Shadow of the Setting Sun

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.

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.

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.

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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