Romance of the Jade Kingdom

The Ancient Rock Circle

Romance of the Jade Kingdom: Session 8

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The next morning the heroes head back to Senxia Gu with the plan to meet with the Council of Elders, with an injured bandit in tow and an ancient Jade short sword. It is now four days and three nights until the night of the full moon and they have yet to find the peculiar rock formation. As they travel through Ren Jing forest, they realize that the damage to the forest has escalated. Trees have become blighted and the atmosphere takes on a thick heavy air.

Back at Senxia Gu, the party splits up to reconvene later. Taka heads off to gain an audience with the council, telling the others that he will meet them at the market. Helga and Yuriko decide to take the injured bandit to the Healer’s Hut while Fox, Jevin, and Randuil head to the market. At the Healer’s Hut, Helga and Yuriko find that Lo is still recuperating. Seeing his badly injured comrade, he asks about the other bandits and feigns disinterest when Helga tells him that The Shadow Rebellion bandits were practically wiped out. The head healer, Gong, tells them that the guards await for Lo to recover and then he will stand trial for his crimes. Lo refuses to talk any further to Helga and Yuriko, so they next head to the Silver Monkey Tavern.

At the marketplace, Fox, Jevin, and Randuil go shopping. Fox, ever the party healer, looks for potions of healing and rations for the group. Jevin and Randuil find a familiar face in the market – O Lin, the ginger merchant who tasked the group to collect wild white ginger, is nonchalantly selling his wares to visitors from his stall. With pockets full of white ginger, Jevin and Randuil approach O Lin. At first he does not recognize them, but after some reminders, he asks if they found the wild ginger field. Randuil says they have, but feeling guilty for taking his share of illegal white ginger, he quickly sells his share to the merchant. Jevin, however, has a different plan in mind. Surmising that O Lin may be more than just a merchant, likely a poacher, he attempts to get a greater share of profits for his ginger. O Lin strikes a deal with Jevin – he will give Jevin the name of his contact in Pyanping, a city buyer of ginger (and white ginger in particular), in exchange for the location of the wild ginger field. O Lin explains that white ginger has become a popular trend among city folk, especially with the noble elite. Rumor even has it that Lord An Ping, the Ailing Lord drinks white ginger tea multiples times a day to ease the symptoms of his sickness. Jevin agrees to the deal and becomes a partner with O Lin in the illegal white ginger market. O Lin says that his contact is named Quan who has a shop in Mongmin Neighborhood along Yan Yan street.

Taka then appears to tell the heroes that the council is ready to see them. At the Elder’s Mound, the PC’s relay their encounter with the bandits and the Yuan-Ti at the Shadow Rebellion hideout. They also explain the water cavern below and show the council the jade weapon they found, Sword of the Tempest Elemental . The council rewards them for routing the local Shadow Rebellion bandits. They are very concerned about the audacity of the Yuan-Ti, particularly their alliance and betrayal of the Shadow Rebellion. The elders are at a loss as to what to do with the weapon. They are just as surprised as the heroes to find that such a weapon was found in Ren Jing forest. They recommend they go to Pyanping and speak to the Wu Jen of The Academy of Scholars Arcana. Lady Wen lived in Pyanping, they recommend they speak to her about a possible contact.

Before the heroes leave to speak to Lady Wen, one of the elders by the name of Pema stops the group and explains that she was particularly grateful for the justice served to the Shadow Rebellion. She hands the PC’s a weapon, the Woodcutter’s Axe, which belonged to her son, to aid them on their adventures.

They head to the Silver Monkey Tavern to talk to Lady Wen upon the recommendation of the council of elders. Lady Wen reluctantly speaks to them. When they speak to Lady Wen, she obliquely and fondly recalls her travels, stating that for decades she was a resident of Pyanping, but left years ago to the small forest village of Senxia Gu, where she much prefers the retiring life. She tells them about a Shenyuen man she was once in love with, an ambitious and talented man who deeply loved her as well. But because he was human and she elven, she felt that her race and age was a deterrent to truly have a real and lasting relationship with this man. In addition, he was just embarking in the ranks of a powerful organization, and she refused to get in the way of that. She broke it off with him and fled to the forest. This man was Lu Jian, Master Lu, Grand Wu Shi_ of the Academy of Scholars Arcana in Pyanping. To this day, he does not know where she fled to and she deeply regrets breaking his heart, but deems it was necessary. Since the PC’s are going to Pyanping, Lady Wen agrees to allow them to use her name to request an audience with Master Lu. She also decides to write him a letter which she asks the PC’s deliver.

The heroes also talk to the hermit druid Yin Shi Shang to find out if he has any leads about the The Ancient Rock Circle. The druid mentions that perhaps they should talk to worshipers of Chang’e, the Maiden of the Moon. They often utilize the rock circles in the forest as locations for their rituals and in fact, they are performing a ritual tonight at the shrine to Chang’e just outside of town in preparation of the full moon coming in a few days. He tells them to speak to the head priestess Yue, ‘Moonbeam’.

Under the moonlight and amidst the shrine to Chang’e, Moonbeam welcomes the heroes to participate in the ritual to re-enact the story of The Moon Maiden and the Hare. After listening to the story, Yuriko, a druid herself of the Circle of the Moon and believing that perhaps Chang’e will reveal some truth to their cause decides to volunteers, and her friends also agree to run beside her. Moonbeam says that perhaps the chosen spirit will guide them if they catch it.

The ritual begins in the circle with the acolytes and initiates dressed down in preparation for the hunt. During the prayer, they call forth the spirits of the hunt, but instead, angry dark spirits appear. After the spirits are dealt with, the pure forest spirits appear and agree to the hunt. Yuriko’s spirit is a doe.

The heroes follow the doe through the forest. Several hours into the hunt, the spirit animal leads them to a severely blighted area, in the center of which is a fawn spirit on a rock. The dark blight is closing in on the spirit. Upon closer inspection, they find that the cause of the blight is a dead stag killed by yuan-ti arrows. The PC’s quickly rescue the fawn from the blight. Jevin takes a sample.

As dawn approaches, Yuriko shoots an arrow at the doe, finishing the ritual. The spirit thanks the heroes for rescuing the fawn by leading them to an large open grove in a remote part of the forest. Within the grove lies the ancient stone circle, the rock formation they were looking for.

The heroes enter the circle and suddenly they hear a loud noise – one of the large rock plinths has turned into an earth elemental and has now attacked them! The guardian proves to be quite the challenge for the heroes, but Jevin brandishes the Sword of the Tempest Elemental and the moment before it crushes Jevin to the ground, the elemental freezes. Speaking in the elemental language, which to Jevin’s surprise he can understand, the guardian tells him it will stave off his attack.

Success! The heroes have managed to find a way to protect themselves from the guardian of the grove and more importantly, they have found the ancient rock circle, which may eventually lead them to Hamaterasu.

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Reoryn

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