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.