Shadow of the Setting Sun

The Truth Unveiled
At dawn the group sets out to find a ship so they can pursue the vanishing island. After speaking to the locals, it becomes clear that there are only 2 ships, both merchant vessels that are seaworthy enough to make the voyage. Both captains are reluctant to sell or loan out their ship, until Obata offers up the last piece of treasure from his last visit to the disappearing island, an intricate jade hilt easily worth several ships. The captain accepts the trade and the group procures food and water, then sets out on their new ship, sailing North-West in the direction the black-jade pendant pulls.

After sailing for several boring days without interruption, Lukela spots the grey sails of another ship following at a distance. After pointing out the sails to the others, Lukela searches the captain’s quarters and finds a spy glass. Using the glass she is able to make out a large, fully crewed galleon in the distance, though she is unable to make out any details other than the movement of the crew scurrying about the deck of the large ship. Suspecting pirates, the group begins to make plans to double back and confront the ship, but after finishing planning, they are unable to spot the ship on the horizon.

The next night the ship sails into a thick fog bank. While Lukela is on watch there is a momentary break in the fog, allowing her to see the galleon sailing silently along no more than 50 feet off their port side. More distressingly, the only crew she sees is a tall man in a porcelain mask, who stands at the railing, staring directly at her, as though he had been even before the fog cleared. As the fog obscures her view once more, Lukela rouses the rest of the group, informing them of the galleon and the masked man. Though the group stays on alert, no attack comes and near morning they begin to hear the cries of seagulls through the fog. Finally sailing out of the fog bank, the group catches sight of an island on the horizon, with 2 golden spires jutting up from the trees around the base of the island’s central mountain. With no sign of the galleon or the masked mad in sight, the group puts their ship ashore and ties it off. As soon as Darian-Rashad steps foot on the island the black-jade pendant falls inert around his neck. Eager to explore, they set off toward the island’s interior.

Obata leads them on a path through the trees, pointing out traps marked by his group the last time they were here. Eventually the path empties into a large courtyard. Four stone pedestals stand at the corners of the courtyard, 2 of them occupied by life sized brass statues of soldiers standing as if on guard. On the far side of the courtyard stands a cathedral-like building that juts from the side of the mountain. Carved of white marble with Orichalcum trim and 2 large, golden spires, the building dominates the landscape. Obata warns that the last time he was here, the statues came to life as his group left the building to escape with their treasures. Taking heed of his warning, the group moves cautiously through the courtyard, spotting pieces of the 2 missing brass soldiers as they do. As Darian-Rashad passes the statues they turn toward him and stand at attention. The group remarks on this, not knowing if it is a good or bad sign, before opening the doors to the building and heading inside.

Inside the building lies what was once a great-hall. A massive table stands in the center of the room and 3 doors are visible at the far end. Choosing the rightmost door, Darian-Rashad leads the group down a corridor, and manages to spot a wire running across the corridor before anyone steps on it. Continuing into the next room, the group comes upon a pair of surprised demons, who appear to be eating a mangled animal at a table in the center of the room. The demons are hairless and humanoid to the waist, where a long serpentine tail stands in place of legs. Their eyes are black, and their fingers end in wicked talons. Taking the offensive, Darian-Rashad springs forward, drawing his rapier and activating Iron Whirlwind Attack. With a flourish of strikes, he kills one of the demons before it has a chance to react. Lukela follows suit and uses Voice of the Night Bird to blast the other demon with her song. The other demon rushed forward, attempting to disembowel Darian-Rashad with its talons, only to have them glance off the breastplate he wears beneath his clothes. Phineas waits for a clear shot as Gwyn steps in, spinning her staff in a feint, and as the demon goes to block low, she flips the staff around, bringing it down hard on the top of the demon’s skull. Darian-Rashad finishes the stunned demon off with a slash across the throat, and both demons begin to dissipate into a sulfurous mess. Continuing through another set of doors, the hallway becomes less normal, beginning to twist and turn at odd angles, and the group decides to go back and try another door instead.

Returning to the great-hall the group opts for the center doors and heads inside. After a short walk past traps Obata is kind enough to warn the group about, they find themselves before a large, circular gold door. The door lacks any apparent means of opening, and is flanked on either side by large jade statues of lion-dogs. Feeling a sense of familiarity, Darian-Rashad approaches the door and places his hand on it, feeling for a hidden mechanism. After a few moments, he activates his anima in order to see more clearly, and at the expenditure of essence the door clicks and rolls open. Both of the jade lion-dogs suddenly turn their heads to regard the Solar standing between them. The lion-dog to Darian-Rashad’s left asks him who he is and why he has come. He responds that he has been here before, and the lion dog steps off its pedestal toward him. Slowly, the lion-dog lowers its forehead to touch Darian-Rashad’s and he is overcome by memories.

He is standing in the same room, but surrounded by Dragon Blooded. He and 2 other Solars fight valiantly, making their last stand as more and more Dragon Blooded flood into the room. Darian-Rashad sees one of the other Solars fall, just before feeling several blows pierce him from behind. As he falls he watches the last remaining Solar, a Dawn caste with a massive Grand Daiklave scything through waves of terrestrials. Even with arrows, swords and spears sprouting from him like a pin cushion, the man simply refuses to die. As Darian-Rashad’s vision begins to go black he sees the man swinging his enormous sword, and hears him roaring in defiance, knowing none of them will ever leave the island alive.

With a gasp Darian-Rashad returns to the present and the lion-dog nods, telling him he may access the inner room on the right, but not either of the other 2 doors. Agreeing to the lion-dog’s terms Darian-Rashad steps in and the door to his right swings open at his approach. The 2 lion-dogs step into the golden doorway, informing the rest of the group that they may wait for their companion, but may not follow him inside. While Darian-Rashad is inside the group notices the pedestals on which the lion-dogs had been standing are hollow, and contain several armored skeletons and a few jade weapons. Gwyn asks if they can take them, and the lion-dogs respond that they care nothing for the bones in the pits, and that they only guard the bodies beyond the golden door. Digging through the pits Lukela finds a jade Daiklave with a cloudy white stone set into it. Prying the stone from the Daiklave, she sets it into her Wrackstaff. Gwyn digs through the other pit, finding 2 green jade weapons, a wrackstaff with a white hexagonal crystal set into it, and a short powerbow with a brown crystal with a wood grain pattern set into it. She tosses the bow to Phineas and tests out the weight of the jade staff. Meanwhile Darian-Rashad finds a familiar looking sword hanging from the wall of his tomb. Recognizing it as the weapon he wielded at his last stand, he pulls the Orichalcum Reaper Daiklave from the wall to look at it. As he does he gets the sense that although the weapon is his, it isn’t the right weapon. Looking inside his coffin, he finds his old corpse clutching a blue-green prism to its chest. Taking the stone he sets it into the Daiklave and has a vision.

He sees a temple atop a hill with 4 streams of water running up the hill to the temple. Inside the temple, he sees his first age self holding 2 copies of the sword, and knows immediately that the one in his right hand is the real sword and the one in his left only a replica. He sees himself set the real sword on the altar near the center of the manse, and retrieve a stone from the manse’s heart, a blue-green prism. Tucking the stone into his robes, the man leaves the temple with the knowledge that he goes to his death, but that his true blade will not be recovered by his killers. As he leaves, the blade in the temple speaks, bidding him goodbye until they meet again.

Darian-Rashad exits the tomb with his new weapon and the group prepares to leave the island. Obata gathers several small jade carvings and chunks of broken jade armor, and seems content with this small fortune. As they head back to the beach, they find the galleon with the grey sails waiting for them just offshore, and a skeleton themed row boat near their ship. Darian-Rashad’s servants kneel in the sand, their arms bound behind their backs. Behind them stand two men, the first a pale, dark haired man with an eyepatch, Lukela immediately recognizes as the notorious pirate Moray Darktide. Beside him, stands the man with the porcelain mask. Stepping past Darian-Rashad’s servants, the man introduces himself as the Benevolent Keeper of Stolen Names, a servant of the Silver Prince, and demands that the group hand over anything they found within the tomb. Lukela snaps back that such a thing is not likely to happen, and the Benevolent Keeper insists that while he would rather not kill anyone, he will if necessary. Just as it looks as though a fight is inevitable, Obata steps out from behind a rock he had taken cover behind and asks if this can be solved without violence. Moray Darktide responds that he would rather it isn’t and goes to draw his sword. With a heavy sigh, Obata drops his gathered jade and stands up straight, squaring his shoulders. While the group looks on Obata performs a quick kata, and a scarlet anima erupts around him as he blurs, performing the kata so quickly that there momentarily appears to be five of him. As the afterimages recombine the group sees the old man for a moment, a scarlet symbol of Mars burning on his brow, before he streaks forward, striking both Darktide and the Benevolent Keeper squarely in the chests almost faster than the eye can track. Both of the Silver Prince’s servants are sent skipping across the surface of the water like stones, and Obata turns to the group, regretfully informing them that he had not intended to tip his hand so early in the game and that a true introduction is in order.

“I am Luminous Unveiling Notion, chosen of the Maiden of Battles, and member of the Gold Faction. I represent allies who wish to see you succeed. I shall explain later, for now we must leave.”

With this, Luminous Unveiling Notion reaches down, picking up the Benevolent Keeper’s mask, which upon closer inspection is not porcelain at all, but painted Soulsteel. With a flick of his wrist and a trail of scarlet essence, the mask streaks toward the galleon, imbedding itself in the main mast so deeply as to crack it. As the mast creaks, fractures, and crashes over the side of the galleon into the waves, Luminous Unveiling Notion leaps onto the merchant ship and beckons the group to join him. Quickly gathering Darian-Rashad’s servants, the group casts off the lines and pushes the ship back into the water. As they sail away they can see a seething Darktide and grim looking Benevolent Keeper being pulled back aboard their crippled ship.

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Hell Hath No Fury
Arriving on the small island of Heleca, the group immediately recognizes that something is amiss. Before reaching the village they notice an idol that has been defaced, the foliage around the statue having almost reclaimed it for the wilderness. Upon reaching the village they see that the villagers mill about with downcast eyes, going about their business almost in a stupor. After some investigating they find that the village is now at odds with the island’s God, B’gaan. Gwyn Branson is approached by a weeping woman who is desperate for someone to help her daughter, who has been poisoned by the angry God. Gwyn and Darian-Rashad Arbani tend to the child and due to her experience as an assassin, Gwyn recognizes the effects of the poison. After explaining that the poison is made from the sap of a specific tree that grows on the island, she sets out to make an antidote. Meanwhile Lukela Maite` and Phineas Poch seek out the island’s high priestess, Sirelia, a woman in her early 30’s who wears robes of the most brilliant blue. They find that the problems started just over a year ago, when B’gaan stopped speaking to the priestess. A few months later, the God had started to poison the village. The first to die had been the priestess’ apprentice, Ceala, but others soon followed. Distraught, the village had reached out to B’gaan, but when he refused to answer their cries, the village abandoned him as he had abandoned them.

The group reconvenes after Gwyn administers the antidote to the child and instructs the mother to continue administering it once per day. She explains to the group that this will, however only stall the poison until they can figure out how it is being delivered and stop the poisonings. Due to the versatility of the slow acting poison, it could be administered in either liquid or powdered form, making it difficult to pinpoint how people are being poisoned. Gwyn, suspicious about a God using such a mundane poison, suggests they pay Sirelia another visit. The group returns to the home of the high priestess, which is decorated inside with paint and silks of the same brilliant blue as her robes. Sirelia is looking ragged, after having spent the majority of the day, she explains, trying to discern a cure for the poisoned. Looking more closely, Gwyn notices that the priestess herself has the symptoms of the poison and postulates that the Sirelia has been being poisoned for at least a month. Her suspicions set aside, Gwyn teaches Sirelia about the poison and how to make its antidote. Sirelia thanks her profusely and immediately sets about making a large batch to administer to the poisoned villagers. At this point the group decides it is time to pay B’gaan a visit.

Following the slope of the island away from the village, the group eventually comes to its highest point, where they find a clearing with a single small cave jutting up from the earth. Near the edge of the clearing, where a shear vertical cliff face drops away to the beach far below, a single tree grows, and against the tree leans B’gaan. A massive figure, easily 8 feet tall, B’gaan’s blue green skin reflects like the surface of the ocean, and his hair and beard ripple even when the wind is still. The group approaches him cautiously and Lukela gives him the proper greeting of a western priestess. B’gaan stands and turns his attention to the group, asking what he can do for them. Gwyn explains the situation and asks why the God is poisoning his people. B’gaan’s eyes, two crystal clear globes of water, well with emotion as he explains that he would never poison his people. B’gaan tells a very different story, a story in which his priestess stopped visiting him, and the prayers of the village ceased. He says that he even went to the village once to speak to them but the villagers threw stones at him, and not wanting to hurt them in anger, he retreated to his cave, where he has languished ever since. Sensing the God’s sincerity the group is perplexed and heads back down to the village to speak with Sirelia again.

They find the priestess administering the antidote to the afflicted villagers and pull her aside, relaying what B’gaan told them. The priestess becomes angry, insisting that she had gone to him several times, and he had spurned her, turning his back to her and refusing to acknowledge her presence. Activating Mastery of Small Manners, Darian-Rashad notices that the priestess’ motivation has become desperate, and suggests that she come with the group to go speak to B’gaan and put things right. She agrees, and the group heads back up the island’s slope to meet with the God. Halfway up the group notices Sirelia’s increasing nervousness and Gwyn confronts her.

Bursting into tears, the priestess explains that she had never intended for so many people to be hurt, and that her plan had spiraled out of control. She had only intended to kill her apprentice, Ceala. She explains that one of the duties of the priestess of the island is to become B’gaan’s lover, and that in doing so, she had genuinely come to love the gentle and compassionate God. Just over a year ago, Ceala had completed her training, and become B’gaan’s lover as well. In a jealous rage, Sirelia had concocted the plan to rid herself of Ceala and make B’gaan feel the rejection he had made her suffer. If he would dare to love another, then she would take from him the love of the people. She explained that she hadn’t intended for anyone else to die, just to suffer enough to turn their backs on B’gaan as she felt he had done to her. Drying her tears, the priestess states that she is ready to face B’gaan, and the group continues on.

Upon reaching the crest of the island, the group hangs back, allowing Sirelia to speak with B’gaan in private. As the priestess tell her story, the God becomes increasingly angry, causing the island to shake with violent tremors. Finally he states that he can never forgive her for what she has done. She whispers something to him, which only Darian-Rashad is able to overhear.

“I know. I’m so sorry. Goodbye.”

Before anyone can react, Sirelia throws herself off the cliff, falling to the beach far, far below. Stunned, the group can only watch as the anger fades from B’gaan’s visage to be replaced by crushing sorrow. The God leaps after her, and landing on the beach below, picks up Sirelia’s broken body, weeping and clutching her close to his massive chest. As he weeps, the entire island blooms with brilliant blue flowers of the same hue that the priestess had favored. After a few minutes spent grieving, B’gaan stands and begins a slow march to the village. The group heads back down to the village to meet him there.

Upon reaching the village they find the villagers terrified, knowing that the tremors meant B’gaan was furious. Gwyn explains the situation fully just as B’gaan approaches from the beach. Still clutching Sirelia to his chest, he apologizes to the village for not having been more attentive and seeing through the deception. He takes Sirelia’s body to the village burial ground and lays her in the earth. B’gaan explains that he has learned from the events and that from now on he shall have only 1 priestess at a time. He kneels before a 16(ish) year old girl from the village and asks if she would be willing to train to become his new priestess. The girl accepts, and the villagers rejoice, their bonds with their local God reestablished. Lukela explains to the group that it will be years before the girl’s training is complete and she is ready to take her place by B’gaan’s side as a full priestess.

The next day the group treks back up the slope to B’gaan’s cave where they find him teaching the girl about the spirits. Leaving her to ponder his words, he approaches the group and asks what he can do for the Princes of the Earth, revealing he has known their nature all along. They explain that they are seeking the disappearing island, and the God pulls a pendant from around his neck. A teardrop shaped piece of black jade on a silver chain. He holds the pendant out to Darian-Rashad, remarking that he is somewhat surprised Darian-Rashad has not already found the island on his own. The moment Darian-Rashad’s hand closes around the pendant, it begins to tug gently, but consistently to the North-West. The group thanks B’gaan, who wishes them luck as the head back down to the village. Reaching the village, they see that all manner of riches have washed up on the beach. Crates, chests and lock boxes that look as though they had been plucked from a sunken ship lay scattered about the sand. Taking a few items for themselves, the group helps the villagers collect the riches and then stays to celebrate with the village planning to leave with the tide the next day.

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Fish Market Fracas

Waking early the following morning, the group meets up at a fountain between their respective hotels and decides to check out Coral’s famous fish market. After a short jaunt back to toward the docks, they find themselves at one of the largest and most diverse fish markets in all of Creation. Darian-Rashad Arbani decides to purchase a whole, freshly caught tuna for breakfast, and has the fish vendor cut a section off for the group while the rest is sent back to his hotel. Everyone gladly chows down on the fresh fish before deciding to explore the market a bit more.

While looking around, a disturbance in the crowd behind them draws the group’s attention just in time to see an Immaculate monk, still soaked in sea water, shove his way through the crowd. Before they can react, the monk points at Phineas Poch and shouts a challenge, naming him an Anathema and vowing to destroy him. Phineas waves his hands and says that the monk must be mistaken, but the Immaculate turns a deaf ear and explains that his ship went down in the storm when they attempted to follow the group to Coral, and that by the grace of the Elemental Dragon of Water, he alone survived to ensure the Wyld Hunt’s completion. Darian-Rashad draws his rapier and retreats to the monk’s side, looking upon Phineas with shock and terror. As Phineas attempts again to claim his innocence (activating Iron Kettle Body with his personal essence as he does so), the Immaculate slips into Water Dragon stance and attacks.

With liquid speed and grace, the monk darts forward, ducking a blow from Lukela Maite`‘s wrackstaff and dodging an arrow from Phineas’s bow, to strike Phineas in the chest with a punch. Though unharmed, Phineas staggers back feigning injury, bringing a satisfied smirk to the Immaculate’s face. Making good on his feint, Darian-Rashad springs forward, skewering the Immaculate monk between the ribs from behind with his rapier. As the monk cries out in pain and shock, Gwyn Branson strikes with False Shell Emmolient attack to pave the way for her next blow. Using the monk’s surprise to her advantage, Lukela swings her wrackstaff up at the monk’s tender bits, catching him soundly on the underside of his thigh as he adjusts his stance. Wincing, he turns his attention to Lukela and leaps into a handstand-back kick which sails an less than an inch from her face as she drops back. Pressing the advantage Darian-Rashad stabs at the monk again, grazing his shoulder. Phineas fires again and misses as Gwyn uses Veins of Wood to imbue her staff with poison and strikes the monk’s exposed arm, poisoning him. The Immaculate launches himself into an aerial spin, dodging Lukela’s downward swing, and batting aside Darian-Rashad’s lunge. As he comes down from the spinning leap he lashes out, striking Phineas in the shoulder, and the blow ripples through the air like a pebble piercing the surface of a still pond, striking each of the other combatants as well. Phineas fires again, and the monk darts aside, causing the arrow to sail into one of the vendor’s goods. Injured and outnumbered, the Immaculate changes tactics, determined to bring the Anathema down before he succumbs himself. With a stutter step forward the monk taps Phineas in the chest with two fingers, twisting his wrist as he does so, and Phineas sputters, coughing up some of the blood that is beginning to fill his lungs. Seeing the monk’s new tactic, Gwyn produces another dose of poison and tosses it to Darian-Rashad, who coats his blade with it. Lukela smashes her wrackstaff into the monk’s arm from his right, as Phineas fires his bow again, missing as he is overcome by a coughing fit. The monk advances once more, striking Phineas with Drowning in Blood Technique again, and Phineas goes to his knees unable to empty his lungs of blood quickly enough to keep up. Seeing that they are running out of time to save their friend, the others leap to his aid. Darian-Rashad uses Essence Overwhelming to bury his rapier in the monk’s side as Lukela slides her hands down to the chisle-end of her wrackstaff and swings with all her might, smashing the cudgel end into the back of the monk’s skull, KOing him. Gwyn rushes to Phineas’ side as the poison from Darian-Rashad’s blade causes the unconscious monk to convulse and expire. Meanwhile Lukela, still disguised as a Sijanese Funerist in training, attends to the dead monk, administering a passable version of last rights.

As the group recovers, Darian-Rashad looks over the crowd of onlookers and notices, only after already having looked past him, a tall hooded man wearing a porcelain mask who stares intently at the group through the crowd. By the time Darian-Rashad looks back, the man is gone. At that moment the crowd parts again as a contingent of city guards arrive to keep the peace. The guards look to the prone form of the Immaculate monk, and then to the Sijanese excorcist still coughing up blood. They tell the group to sheath their weapons and stay still while a few of the guards ask around the crowd to find out what happened. Having used only personal essence, the group is able to make it look as though they were simply shopping when the crazed Immaculate attacked them. By luck, they were able to overcome the monk, but almost lost their friend in the process. The guards murmur among themselves and then ask the characters to come with them, escorting them to a large estate in the nicest part of the city. Not wanting to offend Sijan, the local magistrate thanks the group for killing an enemy of the state, explaining that Coral is not a satrapy to The Realm and that Exalts of any kind are not welcome within Coral’s borders. The magistrate invites the group to dine with him, and his servants produce a lavish feast over several hours, during which the magistrate repeatedly apologizes for the assault and states his hopes that it won’t color Phineas’ (and by extension Sijan’s) perception of Coral as a whole. The magistrate also upgrades the rest of the group to the same posh hotel that Darian-Rashad is staying at as a final gesture.

On their way back to the hotel, the group passes a beggar, whom Lukela and Phineas recognize as the drunken old man from the previous day. The old man grabs Gwyn’s clothing and rants about his missing island again. Darian-Rashad begins to question the man about this island, recognizing some of what the man says from his dream. The man rants about living statues and magical treasures before mentioning that there is a spirit in the eastern reaches of the Coral Archipelago that knows how to reach the island, and the group decides to take the old man with them to search for the island themselves. Chartering a ship east, the group sets sail to find the spirit who knows the secret of the disappearing island.

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Omens in Coral

After spending the night celebrating with the villagers, the characters decide in the morning that they need to head somewhere new now that the storm has passed. One of the villagers offers to take them on his ship as far north as the Coral Archipelago, or as far south as the Wavecrest Archipelago. Deciding that they will be safer in a country that is not friendly to The Realm the group opts to head north to the Coral Archipelago. The group piles into the merchant ship and heads north. They are stopped several times by Coral pirates and the captain has to show his certificate of passage.

Arriving in Coral the group checks into hotels and then splits up to take care of their own business. Lukela Maite` disguises herself as a Sijanese apprentice exorcist and heads out with Phineas Poch, while Darian-Rashad Arbani heads to the trade district, and Gwyn Branson heads to a local flower shop to speak to her superiors in the White Veil Society.

Darian-Rashad sets out to the trade district, where he uses Speed the Wheels to get an appointment with the Coral Navy Under-Secretary of Acquisitions, with whom he set up a trade agreement with the Arbani family to provide firewand shipments to the Coral Navy. After returning to his hotel and going to sleep for the night he dreams of a great battle, and a golden tomb on a moving island.

Gwyn Branson heads to a local flower shop where, after proving herself as a member, she is shown to a hidden basement which the White Veil Society operates out of. She receives a contract on a minor dignitary, and heads to intercept him at his favorite tea shop. While he sits sipping tea, her coral snake familiar, Sven, strikes the dignitary in the spine, killing him in less than a minute. Gwyn attends to him, using her medicine skill to pretend she is trying to save him. She claims that the tea must have been poisoned, and the shopkeeper hurries to throw the rest out before someone drinks it, while she slips away back to her hotel.

Meanwhile Phineas and Lukela attempt to drum up business and run across a raving, drunken old man who assails them with rants about his missed opportunity to be rich, because the island containing the riches isn’t where he left it. With a VERY high lore roll, Phineas remembers having heard rumors of an island north of the Coral Archipelago full of riches, that appears from time to time in different locations, but can never be found by the same person twice.

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Forgetting One's Place

The next day the characters decide to explore the town since a storm is rolling in and the beach is unpleasantly windy and overcast. They head from shop to shop, stopping in the local museum to learn the history of the island, hoping to learn more about the ruins. Their field trip is cut short when the hotel owner bursts into the museum, telling them that an Immaculate monk kicked in the door to his hotel and threatened to harm him if he didn’t reveal Phineas Poch’s location. Angry with his mistreatment at the monk’s hands, the hotel owner had told the Immaculate that the characters were at the ruins on the far side of the island. They thank the hotel owner, and Darian-Rashad Arbani gives him more than enough money to fix the broken door. The hotel owner tells them that there are several small docks along the beach where merchants rent out boats to tourists, and that they make themselves scarce before the monk returns.

The characters head down the beach, only to find that each of the merchants only have small fishing boats, row boats, or canoes. The merchants explain to them that with the ocean riled up by the coming storm the boats will capsize and thus can not be rented right now. Attempting to figure a way off the island, the group spots a white sail heading toward Ragara’s Rest. As the boat gets closer the characters notice it is a trimaran, being sailed by a single, panic stricken boy. When the boat beaches itself nearby, the boy sprints across the sand to the group, begging them to come help. It’s clear the boy has been crying from the trails in his sand and grime smeared face. He explains that a spirit is going to eat his sister and that the characters must come to help her before she is delivered to the spirit. With no other way off the island, the characters agree and set sail with the boy, who introduces himself as Kolua.

While the characters sail, a traveling priestess from elsewhere in The Neck arrives on Sib. The Priestess, Lukela Maite`, heads to the island’s only village to find its inhabitants in a somber state. They have gathered to see off a young girl, who is being dressed and painted in a fashion somewhere in between a wedding and a funeral. Lukela investigates and is informed by the village elder that the girl is to be sacrificed to a cruel local God. While investigating further, Lukela spots Kolua’s trimaran approaching and sees the group having trouble sailing it in. Lukela takes to the waves, swimming to the ship and using her sailing experience to bring the ship in safely.

As the group ties off the ship and introduces themselves to one another, Darian-Rashad and Lukela notice a Vodonik silently emerging from the surf and reaching for Kolua. Lukela throws a knife at the Vodonik as Darian-Rashad pulls the boy to safety. The Vodonik immediately becomes diplomatic, and tries to explain his actions and why the boy should belong to him. Lukela, increasingly irritated with the Vodonik begins to admonish him rudely, much to the elemental’s displeasure. Deciding it was done being spoken to so rudely by a mortal, the Vodonik pulls a hardened kelp spear from the surf, and blasts Lukela off her feet with a wave from the sea. Advancing on Lukela and Gwyn Branson, the Vodonik raises its spear to throw it, but is driven back as Gwyn exalts in a glorious display of golden light.

Gwyn has a vision of herself in the 1st Age, atop a towering manse by the sea. She watches over a battlefield, her forces in retreat. Dragon Blooded warriors run, climb, and bound their way up the side of the manse, and she looks to her left to see a beautiful woman with eyes of solid black. The woman looks at her with resignation and declares “I will stand beside you to the death, my love.” Gwyn embraces her, then stabs a needle into the woman’s side, seeing the shock in her eyes as she struggles to stand, Gwyn quickly scoops her up and tosses her off the back side of the manse, into the ocean. The woman screams in defiance all the way to the waves, and Gwyn’s 1st Age self smiles as several jade blades erupt through her chest from behind. Even as she falls to the ground, she smiles, knowing her love is safe.

Gwyn Branson screams in fury as her anima banner takes the form of a variety of deadly and venomous plants behind and around her. She slips into Ill-Lily Form and advances on the surprised Vodonik. Caught off guard only for a moment by Gwyn’s transformation, Lukela throws her head back in laughter before igniting her own anima banner, surrounding her with a massive, perfected island-goddess form of herself. Seeing no reason to deny their own identities any longer, Darian-Rashad and Phineas reveal their caste marks as well. Realizing it is badly outclassed the Vodonik drops its spear in the surf and begs forgiveness before slipping away into the waves.

Now aware of their mutual condition the characters allow their animas to subside before heading to the village to aid Kolua‘s sister. Meeting Sib’s high priestess and village elder, the characters offer to help defeat the spirit. The elder informs them that this is no minor spirit, but the god of the island. He thanks the group for their offer, but insists that they not anger Lord Malith. The priestess tells them that the village has begged the Immaculates for help with the God for years, but that none have ever come to assist. She goes on to tell them that as they lost more and more girls to the God, that the village began to entreat other Gods to intervene on their behalf, even praying to The Unconquered Sun, despite the Immaculate’s warnings. The group looks to one another, as Lukela reveals her caste mark, telling the priestess that the Unconquered Sun has heard her prayers, and that they have come to set things right. Desperate, the village elder gives them a necklace made of whale bone links and a blue pearl. He tells the characters that if they hold the necklace and step into a certain tidal pool at low tide, they will be transported to the God’s sanctum to deal with him. He tells them the tidal pool they seek is ringed in mother of pearl, and is filled with water of the deepest blue.

While they wait for the tide to recede, Lukela uses Disguise of the New Face to take the form of Kolua‘s sister. The group then takes the pearl pendant and enters Lord Malith’s Sanctum. The others wait around the corner as Lukela attempts to talk sense into Lord Malith. The two speak at length in his gallery, where the previous sacrifices are displayed, frozen in large crystals so that their beauty will never fade. After deciding negotiations would be fruitless, Lukela drops her disguise and the others rush around the corner to aid her. The group reveals themselves as Solars and demand that the God right his wrongs and return to his rightful place in the Celestial Order. Incensed, Lord Malith draws his coral swords and attacks.

Lukela uses Voice of the Night Bird to disarm the God, while Darian-Rashad lashes out with Peony Blossom Attack. Gwyn takes Ill-Lily Form and attacks with her quarterstaff, while Phineas draws his bow and fires a volley of arrows, thus harrying the God from every direction. Lord Malith soon succumbs, pinned to the floor by Darian-Rashad’s rapier, his nose broken by Gwyn’s quarterstaff, he yields demanding to know the Solars’ terms. The group forces him to free the captive girls and return them to the village, promising not to take villagers ever again. The God agrees, and promises to provide good fishing and fertile crops if the villagers will leave him an offering of fish at the entrance to his Sanctum once a month, and hold a festival in his honor one day a year. The eldest of the captive girls steps forward to represent her village and accepts his terms as Darian-Rashad activates his anima power so sanctify the oath.

Returning to the village the group is greeted as heroes, having brought back the missing girls and stopped the God’s reign of tyranny.

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A Fortuitous Meeting

Fleeing westward from the Wyld Hunt, the Sijanese exorcist Phineas Poch and his traveling companion, the White Veil assassin Gwyn Branson arrive on the island of Ragara’s Rest. Upon arrival the pair checks into a hotel, noting that the master suite is the only other room rented out by the missing key on the hooks behind the desk in the lobby.

Thinking themselves momentarily safe, the pair heads to the beach to relax, and finds Darian-Rashad Arbani was way ahead of them. The Arbani family trade prince has already found the best spot and lies, sunbathing with his pet 8-Tailed Mole Hound, Dusty. After a brief introduction the group heads back to the hotel for lunch, and is told about the 1st Age ruins on the far side of the island. After eating the group decides to set out for the ruins and with s bit of investigation, discovers the ruins, which at first appear nothing more than a solar calendar, are actually the entrance to the tomb of a 1st Age Solar named Uwei Shaan. The group decides that the tomb is more than likely to dangerous to explore, and chooses to keep its existence secret to prevent would-be tomb robbers from meeting a grisly fate. Upon returning the group has dinner and then retires to their respective rooms for the night.

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