|King Iron Beard (Lower Left)|
Relentless Corpse Queen (Center)
Hidden Arrow and Shen Chun bought the Golden Pavilion, a solid Merchant Junk, from a man named Wan for a little over 100,000 spades (it was originally 120,000 but they talked him down after finding repairs were needed). Then they went to the Towering Chrysanthemum and hired Captain Jing and his crew for 280 spades a day. They made a two-week contract that would include assisting them to catch an animal in Hai'an. They mentioned that the animal in question was a crocodile, but failed to say that it was of the flying variety.
The ship and crew headed to the swamp and anchored offshore. Then they moved in on smaller boats and set up a trap for a Flying Crocodile. When they spotted one, they tried to lure it into a baited bit with nets ready. However it spotted the crew and went after them instead. The men ran and cast their net upon it, but it was a powerful creature and required the efforts of the rest of the party to contain. Bao Yang was bit trying to pull its nose to the ground, and Shen Chun managed to wrestle it into submission.
The plan was to take the Crocodile to Crocodile Sect headquarters and present it as a gift (White-Haired Crocodile was known to be fond of animals). They headed west and took the river as far as they could, then carried the crocodile the rest of the way. Upon reaching Crocodile Sect, they were granted an audience with White-Haired Crocodile.
He was pleased with the gift when it was presented and had his engineer and animal handler, King Iron Beard, take the creature to his menagerie. Bao Yang insisted on accompanying King Iron Beard, who reluctantly led the way. As they exited the hall, Bao Yang sliced the crocodile's restraints, freeing it. He then told Bao Yang to surrender or die. However King Iron Beard touched the crocodile's nose and it remained calm. Pulling out a giant mace, he King Iron Beard met the attack.
They traded blows and in the course of the fight it became clear that King Iron Beard utilized highly customized weapons. After landing a blow with his heavy mace to Bao Yang's head, he clicked a button and the top opened up to reveal a blossom of razors that shot out in a plum. However, his weapon-engineering feats were not enough and Bao Yang sent him to the ground with a few stabs of his blade.
As this battle was underway, the sounds of clanging steal had alerted White-Haired Crocodile to the deception. He flicked a switch on his chair and a hail of needles rained down on the party. Shen Chun used deflecting canopy and helped save most of them, but Hidden Arrow was poisoned. Iron Talon dove toward White Haired Crocodile and unleashed a flurry of attacks. The fight lasted but a moment before the master of Crocodile Sect was dead upon the ground.
Bao Yang brought King Iron Beard into the hall, and the engineer wept upon seeing his dead master. He told them he made weapons for the sect and explained how some of his worked. Bao Yang eventually convinced him to join them, provided he could let go any desire for revenge. He told the party he did not blame the assassins but the man who hired them.
Bao Yang said he couldn't reveal who had sent them, but agreed not to intervene if King Iron Beard investigated the matter on his own.
King Iron Beard explained that the moment White-Haired Crocodile died, servants nearby would have released pigeons alerting all the sub-chiefs of the news (and that he sub-chiefs had instructions to commit suicide and dissolve the sect). He could try to reassemble as many people as possible but it would be difficulty because the loyalty ties were all very personal.
Hidden Arrow remained at Crocodile Sect headquarters and began making arrangements. He also found the sect's assets, which included 1,200 mu of wheat farms and mulberry trees, five ships, land in Xuanlu and Xuan Lu Bank. Hidden Arrow sought news on the people Relentless Corpse Queen was seeking and sent out word that they were hiring martial heroes.
The rest of the party went to go see Donglai, the smith who promised to make them weapons provided they recover his Harmonious Blade and kill White-Haired Crocodile. Donglai was satisfied when they presented the blade and informed he that they had killed the sect leader. They recruited him and he agreed provided they could secure him a palace within the empire. However he was angry when he learned that King Iron Beard wanted vengeance and they refused to name Donglai. Donglai said he was not a coward and would gladly fight with King Iron Beard upon his arrival at the Crocodile Sect headquarters.
On the way back, they escorted Relentless Corpse Queen to her caverns. She expressed interest in them joining her sect, rather than her working for them in some capacity. Arrangements were vague, but she implied that Bone Breaker, their sifu, had grown weak (this was not the first time they'd heard this from someone), that they were better off joining ranks with her and then dominating the martial world.
When they returned to Crocodile Sect headquarters, King Iron Beard and Donglai fought in one of the tournament chambers built into the side of the mountain (originally when the party first came to crocodile sect, they had come to fight in a tournament and White-Haired Crocodile constructed several elaborate death chambers to use as arenas). In the end, King Iron Beard smashed in Donglai's head with a mace (which in the view of the party was just as well, since they learned Iron Beard was the better craftsmen).
During the tournament, Li Sou Chao arrived saying she would join their sect if they promised to help her obtain the Wind Saber of Sunan. Hidden Arrow agreed, but kept the precise details of the promise vague.
This is where the session ended.
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