Kindred of the East: Crimson Empires

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.

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.

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.

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…”

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?

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.

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…

1/26- Little Wu in 'Big' City

The Wu, for the first time in recent memory, didn’t wake with a need to murder or defend themselves. While a pleasant change, it was unexpected. After a brief banter on their next move, it was decided that they would go back to the city and collect some of their resources.

They went back to their spineless fence and found him to be hosting a rather impressive gangster heavy party. Their armored SUVs were in the front, and people were hanging off the balcony. It was impressive that the building didn’t fall from the bass it was emitting. The fortune teller had made an impressive clean up, and it was clear that three other local gangs were in attendance (14k, Red Hand and Yeng She Tong). After a bit of posturing, they decided to collect the fence and find their AWAL blacksmith.

When we arrived in their outward village, several demonic bakemono ambushed them. A quick battle (and then prolonged torture) later, they found that these had come down from the hills. They worked for a demonic jailer and it seemed they needed weapons for a war that was beginning or about to begin.

The blacksmith agreed to complete his work if they could provide a new forge. He was taken to the Temple and shown around a bit. During the process to move the blacksmith, they ran into some police. A rather… dicy bout with their Po resulted in a murdered police officer and half the Wu barricading themselves in a hovel. Promptly the blacksmith decided to end his services once his contracted duties were completed.

Meanwhile, the fortune teller made a rather fortuitous power-play and replaced the spineless fence as the Wu’s go-to gal in the city. She gathered the criminal leaders of the city and forged them into a single collaborative with help of the Wu’s intimidating presence. Still, the whole thing seemed entirely too easy.

1/12- Temple of the Celestial Cloud

The next night within the Grottos was a productive, but costly one for the Wu.

At the start of the evening, Takeshi sacrificed some of the park rangers to appeal their fiery Nushi and earn his way back into the Wu, which he did. Almost as important was Konda’s discovery of a lineage within the park rangers of those who had watched this sacred place for generations. They worked out a simple code to ensure, in the future, when mortals shouldn’t be present.

Further in the cave structures, the newly united Wu began exploring once more. They found a series of tunnels and traps. The path to the right led to a tiled sort of puzzle rigged with fire and arrows and moments of blindness. The path ended in a workshop to further create more traps, to which Johnny quickly fell victim to his own impulsiveness and nearly halted the advancement of the Wu. Instead, the spirit of creation was appeased and the way forward unlocked. The path to the left held traps of animated statues and jade creations that either granted or stripped Chi from those that interacted with it. The purpose of the way seemed to be to tell a story, and an important one. However, like a puzzle without a framework, the Wu still seems to be struggling for the wisdom to interpret it correctly.

With all the trial’s passed, the Wu came to a moonlight garden filled with ghosts of the dead and their ceremonial markers. This is where the LuShang line had been paid homage for their years of dedicated devotion. The ghosts of the area guide the Wu to the greatest treasure found in the grottos to date: the fallen Temple of the Celestial Cloud.

In times long past, this area had served as a school where multiple dharmic paths could come and discuss their differences and collectively work to attaining enlightenment. This place had once been the center for dharmic creation and growth. Forgotten for years, it lay in ruin. The Wu quickly took up the task of establishing this area as their new base of operations.

The area was cleaned, mapped, and arranged to show growth possession. Most curious were spots for shifting creatures, specifically a fox and shark. The shark area was burned and scarred. The history of the place is still somewhat elusive, but the wu was able to piece together stories of the past where the traitorous Xao Lot had infiltrated this place with his childer. The shark of old had tried to warn others only to find deaf ears. There was a battle and this place was abandoned shortly after. A curious area to be sure…

As the Wu settled in, they began bringing what few mortal followers they had into the Grotto to establish trust and their new havens. The place would need to be modernized a bit to contend with the world they currently resided in, of course. And they would need to find their army as in nights of old. But they had a good start…

12/28- Any Wang Will Do

The day nestled in a warm hotel passed uneventfully for the Wu, but their continental dinner (complimentary, of course) was interrupted by the appearance of their great and fiery Nushi. He spoke in rather displeased tones that Takeshi, their resident Thrashing Dragon, had dishonored him and was cut off from the rest of the wu. He had, evidently, been speaking to the Western Devils and agreed to show them something in the Grottos. Weither this was through his own will or those of the inauspicious blood mages was not of importance now.

The wu pondered this, thinking that perhaps they should stop the Western Devils from soiling the dragons nests they had just so recently decided to claim. Naturally, nothing is every that easy. Their great Nushi told them that the spirit world was also a buzz with a grand bizarre being put into the city compliments of a truckload of spiritual gold that had recently been ‘found’. Their plot thickens… They could either stake their claim to the gold and secure enough spiritual wealth to accomplish most anything they would need for the next decade, or redeem their wu-mate and stop the western devils from poking where they didn’t belong.

Johnny was outvoted and they elected to chase after the rival devils.

Takeshi and the westerners were travelling by tour bus down the line towards the Grotto. It was decided that the wu would make better time by boat. They rented one and proceeded to engage in a boat chase the likes of which an action movie would envy. The climax of which was their mortal companion (with a clear death wish), jumping the boat off of one barge, onto another barge, using it as a ramp to land on top of the bridge alongside the tour bus. It was quite dramatic.

A short battle broke out, which ended very poorly for the rival ‘wu’. While they were likely powerful, who expects a boat to land on a bridge with ninja’s aboard? Rather then turning and going to reclaim their gold now, they elected to sacrifice these westerners properly and then explore the grotto.

They first found the glorious sanctuary of the Empress, but were turned away by the first doorman as they lacked proper payment. Instead of going THEN to collect their gold, they elected to explore some more.

There was numerous puzzles to unlock and many wonders within the caverns. There were corpse monks singing and guard ‘dogs’ watching. Each chamber was more magnificent then the last. Finally, they came to rest in a room showing the fall of the Empress to one called ‘The General’. There was obviously great respect between the two, but the Keui-jin became keenly aware that their kind had influenced history a great deal throughout time.

While the majority of the Wu explored the cave, their ambitious mortal elected to go back and save Takeshi from the sunrise. He was met with a patrolling group of park rangers. A scuffle broke out and Takeshi ended up in the river. Which made perfectly logical sense at the time. Stealing their car, the crazy mortal drove break neck speeds along the river to recover their missing friend. He came to the same bridge, still being cleaned up from the boat incident, and jumped it to land on a barge. He fished out the waterlogged Thrashing Dragon and unstaked him. The fellow was terse, but seemed intent on regaining his honor with the group.


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