After the morning errands were run, the time came to venture back to High Town, to the Iron Palace and Lady Kyoko. Along the way, the group decided the following things:
1) Pluefin would not go in, as Lady Kyoko had not met him and they wanted to keep some cards close to the vest.
2) They would not relate ALL the info they had, leaving out key parts to allow them to retain some autonomy from Lady Kyoko.
When they arrived at the Iron Palace and entered the main grand chamber, they were met by a towering Half Orc who introduced himself as Lob, Lady Kyoko’s Captain of the Guard. An imposing and gruff figure, Lob informed them that Lady Kyoko was unavailable and would answer to him in her stead. They relayed their information, and in return, Lob said to them,
“The Lady believes she has someone who can be an asset to your group, and in exchange for his help with the affairs she has placed in your hands, she asks that you assist him with his. I’ll leave it to him to explain.”
Stepping from the crowd came a young man, of roughly late teenage years. Wearing humble monks robes and carrying few supplies with him (save a small pack and a quarterstaff), there was something else about this man that was immediately apparent…he was not human. His skin had a faint but noticeable blue hue to it, and in a few places it even seemed like his skin took the appearance of fish scales. His hair, pulled back tight, was the color of dark seaweed. He was, undoubtedly, one of the rare curiosities of this world: a Genasi. Introducing himself as Po with a bright smile and an eager energy in his voice, the young Genasi told them about his monastary (The Order of the Veiled Morning, Jiyutoshi’s top provider of quality ales…). As the group was heading towards the gates of low town, the air was suddenly filled with alarm bells and the call of “TO ARMS! TO ARMS!”
The group was stunned to see a stampede of wildland animals rampaging through the city! Charging towards the Place was a pack of bristly boars, ferocious large cats, deer, swarms of vicious looking insects and a the largest Elk any of them had ever seen! A brutal battle took place, but eventually the animals were all put down…but during the battle, Grimpem had noticed something lurking in the shadows between the buildings heading for the palace! Returning with haste, the group was met with the sounds of sword-on-sword.
Entering the main grand hall, they found a circle had formed around two individuals locked in a fierce duel: Lady Kyoko, armed with a large katana, fighting with a young feral woman wrapped in animal skins, her face smeared with blood and dirt, wielding two ferocious curved daggers. The circle of guards around the combatants didn’t seem concerned enough to intervene, but held their weapons at the ready. Watching the battle, the difference in approach was immediately apparent: Lady Kyoko defended and counterattacked with great poise and control while the wild beast girl attacked savagely and ferociously, snarling and howling like an animal. Just when it seemed Lady Kyoko might get the best of her, a thunderous howl was heard from the courtyard. The group turned to see a GIGANTIC WOLF leaping through the air into the middle of the circle. With one smooth motion, the beast girl leapt on to the back of the wolf, and the wolf pivoted with an otherworldly dexterity and leapt back over the circle of guards and out the door! Arauka gave chase but the speed and leaping ability of the wolf proved too much, but it was clear the wolf was heading west towards the Wildlands.
Lady Kyoko, sheathing her elegant blade beckoned the group over, and said:
“I should explain. That was ”/characters/renna" class=“wiki-content-link”>Renna. We simply call her the wolf girl, but she’s a human who was stolen by spirits in the forest and turned against her own kind. She hates me and wants to kill me for the collateral damage to the land for our mining operations. She sees our presence as a threat to her land. She is not master of the Wildlands, there is something greater that commands her and these beasts, but this is the most direct attack on Jiyutoshi there has been…they grow bolder and more capable, I fear things will only escalate more if we don’t get to the bottom of this soon.”
The group left with the mysterious, unknown threat of the Wildlands fresh in their minds, but decided they needed to pursue S.O.A.K more first. Po, explaining he was in Jiyutoshi to get to the bottom of a mystery surrounding the Golden Swan Wild Ale, a popular brew from his monastary, went into a tavern to begin his investigation.
Using various underground contacts, they learned that a newly arrived blonde halfling had been seen frequenting a seedy tavern in low town called Crab’s Cup, known as a gathering point for the Shadow Hands. Laboriously concocting a plan that involved a stakeout and espionage, the group cautiously began their descent on the small, decrepit tavern, waiting for signs of the mysterious halfling….only for Po to stride right through the front door and ask for him by name! He attempted to chat up the room, but the gruff looking group inside weren’t keen on this brash newcomer, and a short scuffle later found Po captured and locked in a closet.
As the crew outside waited for a sign that wasn’t to come, Po began his attempts to escape, eventually pestering the attending guards so much that they opened the door to shut him up and “teach you chattering whelp a lesson”…at the same moment, the group decided to take a rash action and burn the building down! As smoke filled the tavern, a surprisingly low number of people came out into the street, leading the crew to believe there must be another way to escape the building.
Inside, momentarily free of his captors, Po decided he would try to stealthily follow the fleeing thugs…only to (critically) fail miserably, leading to his renewed capture and bundling down a secret trap door passage with the fleeing gang.
The remaining party members, not seeing Po emerge from the burning building, gritted their teeth and decided to act….