The Mists of Paoru
Yuting - 7th day of the 12th month, 3458
Metal Day, 7th day of the Pig month, year 3458 of Heavenly Fire
I’m going to write this entry a bit differently. We learned a lot of conflicting information today. I don’t want to confuse readers to come, so I’m only going to put down what we currently know to be correct.
We have a new party member, Tenn Nakamaru. He’s a mao yushijin from Jiyun.
Bai informed us that the chancellor told her a week ago to leave us permanently. She defied him because she was first employed by the emperor as an officer exempt to investigate the chancellor. She also looked at our records and determined we weren’t chosen for our merits but rather our ability to cause a ruckus. To be a distraction, perhaps? But to whom?
I wasn’t initially sure I’d be able to write this entry. I always thought that journals were for sissies, but it’s become a habit that I find cathartic. But Bai has been true to her word and destroyed the master journal so the chancellor can no longer read our logs.
Vasan and Raktim are no longer confined to cells but are camped outside the castle walls with the wagons and two axebeaks. I charmed Saraja a little too well so I could approach her. Plant-tiger baths are uncomfortable.
Sarjana got a tub of eye goop from Shaofeng that has about 50 applications. It’s effects are permanent, so we won’t need to reapply it to ourselves, but Tenn will need some.
We’re staying here one more night, and we’ll head out in the morning.
We finally met the abbot of the monastery, Yaipei. Again, a tianshi, this time in the form of a yellow mao man. He had apparently been held captive by two separate chancellors at Chenmo, which influenced his permanent form. He doesn’t trust us. His concern is that we were so eager to betray the Lady to help Gongniu after just hearing Gongniu’s side of the story. There’s apparently nothing we can do to earn his trust, and at this point I’m not even going to try.
The bridge guardian’s name is Diaoqiao. She’s the awakened spirit of the castle. The Lady “forbiddenness” is a new thing that Yaipei is very dismissive of.
The elders who built the castle were notta. Many of them were powerful magicians. They awakened Heitou. Heitou founded the monastery and summoned Yaipei and the other yokai. Yaipei founded the monastic order. The Lady affected the notta in such a way that they turned on each other and nearly wiped themselves out. The survivors went northeast to try to be near her seat of power.
The anti-magic and wild magic fields are byproducts of their magical civil war. The anti-magic fields in particular are interesting because they spawn off of a giant anti-magic field that covers the entire sea.
There also used to be an island in the center of the sea, where they had their great school of magic. The island sank to the bottom of the sea as an effect of their war. Heitou goes down to its ruins to remember them and relive his memories.
The Lady appeared the night a star fell. She started out as a tianshi but has devolved into void. She grows stronger through love, but especially love that she can exploit and betray. She doesn’t actually have any command or control over the forest, but she pridefully claims all denizens of the forest—plant and animal alike—as her “subjects.”
Guanjia served her for 800 years before finally growing tired of her tyranny and descent into the void.
Since she’s not from this world, nothing from here can harm her. She destroyed all the remnants of the meteorite she crashed down in. There’s only one thing we can use against her, which is a piece of Heitou’s heart. She’s also manipulating and twisting other yokai toward the void, creating abominations.
Heitou is not senile at all, but has been putting on an act for the other yokai in the monastery. He hates their questions and pestering.
He originated outside of our world, like the Lady. The elder notta awakened him 4600 years ago, long before the Lady’s star fell. He and the Lady were already enemies by the time he started summoning more yokai.
He’s tired of fighting with the Lady. More and more sentinels are going dormant, and he finds it harder and harder to reawaken them. Some have gone dormant again for good. He’s also growing weary and fears he only has a few months left before he too goes dormant for good. We can prolong him somewhat by spreading knowledge of him and his history. He especially needs honor and bravery.
He gave us part of his heart, which seems to be a glowing silver. After we fashion it into a weapon, we should be able to pierce the Lady’s defenses and kill her with it.
Senlin Wang is perhaps the only other being in the Rosewylds who could help us against the Lady. He’s a powerful wood yokai who considers himself the Forest King. He is actually responsible for the encroachment of the Wylds into our countries’ territories, and who I’ll eventually be accountable to for our transgressions against the trees. While the Lady may claim all denizens of the forest as her subjects, the plants really report/belong to Wang.
He was awakened in the wake of the notta who fled the grasslands to be by the Lady’s side. They were destructive of the forest in their pilgrimage. He holds the Lady responsible for that, and continually wages war against her. He doesn’t forgive, “regardless of how good your tea might be” (Heitou). He considers it his mission to protect the forest from any and all threats.
We might be able to ingratiate ourselves to some of his servants, such as one of the bands of eo that roam the forest.
Gongniu’s people were proud and claimed all the land they saw, without any regard for whoever might have been living here before. They were master mages. They were already in decline when Heitou was awakened.
Although the laoru are telepathic, they can only read surface thoughts unless making eye contact or in the presence of their “central stone,” the milky green stone Jungie likes to get out.