Kindred of the East: Crimson Empires

8/10 A Foul Stench Amid the Pages

The wu considered the auspicious coming of a shark in a temple that had been founded along with them. Much castings and readings were done before it was decided that his arrival was indeed fortuitous. With Chen Bo’s assistance, the Wu called a fox spirit and sent it to the Japanese beauty, Lady Yukio so that the temple could be made complete.

With the Fox and Shark in tow, they began to tour the grounds of the Celestial Temple. As they passed, the grounds themselves started to shift and turn. The Yang began to overbalance the potent Yin energies that had so long held sway here. It was as if the temple itself was a living thing, responding to the energies it was fed.

It was the black jade sphere that drew the eye of Johnny, however; an artifact called the Sphere of Yong. The shifters could sense great ‘wrongness’ within, perhaps a bound demon resided inside. As the Wu began to clean and repair the temple from the thousands of years old damage it had suffered, Johnny went to investigate the artifact in the library. His mortal years had taught him that researching a thing was the best way to understand it.

The water dragon that had been so helpful in the past was now… obstinate and irritable. The balance of chi had caused the simple rotting monks to fall apart and their souls to be banished or set free (it was so difficult to tell). They had been friends to her and she was cross with the wu for their departure. Still, she offered that information on that dark and forbidden artifact lay in a secret wing of the library.

Pulling a scroll, a wall opened, belching a stench of long forgotten decay into the otherwise pristine library. Following the pay down, Johnny came across switch backs and foreign urns. In the darkness, he found a large sarcophagus and burial urns about the room. All the while, he couldn’t help but feel… watched. A blur of motion out of the corner of his eye. The flicker of a robed figure always out of reach.

The Wu, now suspicious of the Devil Tiger’s departure came to investigate and found the figure examining a sarcophagus in the dark. With the help of a lantern, Johnny was able to open the sandstone structure (a rock not native to this part of the world) and revealed a fragment of parchment written in Enochian, the fabled language of the first city. Also on the body was a bronze medallion of a dragon eating its own tail. The parchment said “Lo, all these were buried in the long forgotten city of Cappadocia”.

Cappacodia, as it happened, was an ancient city in Turkey, some 5000 miles away. Why artifacts, whole chambers even, of an ancient city was here proved to be a mystery.

Interrogating the dragon once more to the nature of the chamber revealed little save a pale monk escaped behind them. With the aid of the fox, they were able to send spiritual messages to the his pale monk. His name was Lazarus, and he was indebted to Zhao Lot. He didn’t expect to be an enemy of ours, and didn’t think he would return, but honestly… trusting barbarians seemed folly in the best of times.

Returning to the tomb to explore a bit more, they found four doors exiting the main chamber, the scent of the walking dead rich on the air. Above each door was a tablet in that same ancient language. “Darkness of the West is found here” was over one. “The Past rises to fear the wing of the dove” was over another. “Dust of dark knowledge lies within urns” above the third. And the final door held the words “Dark wine eats the ages”.

The Wu was able to explore three of the doors, finding cubbies of corpses cut into the walls of one chamber, with the corroded icon of a female figure, possibly Talmut, of Babylonian descend. In another, they found a great deep well, reminiscent of a missile silo. The words ‘Well of Bones’ was engraved on a plaque there. The third held magma rivlets and obsidian trails. There was an island and a black temple and a horde of zombies. As the wu massacred them, they couldn’t help but fight the growing sense of being watched. It was a curious place, this tomb…

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RobBennett

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