mesa Kang asked who Chen was and found it was San's husband. He then said that Chen would need to marry Liling so they could defeat Fearless Cat. San refused saying that Liling had been after Chen for a long time and created great trouble in the past.
Batu went to talk with Chen and tried to convince him to marry Liling. He refused, saying that he was once promised to wed her in his youth and it ended badly. He distrusted Liling and loved San. He also told Batu that Liling was only beautiful at night but turned as hideous as her sisters during the day.
Chen made a suggestion. That they kill Liling and take her talisman. Batu brought his idea to Kang. After some deliberation they decided to use deception: they would perform the wedding, but it would not be sincere, and they would poison Liling during the feast.
It took some convincing but they persuaded San. Kang released Chen and the two prepared some poisons.
Kang informed Liling that the wedding was on and could take place that very night. She prepared her gown and phoenix crown and they performed the rite in the courtyard of the Palace. Despite drinking copious amounts of Kang's Freezing Wine, after six hours there was no sign of her growing ill.
Zhi Zhu gave Kang the poison she had found at the Temple of Peace and he brought it over as a gift, telling her it was his Snake Wine. She drank a small amount and told him it was terrible, but immediately fell and died.
Zhi Zhu went into Liling's cave and searched. Evading a scaled dog, she crawled on the ceiling into Liling's room and found the Talisman (a ruby object with flame designs and a phoenix). She also took jewelry and a bunch of Hair Pins.
Batu, Kang and Rong went into the cave after Zhi Zhu to find the library. There they found a series of 17 books called The Books of Bone Kingdom that seemed to be a history of the sisters and the Talismans. They also saw a book called the Flying Guillotine Manual but when they opened it all the pages had been replaced with blank sheets. Batu explored a little deeper and came upon a giant skeleton with massive clawed hands. It chased him and he fled. Kang and Rong joined him and tried to take the books with them (greatly slowing them down). They were not fast enough and the skeleton caught up, slashing at Batu.
Batu fired an arrow but it deflected off its rib. It was tough but they managed to destroy it and flee the cave.
The party convinced San, Chen and Zhen Xun (the woman with the missing forearm) to travel with them south to stop Fearless Cat. They left markers for the Kushen telling them to await their return then went across the desert. On the way they were surrounded by wolves by Batu used Storm of Arrows and wiped out a whole pack, then look their pelts.
Kang took another wine reading to see how the power of the Talisman might be used. In his reading he saw a wedding, which made sense, because a wedding had been offered initially when he made his agreement with Liling. Kang decided someone must get married.
They reached the Banyan mountains and stopped in Jan. There Kang went to the headman and asked if there were any suitable couples to be married. The headman said he was looking to wed his daughter but there was no one suitable in the village. Kang offered to provide a dowry for any man of the headman's choice. He told Kang to go to Chengdu, that with the appropriate dowry, Chengdu would be acceptable.
However when Kang spoke with Chengdu, he was reluctant. Chengdu said he would do it for 5,000 spades. Kang made another offer, but it was too low and Chengdu refused.
Going back to the Headman, Kang offered to marry his daughter himself saying he would give pelts and 3,000 spades worth of gold. The Headman agreed and Kang married his daughter, Ku, the next day.
After the marriage, Kang went to the elders and asked one of the women to activate the Phoenix Talisman. She attempted to do so, running her finger along its surface, but within moments clutched her head and screamed. She then ran around in a frenzy attacking the other elders. They had to drag her away and Kang picked up the Talisman from the ground, where the woman had dropped it.
The next morning they left for the southern Banyan. The headman, whose name was Guo, was happy to let his daughter travel with Kang, but wanted them to return to visit. They considered going to the Temple of Nine Suns to see if they could activate the Talisman, but Rong and Zhi Zhu felt that the Temple of Nine Suns sect was too crazy and couldn't be trusted.
|Lady White Blade (Right)|
Continuing on, the party went to a Temple of Hen-Shi. There they found Nun who activated the Phoenix Talisman. She ran her fingers along its surface and it began to glow a golden light, which flowed into Kang but also up into the sky. Then it dimmed and Kang paid her some spades.
They camped for the night nearby. Zhi Zhu awoke to sounds coming from Kang's area of the camp. She found a creature with pale skin and billowing black hair floating above Kang. It turned revealing black eyes as it screamed and flew away. When Zhi Zhu reached Kang, she say the characters 停止 (meaning stop) written on his chest.
The group went back to the temple and Kang banged on the door to wake the nuns. The woman who helped him earlier let him in and he showed her the mark. She told him it looked like the work of one of the five ghosts, and that someone must have petitioned them to brand him with a curse. He asked if she could stop it, but the nun said she could not, that it was beyond anyone's power to remove.
In the course of the conversation, Kang became upset and told the Nun he was betrothed to Iron Sky Maiden and had to complete a task. This greatly alarmed the Nun who asked Hen-Shi to forgive him for saying something so vile. Kang then produced the Jade Turtle as evidence of his betrothal. The Nun stared in wonder and said she could go with him and help him, he had been tasked to assist Iron Sky Maiden. She then gathered the other nuns and gave them instructions before leaving with Kang. On the way out she told him her name was Bing.
The party then went to Red Claw Pagoda and Strange Phoenix (The leader of Red Claw Gang) greeted them. Kang was the number two chief of Red Claw, so she was excited to see him. However Zhi Zhu noticed that Strange Phoenix, whom she'd never really seen this close up, resembled Lady White Blade.
They went inside and exchanged news. Strange Phoenix confirmed there were rumors that Lady White Blade had returned. She told them that there had been many beheadings and that a person dressed like Lady White Blade was seen by witnesses near the attacks.
|Strange Phoenix and Kang|
Kill Mr. Red Claw
The next morning a messenger told them that a local villager had come upon Red Mountain Villa and found the immortals slaughtered. They immediately left for Red Mountain Villa.
This is where the session ended.