Kindred of the East: Crimson Empires

2/9- The Tale of a Stone Cutter or The Tale of the Arabian Carpet

The night began with a prolonged meditative absence from Konda, wishing to find peace from the Wu for a time. The others spoke softly to see what plans they could resolve without him. All and all, their list was fairly substantive.

Johnny wished to explore the caverns some more. It was unknown if he did this to protect the Wu from his own impulsive nature, or if he genuinely thought there might be something of value in the caverns. Regardless, he elected to spend a few days spelunking. The remainder of the Wu turned their eye back to the city.

They met with the ambitious whore-turned-gangster and quickly arranged for the site of the warehouse for their archaeological designs. Protections were arranged, and one faction of mortal gang was subtly placed against another to test the others for weakness and exploitation should it come to that. Their mortal follower met with his apothecary mentor and learned many fascinating things, not the least of which was the presence of a mortal Mage somewhere in the city, and that he himself worked for a potent Kuei-Jin who had not been seen in some time. Shinshi meanwhile had his future read and received many troubling and uplifting insights. The city, it seemed, would be well theirs far sooner than anticipated.

Back in the caverns, Johnny found a fascinating tale of the Candle Dragon, one of the creation myths of old. A series of tunnels with bizarre and dangerous traps lined the way. Through careful and meticulous study, the Tiger was able to navigate them and avoid several moments of blindness along the way. At the end tests, a magical carpet showed the way to a library that was once the envy of the Kuei-jin world. Tucked away and forgotten for eons, this bastion of knowledge held several lifetimes worth of study. A polite lady dragon spirit occupied the room and navigated them through with demure alacrity. The Wu quietly agreed to tell no one of this place, not even their mentors- such a room would surely lead to shadow-wars without the politeness.

The Wu eventually gathered in the library to go over that night’s finds and to plot for the next day. There was a serial killer they had some interest in, and there were still tainted places within the city they had a mind to investigate. The studied for a bit and set off at the close of the day.

It didn’t take them long to find some appropriate Dragon Lines and a few strung out drug addicts. It seemed that the offices of Ling Kong, master Stone Mason was now being used as a drug den of sorts. They quickly found the building and infiltrated it with the usual amount of ease. Inside were several bakemono and sloth banes. A battle ensued and their enemies were either vanquished or brought into submission. A deal was struck with the banes and the tainted dragons nest was left largely intact. They found that the master stone mason was not inside. A quick discussion among the Wu yielded that a master of stone would be necessary to bring their caverns back in line. There could be no hesitation; he was needed. Especially with the impending loss of their master of metal.

Master Kong, in seemed, was being held in the stone quarry. They had cut too deeply into the earth and released a potent Yin spirit, twisted and evil. It seemed to wish a war against the Empress, and had built a vast array of forces to do just that against her legion of terracotta guardians. The Wu was faced with a choice- act now, while the mortal was likely still alive, or seek spiritual reinforcements to battle the army and likely lose the prize they sought to preserve. Time was precious in these matters…. tick-tock…

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RobBennett

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