Dragons of the Sun

Episode 5 - Black Magic, Part 2
Burn the Witch

(Storyteller’s Note: Due to not posting this immediately after the last game, it is not as comprehensive as other Adventure Logs. This entry has been backdated to the actual date the session was run)

20th day of Descending Wood, 768th year of the Reign of the Scarlet Empress

With word of the impending sacrifice confirmed from Nisha’s scouting report, the Circle moved towards the Kiva to stop it.

Ishanvi and Sela, being the archers, climbed to the roof of the Kiva intending to choose their targets through the smoke hole, while Tefari, Djoh and Nisha moved to take out the lone mortal guard.

Nisha’s initial attack was not as solid as they’d hoped, and the guard was able to raise a small alarm – enough for the three demons that Elk Feather had previously summoned to manifest. However, a couple of well placed fireballs from Ishanvi’s firewand made short work of Elk Feather, releasing the Demons from their bonds just as Djoh, filleted one of them, resulting in the three Demons running free – away from the village.

The village now free of Elk Feather, the tension in Yunawi village was visibly broken, and the warriors turned on Iron Dog before he could cause any problems.

The Solars proceded to inspect Elk Feather’s quarters, finding a considerable wealth of goods, some of which clearly belonging to the previous Matron – Foxfire. They also discovered the scorched heart of Elk Feather and three rag dolls – dolls that were identified as resembling previous members of the village – including Foxfire.

With some information from very helpful Yellow Spruce and a considerably more reluctant Iron Dog, they deduced that Elk Feather had entrapped Foxfire’s soul in the doll and given her body over to a Skinwalker Demon. Said Skinwalker having vanished into the countryside some six months previously.

The tattered survivors of Wolf Clan gave the Solars 3 months to find Elk Feather’s body and repair her soul to it – acknowledging that it could be anywhere by now – before they elected a permanant new Matron.

The Circle returned briefly to Mishowi and the Lizard clan to update them on what had happened at Wolf Clan – and pick up their tunics from Currant – and then headed towards Sityawi – the capitol of the Tushiwi people and home of the Yellow Mountain clan.

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Episode 4 - Black Magic, Part 1
Table Trades

19th day of Descending Wood, 768th year of the Reign of the Scarlet Empress

Mishowi Village, lands of the Tushiwi people

Late in the day, the Solars finally leave the mountains. Ahead, they see the adobe apartments of a village, and they are soon met by Red Crow, the Trade Master for Mishowi Village, and his wife Currant. The trader and his wife welcome the Solars as traders, and mention that trade from the North is unusual, but now they’ve had two visitors from the North within five days.

Currant takes a liking to the box of beads and other trims that used to be fancy clothing that the heroes retrieved from Gunslan’s tomb, and offered to provide the Solars with fresh clothes in exchange for the box of beads.

Currant also provides some gossip about the previous visitor- Makes the Sinews Dance. The details of his conversation with village matron Jay Flower aren’t known, but he did go on to Sityakwi – the one city in Tushiwi lands – as the Lizard Clan champion, in place of Jay Flower’s son Corn Hawk.

The Solars then went to speak with Jay Flower, who acknowledged her meeting with Makes the Sinews Dance.

According to Jay Flower, Sinews claimed to be descended from the Heron Clan – a clan that was supposedly wiped out by the Deer Clan one hundred years ago. Why was not brought up. Sinews hoped to reclaim his family lands from the ghosts who live there.

Jay Feather, on the other hand, was debating how to answer the call from Sityakwi for Champions to compete in a tournament to receive a blessing from the gods and face the impending forces of the new War Leader of the Abakwi People – a powerful, strong willed woman. Since the Abakwi people live to the south of the great basin that the Tushiwi claim as their own, Jay Feather wasn’t convinced that she really needed to send her own son to the tournament, and was only too glad to accept Sinews’ offer to go in Corn Hawk’s place.

Most of the Circle returns to Red Crow’s lodge to rest – or in Djoh’s case, to help Currant with dinner duties so that Currant can instead focus on making clothing for the circle to honor their trade agreement and allow the circle to travel on quickly. Sela decided instead to patrol the village, and so was aware when there was a commotion at the south gateway into the village. A young man of about sixteen years was there, shouting for the “Sun Dragons.” When he saw Sela, he smiled for a moment, saying that Kokiye had sent him – before he collapsed.

The circle joined Sela as Flute – the village Shaman and Healer – brought the boy up to his lodge, where Dogwood – another patient of Flute’s – recognized the boy as Cedar Rain, the apprentice to the former Shaman of Wolf Clan, Gray Fir.

As Flute tended Cedar Rain, Dogwood happily informed them of the situation at Yunawi village and the Wolf Clan – how he was the ex-husband of Foxfire, the previous Matron of the Wolf clan, and how after she stepped down in favor of Elk Feather, he was forcably escorted out of the village and beaten. Three months later, his leg still has yet to heal properly. As for Gray Fir, he died under strange circumstances, and both the new War Chief Iron Dog and the new Shaman Yellow Spruce were exceptionally devoted to Elk Feather.

Ishanvi drew some of Cedar Rain’s injuries into herself to help the boy wake faster, and Cedar Rain, glad to be alive and in Mishowi village. He told the circle that Sinews had indeed visited Wolf Clan, and after he left, Elk Feather began summoning Demons, sacrificing members of her clan to do so. Cedar Rain was granted a vision from Kokiye to retrieve the Sun Dragons from Mishowi Village, but he was captured by Red Elk, one of Iron Dog’s lieutenants.

Cedar Rain managed to escape, though Red Elk was soon after him, and that’s when he ran to Mishowi village.

Before they can discuss what to do next, Red Elk and a group of Wolf Clan warriors arrived to reclaim Cedar Rain, but Turtle, the War Chief of the Lizard Clan, was ready for them, and between Turtle’s warriors and the actions of the Solars, the Wolf Clan’s raiding party was quickly routed.

That done, the circle wanted to set out immediately, but realized that it would be best for Ishanvi to rest for the night. In the morning, Tefari persuaded Flute to allow him into the village Kiva in order to speak with Kokiye and maybe get some straight answers.

Fortunately for Tefari, Kokiye was in a mood to give them.

Yes, she had sent visions to young Cedar Rain to fetch them. But though she was perfectly willing to have them deal with the mess than was Wolf Clan, her ultimate objective was to have them go on to Sityakwi village and Yellow Mountain clan, in order to put an end to this champion nonsense that Totoha came up with. However, the mess in Wolf Clam would need to be cleaned up first. The Sorceress Elk Feather needs to be stopped. To make things easier, she provided all the information she knew, despite having trouble seeing into Yunakwi village for the past three months since Elk Feather became Matron.

She knows that Elk Feather became a sorcerer through a pact with Tshikike, one of the four demons that like to torment the Tushiwi people… well, three, since one of the four was imprisoned before the Usurpation. She knows that Tshikike gave Elk Feather a Kwahi familar to help with her sorcery. But more, she is not sure of.

Kokiye also promised to have Manawsa, the local god of both death and healing, offer a blessing to Ishanvi to speed her healing along.

The Circle set out as quickly as they could and arrived at Yunakwi Village just at sunset. As with Mishowi village, the Solars were greeted by the village trader, Kettle, who brought them and their goods to his lodge – a second story affair. Kettle also pulled up the ladder for the night. Many of the Circle went out onto the patio to watch and listen, and Ishanvi thought she heard screams in the night, but wasn’t sure if they were actual screams of distress, or just a child’s cry. Nisha was dispatched to investigate.

The Night Caste approached the Kiva to hear what she expected – a woman’s voice engaged in ominous chanting, and another voice pleading for its life.

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Episode 3 - Maze of Honor
Tomb Raiding!

15th day of Descending Wood, 768th year of the Reign of the Scarlet Empress

On the road south through the Summer Mountains

While relieving himself after lunch, Tefari manages to jump out of the way of a sudden sink hole that opens up beneath him. Closer inspection reveals it to open onto a large chamber, where the shadows of large statues can be seen. Both Tefari and Sela feel a slight tug to investigate the cavern further.

The Solars descend into the chamber to find eight huge statues of a man with the mark of a Dawn Caste Solar on his brow, two in each corner of the large room. The dried, ancient bodies of four would-be tomb robbers are found within the chamber as well. Two in the rubble of a dead-fall under the place the sinkhole opened up, one beneath a large slab blocking what they guess is the “proper” door to the chamber, and a fourth curled up against the wall, a knife stuck into it’s chest.

The walls of the chamber tell of Gunslan, a young man who became Anathema during the wars after their fall. Gunslan led a rebellion against General Dagat Shan, starting with guerrilla tactics against General Dagat’s army for two years before he managed to deceive enough followers to field a proper army and meet General Dagat in open war. It took General Dagat a year to confront Gunslan, but when the two finally met in battle, General Dagat struck Gunslan down. Still, the young man had proved resourceful, and grown enough in power that General Dagat had the tomb built to honor the fallen Gunslan as well as keep his tainted soul trapped.

Knowing now whose tomb they were in, the solars head through the doorway to the east – and the stairs leading down to a maze of tunnels. Nisha lead the other solars easily through the tunnels, disabling most of the traps – though she was distracted at one point, falling victim to a spray of salt-acid. And other traps could not be disabled, only avoided such as the halls of bird-like darts or the one hall lined with dragons ready to spout jets of flame at anyone who made the mistake of setting them off. Even the hall where the roots came alive to strangle those who would make the mistake of trying to get past them for the sake of a simple golden statue – okay, one with a diamond the size of a walnut – did not tempt her into foolishness. That was provided by Djoh, who grabbed a root with the plan of making a torch, and by Tefari, who danced around the roots to get the statue for Nisha.

Finally, the Solars arrive at the treasure chamber at the heart of the maze. There, twelve mummified soldiers stand ready to attack any who would get so far – except the ghosts of those soldiers had long since passed on to Lethe, leaving the mummies inert.

Past the treasure chambers were the burial chambers of Gunslan and of his family. His wife and children committed suicide upon learning of Gunslan’s death, refusing General Dagat’s offer of mercy.

Here, the story on the walls portrays Gunslan as a tragic hero, who made a deal with a demon in order to protect his village, and then was betrayed by the demon when he refused to give in to the demon’s dark appetites. Presumably this alternate tale was here to keep the spirit of Gunslan calm.

After working together to remove the lid of the stone sarcophagus, the solars found Gunslan entombed with a golden bow that belonged to a previous life of Sela, and the cloak woven for a previous life of Tefari.

Djoh quickly constructed a simple wagon, and the solars removed the other treasures from Gunslan’s tomb… only for Djoh to realize he didn’t have a lot of use for gold or jewels beyond their monetary value. Still, now with a wagon of loot to be pulled, the solars continued their journey in pursuit of the Necromancer who killed their Sifu.

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Episode 2 - Food Fight Part 2
Oh, Rats

9th Day of Descending Wood, 768th year of the reign of the Scarlet Empress

On the trail to Naranbaatar

At a well worn spot where many a traveler to the Dojo of 15 Masters has rested, the travelers from Featherdown hill stop for lunch – the food caught by Nisha, and prepared by Djoh – when they are greeted by Kisa, a traveler who says she is looking for her friends – with the implication that the assembled solars might be those friends. Especially when all of them find something familiar about her, though they all know that they have never met. Kisa joins them as they travel further south along the familiar goat trails that lead to Naranbaatar.

11th day of Descending Wood

The solars arrive at the watchtower to Naranbaatar, noting first the silence (Pula has five kids) and then the smell of rotting bodies. They soon discovered the bodies of Pula, his wife Mira, and their oldest child Beni. Pula and Mira had been cut down, while Beni had been shot with arrows apparently as he cut the rope bridge crossing the gorge between Naranbaatar and the watchtower.

As the solars inspected the scene, discovering that there were five travelers and a strange horde of bare-footed forms that came out of nowhere, they eventually found Pula’s remaining children in hiding. The eldest surviving child, Nuri, told them of a strange man in a dark cloak who arrived two days prior, just as the sun was setting. Her father had not trusted the man, but as Mira went to send up the signal to Naranbaatar, the black cloaked man attacked, summoning a horde of ghosts as well. Nuri took the younger children into hiding and Beni went to cut down the bridge. Since then, Nuri came out to see her parents killed and the village across the gorge silent but for a plume of smoke, and returned to hiding.

Djoh quickly rebuilt the bridge across the gorge and the solars took the children to Naranbaatar. There they found the village ransacked, with a public pyre in the village square.

After attacking the Watchtower, the cloaked stranger – called by many in Naranbaatar the Necromancer – summoned his ghosts to form themselves into a bridge so that he and his lieutenants could cross. The sentinels attempted to fire on them, only to have their arrows stopped in mid air. Once across, the ghosts rushed forward to attack the villagers, the lieutenants took on the various Dragonblooded students of the Akara, while the Necromancer squared off against Kala herself. The details are fuzzy, for no one was able to watch the whole of the battle, but the Necromancer was in the end victorious, and upon Kala’s death, the Necromancer and his forces withdrew from Naranbaatar – taking three children of the village, including Nalini’s eldest daughter, as they went.

Of Kala’s dragonblooded family, only Chianda and Harinder were in good enough shape mentally and physically to depart on a rescue mission for the children, which they did the next morning, taking two mortal villagers with them. That night, some of the dead that had not yet been burned rose again as hungry ghosts, causing more damage and destruction.

After Djoh prepared a meal for the village – so that for at least one meal, no one had to take the time away from reparing the village or bringing the dead to the village pyre – the solars and Kisa set out again, knowing that Chianda and Harinder were probably in over their heads.

While Nisha was able to follow the tracks of both the Necromancer’s party and the rescue party, travel through the mountains was difficult, and they were only able to keep up with their targets, never quite gaining ground.

12th day of Descending Wood

Come sunset, the solars found themselves looking down at an inn beside a road that they had never seen before. Beyond two skinny, flea-bitten nags in the stable, there didn’t appear to be much action going on at the inn, but Nisha felt unable to quietly enter the inn without drawing at least some attention.

When the circle entered the inn, they found the large space mostly empty, except for two attractive – yet androgynous – women and a trio of uncouth brutish mercenaries. There was no sign of the Necromancer or the rescue party. The hostess of the place, a short plump woman with a pinched face, welcomed them and promised to see to rooms for the travelers. One of the hostesses’ many children brought them water and informed them that two pigs had just been slaughtered, allowing them to offer pork for dinner.

It was only after they had ordered that Djoh had an uncomfortable thought about the source of that “pork.” Fears which were confirmed when the food arrived and Djoh took a whiff. The “pork” was human flesh.

While Djoh was subtle in his reaction to the food, Ishanvi reacted loudly, drawing the attention of the other two tables. it was then that the Travelers discovered that all the inhabitants of the Inn already knew the nature of their dinner… and were demons.

Chaos quickly followed as the mercenaries turned out to be Blood Apes, the women were actually Neomah, and the Chef and his family turned out to be a kind of Rat Demon. A Rat Demon skilled in Orichalcum Chef and wielding knives of Orichalcum originally forged in the First Age by one of Djoh’s previous incarnations.

The Neomah tried to flee, but Djoh claimed one of them as his Familiar, leading the other to attack him. The blood apes were less picky about their opponents, though Tafari mostly danced around them. The others concentrated on the Rat Cook and his progeny, eventually defeating him.

Within the inn, they found the source of the “pork” to be the two mortal villagers, while Harinder’s body hung from a rack, the fluids draining out. Chianda still lived – though she was wounded and drugged. The brand on her shoulder from her long ago enslavement marked her as having value alive. The children were found in a pen behind the kitchen, presumably to be fattened up before becoming part of the menu.

Outside, the circle interrogated the Stable master – the only surviving rat demon, learning that the Necromancer had traded the children for several large Yasal Crystals, and that the inn itself was part of a network of master-less First Circle demons throughout Creation.

Kisa elected to go with Chianda to bring the children home to Naranbaatar, while the Solars traveled on, hunting the Necromancer.

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Episode 1 - Food Fight Part 1
Fight at Djoh's

8th day of Descending Wood, 768th year of the reign of the Scarlet Empress

Featherdown Hill

Our story begins as Sela, Tefari, Ishanvi, and Nisha – each a former student at Naranbaatar, and each secretly a solar – gather for lunch at the thermopolium run by Djoh – another former student of Naranbaatar and secret solar.

Also eating at the thermopolium is a sworn brotherhood of three Dragonblooded – Peleps Shukan, Sesues Isul, and Nellens Jinen – freshly graduated and about on their first Adventure, along with Shukan and Isul’s valets in attendance.

As the young waitress Laila takes food from the counter over to Barish and Tulay – two bouncers from the House of Seven Treasures breaking their fast before their work day begins – Shukan grabbs the pretty young thing and pulls her forcibly onto his lap. An action that does not sit well with Laila, Djoh, or the other residents of Featherdown Hill taking their lunch at the Thermopolium.

In the course of the ensuing fight, Nisha stumbles across the body of Isul and finds it strange that he is dead, for none of the locals, at least, were using blades and yet the Dynast’s throat was clearly cut. Still, she helps herself to the contents of his purse – including a cylinder of black jade capped with gold.

Fire Pine arrives to stop the fight, and is rather distraught to find her nephew dead. However the practical Immaculate abbess is more concerned about what his sister – who leads a local branch of the Wyld Hunt – will say, especially once Jinen awakens and accuses Ishanvi of being a demon. She strongly suggests that the not yet formed circle leave town for a few months, so that she can calm her niece down. Irritated about having to leave town, but understanding the wisdom of not sticking around to face a Wyld Hunt, the five Solars depart for the goat trails that will lead them, eventually, to Naranbaatar.

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Alliance of Suns
The Beginning of the End of the Prelude

Having learned that the source of the disappearances, and indeed a long time hidden threat, is actually Tekhare and his kingdom of Shu Sanhar, the Dragons of the Sun move forward with a loose plan.

From the Underworld, having been armed by Soul Smithing Sage, the Ghost Lord Jelani Sefu will launch an attack against Tekhare’s forces at a command from the Dragons of the Sun, who will enter Tekhare’s lands and temple through Creation and seek to put an end to his darkness.

Though hopefully they’ll take a little time to talk to the other Lords of the Sleeping Savannah before taking on a 700 year old corrupt Solar.

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Sorry for the Break

Yes, there has been a distinct lack of updates.

Despite this the campaign has been moving forward, and Phase 2 is drawing to a close, even though EX3 is unlikely to drop before Q1 2015 at best.

I will try to resume updates of some sort through the rest of Phase 2. Hopefully once EX3 drops and I start on Phase 3, things will be a little less chaotic around here.

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Dark Fire

The Dragons of the Sun arrive in the Sleeping Savanah, and are quickly welcomed by Blue Heron, who provides them with extensive suites and one of her (currently) unused workrooms as a base of operations.

Having toured the memorial Kivas and Sky Grounds of Ta’Kayan with no sign of ghost or shadowland (though with an almost creepy adoration of her people), the Solars next move on to Red Moon Prefecture. Here, in a land of waring clans, their prospects of finding a Shadowland are more likely. In addition to the many battlegrounds, they learn of a clan that was once the target of a serial killer, known now as the Fire Man, some two generations ago.

Traveling to the one remaining village of the three he claimed his victims from (one a victim of plague, the other of bad crops), the Solars arrive and are given a proper, if grudging, welcome — until the ghost of the Fire Man attacks.

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Dark Horizon

In the halls of Meru, word has come that the god Mah’ut has a petition to bring before the Deliberative. Xochitl and Delicate Passeri have been assigned, along with some other Solars, to the committee designated to review his petition before it goes to the deliberative as a whole. While not part of the Deliberative, Kajura – Chosen of Alchera, a local dreaming god – has sent word to each of the members of the committee pleading that they not only hear, but recommend Mah’ut’s petition to the rest of the deliberative.

But Mah’ut, a god known for punctuality, is late. For elsewhere in the city, the god has been forcibly detained. And while the rest of the circle strives to find and free Mah’ut from his captors, Xochitl and Passeri must maintain the rest of the committee’s dedication to give the petition a chance.

(This will be run over two sessions, due to player availability.

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The Story So far...
Or How We Got into this Mess

Mah’ut, southeastern god of Safe Passage Between Lives and head of the Southeastern office of Lethe, has seen a steady and disturbing decline in the number of souls within the Sleeping Savannah province passing quickly into Lethe. Even more disturbing to the god’s eyes is not only is the population of the Underworld rising – as best he can tell – but it is not rising in numbers to match the decline of souls passing on to their next lives.

There are also rumors, he has heard, of cults worshiping gods of Death. Not the Maiden of Endings under some other name, and not ancestor cults, but actual Death itself. But Mah’ut’s own investigations in to these cults has been stymied at every turn, and rumors are all he has.

As a good functionary of Heaven, he promptly petitioned the Solar Deliberative for a circle to investigate both of these things. While he concedes that the two may not be connected, the timing makes it unlikely.

And so the Circle known as the Dragons of the Sun was dispatched to undertake those investigations, and either report back or (better yet) deal with the problem themselves.

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