The Mists of Paoru
Yuting - 21st day of the 12th month, 3458
Metal Day, 21st day of the Pig month, year 3458 of Heavenly Fire
We woke up to House flying. The first thing I did was create fog banks at all the windows so I wouldn’t have to see how high up we were. When we asked where we were going, House said he was going after Yun and that he always knows where all of us are. Kind of creepy, really.
I far casted to Guntur. He had guessed where we were headed and teleported there. We landed in a clearing about eight miles from the cathedral that Chun uses as his base. Bai slunk off to perform some recon. The rest of us followed with varying levels of stealth. Guntur and Vasan were noticed and taken by stone yokai the same way Bai and Yun were taken yesterday. Tenn and I kept going.
Bai was already on the roof by the time we got there. She could see Yun through a window. I sweet-talked my way past the yokai. At the end of a long hallway was a man at the ruins of the cathedral altar. I startled him and he seemed fairly terrified. He also couldn’t understand through my far casting. I got one of the yokai to translate, and it did manually for a while before the other cast a translation spell.
The man’s name is Chaunder, not Chun. He didn’t mean to steal my “slaves.” Apparently the notta are overlords where he comes from. I asked him to go release everyone, and he did. When the group came back, they were talking about the 100 Kingdoms and the Sodality. Things started to click into place. I hopped back to House and got a map of Eoda to show him how far he was from Ystoria. He had been testing a flying machine for his government and gotten swept up in a storm that dropped him here.
We got out of Chaunder that the collars were created by the Sodality to control magic users. There’s also a controlling chain that goes with them which makes the collared person perform whatever magic the controller desires. We also learned that the eo who come to investigate him usually get taken by the stone yokai down to a cave and are eaten by a dragon named Melu.
Yun had spent some of this time exploring and found a door he couldn’t get through in a subbasement. I went down and Tenn, Vasan, and I inspected it. There were no hinges and no handle. Every surface of the antechamber it was in was completely covered in runic writing. We determined it was a notta dialect of Goshen. I used far sight to see what was on the other side of the door. It was a large room, again every surface covered in runes. Suspended in the center by chains was what appeared to be a not man. His face was shrouded in shadow and he appeared to be sleeping. Not good, whatever he was. I canceled my far sight and walked silently back upstairs, ignoring the pestering questions.
When I got back outside, House was only a few yards from the cathedral entrance. Bai said he’d been eating trees and took a bite out of a stone yokai. I far casted back to Batukhan to tell him Chaunder was no threat and that no more of his warriors needed to be sent. I didn’t tell him about the dragon, because the others thought he’d take it as a challenge. I also requested he ask Wang to designate us as friends of the Wylds so we could travel unhindered. He said he’d get back to me.
We decided to stay here the rest of the day and start exploring the Lady’s territory tomorrow. We didn’t have anything else to do, so I finally had a chance to ask Bai to induct me into the secret police. It was simpler than she made it sound. A quick oath and swearing of fealty to the emperor, and we were done. Then she told me some secrets that I won’t write down, in case this journal falls into the wrong hands.
Guntur got a message from his rain dance spirit that the Lady discovered our treachery and was going to send assassins after us called nanren. The nanren are basically living oni, the kind of thing Raktim was turning into. They’re land-bound and can’t cross running water, and zhurdana powers hurt them. Since they’re land-bound, Vasan asked House to hover 50 feet above the ground. I was so concerned with trying not to freak out that we were flying again that I never thought to get Chaunder out of the Cathedral.
Soon after nightfall, we heard and saw the fighting. The nanren use a cold-based attack. They were freezing the stone yokai and shattering them. Guntur went after Chaunder. I dumped a few healing teas on them. Bai nearly fell out when House launched a fireball at them. Tenn took a page from House and flame striked them. When it didn’t hurt them, it took us a few seconds to remember that House is a tianshi, so his fire was effective.
Yun summoned a huge tianshi that flew around the scene and destroyed the nanren with its song. I teleported down to the ground and “healed” a few of them. Then everyone but me headed into the cathedral. I far casted to Guntur to ask how he was doing. He said the runes in the antechamber were fading due to a reaction with Chaunder’s collars. I told him to get the hell out of there. Then I far casted to Bai and told her the same thing. She seemed a little more receptive than Guntur.
They all teleported back to House, and we flew off. I far sighted into the room where the man was waking up. The shadows around his face had gone. The runes were aflame and going out one-by-one. Some of the chains were snapping. The man blew a few out with a huge breath. I started drawing his face and committing it to memory. Then he broke what chains hadn’t snapped on their own and was laughing. He laughed for ages, it seemed, and the earth rumbled. Then he slammed his fists onto the ground and opened a huge crack, exposing boiling lava. He jumped in, and one of the mountains exploded in a huge volcano.
I was going to ask Heitou about the man, but Guntur came downstairs saying he’d talked with his spirit guide about him. The man is a ban xien, or the offspring of two gods. Many ban xien are beneficent, but some like this one are completely malicious. The Goshen couldn’t kill them but found a way to contain them. The only way to kill them is to use the blood of a shen xien—the offspring of a god and a mortal—to take away their immortality, and then kill them.