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Here Comes the Sun
Mr Iverson,

What a trip to the underworld we have had. I can't say it was enjoyable to be honest with you. Since we last corresponded, we have dealt with a magical vine of sorts that separated us. Thankfully, the royal guard in Buchalla allowed me to assist getting people out of the ballroom where the vine trapped them, it was strange to say the least. I'm having a difficult time, to be honest, when it comes to separating when something is an attack on people around us or the stygian trying to get to us.

I feel as though I'm in a constant state of fear and confusion right now. I have spent much of my life obsessing over the person who killed my makeshift family and now, that seems like a distant memory and of lesser importance than what we are facing now. I cannot seem to come to grips with the gravity of what we are facing with the return of the stygian. The more I learn, the more fearful I become.

Once we boarded the train to Arcadence, it seemed that we were in for an uneventful few hours for a change, everyone seemed relatively normal, but then someone just up and disappeared, thankfully, Krackle was able to find him in a trunk in the storage car.

Kit also found an ominous note to someone named Oystein that said they were leaving and wouldn't deal with him anymore, basically. We eventually found out that it was a woman and her daughter. Jess, I believe was her name. We talked extensively about daggers and our mercenary lives. Kit told her if she ever needed help from us to contact us through you. She seemed like an upstanding person.

When we got back to our car, Emir told Kit that he had run into someone that was involved with the trade he had done in the past and that he wanted to meet in the dining car, so Kit and I went to sit at the bar to help keep an eye out. Then the unimaginable happened. The train crashed. I'm so sorry to say that Emir did not make it. I worry about Kyda, the poor little soul. She will grow fond of Kit, I'm sure, but I cannot imagine the pain she is feeling right now. Kit decided we should bury Emir above ground, which I believe is a good idea. I am happy we will soon be reunited with Jackson, hopefully his mental and physical states are okay, we have all been worried about him.

Tonight, we are staying at the Gilded Gate tavern and will be going up to Pronchester in the morning. I am looking very forward to being above the surface.
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A Hero's Welcome
Ivy,

Thank you for letting us visit Buachalla. It was a bit of a break from the norm. We received our thanks from the reigning Matriarch. There was a ball thrown in our honor, and (other than a shadow beast sent from the Stygian) it was a great time.

Speaking of the Stygian, Amir says that I should inform you that I am carrying two cursed artifacts that are directly tied to the Stygian. He wants them back apparently. I currently have a crystal apple, and a mirror that will show its’ holder their true nature. Amir says that I should give the artifacts to some vault or something, but I like them in my pocket because I know where they are, and that they are safe.

On another note, I’ve got a bit of an angel and demon on my shoulder situation. Except instead of on my shoulder, they are in my subconscious and sometimes manifest into my consciousness or even the real world on occasion. All that I can say for sure is that the angel seems to be connected to the church of Selune. Not sure about the demon except that it’s pretty mean. I’m going to assume that it’s connected to the stygian in some way.

Until Next Crime,
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Lhynard
Posted by the GM
Per Multiversum
Chapter 3 — Ubume
~ 10th of Chu, the Year of Ji Chou, morning
Road from Uminonagame to Sanfirudo, Wa


The journey from Uminonagame to Sanfirudo was much like the one from Bunden to Uminonagame; they passed up, down, and around the wolds of the land on a barely marked path heading north-northwest. They were gaining altitude, but not by much, and the going was fair. There was a breeze, coming from the sea in the east, and it felt cool on their skin and kept them at the perfect temperature for walking. Even the humans could sometimes catch the pleasant smell of the ocean in their noses. It was such a delightful walk that it was easy to forget that they were in a strange land on a quest of the gods.

   The journey was seventeen miles, and since most of them were on foot, it would take them most of the day to reach the next village. As they went along, Tano was talking to Kytharrah in his language for most of the journey. By now, the others had become so use to this that his voice was mostly ignored as it came into their ears. Imoko and Sofi were also talking, as best as they could manage, in very simple Wa-an. Imoko was pointing at things as they walked and calling out their names. Sofi would try to repeat the words, and Imoko would help her with the pronunciation. Solisar paid close attention to this, as it helped him to learn new vocabulary as well. He picked the words up much faster than Sofi and did not require the practice that she did, but it was helpful to him nonetheless.

   Szordrin was curious about the innkeeper back at Uminonagame and had Solisar ask Imoko if she had seen Jun-tua Gim and knew what race she was. Imoko answered that she was a korobokuru and seemed surprised that they had not seen such a person before, though she admitted that only a few korobokuru chose to live among humans. Most lived in the forests or barren wastelands of Wa, and she did not realize that they were not also found in such places in the west.

   Kytharrah kept asking to play with Imoko and Sofi again, but Imoko was too tired from her journey from Bunden to Uminonagame to deliver her report to them, and she even took a short nap when they had stopped for lunch. Kytharrah offered to carry her on his back, even though he was already carrying Tano in the basket of water and their bags of holding, but she declined, explaining through Solisar that her place was in the back of the line behind all the men.

   The adventurers also discussed the magic orb that they had taken from Onran's vault. That morning, Solisar had used their last pearl and drank the concoction required for him to identify the orb's properties. The divination had revealed that the orb was used to open a portal in a crystal sphere, the solid barrier that separated planetary systems within wildspace from the phlogiston. If ever they flew to the very edge of Realmspace, within about 100 yards, they would be able to use it to open a rift in the astronomically immense wall to pass into the space beyond space, one large enough for their spelljammer to pass through. Such a portal would remain open for over an hour before closing again, though there did not seem to be any limit on the number of times that the orb could be used.

   After seven hours, the sun had dropped below the mountains in the west, sending shadows over the farms and fields.

   When they were about two miles from their destination, they began to see more and more farms and fields with horses, cows, or sheep, nestled between small pine-covered hills.

   One mile shy of Sanfirudo, they passed an old minka just off the road on the right, with an unkempt barley field behind it. "Big hole!" said Kytharrah, noticing that the roof of the minka had collapsed and should not have been habitable.

   However, a woman suddenly rushed out of the house, wailing in sorrow as she came. She was dressed in a pure white kimono and looked pregnant, like she was at the end of her nine months. Her long black hair was unbound and blowing in the breeze. She was carrying a wrapped bundle, which, as she reached them at the road, they saw was a baby.

   Szordrin immediately began casting a few spells to understand her and read her thoughts.

   "Onegai, tasukete! Watashi no akachan o daite kudasai," she moaned. Tears streamed down her face. Solisar did not need to use magic to translate her cries. "Please, help me! Hold my baby."

   "Ta shi yi ubume," said Tano matter-of-factually, which Szrodrin heard as, "She is an i]ubume[/i]."

   Imoko also understood Tano's Trade Tongue and asked in Wa-an, "Watashitachi wa nani o shimasu ka?" which Solisar and Szordrin understood to mean, "What do we do?"

   The woman's mind was distraught and questioning whether these strangers could save her baby.

   "Anachtyr, reveal evil to my eyes," said Hakam, but his divinely blessed vision saw no dark aura around the woman or her child. She held the child out to them, expecting one of them to take it. The baby looked healthy but was so small that it must have been a newborn, though it had been cleaned and swaddled.

   Kytharrah, however, took a sniff with his large nostrils and sensed an odor of decaying flesh. He took a step away from the outstretched hands of the crying woman.

   "No one touch it!" commanded Szordrin. "She is a ghost."

   Belvin pulled the reigns on Kamil to take him away from the woman's reach.

   On seeing that they were moving away from her instead of helping her, the anxiety on her face began to grow even more severe, and her cry grew louder.

   "Be calm!" said Hakam gently but powerfully, but the divine magic did not seem to affect her. Instead, the woman's face writhed and distorted into a vision of horror. The skin on the left side of her mouth seemed to split and melt away, revealing a gash that exposed her teeth and the bone of her jaw. Her nose fell from her face, revealing two large openings behind. Her hair became bleached white and a dark stain appeared over the front of her belly and began to spread through the silk of her garment. She also seemed to fade, becoming almost transparent. Finally, the baby itself dropped from her hands and fell through the ground to vanish like a mist.

   So horrific was the woman's appearance that Imoko cried out and covered her eyes, and Sif, Leokas' wolf whined and lay down in the road. Szordrin, too, sensed feelings of sickness from Ferry, who was clinging to his shoulder.

   Szordrin was ready and darted immediately off the road to position himself behind the ghostly woman as she flailed out her arms toward Kytharrah. A ray of fire blasted from his fingertips, struck the woman directly in the small of back and obliterated her in flash of flame.

   It all happened so quickly that most of them appeared a bit stunned.

   "Should we have done that?" asked Szordrin.

   "Like Yunoko's ghost," said Hakam, "this one's spirit will reform in several days."

   "Your dragon recognized the spirit as an ubume," said Imoko to Solisar in Wa-an, "the spirit of a woman who has died in childbirth or while pregnant. She cannot find the River of Three Routes until the loss of her child is made right and honor is restored to her."

   "She did not simply die in childbirth;" said Solisar, "she was murdered, according to the blood on the front of her kimono. I wonder if this is another case of the rakshasa trying to kill his offspring."

   "Do we know where the woman whom Yunoko sheltered was from?" asked Hakam.

   "All we know is that Yunoko met her in Cormyr, where she had fled to seek asylum," said Solisar, "though I would suspect that her husband would have lived in the Emperor's city of Rukimbaru."

   Szordrin wanted to investigate inside the broken minka before moving on. The cabin was completely empty. Leokas could find no recent tracks, and all that Kytharrah could smell were the droppings of rodents. However, at the same time, both Belvin and Solisar noticed an odd cut in the floor boards. "A sword made this," said the wild elf druid.

   "The poor woman was run through," agreed Solisar.

   "This house has been abandoned for many moons at the very least," said Leokas.

   "We should ask about this house when we reach the next village," said Belvin.

   "Let us head out again," said Szordrin. "There is nothing more for us to discover here."

   As they moved on, Leokas noticed that Sif seemed to be limping, and Imoko expressed more weakness than she had felt before her highsun nap. Belvin tried to calm Sif with druidic magic, but whatever was affecting her was more than just emotional. They would not have the magic to help the young sohei or the wolf or the weasel until morning.

   They had not gone far again when Tano asked a question in Draconic, for Solisar's sake, but this time, one of the words jumped out to all of those who had been in the party the longest. "Who is Vashti?"

   They all looked confused by this seemingly random question, but Leokas answered, "An old friend from Calimshan; what does that name mean to you?"

   "She was a former traveling companion of some of the party," Solisar said to the dragon in his language.

   "Translate Leokas' question," said Hakam. "I also want to know how he knew of this name."

   "Tano can read most of our thoughts...," said Solisar. "I suspect that she came up in someone's memory."

   Szordrin looked at Leokas.

   "The woman's hair was blowing around of its own accord," said Leokas, "like Vashti's use to do. Before she was revealed to be a ghost, I thought that she might have been a genasi. That is all."

   Belvin gave Leokas a knowing and distrusting nod.
Session: 129th Game Session - Thursday, Aug 26 2021 from 7:00 PM to 10:00 PM
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Tags: Battle , Chapter 3 , Recap , Wa
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Lhynard
Posted by the GM
Per Multiversum
Chapter 3 — Potentially Useful Discoveries and Grim News
Instantly, the prismatic wall vanished into nothing.

   Various vocalizations of excitement came from most of the group.

   Beyond the rainbow wall was a wall of stone, with a narrow open doorway in the center. Hakam wasted no time in crossing the remainder of the hall and passing through. He stepped into a vault, with curved pockets in the extra-thick stone walls. In the north alcove was a silver chest covered in arcane runes. In the south and west alcoves were three stone pedestals, waist high. On two of them were two different orbs, each large enough to fill both palms.

   Hakam called back. "Solisar and Szordrin, follow the same path as I. I need your assistance."

   They did so.

   "The chest is probably mithral," said Szordrin.

   One of the orbs was golden-colored. It had deep grooves in it and was movable. "It is a puzzle box," said Solisar. "There is almost certainly something inside, if one can figure out the motions to open it." It was not magical.

   The remaining orb, in contrast, was magical, with a moderate abjuration aura. Solisar picked it up very carefully. It was made of a black material that seemed to shift from being transparent to opaque, depending on how one looked at it. Some sort of purple fibrils seemed to be flowing within it when it happened to appear transparent, but this color too morphed into the others in the color spectrum. It was beautiful, but he was certain that it had been created for more than only artistic reasons.

   "I will identify this in the morning," the elven wizard said.

   While Hakam was looking past Solisar into the magical orb, Kytharrah picked up the golden-colored one and started twisting and turning it. (He had had no problem taking the exact path as the others over the sigil-covered tiles.)

   Hakam vocally prayed to Anachtyr that the minotaur's actions would not bring a curse upon them. Then he said, "Minotaur! Put that down!"

   Kytharrah tossed it from his left hand, where Hakam tried to take it from him, to his right, catching it. "Play!" said Kytharrah. A game of keep-away was one that he had not played in a while. It would be a fun game to play with Tano, he thought.

   Sofi did play, and she snagged the orb quickly from his hand with a flash of her arm. "I win!" she said with a big grin up at him.

   Kytharrah did not even know that she had followed him across the tiles. He tried to grab at it again, but she swatted his hand away with a lightning reflex.

   "No, I won!" She tossed the puzzle orb quickly to Solisar, who surprised himself when he caught it.

   "The game is over for now, Kytharrah," said Sofi.

   Solisar examined it. "Actually, the way Kytharrah rotated this piece here may have given me an idea about how it works," said Solisar. "Thank you, Kytharrah! I do not think that I would have so quickly come to the conclusion that it could take this sort of rotation had you not played with it...." He began to rapidly move the quadrants and rings of the orb rapidly. It was only about a minute before, suddenly, a cylinder slid out of the sphere into Solisar's hand and fell open into two pieces with felt internal surfaces.

   It was empty. There was nothing at all inside.

   "Are we certain that there is no other hidden chamber within?"

   "I do not see how that would be possible without magic," said Solisar.

   Belvin poked Szordrin and turned to the mithral chest. He bent down and found it locked. Standing up, he poked Szordrin again.

   "Give me a moment," said Szordrin. "I need to get out my picks."

   But the chest proved to have a high-quality lock mechanism, well beyond Szordrin's ability to open with his tools.

   "Nekra!" commanded Solisar. There was a clicking sound. Szordrin lifted open the lid. The chest was full of several thousand gold coins, with Lantanese stampings, but two other items sat atop the pile — a music box crafted from bronze with an inlay of pearl and a simple grayish-brown hoodless cloak. Szordrin lifted up the cloak, (which had a moderate illusion aura to Solisar's eyes,) and let it hang open. The inside material appeared jet black, although it did not seem to be made of a different material from the opposite side. In fact, they soon realized that one could feel the fibers of the cloak's inner surface, even though they could not see them. Szordrin then discovered that if he rubbed his fingernail along the inside of the cloak, it made no sound.

   "I do have two pearls," said Solisar. "I could identify one of these objects now, if you give me about ten minutes and do not want to wait until the morning."

   Belvin, however, picked up the music box and turned the crank. A simple tune came out, but none of them recognized it, nor did Negi, the Dranyrs' former maid.

   "The craftsmanship reminds me of things that I saw in Lantan," said Hakam. "Perhaps Jayce would recognize the tune."

   "In the meantime," said Szordrin, "I would like Solisar to identify this cloak of Onran's."

   "Kytharrah," said Sofi, who saw that the minotaur was growing restless, "let us go outside and play with Tano while Solisar does canny spellslinger stuff."

~~~~

They found the large carp-like creature in the little man-made pond outside the Dranyrs' house. He was happy to see his furry, horned friend and ready to play.

   This time, the game was hide and seek. Kytharrah and Tanoshihire were both exceptionally good at this game, as Kytharrah had a phenomenal sense of smell and Tano was gifted with dragon senses. However, Tano started winning, and Kytharrah began to suspect that the carp-dragon was no longer playing fairly. The minotaur tracked his smaller friend to spots behind trees where the scent ended abruptly. Then, he would spot or hear the young dragon some distance away behind or in another tree altogether, though no trail of scent was left between the two locations.

   Eventually, he saw how Tano did it. Kytharrah saw the smaller creature simply poof out of existence. A moment or so later, he would reappear at some other spot.

   Sofi, who was watching them play, noticed this too. "That is not fair," she said. "Kytharrah cannot do whatever it is that you just did!"

   Kytharrah asked Tano in his minotaur dialect of Giant how he did this "trick". Tano seemed to understand and gave an answer in his own language, which only meant that Kytharrah still had no understanding of what was happening.

   Meanwhile, in the underground vault, Solisar had finished his identification ritual and explained to his companions that the magical cloak was a scry shroud. Whoever wore the cloak would be protected against all manner of divinatory magics and — if noticing a scrying sensor of any kind — could immediately turn invisible for one minute in response.

   After this, they crossed back over the floor tiles. (They could not determine how to reactivate the prismatic wall and saw no need to.) They bid the maid, Negi, farewell and came outside to join Sofi, Kytharrah, and the carp dragon. "Fun trick," said Kytharrah, pointing at the dragon. "Here, there." He gestured. "Show." Sofi then "translated" for the minotaur, explaining what Tano had revealed that he could do.

   Solisar knew that Tano had not been speaking Wa-an, yet Hina, the woman at the tea house, had had no issues understanding him. He suspected that the dragon was speaking what those in Faerûn called Trade Tongue, the Common of the eastern realms of Kara-Tur, which was a Shou Chiang language, the family of languages spoken in Shou Lung and T'u Lung. Unfortunately for Solisar, Wa-an was not a Shou Chiang language. However, he had a hunch that the carp dragon might speak another language that he did know. "You seem to understand our languages; do you also speak Draconic, Tanoshihire?" he asked in Draconic.

   The little dragon looked insulted and answered in Draconic. "Of course I can speak the language of dragons; I am a dragon! I told you that!" He gave one of his roar-hisses. Then he seemed to calm a bit and asked, "Do you want me to speak in Draconic now instead?"

   "I can understand you without magic if you do so, yes," said Solisar, "so I would appreciate that, if you would be so kind."

   "None of the rest of us can speak Draconic," said Szordrin, who could at least recognize that that was the language being spoken. "Ask him what other languages he can speak."

   Solisar did so, and Tano replied with pride, "The tongue of water, Common, and the Spirit Tongue. I am very smart!" He grinned, revealing his very sharp teeth.

   "So, you understand what I am saying now?" asked Solisar in Aquan.

   Tano nodded vigorously. "Yes, you must be very smart too," he answered in the same language.

   (To Hakam, Aquan sounded oddly familiar, as it shared a history with his own native tongue of Alzhedo.)

   "Is 'Common' what you have been speaking to us before?" asked Solisar.

   The carp dragon nodded.

   "Can you speak for me in the Spirit Tongue?"

   Tano did so, but it was another language that bore no resemblance to any of the many that Solisar knew.

   "Kytharrah says that you are vanishing and reappearing, Tanoshihire," said Solisar in Draconic. "How are you doing that?"

   "I am just going into the Spirit World and coming back again," said Tano, making it sound like it was as easy as taking a stroll.

   "Can you give me a demonstration?"

   Tano vanished from sight, and Solisar's magic-seeing vision could not detect any residual aura from the dragon either. This meant that Tano was not simply turning invisible; he was actually leaving the Material Plane. About a minute later, Tano reappeared in a new spot. Notably, the protective magic that Solisar always had active to notify him if someone was teleporting to their location did not trigger. This meant that however Tano was teleporting, it was not by passing through the Astral Plane.

   Kytharrah motioned at Leokas and Solisar and said, "You?"

   "Us what?" said the forest elf.

   "I think that he is asking if we can also go to the Spirit World," said Solisar.

   "Why would he think that? I am the least magical of all of you," said Leokas.

   "Because he knows that we went to the Fugue Plane," said Solisar. "It is not the same place," he then explained gently to the minotaur. "It is a special place that one can only go to from Kara-Tur — and only with magic."

   Talk of spirits and the Fugue Plane reminded Szordrin of Yunoko's request to them to find Onran's departed soul. He put on the hat of disguise that they had taken from Onran's basement on Coliar and his face transformed into that of his old master. "Ask him if, during his wanderings in the Spirit World, he has ever encountered anyone who looks like this."

   Solisar translated into Draconic, and Tano answered in the negative. Then Solisar asked the little dragon. "I do not even need to translate for you, do I? Can you not understand what all of us are thinking anyhow?"

   "It is easy for me to hear Kytharrah's thoughts, because he and I are good pals, but I almost never know what you or you or you are thinking." Tano nodded in turn toward Sofi, Hakam, and Solisar. "And I do not know your words, just your pictures and stuff."

   Szordrin thought in his head, "Can you hear what I am thinking?" but the dragon did not respond. Instead, he said to Solisar, "Ask him if he knows what I am thinking about." Then he pictured Ferry in his mind.

   "Sometimes I know and sometimes I do not," said Tano. "Oh, now you are thinking about your rat!"

   Solisar translated, and then Szordrin tried to block the image from his mind. Tano reported that the "rat went away."

   "Tano," asked Solisar, "you can jump between the Spirit World and this world; do you know of any pathways that creatures like us can take to get there?"

   "You do not need a pathway, silly creatures!" Tano lunged forward and gently bit onto Solisar's magical winter boot. Instantly, the two vanished.

   Solisar, however, found himself in the same place with Tano's mouth around his boot, only it was not the same place but rather almost a reflection of it. Most of the trees were the same and in the same places, except that they were taller and fuller, and their leaves were somehow more green; their bark had taken on a reddish hue, making the leaves and bark stand out in greater contrast from each other. He glanced behind himself to the west. Onran's house had no analog in this world, being replaced by more trees, but the mountains of Wa, which had already seemed great, now appeared to stretch higher than the edge of the sky.

   "See?" said Tano with pride. "I told you that I am a god. Do you want to go back now?"

   "Yes, please."

   With that, they were back on the Material Plane.

   Solisar explained to the others that Tano could plane shift without any need for a tuning fork but apparently only to the Spirit World.

   Hakam made a suggestion. "Perhaps we can ask our friends at the Interlink Consortium what tuning fork would allow me to take us to the Spirit World, if ever this fish leaves us."

   Tano then lunged at Kytharrah and bit his leg, with far more force than he had applied to Solisar's boot. Kythharah had wanted this, and now it was the minotaur who found himself in a strange mirror of reality, where everything seemed bolder and more intense. He took a deep inhalation, and his nose was greeted with crisp and wonderful scents. He could recognize the distinct smell of every individual tree about him, every pine and every cedar. He could no longer smell his other friends, however, apart from Tano, who had ceased clamping down on his now bleeding leg.

   When Kytharrah was ready to go back, he imagined Solisar, and Tano seemed to understand. The two young creatures reappeared among the others back outside Onran's old home.

   It was getting dark, so they all headed back downhill to the inn, which was where they earlier had passed under two strings of red paper lanterns hung from the corners of the roofs of two rowhouses that faced each other. There was an opening into the eastern rowhouse from this lit space between them, and Hakam stepped up and inside.

   Standing behind the counter was a different sort of person than any whom they had yet seen in Wa. Humanoid but not human, the woman behind the counter was only about four feet tall. She might have been a skinny dwarf, but she did not look like any dwarves that they had seen either, for her facial features were quite different — tiny button nose instead of a large one, thick lips, big blue eyes, mildly pointed ears. Her blonde hair was wild, tangled, and spiky in places. Tiny wispy whiskers hung from her chin. Her arms were noticeably long for her body, and she also appeared somewhat bowlegged. Kytharrah had never smelled a creature like her either.

   The tiny woman spoke in Wa-an, welcoming them to her inn. Hakam conversed with her by magic. Her name was Jun-tua Gim. (The name did not sound very Wanese, and Hakam did not know which of the names was her given name or which was her surname.) She asked him if he needed a place to stay, and he arranged and paid for their accommodations. It was four yuan per room; Sofi was assigned a room in the women's wing, the eastern rowhouse, and the others were given three rooms to split among them from the western wing. (While Hakam paid her, Belvin began to turn the crank on Onran's music box, wondering if the tune would sound familiar to the innkeeper, but she did not seem to think anything of the music.)

   "The big one should probably take the first room, as it has one mat," said Jun-tua Gim. "There are two mats in each of the other rooms, as well as an irori and a bucket of water."

   The rooms were as she had described, simple but better than another night on the hard ground under trees, although that is exactly where Belvin still chose to trance. Kytharrah did not like being in a room by himself, especially one built for tiny humans, so he also joined Belvin that night.

~~~~

   Night passed without any nightmares, visits from ghosts, or other unpleasant incidents. Belvin was up at dawn as usual to request his druidic powers from Thard Harr. He was standing just south of the gate when he saw a woman approaching, wearing red-dyed leather. He recognized her as the shrine guardian from Bunden, and Kytharrah also smiled at one of his playmates from a few days ago.

   Imoko tried to communicate with Belvin, but he waved, shrugged, and nodded toward the village gate, so she continued on past them and entered Uminonagame, and Belvin and Kytharrah followed her.

   She first spoke to the watchman at the stone lantern and then went on to the inn, where she quickly spoke with the dwarf-like innkeeper. Belvin and Kytharrah watched her then go to Solisar's room and knock on the door. (Belvin again got out the music box and began to crank it.)

   The door slid open, and Szordrin and Solisar both were there to greet her.

   She spoke immediately. "Aisatsu, tomodachi, watashi wa nyusu o motte kimasu."

   "Aisatsu, tomodachi," said Solisar. "Nani no nyusu?"

   She rambled off an answer quickly, relaying the news that she claimed to have brought, but Solisar had to stop her, because too many of the words he did not know. He cast a spell and politely asked her to speak again.

   "The ometsuke arrived yesterday afternoon," she said. "A crowd gathered around, as they approached the shoya's estate with a band of mounted samurai. The shoya was made to walk to the very center of the village. He knelt on his knees, drew his wakizashi, and shoved it into his own stomach. As he yelled out in agony, one of the samurai then drew his katana and decapitated him. There was so much blood. It was truly awful! I requested immediately that Ieharu permit me to head north to find you. I traveled through the night. I thought that you would want to know the news."

   "Those are indeed grim tidings," said Solisar, "but can you explain to me who or what the ometsuke is or are?"

   "The ometsuke are the shogun's officers who handle the discipline of the daimyo," said Imoko.

   "Thank you for the information," said Solisar. "Will you be returning back to Bunden?"

   "Ieharu suugested that I return to my monastery at Jiyu and report to the brothers there what has happened at Bunden. If you are still traveling that way, perhaps I can travel with you."

   "Play?" said Kytharrah.

   "The group will likely welcome you to come with us," said Solisar.

   They did not tary much longer in Uminonagame; the seven adventurers and the sohei — together with a camel, a weasel, a wolf, and a carp dragon in a basket — departed through the northern red gate and journeyed on.
Session: 129th Game Session - Thursday, Aug 26 2021 from 7:00 PM to 10:00 PM
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Royal Endevors
Well, we have finally made it to the underground. And, even better than that, we know where Jax is and will be meeting up with him soon. In the meantime, we're playing dress up to attend a heroes dinner because, well, apparently we are, in fact, heroes.

Anyway, I'm not terribly keen on royalty myself, as an outsider, I've never found anyone in high standing who genuinely cares about anyone like me, so this is not my idea of a good time. It is rather beautiful, though. I've also gotten to witness some pretty scandalous things here, so, that's fun.

As always, it feels like something is about to go wrong. This whole thing with the Stygian has us all a little on edge, but I really just want to learn more about it, if I can...

Kit's ghost that is apparently always present did not like when we tried to do an exorcism ritual on her, so, even though she is very irritated with me, I've been hovering around her like a mother hen. I just don't want anything to happen to her or to anyone around her. Presumably it will be fine as long as we don't try another ritual, though, but I have to wonder what sort of entity it is and what it wants.

Anyway, we will be attending the actual dinner this evening, hopefully everything runs smoothly.
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