Kindred of the East: Crimson Empires

6/28- The Laughing Monk

As the den of the goblin spider burned all around them, the Wu gathered the burial material for those they had come for and searched for another escape. Webbing hid a passage which lead to an underground river, or perhaps part of the sewer. They crawled and climbed through the area in search of escape into the night. Finally, the darkness gives way to police lights attached to generators, leading to a sewer exit a mile or so from the burning wreckage of the building and met up with their Khan ally.

Takashi collects the Wu and shares a moment of clarity he has had. It was not yet time for him to be a Running Monkey. He was too reckless and absent. It had been decided that he would return to their mentors for further lessons. But, he would take a few days to say goodbye to their Nushi and pack his belongings, during which time he would escort their remains back to the grotto for re-internment.

The rest of the Wu, crippled and starved, made their way to the docks to procure a vessel and cross to the holy island they had been told to find. The island was a series of monasteries and tourist traps, an odd mixture. When they arrived, with dawn fast approaching, they made their haven in the home of a kite-maker who graciously ‘offered’ them harbor.

In the morning, they fed and began to scour the country-side, looking for allies and the proper holy place. The particular monastery wasn’t difficult to find, as it was the highest up, the oldest, and with the finest statue of a laughing Buddha sitting larger than life outside. The monks within seemed either oblivious to their supernatural nature, or uncaring of it. The Wu left offerings and made prayers and after a second visit, were locked in one of the rooms to sleep out the day. When their haven was opened again, they were led to a rather irritating monk who punctuated nearly every statement with a tearful laugh.

They were going to have to learn a ritual while he made an amulet. They were to bind the amulet to the sword, perform this ritual, and then destroy it. The outcome was somewhat unclear. It would take a week for Shinchi to learn this ritual, the rest of the Wu was released for ‘free time’, the longest string of days without an agenda in recent memory. They fed and healed and mediated; Johnny even enslaved a corruption bane to aid in the battle to come.

Finally, the eve of battle was upon them. Shinchi could recite the proper verses. They had armed themselves and prepared mentality for the battle to come. Their Khan had found a Stargazer, Shon Zu, who had agreed in a sideways manner to help in the battle and agreed to open the way. It was before they were to take the blade to the high place that the laughing monk revealed a final secret of these dark events. He whispered softly between his laughs as the tears streamed down his face, their spirit guardian stood vigil in a high place, he had seen it. If he remained guarding, the thing he protected might stay safe, but if he left it would surely fall. Yet, if he did not stand with the Wu during this fight, one of their number was destined to fall.

The Wu quietly considered this and thanked the monk for all his aid. He waved them off with a promise to destroy them if they failed and scampered off to do whatever important monk business had occupied his time for the centuries before they had rudely interrupted him. They considered this things and decided the library was more important then any one of them, possibly all of them, and went to do battle alone.

As they climbed the mountain and entered the land of spirits, they saw the storm above them. Spirits flew about them in a maelstrom of destruction. They howled in rage at something they could not possibly know. It wasn’t until Shinchi voiced the first syllable of the rite that they turned their eyed upon them, and the wrath of countless corruptions came barreling down upon them.

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RobBennett

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