When cheeky dialog moments get too long and I should have just written an SoL instead.

As this will take less time to cover, Mikael has found a town living among the islands in the south where he has begun his investigation. Though they don’t know much about the golden witch business or what to make of it. However, Cayetano once came through the area and asked about something similar. They were told to visit the fortress to the west and speak with the Seni, as if anyone would know anything on these islands it should be them. A year or so later they saw the Cayetano fleet, which these island primitives referred to as “sails dotted the horizon as far as the eye could see, looking as to be clouds moving in the distance” so not a very helpful headcount. Though apparently it was a massive naval excursion in these waters. Whether or not that is at all related to what we’re after is anyone’s guess. Mikael is headed to meet the Seni next.

Now on to the bigger matters, the expedition has successfully found more mana and managed to return to Jämsä through the gate stone. With the exception of Ansa, most seem traumatized by the experience. The general sentiment is the island is one of the worst places in the world. I’m sure they’re exaggerating but it just goes to show the effect on morale wandering into such uncivilized lands can have.

So as for a general update. The base camp at the cave won’t serve for our colonization too well. While it is defensible, it isn’t so great for harvesting mana. We will probably want to go along the coastline for maximizing yield. An outpost is still recommended, if not an outright fortress. The high quantity of mana will definitely continue to attract more monsters than we can ever hope to kill.

We never found any further details on where that strange undead came from, we also never saw another one. It is likely that some more exploration of the island will be necessary to find any clues on the matter.

In other news, dragons. Large jars of the chaos dragon’s blood were brought back. Ansa says the stuff can be used to make all kinds of things due to their mana properties and has taken a bunch of the stuff for material sciences. The dragons themselves are in a holding facility in her house to be properly trained. She said since there are three we could give one to each of our nations since it was a joint assault. Though laughed when I asked how hard they were to keep under control. Apparently the general rule is that dragon’s know they are the biggest baddest thing in this world by natural instinct. If they sense weakness they are liable to strike, either physically or mentally. If anyone does take them on, whoever manages them needs to have a certain level of heroic quality. She also warns that if they grow bigger…well they’re dragons. Though the plan was to hold them all with Ansa until everyone could be briefed on the appropriate risks, Petrina took her share already and is on the way to Sybaris with orders from the queen. I can’t help but notice she had the enclosure already built and waiting though. I’m not sure if it was just a general purpose thing or if she had been waiting to find dragons specifically.

 

Iraeka is back up and working. Essi did something to her after resurrecting from her phylactery and making it back to her lab. Iraeka is still enlisted to continue her work and despite what happened doesn’t seem interested in a career change. Though she’s a lot broodier than she already was. Apparently having your arm and leg replaced with necromantic prosthetics makes you a bit gloomy.

While she laments the loss of her crossbow, she has demonstrated new abilities. This may be because we foolishly entrusted her health to Essi. She keeps her new limbs hidden as they are quite literally skeletal, making people uneasy around her. Though the experimental prosthetic has illicited some questionable expenses and-

I had a thought. What if I enchanted every individual bone? Now they are near indestructible, with careful application of mending to repair any damage it might somehow take. Then I gave them bull’s strength, bear’s endurance, cat’s grace, eagle’s splendor, fox’s cunning, inflict critical wounds mass, chill touch, ghoul touch, ghost touch, darkness –

Woman what did you do to her? Is that why she’s so gloomy lately?

The RFC department says that is normal for those experiencing the loss of a limb, especially multiple. She’ll bounce back.

Wait why no Owl’s Wisdom?

 

 

I only had so many bones to work with and that didn’t seem necessary. None of her abilities rely on it.

You turned her into a living weapon and did you put any sort of restraint in place at all? What if she goes rogue?

She was already a rogue.

 

 

I feel like you are much more meta than I am.

Anyways I loaded a bunch of arcane and necromantic stuff into her new limbs so she will never be…unarmed.

That feels insensitive.

 

 

What? She can’t hear me.

I will bet my own money you would not be able to tell if she was in this room with us right now.

Fair. Anyways, she needs a lot more mana to stay functional now than before, but that just makes her like the rest of us anyways.

Okay so Essi turned Iraeka into a science project and now she’s some sort of hybrid super soldier. Still a bit of a gloomy loner though, and she already left the city towards the south. She said she intended to train with the Oda to get comfortable with her new limbs. Which seems odd to me given I am ninety percent sure she can’t use ki through them.

That or now that she has arcane power she’s training with them to follow in the footsteps of her beloved Sakki.

And now I’m sad.

 

 

Okay that’s enough. To summarize, Iraeka is recovered and awaiting her next mission. While waiting she is wandering around the kingdom. Also I can’t help but get this feeling I am for some reason incapable of properly quantifying her new abilities in such a way that would properly tell us how to best utilize her skills and abilities. I am inclined to say that her feats have marked her as a prestigious member of our military.

 

 

Greetings keeper! It is a glorious day for the Oda people. Kaze is headed south, though I did some administrative assisting on that one. Instead of hiring more kensei, I just sent Yuzuki’s team since they have recently returned from the expedition and had nothing else to do. Hamano and Yamaoka are actually on the way back home as guides for Kaylen. Iwanagi has completed his trip around the other island and has mapped it’s edges properly.

Shime has returned from the expedition, though Chinami is still in transit along the northern coast. Shime is now in Haven and her students say that after a few days passed she became non-responsive and just stares into the distance most of the time. Apparently events were fairly traumatic for her, though problematically no one could understood any of her gestures upon her return.

Chinami stopped off in the north as requested to pursue details of the drunken master. With a stroke of good luck, it turns out this was the exact place he was exiled from. So they know quite well about him. His name was Maeng Seung-Ho. He was by all accounts a lovely fellow most of the time, its just his drunken antics eventually aroused the ire of the local powers that be. Apparently he had a habit of stumbling drunk around town and then stealing stuff from nice houses and rich people in the street. Apparently its hard to tell a drunk is pickpocketing you, by all civilian accounts his drunken antics were well calculated. He gained notoriety as time went on and people started to piece together that Maeng’s drunken stupors seemed to keep taking place very close to where valuable things went missing. He would then fence his ill-gotten gains to help feed and clothe others in the frigid winters. If you ask the officials Maeng was a menace, if you ask average civilians he was a local hero. When he was exiled he apparently stole the judge’s entire wine collection, got in a rowboat, and was never seen again. Though they do mention he was last seen rowing towards the west.

Oh my you got here sooner than expected. Welcome to Okushiri, I hope your journey went well?

It was fine, the road helps when you have bikes. So I can come and go a bit faster than such a journey might imply. I would have come in earlier but Hamano insisted I try the local food after our journey. He was right though, the fish is pretty good. Oh, and my respects to you Keeper.

That is good to hear, I hope he wasn’t too overbearing. He has a habit of trying a bit too hard to be hospitable sometimes. You’re in good timing though, it appears we are all here now. Welcome back Master Soshu, how has your time here in town treated you?

Master Soshu!

 

My respects to the keeper, and my goodness Kaylen! How much you have grown since I last saw you. You don’t need to bow, get up. I should bow to you, you’re a grand marshall now! Though you’ll forgive me if my back makes me hesitant to do so.

You never need to bow to me Master. I am only what I am today thanks to your training.

 

Oh you two are already acquainted? Wait, Master Soshu how old are you?

 

It’s impolite to ask that you know. Though if you are curious, I knew Kaylen’s mother before we split up in the forest. Apparently Kaylen’s mother sent her to find and train with me having remembered our interactions.

Would I be correct then, to imply that Kaylen has actually been to Okushiri before today?

 

I trained with Master Soshu in the monastery when this city was still just a small town. The monastery was little more than a series of grass huts on a hill. I wasn’t a name of note back then though, and I spent most of my time training with Master Soshu as my mother wanted.

Well you trained with me for so long I ran out of things to teach you.

 

This is interesting, I thought Kaylen was just a lost descendant. I had no idea that you had actually returned home once before. May I ask why you didn’t stay?

Well my father lived in the badlands and refused to leave. My mother wouldn’t leave him either. So I had to return to my family eventually. As much as I appreciate the inclusion, this place isn’t really my home. I was born and raised in the badlands after all.

Well we have gathered here some of the greatest masters of Ki in this world. I thought since you were visiting to investigate the Kensei, you could also come share your thoughts with us on a topic that has been of concern to the Keeper. We were curious if any training could be implemented to help the monks deal with the undead due to a recent incident in which one of our most esteemed monk fell victim to one such foul creature.

Careful with the foul creature thing. If Eliana hears you say that you may fall out of favor with her.

 

Ah yes, excuse me. I of course did not mean to include her in such a statement. So you know of Queen Eliana as well?

All the lords know Eliana at least by name. I have never met her myself, though I tread cautiously around her name. Eliana is one of the powers that we fear the most. She has so much information she could topple kingdoms with just a letter and a carrier pidgeon. Many of the warlords live in constant fear that she might decide to do just that. A lot of them have a great deal of skeletons in their closet.
But not yourself?

 

Fortunately no. I am very direct with everyone, also my job is appointed by the King. Not to mention my job is just to maintain our standing forces as well as train soldiers. I don’t get involved in the shadier aspects of our culture.

Returning to the topic at hand…

 

Yes, sorry Master Soshu.

 

I do not know of any manner by which Ki might be especially different against an undead than any other weapon. Though many techniques we already know are more than enough of a solution. If anything we are well suited to the challenge more so than those who brandish blade and spell. A broken bone is a broken bone after all.

Shime was almost killed by one all too recently though. It was only by a miracle that Ankathi saved her just in time. Unfortunately she did not arrive in time to save Varpu. I am told the creature could devour mana and steal spells to empower itself by eating people.

Had it not been Shime to fight it, could any soldier or wizard have handled such a fiend?

Well, reportedly the blackguards of Ankathi had no trouble with it.

 

Wait do you guys know who Ankathi is? I keep hearing rumors about her but never anything much to go on.

While I will certainly divulge the information to you, first I am curious as to what the rumors say about her.

Well I hear she is a demonic witch. Both figuratively and literally. They say she is both chaos and malevolence incarnate. I figure they’re stretching it a bit but-

No that’s correct.

 

. . . So why would she save this Shime?

 

Self interest of some sort.

 

Back on topic, before we draw the ire of the poor keeper who must listen to us old folk jabber so long he might turn old himself! In theory undead have a specific lack of ki, so there isn’t much to exploit. They are held together by pure magic. Though they are easy to make they are not necessarily sturdy, so a simple application of force might be all that can be done.

I agree. It is just a matter of overpowering them. Due to their undead state most weapons don’t work well, but simply smashing them will cripple them piece by piece. The only real problem are liches. This creature you describe that defeated Shime was one such thing yes?

No, it was simply a thrall.

 

Well…that’s not good. How many of them were there to overwhelm a manifester and a monk?

One.

 

Oh…well have you tried calling someone else to handle that kind of thing?

 

Who are we going to call?

 

Cayetano.

 

Fair point. While I have you both here, the keeper was also curious about infusing Ki into objects in some way or another. If the Kensei can do such a thing to their weapons surely there must be a way to use it on other objects?

Unfortunately I have never heard of such a concept working.

 

I’m here to actually meet with the Kensei and see what all that is about. I might have more of an answer after learning whatever technique they have created is.

 

 

Ryo found a city called Matanaro that he went poking around in. They were quite surprised to see him, as they have not seen a foreigner since the dying night. While some of the major continental powers seem to be a bit more aware of one another, especially our kingdom in particular, it is interesting such a large city has never seen anyone despite being between Melun and Cayetano. I guess the world is still quite large. Though what’s also strange about that, is the dragon people of Kirillobatov knew about the larger world through contact with Archdruid Kaikane in those forests. Yet a city as large as Matanaro apparently hasn’t. Though Ryo did mention an oddly high amount of monsters in the area.  Luckily he’s kind of hard to catch.

The expedition force has successfully returned from that forsaken island, and our additional troops went to relieve them as not to lose control of the base camp we have managed to establish. Petrina is apparently quite injured from her journey but alive, though she is currently in Okushiri. Having stopped off there to rest before finishing the journey home from the gatestone in Jämsä. So we’re currently holding down the fort in that area, though it is likely the token force is not liable to last too long if we just leave them sitting around up there.

Ivan left of his own accord to assist Petrina in bringing the dragon back to Sybaris. Given Petrina’s current health it is likely for the best that he help out given Ansa’s warning about their behavior. Ivan has that sort of…alpha’s presence about him. Probably comes with being an old grizzled war veteran.

Christina is on her way back to Sybaris since whatever the purpose of her visit to the drow was never really expanded upon and it wasn’t of much interest to us anyways.

We definitely need to work out what to do with that dragon once Ivan brings it back. We received a warning from Ansa that this thing is young and containable but will eventually grow. Once grown its a pretty big deal, though we have quite a bit of time on that. We could just chain it down to help produce dragonborn, we could try to build it a cushy lair and hope it just takes a liking to having us around raising it, we could ask the dragon shaman’s in Kirillobatov what to do with it and hope nothing goes wrong until we sort that out.

Though I do say we could use it to scare the missionaries out of town, the cult of the abyss from Abasi are still here and they’re getting annoying. Though to be noted, they left Sybaris and started preaching around the smaller villages. Their movement is actually gaining some traction especially with many affected by our brief civil war.

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