Game Time: 5 March 1175
Location: Mysterious Island
A large, serpentine form emerges from the shadows to the southeast and slithers to the mouth of the alley. This creature’s torso appears to be of more normal human-proportions and it appears to be a female. She temporarily pauses the mounting tension as she begins to speak:
“Human warriors, why do you trespass on this land with a servant of the Foul? Leave us to our watch and we may allow you to depart.”
When asked why Domogu was shot, she replies “All who have been corrupted must be cleansed of this world. The humans of this land have long since abandoned their duty. Do you claim to be warriors of the light?”
When Toshiro replies that they are warriors of the Crane, she replies with a seemingly earnest question “Does Lady Doji still rule?” The party is all aware that Lady Doji was the Kami who founded the Crane clan, and disappeared roughly 800-900 years ago.
Eventually, Masataro introduces himself, and the naga responds that she is “The interface.”
A hiss from one of the other naga causes her to focus on Byakuya and say “One of you also bears the scent of the Foul!” After his thorough spa treatment the previous evening, Byakuya realizes that she must be referring to the minor damage to his armor caused in the previous zombie attack. He begins to explain about their fight against the undead, when she interjects “Speak you the truth?!” and the Interface throws a pearl at Byakuya which flashes briefly, and causes him to have a vision of sorts, which he quickly shakes off.
Byakuya’s vision is as if he is in a room crowded with a thousand other murmering beings, where he picks up flashes of thought and sight and sound, including the sense of being in a great desert, the sense of being deep underwater, a glimpse of Utamuro as viewed from atop one of the neighboring buildings, and various other confusing thoughts. He also senses that his mind is briefly shared with these beings.
Something about this interaction seems to satisfy the Interface, and she turns south and beckons the party to follow. When asked where she is leading, she responds “to test your resolve”.
As the party passes an intricately carved stone building, the Interface blocks entrance to it and states firmly “You are not yet ready to enter the seal” as Toshiro tries to approach the southern door. However, even from without, Toshiro and Byakuya both are certain that the carved script has magical connotations, while Shoutaro notes that the style of these carvings matches one of the two clashing styles on the archway to the water temple at the docks.
The Interface, and a few naga guardians usher the party into the main chamber of the single story stone building, which appears to be an ancient dojo or training room, with decrepit training dummies and disintegrated tatami mats scattered about. She then addresses the party, saying: “You must all prove your worth to the great cause before we reveal further.” Each member in turn is asked “What skills do you bring against the darkness?”
Akiyama tells a stirring story about his archery exploits as he shoots the cloth off the Interface’s ceremonial spear.
Masataro uses his words to encourage Shoutaro, which initially seems to confuse the naga, but they eventually seem satisfied with the end result.
Shoutaro charges a training dummy and slices in in half with flair.
Byakuya skillfully demonstrates his swordsmanship by disarming the Interface. She then hands him a jade figurine of a snake, and then immediately snatches it back.
Utamuro offers that he brings a keen eye, strong arm and keen Ono. She challenges him to identify which scout fired the arrow which started this altercation. Utamuro identifies which one fired from the number of arrows in his quiver and a missing scale that was scraped off on the wall.
Toshiro elaborates on the benefits of his magical skills and duplicates himself using a spell. “hmm, yes, deception can be used against the servants of deceit.”
The assessment seemingly complete, she states “You have proven you have some skills, have you come to renew our partnership of bygone years?”
After some discussion with the Interface, as well as reading some of the inscriptions found on the stone buildings, it is revealed that this island sits atop a rift to the realm of Jigoku. A thousand years ago, Humans came to the island to find Naga standing watch over the rift. After an initial misunderstanding and battle, which distracted the Naga guardians, a series of evil spirits broke free, and both sides turned to fight them. After defeating these spirits, the Naga and Humans entered into an alliance where both sides provided guardians. Eventually the castle and seal were constructed to keep in the evil spirits and guard against their eventual encroachment. A few hundred years previously, the Naga went into hibernation, leaving the guardianship to the humans. Eventually the family of humans in charge of the castle/island died out, leaving the island unprotected.
Within the seal room is an elaborate carving in the floor worked with runes of warding, jade and crystal insets and dotted with pearls which all hum with power. At various points are symbols for the five elements as well as one gigantic (plate-sized) pearl. The symbol of void has been removed from the carving, which has weakened the magical wards and allowed kansen to sneak through and corrupt the surrounding area, especially the water spirits.
When asked about the missing piece of the seal, she mentions that humans broke in, stole the large black void stone and breached the seal. Unfortunately, since the human guardians of the island are now gone, and the naga were hibernating until the breached seal gradually woke them, they were not able to stop the incursion.
When asked about the humans, she will mention that the “Dead sailor, who smelled of fish” and “scented one in the colors of autumn leaves” both came to the island a few times and raided the armory and vandalized the seal.
At the mention of the armory, Utamuro returns the naga-sized naginata he has been carrying, and one of the warriors returns it to a back room beyond the training area. Within this back area are a number of familiar-looking crates of weapons which are clearly quite ancient. Some weaponry of Naga-size is also present. Most of the wooden weapon parts are very brittle, but the metal appears to be well preserved. The armory appears to have sufficient weaponry and armor to equip hundreds of warriors.
Adjacent to the armory rooms, there is a sealed inner room which the Interface brings Toshiro to. This smaller room appears undisturbed, and is filled with dozens of jade and crystal weapons and other tools to fight against the taint. To the best of the party’s knowledge, this amount of jade and crystal equipment could be as much or more than the entire Crane clan otherwise possesses.
The interface allows the party to borrow four jade weapons. Byakuya takes a jade katana, but makes him promise that the katana be used in defense of the land and returned at the end of your journey. Akiyama receives 10 jade willow-leaf arrows. Utamuro receives a jade Ono, Shoutaro takes a jade katana.
From a crate of very fragile scrolls Toshiro is given one which includes un-encrypted versions of the following spells:
Earth Becomes Sky (Jade)
Bonds of Ningden-Do
Purge the Taint
Strength of the Crow
Ward of Purity
Witness the Untold
The Void’s Caress
Toshiro offers a vow that the Daidoji family will not again forget the alliance with the Naga.
Just as the party is gathering these new weapons, there is a commotion from outside the building, and they all emerge to see what is happening. One of the naga scouts stands with a bow drawn, Moshi Takuji appears between the buildings clearly severely injured and slumps against a wall, while one of the naga arrows pierces the ground at his feet.
The Interface – Naga speaker
Moshi Takuji – Friendly Mantis Sailor
All Players receive 4 XP
All players receive +2 for facing the naga and potential taint with bravery
All – +1 Lore: Shadowlands, Local, Spirit Realms
Byakuya – +3 Lore: Naga; Enlightened Madness (Void) (TN: 20, stunned for 1 round); Touch of the Spirit Realms (Tengoku, +2k0 Earth vs Taint); Naga Ancestry