Jade Regent

Blessings and Tactics
I am the Chosen One

As very cliche has it sounded, Ameiko thought to herself, she is the Chosen One to ascend to the throne of Minkai. And she was comfortable with that. In her heart she was a builder, a unify-er of peoples. She did it Sandpoint all those years ago after the first goblin invasion nearly burned the town down. Then again her families lost shipwreck was discovered and a 2nd goblin incursion was thwarted by Shelelu and her allies.

It all seemed so long ago. Putting away her lute, she sheathed Shushien and followed the archon Amatatsu ancestor to the Celestial Hal to begin to ask for the remaining three families blessings.

Shiguru had given his as well as the angel archon, now with the evil of the island washed away, she could commune in peace before heading back to the palace.

“There’s smoke outside the southern gates!,” squawked Eolion has he landed back on the stern of the boat coasting its way into Kasai harbor.

“How bad is it?” asked Namkitu as he looked up, but not taking his Kitsune claws off of his daggers, making sure they were proper and ready for a fight.

Eolion folded his wings behind him, securing his great axe against his back. “Thousands. The Typhoon guards I could see have all met the army at the gates and outer walls. It would appear this samurai has brought all of Ameiko’s new friends!”

Shelelu met them at the docks, her elegant longbow still glistening from magical flame, was his in her left hand’s grip. But if she was fatigued – there was no sign of it on the ranger’s face.

“I am here to take you to Isoh’s home immediately. We have very little time to end this!”
She took Ameiko’s hand and led her straight away to the near empty streets of Kasai, the Scions near running behind her.

In the distance , large magical explosions could be heard blasting away flesh, bone and stone as the Oni tried their best to keep back the storm of insurrection.

Ameiko looked back at Namkitu “See? Storming the palace is probably a good idea!”

The Kitsune only flashed a sarcastic grin back at her as they rounded a corner and made their way to Isoh’s estate home against a canal bank. Yes-shing was already in the air keeping a keen eye on the Oni at flew. “Nothing that ugly and big should be able to fly that easily,” she muttered to herself.

If we make it through the night, Namkitu thought, perhaps all of this will still be profitable!

The Imperial Shrine
Cleansing the Well

Not needing ropes for the past year or so seemed strange but Ameiko has grown accustomed to having Sushien do it for her using it’s air walk ability. The Amatatsu ancestor that was inside Sushien has been restless ever since Ameiko set foot on this island. An island that was out of phase with the rest of the known world. Where incredibly strange creatures and stranger still, spirits ran amok everywhere. Heck, she even spoke to a ghost!

None of this could have been expected when she decided to go on this expedition to see about retaking her family’s name and honor. The idea of leading anyone was absolutely out of the question some years ago. And she was happy running the Rusty Dragon Tavern in Sandpoint. But unfortuately or fortunately depending on how you look at it, boredom has its limits.

By the time Shelelu, Sandru and her new friends arrived that evening to tell her that her family seal had been found, she knew it was time to leave. Probably for good. She could have never imagined her friends going with her, letting alone staying with her in this fantastically foreign land for as long as they have. Swearing an oath to a sightless spirit of old, and trekking across dangerous and foreboding wilderness and mountains.’

No, this adventure had become much more than that. It had become destiny. Having seen her people suffer at the hands of the self proclaimed Jade Regent was enough to keep her angry and motivated.

But the end was near, flying down to the lower caverns with her friends, the waters appeared sickly, and strange shadows danced underneath the surface of the lake. Unsheathing Sushien in one hand and un-slinging her trusted lute in the other, the time had come once again, to sing and perform her way into battle, and see these evil things die once and for all!

The Empty Throne

After a harrowing ride to get back the Keep of the Ronin – a defacto name for this restored fortress, Ameiko and Koya were gathered with Imperial statesmen and women for etiquette training and other things that life at court is supposed to be. After all she had run away from all of this her whole life and knew nothing .

Regardless, to see people of all walks of life actually scrubbing the walls and the streets of the fortress and its outlying hamlets was a sight to see. Word had indeed spread that the Heir has come forth and was right there among them. All over the countryside, all manner of people came to bear witness to her Eminence, and beseach her with requests and gifts for the journey she has yet to take will be her most dangerous yet.

However, she is not without experience. Ameiko has seen death and life all too close now and she was ready to end the cycle of despair and misery. These lands and these people had paid a heavy price and she was resolute to not allow this continue any longer. The time had come to bring the full force of the free peoples of MInkai to the capital and bring down forever this so-called Jade Regent!

The Scions vs the 3-Eyed Oni
An Alliance forms...

Having retrieved the Geisha and defeated the tyrannical governor Sennaka, Ameiko, Hazuki, Eolion, Nemkitu, and the others hit the road back to the keep they liberated in the northeastern province of Minkai.

A lot of work had been done over the course of the last three months. The foliage has been cut away from the stone walls and battlements, replaced by scaffolding and tireless workers repairing and building new walls and towers.

The front gate, which was blown away from a ward Shilirana had cast, had been rebuilt along with formidable metal spikes that jutted out.

But the real work was inside. Inside the keep cobblestone replaced sand and mud. A new three story Inn and Tavern stood near the back of the keep with a full stables. A large observation tower that overlooked the keep and the surround as well as the sea behind it, had begun to go up. Eolion smiled as his plans and ingenuity went a long way toward his own endeavor.

Shilirana’s hope for bringing health and faith to the community was realized as her temple to her deity and an infirmary were full and well tended by a few acolytes and nurses.

Forges and anvils were hard at work in Hazuki’s new Armory, as the steam of masterwork quality weapons filled the air nearby. Her chosen manager to run things while she was away, Yoshi, already well liked volunteered to repair other items for his fellow villagers beyond weapons. Time pieces, shoes, even some pottery were all welcome at the new armory.

Everyone was doing their part to make this place not only a fortress, but a home as well.

And a home worth defending, because as Ameiko and the others reached the Keep, word came that an army of soldiers and large Oni were on their way to sack the keep and kill the heir to the crown and her friends at any cost.

This time there would be no more running. This time, either the enemies of the true Heir to Minkai would fall, or they would….

(To be continued…)

The Nine & The Flame

Now that the Geisha has been rescued and restored to life, the nobles of Sakekabi had but one final request. To end Sennaka’s rule as governor. Before leaving the elaborate Tea House of the Geisha’s, the Amajitsu Scions were introduced to Senakka’s younger brother Ityuru. Being a samurai himself, his code forbid him to take action against his zealous and hateful brother. Though powerful, he told followers of the heir apparent that if his brother died in combat or otherwise surrendered. Others would follow.

But like all other samurai, most were bound my code to serve the unlawful governor and his lackeys. Removing him would be difficult. But late word has arrived indicating where the governor is and how the followers of Ameiko may be able to claim a victory. One that would ensure a united front against the usurper: the Jade Regent himself.

Ityuru sat down and motioned for everyone else to do the same.

“My brother is headed for a small outpost here, " pointing to a crudely drawn map. "This outpost contains warm water springs that have small medicinal properties, and an overall pleasure my brother Sennaka wants to keep to himself.

Pouring himself more tea as Nemkitu and the others were also being given their cups as he continued to explain.

“The outpost is located three days ride south of here among hilly and heavily forested terrain. The workers have carved out a small road that links to the main Approach road to the west. Where the help comes in is critical. My sources say Sennaka is on his way there now, and embedded with the outpost workers are a faction of samurai calling themselves the Nine.”

Taking a sip and gauging everyone’s facial responses, he continued:

“This outpost has several groups of samurai loyal to my brother – though they too are disenfranchised by Sennaka.. IF you could coordinate with them, their assistance would garner victory for all and with a minimum loss of life. Remember: The samurai already in the outpost are loyal to Sennaka, but would easily turn to support me once he has been removed from power. Do your utmost to save those lives as well. They will become valuable allies in the long run.”

Standing up, he gave Nemkitu the map and wished everyone a fast victory.

Course what he didn’t mention was his powerful samurai brother had a side kick. An ogre mage that rarely left his side.

The next few days riding up to the forest side road went uneventful. Leaving their horses, Eolion, Hazuki and the others made their way along the narrow dirt trail until coming to a populated work camp of sorts about a mile from the outpost. Apparently Sennaka has been renovating it and expanding it to serve his personal needs and wants. But was the governor there yet or was he still on the road to the south?

Culling through the work camp, Nemkitu discovered quickly that the rumored Nine were in disguise as workers, Not only that, they had set up an ambush for when the governor arrived that would effectively block the side trail from any reinforcements from reaching the outpost.

As night fell, Eolion began a slow circle of the area before landing back at camp among the trees.

“Aside from the stench of humans this place wouldn’t be so bad.” He pondered almost to himself. Then his eyes lit up, as if newly cooked food was brought to him.

“Ahh its brutal but it will work.”

“What will work?” asked Shilirana brushing her hair nervously.

“What if I drop alchemical flasks and oil on this place, torching it. It could be a hazard to fight through but it would be absolute chaos to this governor and his minions.” smirked Eolion.

The group thought about it – the Nine weren’t too pleased as it posed a risk to some who were innocent soldiers but given the alternatives , it would make victory easier.

As soon stars began filling the sky, Hazuki, Nemkitu and the others snuck into the outpost weapons drawn, as Eolion began to make a very large fire in a place ripe with tinder. And as expected: chaos ensued!

The Turtle and the Geisha

Using the Inro they acquired back at the Tea House, the Scions and their allies managed to decipher it and summon an elder Turtle Kappa, who had knowledge of what happened to the Geisha and this strange man she went somehow was coerced to go with.

It indicated a path of sorts to navigate a sort of Shadow Maze that was located on an island where this wizard was located. Once inside, they fought strange creatures and teleport traps – one of which was a mirror trap. Using the inro, Hazuki and the others scouted the corridors looking for the correct order to travel without triggering a trap. Eventually they came upon a room holding the Geisha and one other… presumably her mother. Their bodies lifeless yet alive. Behind them, a statue with 8 arms sat foreboding the room.

Suddenly, without warning, a cloud of dark smoke began to fill the room. It grew darker and darker – eventually it coalesced into a strange panther like creature – and it attacked the party!

Three Monkeys

With the crowded market now empty following the battle with these oni police, the Scions turned their attention to a well decorated 2nd floor restaurant where representatives of the a few ninja clans were reportedly inside waiting for them.

After gathering the Oni’s weapons, the troop made their way upstairs and into the restaurant. The walls were adorned with lavish tapestries from various locations throughout Minkai, some were beyond workmanship. A stone fountain with lilacs and water that seemed to be drawn upstairs somehow to fill the basin, took up much of the lobby. Smells of incredible Tian food were aplenty and as nervous as some of the party was with meeting these ninja, their stomachs didn’t seem to care.

“Ah, our guests have been expecting you. Please follow me.” a young tian woman held a small tray with tea cups on it and gestured for Hazuki, Nemkitu and the others to follow her to the back of the restaurant.

A large screen separated this dining room from the rest of the place. It was private and had subdued lighting. Along the walls were portraits of various tian nobles, and there were bronze sconces also with elegant lit candles inside them.

A large long table filled most of the room, with comfortable seating at either end – enough for a good twenty people. On the table were places set for the exact number in Ameiko’s party, the table itself set with appetizers, fresh seafood, rolls, and other hot plates.

Across from where Ameiko and the others would sit – sat three ninja – each adorned quite differently from the other. A woman, with the Dragonspawn clan, a tian man from Emerald Eyes, and finally another, hard to tell his origin, but his affiliation bore that of the Black Lotus. The woman spoke first:

“Welcome, please be seated. We have heard that you require our services for a contract. Please eat and we can discuss.”

Ameiko took the center seat with her companions sitting on either side, the exception being Shelelu, she remained standing near the archway to this dining room keeping a keen watchful eye on these so-called ninja. Something the three ninja sitting here seemed to acknowledge and admire, they took no offense.

“We understand that we and those we represent have a common enemy,” began Nemkitu.

“What enemy would that be?” the Dragonspawn ninja asked innocently.

“The Jade Regent and his allies,” Nemiktu replied his eyes steady on hers.

She seemed surprised at the mention of this adversary but nonetheless conducted herself as she always did.

“We do not fear him, but suffice it to say he has caused a substantial rift in our activities throughout the region. Though I do not doubt what you say, understand we cannot make this decision ourselves. A fee of 100gp from you is required before we can bring your proposal to our leadership. And given the brevity of what you claim. Why would outsiders wish to help anyone here?”

Hazuki put her glass down and just blurted, “After the year of hell it took to get here? Where do I start? We were asked initially to come here and right a wrong. But we need yours and others help. The ronin of the borderlands, Hirabashi Jiro asked us to speak to you on their behalf, regarding an alliance against the Regent, or at least your non involvement on their side when hostilities should break open.”

The other representatives at the table seemed to take this all in, finally the one from Black Lotus spoke up.
“You do understand that the different clans will bid on your offer before they agree to take this contract up. But I’ve said more than I should. Finish your mean here, we will depart immediately and bring you an answer back here in twenty days hence. Do not be late.”

With that, the three stood up as once and quickly made their way out of the restaurant making nearly no noise in doing so. Enough time to head back to the borderlands and that keep and see how things were progressing with Sandru and the others.

The Shadows of Enganoka

After liberating the fortress of Seinaru Heikiko of bandits and mercenaries, Hirabashi Jiro and his ronin were able to take up residence and begin to clean up and fortify the keep. Sandru and the rest of the caravan also came inside the keep for security and to settle in as he had trade endeavors he wanted to negotiate.

The land of Minkai offered many opportunities for trade across the Crown of the World into Varisia, so it made sense that he and Koya would take the time to establish a significant trade post here with Ameiko’s new found allies.

The cliff fortress, though originally foreboding, allowed other villages to send supplies in turn for protection from the borderlands’ ronin. And a place of rest and security for the rest of the Amajitsu Scions and their friends.

With spring approaching, Jiro has set several tasks for the Scions to accomplish if they have any hope of conquering the Jade Regent and his oni allies. First, to the south, the were to travel to the trading city of Enganoka. There, they were to arrange a meeting with the heads of the three ninja clans that operate in these lands. Known as the ‘Three Monkeys’ by the populace, having them ally with those against the Jade Regent would be crucial for success.

After saying their goodbyes, Ameiko now in her new role as heir, geared herself up and headed out after her Scion companions with Shelelu in tow. The elven ranger would never let Ameiko out of her sight and though she was concerned for her safety, she was pleased that she began actively training under her for swordsmanship and battle prowess. Skills she would need in the days and months to come.

Several days in the plains gave way to rising hills filled with tall grasses, a nearby river and more smaller settlements. Most of the people carried on about their lives, not really interested in the Scions as the land seemed morbid and somewhat depressed.

Eventually the small trail leading away from the borderlands became a more pronounced road that took them to the outskirts of the city of Enganoka. Only a small wooden wall seemed to separate the inner part of the small city from the rest of the settlements, but there were garbed police guards at the gate, and a bustle of wagons and people milling about.

As Ameiko, Eolion and the others approached, they overheard that entrance into the grand trading hall, which stood a good 75 feet high, required an entrance fee of 3 silver pieces per person. So as not to tip off who they were, the group anxiously paid and walked in – but their wonder of the place was soon taken as a situation developed right in front of them.

Here at the Kuroi Yane market adorned with silk dealers, market stalls and huts, the Scions notice a well-to-do commoner haggling with a shopkeeper. Suddenly, without warning, a half-dozen police officers surround him. The shopkeeper retreats to the back of her booth, and the commoner looks visibly frightened.

One of the police asks the man," You there, are you a trader from the village of Kokomugi?" The man bows deeply and answers affirmatively, breaking into a servile grin. The officer responds, “You are a liar!” That village doesn’t exist!" The man’s eyes grow wide in horror.

Immediately, the police officers grab the poor trader and force him to his knees. The crowd moves away forming a wide circle around the scene. as one of the officers unsheathes her sword. “You are a smuggler and a spy!” cries the officer. With a swift stroke and a collective scream of the crowd, the man’s severed head rolls across the floor. No one does anything to stop the police, after swaggering through the market as people scurry away from them.

Nemitu stops a nearby passerby. “What is the meaning of all this?” he asks in a hushed voice.

The tian responds, “They are the daikan tetsuku, the governor ordered them here to put down rebellion or dissent. Your tongue will kill you before you know it. I suggest you keep your mouth closed, and your eyes to the road in front of you!”

With that he quickly pulls his tunic up around his face and stomps out of the market.

Something didn’t settle well with Nemkitu, their attitude and fighting style seemed a bit odd for humans. Placing his manacles over his eyes, his gem of true seeing revealed who these so called police really were: Kuwa Oni. Monsters with golden skin, claws, horns and other monstrous features.

He turned to Eolion and Hazuki, “They are not what they seem… these are some form of oni in human guise! I suggest we pick a fight, my blades are thirsty!”

Hazuki grinned pulling Sushien out of its scabbard. “Indeed, this one wants death to come to these fiends quickly!”

Rushing ahead, Scions pounced on these police erupting into a massive melee!

Tide of Honor Part 1
The Ronin and the Bandits

Leaving the Forest of Spirits,
the caravan reaches the edge of a vast plains. There is a river nearby that stretches across the high grass landscape. In the distance, you can see smoke from a small village and you can make out people, tilling their fields. You see no danger in front of you, and with the Oni crushed behind you and the honorable Kami in control, you feel as if you can finally breathe a little.

The road widens a bit before the worn caravan, the dirt seems compacted showing a well traveled corridor through the landscape. Excited, Sandru begins to pick the pace up ordering the horses to move to a full trot.

Ameiko seems more distant than ever, though she still laughs at Sandru’s jokes and even still takes Koya’s advice, she has a sense of apprehension about her. Though that doesn’t deter her determination to become that which her grandfather has asked. That she become Empress of these people and free them from tyranny.

It’s been nearly a year since she and the others left Sandpoint. Seems like a lifetime ago. And as the stalwart group finally enters Minkai. The gravity of the journey and the weight of what was to come was beginning to sink in on everyone.

The village nearby seemed like a good place to rest in safety and get supplies…and perhaps learn more of what was happening in Minkai in general. Only time will tell…

The Fortunate and the Damned

Running through chamber after chamber in the deepest basements in this vile Pagoda, the Scions of Amajitsu finally reached the inner sanctum of Munasukaru.

Coming across a torture chamber of sorts, Hazuki and the others found leprous humanoids bound to the walls with bite and torture marks spread throughout. They were howling and quite mad with insanity and depravity. And spread among them were humans and elves, malnourished and beaten somewhat but otherwise unharmed.

Rushing to let them out, Hazuki and Eolion reached out and unlocked them from the prisons. But their freedom was short lived.

“Wait a minute, if we let them out, they will be cut down before we can get them out of there!” exclaimed Eolion. “Not that I care what happens to these foul humans anyways.”

“What so you want to put them back into these tight cages filled with maggots and bones?” retorted Arianna. “That’s hardly fair.”

An elf that was huddled in the corner then stepped forward, holding his ripped tunic up and together, trying to feign dignity. “I lead them. I can fight. No need to place us back in there. Just give me a weapon!”

Carrying a large backpack had its benefits as Hazuki unrolled it showing a smattering of recently acquired weapons from the Withered Blossom warriors.

“They smell – but they will protect you,” Hazuki bluntly stated.

Turning, the Simian, Stryx, and others armed themselves again and trotted down the long marble covered hallway.

Finding one door that led to a library full of history and Jade gemmed items, they pocketed as much as they could and headed toward the Guard Sanctum of the Oni.

Sisters of the Broken One – once again the foul monsters were ready, But the company of Scions were too much for them, eventually a loud crackling ball of lightning finishing them off in to burning smoking ash.

The room ahead lay in front of them – and Munasukaru waiting.

Quietly peering into her chamber – Hazuki and Eolion saw an old Tian woman – talking to herself as she sat eating the crackling skin of a tortured Aranea.

Walking in, she paid no attention to the heroes until Arianna’s Blender of a raptor was upon her slicing a chunk out of her skin.

Screaming she tore out of her elderly woman skin and arose a tall disfigured Oni brandishing a large Nagaditu She took the air jumping inverted above the raptor and attempted to cut its head off.

But she faltered. She dropped the flat end of the bladed part of the weapon on to the ground and the force of it ripped through her as its thundering ability backfired. Munasukaru appeared glazed over and dazed – unable to fight back and stunned, she watched in horror as Hazuki, Tenzen and the others tore huge gashes into her stripping her armor and her flesh.

Then from the room beyond, Iuzme stepped and prepared her alchemical bomb – lovingly preparing it complete with a lavender tassle to help it sail right as she lobbed into the air, she hit the creature In a most vulnerable spot.

The effect was devastating. Its explosive and smoldering contents spilling all over her with such intensity, that a few short seconds later, there was little left of the Oni – other than a smitten ruin of a body.

Eolion quickly burned it and after retreating with the spoils of her body and the tortured souls in the guard room, the Scions headed back out to the waiting Kami and the next leg of their journey to confront the Jade Regent and restore Minkai back to the people.


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