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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7/29- A Moon of Calm

The Wu had returned home and decided to take some time to focus on their individual study.

Konda began the delicate dance of finding his way into local political structures. He attended this social gathering and that, ever watchful for ways to gently apply his own brand of control. He walked through the streets of his city and politely directed the authorities to where they needed to look and where they needed to look away.

Johnny went to take the Confucius Scholarly tests of the Devil Tiger’s finishing school. The climax was a bloody set of bodies to dispose of in response to being ‘clever’. Aside from a playful rat shifter, there was little fuss and Johnny was awarded the title of Apprentice.

About a moon had passed when the Wu caught wind of a Canadian being held in perpetuity for corporate espionage. This was just the latest of corruptions within Luyang. There had been a terrible sewage-into-cooking oil situation as well as the horrible Luyang slasher being the Mayor himself. It seemed all the dirty laundry of the city was being brought forward for their approval.

Johnny elected to undertake a personal quest to enslave another spirit or two before engaging in some of the greater corruptions. A small farm that grew opium was found using the black market resources just outside of town. The farm was quietly infiltrated, the owners assaulted and purchased for the reasonable price of their infants smallest finger.

Evil would beget evil; so long as it had proper purpose under the Celestial Heaven, all things were still right in this fading Age.

Shinshi took this time of a calm moon to study and cast his eye inward. When not in the library, he was tracking the dragon lines and spiritual energy of their city. It was on ones of these undertakings that he discovered a Rivergate; a powerful area where lay lines intersect and can be ridden to far off places in the blink of any eye. This rivergate had small jade boat nearby, which was odd. And a bloody fisherman. Which was odd. And a potent shifter. Which was very odd.

This shark was brought to the grotto, but not given access to anything of value just yet. He was able to prove he understood some of the greater mysteries by solving a riddle that had been written into stone in the Celestial Temple by the area where the shark delegation had once lived, so many centuries ago. It seemed an auspicious find, for such a creature to appear and make itself known. Still, he was not an ally yet, and the wu was cautious to trust someone so new with so many of their secrets.

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7/13- Curtains Close on Hong Kong

The battle the wu faced was massive. Spirits piled upon them so quickly, they stopped having individual faces. Kaede, while laughing at his own demise, died regaining the honor he had stained from falling victim to otherworldly forces. The rest of the wu fought through the quagmire, protecting the ritual Shinchi mumbled until at last there was a great explosion and the taint passed from this world.

In the distance, two great spirits could be heard, and the wu readied to face them as well in battle. A Sphinx was ultimately the one to appear and answer a question before flitting off about it’s very serious Sphinx business. The Wu consulted for a moment and ultimately decided that they would return the blade to the fae who had started this mess to begin with, and arguable caused the curse in their rage. The laughing monk told them of a place where hope grew and died in regular bouts for the young ones, and their Khan ally was able to piece together where this might be. The Wu traveled there, and when they arrived, they left Johnny to bond with the mortal remains of Kaede while Konda and Shinchi went to find the fair folk.

They found a boy with a flute who fled into the woods. He slept, and his dream was beautiful. It was into this dream that the Wu traveled to find the lord of the land. He was named Discerning Pursuit, and he applauded the wu on their grace and wisdom. Once he beheld the blade, however, he released it from his people’s charge and gave them a masterly crafted flute as further thank you for the service and inconvenience they had been caused.

Since the Wu still had their prize, they decided to visit the Daimyo and see if they could salvage their alliance with him. They were greeted by two Wu’s just waiting for an excuse to start bloodshed. Miraculously, a massacre was averted, and they were granted entry. Through clever word smithing, the Wu is able to grant the Daimyo the blade without actually giving it up. He, in turn, tells Dutiful Daughter that the Wu will return the blade to her after she performs one task of their choosing, as dangerous as they may like. A powerful boon to be sure. She acquiesces, and the wu celebrates with tales of Kaede’s honor being restored.

Not quite done with Hong Kong, Johnny insists the Wu search more thoroughly the underground beneath where the spider made her haven. They found a complex series of tunnels filled with nameless slaves and gangsters. They seemed to be involved in human trafficking, and they found damning evidence connecting the goblin spider with an Akuma and a few other names of interest, not the least of which being the Inauspicious Blood Wizards. Ensuring that the legal paper trail on these items was maintained, Johnny tortured as many of the gangsters as it pleased until they had the information they needed to move on.

The information was copied into various bundles and delivered to a lone Devil Tiger, their super cop friend, and the Daimyo of the area as well as the monk Mandarin. Those people who were too broken to be released to the city were collected and spirited over country lines back to their home in Lou Yang. Upon their return, they found their ablely promoted prostitute waiting to take custody of their recent human acquisitions. In their grottos, they found a proud spirit of justice standing over the smoldering heads of a dozen three-eyed skulls.

After a brief funeral for Kaede and a quiet passing for Takashi’s exit, the Wu settles into their own beds for the evening. It had been a long few weeks, and some rest would be good before resuming their conquest of the world.

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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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6/13- Dancing in the Spiderwebs

As the sun rose over the Hong Kong skyline, the Wu bunkered down in relative safety. They were issued well appointed rooms, courtesy of Masahiro. Sleep was no escape; their dreams carried terrible portents. Johnny, who held the cursed blade, dreamt of good battling evil over a blackened remains of the world. The revenge of the Yomi and the Wu’s revenge against them had torn the world asunder. All actions will echo in eternity, and the spark that began here would spread to all things. The question that rings as millions fight and die around them; what separates justice from vengeance? A mighty spirit replies: “Child of fire, a warrior passed by a stream and saw his reflection within. He wondered ‘Have I passed this way before?’”

While the Wu slept, the mortal among them, Kaede, performed many acts of questionable morality. They ranged from stealing a car to fornicating with a lady of ill repute. His glorious crescendo, however, was robbing the cursed blade from the helpless forms of his allies and escaping the fortified building of their friends. The Wu was not to know the why of these things, simply awaken to the cacophony of alliances being shattered and burned. Under a normal situation, the Devil Tiger might have found such a thing beautiful (if wasteful), but given that it was his person that was robbed, he was overly emotional regarding these events.

The Wu was given a severe ultimatum once it became clear that Kaede had acted without their consent. They were to find this blade and destroy it, or die in the process. No further aid would be given from the Japanese elder, and they were to be grateful for this opportunity. The Wu’s gratitude was shallow at best.

As they left the home of their former allies, they began to scour the streets, collecting to them the alliances that they had made. The grandmother of Kaede knew where her mortal relative lay and could guide them. Their Khan friend agreed to collect a force from and confront the goblin spider who must have been at the root of this treachery. The Japanese demon hunters agreed to assist as well, coming in all their motorcycle-d glory.

When they arrived at the warehouse, they listened to the Howls of the Devil Tiger and assaulted directly and immediately. Seven breaths was all they allowed before entering into this house of death. Within they found webs and terrors that would no doubt haunt their dreams for years to come.

The final battle with the Kumo was fierce. Most of the mortal hunters had been left behind to ensure that nothing escaped the flames. Blow after blow, the wu was outmatched by this shifter that had haunted Hong Kong for so long. It was raw chance and nothing more that guided the twisted iron blade of Johnny into the heart of the terror.

The Wu and the hunter nearly came to blows a final time over custody of the blade, but with the wraith in submission, the spirits dead, and the goblin spider vanquished, cool heads did manage to prevail.

Johnny collected the bounty of the battle and the vestments of his death while Konda spoke softly to Kaede of his fate. It seemed that they were not quite done with the evening, and licking their wounds would need to make reparations to their host and offer a monk protection while he cast the demons out of the blade. It was to be a long evening.

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6/1 Tea For The Shogunate

The bloody carnage of the tunnels were a delightful revelry for the Wu, but all good things must come to an end. They collected their charges with the company of the Khan, they returned to the flotilla. There, the elder dragon rejoiced in the reunion with his family and spoke of the blade the Wu sought. It was the talk of the town, apparently. The yin-cursed blade was free and the storm was proof enough, the shen were saying. Factions of all stripes were vying to be the claimant of its legacy. The Wu wasn’t dissuaded.

Still, the old dragon bestowed onto them the knowledge of who hunted the blade and granted a further boon of his daughter reading their future. She spoke of birds and cages and a clandestine meeting. The wu thanked them for their gifts and left them to mend wounded pride.

Konda seemed to know this shop in the fortunes, odd considering how little else he remembered. The wu took shelter for the day in an abandoned foundry, eager to attend this meeting the following sunset. As the day fell, the reconnected with their police ally and made their way to the bird shop. It was something reminiscent of Blade Runner as they journeyed through the store and the basement meeting.

As is want to do, a fight broke out nearly as soon as the Wu arrived. Mortals, however, proved to be little obstacle for them. What did prove to be troubling was the spirit of the Blacksmith hovering near the blade and nearly overtaking Johnny’s senses. Still, the yin spirit was fought off, and Kaede fled with the attractive prostitute while the rest of the wu squared off with freshly arrived Keui Jin of the Fiery Blossom Wu.

Surprisingly, a parley stopped all hostilities. It was agreed that both Wu’s would present the blade to the Japanese master that had sent them here, Mashahiro. Even that couldn’t be easily done, however; as they trekked through the streets, ninjas began to die around them in droves. Evidently, the powerful mortal Hunters were on to their antics and wished to destroy the blade themselves.

Again, a surprising parley stopped all hostilities without further casualties. It was agreed that the Talon Cleansing Wu would seek the blade’s destruction. They allowed the descendant of Shizuoko Kokoshin to test the blade himself. Satisfied that it was the evil of legend, he returned it to the Wu on the contingent agreement that they seek to end its curse. All parties warily backed away, and the journey to the business district once again continued.

The office building was equal parts professional and dreamland. There were gardens and sparing just a few floors above the cubicles and office accoutrements. They enter into a scene of two fellows heavily padded and sparing. The Wu made introductions to the elder Mashahiro and the elusive ‘Song’.

The Wu presented the blade to the Japanese elder who was well impressed with it. After much discussion, they were able to persuade the lord to give them his blessing in the cleansing of the blade. It would need to be taken to the Temple of Wuan Kui, near the P’O Lin Monastery by the venerable monk Neon Shun.

It was agreed that the Talon Cleansing Wu with the support of the Fiery Blossom Wu would journey to the island holding the monastery and the fabled monk. It would be a treacherous journey, but at least they would be well supplied for the trip. Assuming, that is, that these new-found allies could at all be trusted.

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5/25 One Crazy Night in Hong Kong

The Wu took a moment to collect themselves in the rather soggy abode of the CEO turned corpse. While the trip had been enlightening, one couldn’t help but feel they were being strung along for some darker purpose. They evaluated options for where to visit next. Evidence implied that the Dy Yu, INC base might hold some secrets to where things had transpired; however, they were located in the Bank of China building, easily one of the most fortified places in Hong Kong. Their other option was to go to the cemetery itself where the bodies had supposedly been moved. If this whole thing was a coincidence, and not intentional corruption of a grave site, the bodies might still be there.

The Happy Valley cemetery was a sprawling necropolis in the heart of Hong Kong, where land and space were at an absurd premium. While they traveled there, they compared stories of relevance that they might know. One floated to the top of Shinshi’s mind. He told a tale of a sword smith who sought to cheat the gods and spirits of the land with falsehood. He was commissioned to build seven beautiful swords and destroy them in a pit of fire. He made the swords, but greed prevented him from destroying the fruits of his life. Instead, he destroyed false swords, enraging the spirits. They cursed him with pestilence and storms. Still this smith wasn’t humbled. He gave the cursed blades as gifts to his rivals, watching as their homes suffered terrible fates.

When he was eventually killed, the Jade Emperor, reigning god of the lands of the dead, told him that he prized his blade. The smith was able to escape from the lands of the dead and return as a Risen, plaguing the land with his dark agenda once more. He was destroyed not far from this very cemetery and his most mighty blade, Dragon of Night, was lost. The Jade Emperor was displeased.

The Wu put the story aside for a moment when they arrived at the cemetery and split into groups. Konda spoke with the old groundskeeper and requested some information on the bodies that were moved. Johnny searched the grounds themselves. They found similar information in a similar time. The bodies had been moved, but very recently. Within days recently. As they were preparing to leave and chase the next lead, an emissary of the Jade Emperor confronted them and whispered that they path they were on was a dangerous one. He told them that his master coveted the blade and would reward them for its recovery. The Wu was puzzled slightly as discovering that they were suddenly close to a potent relic in addition to their much needed corpses was… unsettling. They politely deflected making any commitments to the power spirit and its more powerful master. They would need to see what the world held before making promises.

All paths now pointed to Aberdeen, an island off of Hong Kong island. There, they found a party, a Khan and a dead body, which all lead them on a merry chase. They were told of a buyers meeting occurring the following night, and were given some invitations to them from separate sources. As they trailed the corpse mystery, they discovered it to be the body of a fae and badly decayed for its death time. The trail lead to the 7-Tiger Brothel in the red light district. There they investigated around at the scene of the murder and found a sigil in the alley for an black market street fair. Puzzled, but curious, they Wu traveled there, hoping to find inroads amid the chaotic information they were sorting.

In the market, they found evidence that the murderer (armed with a cursed blade…) had purchased some muscle for an escort a few hours prior. They were closing in, and quickly. The trail now led to a Tonka floating village and an old sage that lived there.

He, naturally, was not help at all. While he proved to be a dragon in truth, he also proved to be distraught over the kidnap of his daughter and grandson. The Wu pledged to help so long as he pledged to find where the man with the sword was hiding. They agreed and sped towards the main land.

It seemed that the women they had kidnapped had proven too much for the thugs. She had argued on the shore for near an hour, and they were just now boarding a bus when the Wu arrived. Pent up aggression finally climaxed in glorious bloodshed, and the thugs were dead to a man in a matter of seconds.

Now it was time to return the two and collect from the ancient dragon. The night was growing old as well. Yet, it had been a productive night in the city of Hong Kong.

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5/4 To Take A Breath

The siege had been long and taxing. Through dragons and yin storms and helicopter massacres, the Wu came to the other side of this trial more or less unscathed. They had even squared off directly with a potent pack of werewolves and lived to tell the tale (with spoils to prove it). The climax of the battle was a nuclear meltdown that mysteriously ‘disappeared’ along with several floors of the subterranean complex. Several important elders of the Sentai were missing as the Yomi took what it wished from this plane, including the blast and subsequent fall out.

When the groups went to their separate corners to evaluate their finds and lick their wounds, they finally were allowed a moment’s peace. Another meeting was held with the river sentai to discuss the trophies taken and the future plans for recovering the elders. Over tea, much was discussed and the true nature of the hengeokyi were revealed. A more patient people than the Wu had been led to believe.

At the return from this meeting, the Wu discovered Zhu Wrong interrogating one of the zombie like priests that sang to the glory of the Empress. It seemed that something within the temple had told the outside world of things it should not. Things like the library and the fallen glory of Zao Lot. The Wu was troubled by this revelation, but little could be done in the moment. The Wu elected to put aside that potentially nebulous threat for the time being and continue on to secure the grave sites of Johnny and Takeshi.

Securing travel to Bejing and onward to Hong Kong proved to uneventful. However, when they arrived, the world was not as they’d left it. The grand old cemetery which had housed their bones was being turned into a mall complex. Most of the heavy digging had already been done, and the bones had long been displaced. Investigating the grave-turned-dig site revealed the company name and some of that relevant information.

The Wu was… charged, and did not pause for rational thought. They went straight away to the company responsible and tracked agents that would know more to the local bar ‘Candy Corns’. Inside they found the club to bear the markings of the mandarin monk; the very same monk which had nearly killed Johnny and driven Takeshi to murder him instead. Too much to be coincidence.

A violent altercation was narrowly avoided, and the Wu began the trip to the CEO’s sprawling estate.

On the way, their car was attacked by chi-charged humans capable of unbelievable feats of strength and skill. A brief battle led to a duel; Johnny was frustrated by the slow progress, but secretly had already begun the murder of this mandarin, and super hero humans might have a plan in that. The wu collectively decided to spare their lives (presuming they had the strength to end them), and continued on their way after exchanging tense pleasantries and contact information.

The house was a nightmare. Inside, watery footsteps marked the way, and a knocking moan sounded in the halls. Konda recognized this creature as an agent of Yomi; a long haired pale ‘woman’ thing. They searched the house until they found it, sadly moments too late to save the CEO. The creature was banished, and a pinch of the dust taken from the battle revealed the truth from the corpse.

They found the company responsible for moving the bones, Dy Yu, inc. Dy Yu, of course, being an ancient king and supposed father to the mortal Zhu Wrong. Coincidence piled on coincidence. The person who had arranged all this chaos was none other than Fi Hai, the monk mandarin. An internet search of this company revealed that it was out of Suffix, UK, not Chinese at all. More troubling revelations that the Wu lacked the insight to pierce.

The Wu sought the advice of their mentors, the first time they had in months. Their advice on the matter was…. unhelpful.

As the Wu contemplated what to do, in another plane of existence, the terrible and lovely Emma-O looked down on the now familiar CEO’s soul. She leans forward, hinting at her terrible loveliness and pale exquisite frame.

“So,” she begins in a seductive keen. “Tell me of these graves you uncovered…”

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3/30- The Siege of Silent Hill

The Wu came together at the apothecary to discuss some of their recent revelations. They were foggy, as if waking from a long sleep. They discussed the tactics and angles of laying siege to the stone quarry when their missing Bone Flower returned. While there was some tension between Fae and Takashi, they were able to act as (mostly) rational adults and put the Wu first. Fae told those gathered that he had been scouting the radioactive area for the last month and had news. Their fox friend had been killed, and the spirits of corruption there were mighty beyond reason. It was worse then they had feared.

As they left the apothecary to do some scouting of their own, they noted the streets were empty, save some twenty five figures crowding one end of the street. They wore sigils and signs that clearly marked them hengeyokai. Some were foxes, others sharks, those were wolves… the list seemed endless. They began to introduce themselves rather than attack. They had long and complicated names, and long and complicated titles. Notes were taken, but the one that seemed most significant was their elder.

He explained that their sentai was rooted further up the river, and they were a war-like sept dedicated to cleansing things of great taint. How they had missed the reactor for fifty years seemed to be a point of irritation among themselves. After a brief tea and conversation, they went off to war. Yes, right then. They grabbed their gear and went straight away to war.

The Wu was put in an odd place; either assist or not. While assisting carried grave dangers, it brought the chance to win more favor with these strange new allies. Doing nothing would allow them to focus on the other problems of the city. It was when a few of these highly Yang creatures mentioned knowing things were occurring in the Yin world that the Wu decided unanimously to assist in the cleansing of the reactor.

They gathered outside of the boar’s cave where they first found all this to begin with. They discussed tactics, which largely seemed to be ‘GET EM!’. And then they went and got em. The battle began with some glorious antics from the Wu. They launched themselves off helicopters or hung from cars swinging weapons. Their mad driver even managed to use his helicopter as a weapon before the battle madness got to him and he had to flee.

Enter now the Wu, engaged in a pitched battle to crawl to the heart of the Nest. Dozens of twisted spirits stand between them and their target. Dozens of bakemono join them. Dozens of mighty, corrupt hengeyokai bolster these ranks. And the tentacle creature itself, while down three of its mighty pillars, is still completely capable of engaging in battle. With the courage of the Talon Cleansing Wu carry the day?

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3/2- Waterlogged Revelations

Konda returned to the wu from his prolonged meditation to find them frantically plotting a likely suicidal assault on the stone quarry. His calming presence was just the balm they needed to avert disaster.

The collected what lore they possessed of the Yin world, and came to the conclusion that this ‘Gravekeeper’ was unlikely to be just some shadow-eaten. Initial research implied that he was either a direct servant of a Malefactor, or had a physical presence in this world. His ability to command wicked Yang spirits repeatedly souring their theories as to his proper origin, Konda traveled to the Empress to deliver a message. The stony face of the 7th Gate Minister revealed shock at hearing of what the quarry was hiding and agreed to deliver the a message that the Wu wished to speak to Her Grace.

Their Wu-leader than went to the library (guided through the numerous traps and pitfalls along the way) and met with their dragon guardian spirit to talk about the history of the area. It seemed that the rock quarry was used to build a very impressive monument to Emperor Guazong, and then was strictly prohibited from any use for the next thousand years. These pieces of the puzzle seemed significant. Information was then gathered on the numerous rivals that the Empress had had in life. The Wu hoped to find some commonality; there could be no doubt that this hatred for the Empress was likely long fostering.

Her list of enemies was daunting, so they instead focused on who seemed most wronged. They settled on the Emperor himself or his chief Chancellor Shangguan Yi. While there was a compelling case for both, the history of the Empress’ husband was one of weakness. He seemed to have no ability to refute her beauty or contradict her word. Such wishy-washy traits of character rarely lead to a revival of any kind after mortal death.

The Chancellor, in contradiction, had long plotted to free the Emperor of Wu Zetian. He even had a draft of the document outing her from power forever in the Emperor’s hand, a pen in the other when she burst into the room and sullied the whole thing. As a contradiction, he was put to death, as were his sons. That would prompt a fellow to rage. It wasn’t until Wu Zetian was overthrown by her son (who then took the former-Chancellor’s daughter to wife) that he was returned to some semblance of honor. This felt like their man.

The grave of Shangguan Yi was not terribly close to the city, but within a cab ride away. They took a mortal conveyance only to stumble onto an artificial lake. It seemed that there had been some sort of damning project on this village in the late year 2000. A damning project that had gone terribly awry. The entire town had been destroyed, its occupants killed, and their souls oddly trapped in a bizarre wandering state on the other side. They weren’t proper Yin spirits (as it would be terribly odd for an ENTIRE town to remain on the other side), and they had the ability to animate corpses. While not threatening, they were obnoxious.

Konda and Johnny explored the town ruins, fought off zombies, and eventually found the tomb of Shangguan Yi. Some of the levels had been destroyed by the flood, others had suffered much more intentional damage. The tomb itself was desecrated, tossed about, and the effigy of the Chancellor had the word ‘general’ burned across the face. The word was not used as a title, but rather simply a word, causing the Wu some confusion. Their musings were interrupted by the assault of six terracotta warriors. These were also bizarre as they were not Yin spirits, but animated statues.

After a brief battle, and even briefer retreat, it was decided that they would do some bureaucratic works to correct the defilement. But in the mean time, it was probably time to face whatever the Quarry had to offer in ways of problems. The wu hoped that a 1500 year old akuma didn’t await them.

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