Si Da and Nazarius are still at odds but for now Nazarius is able to defend the Jade Empire fairly well. Over 8 months more ships eventually came, they didn’t really bring anyone too scary though. Mostly striders to reinforce Nazarius and a good host of some who were interested in this Shenlong business. Several dragon whelps but only three more dragon masters one of which who is dead already (see 3 paragraphs down). Though despite how promising a new master Shenlong makes, not too many people are keen on the whole ‘non physical’ thing and many are here just to see if Innokenti is messing with them.
In other interesting encounters, Nazarius and team met Eli and team. Mostly because the pirates were hijacking some of the new ships coming to visit this strange new land. Since Drakon ships are very shiny and covered in gold quite often, it attracted pirates pretty quickly. They were quite offended once they discovered Eli was the master of Vassago and not the other way around, even questioning what he must have done to the poor dragon to turn it into something resembling a beast rather then an intelligent creature. Which was a fine moral high ground and all except for the immediate problem that Vassago is much larger then Nazarius and the whelps that were coming to visit from Drakon’s homeland.
While the combined efforts of the dozens of dragons that came from Drakon this time managed to force Vassago to retreat and lick its wounds, and the pirates didn’t quite succeed in taking ships from striders, it has set a weird atmosphere among the Drakon. As they just met someone who controls a dragon large enough to fight several of their own. In their circle Eli is the first man in the new world to earn the feared title of Dragon Slayer which apparently in their culture is a way to indicate humans dangerous enough to kill dragons. After Vassago ate three of the whelps, they decided to acknowledge Eli as being “pretty dangerous” hence the title. While the pirate raid wasn’t terribly successful as they underestimated how strong the striders on the ships were, the Drakon are now a bit worried about the Atlanteans and they already fear the Jakaal. The new world seems a bit scary and even though this second wave includes more soldiers the situation has definitely changed since they were first sent out as during their voyage Nazarius truly came to understand the threat the Jakaal in particular posed to them. As a result, they’re bunkering down in the Lengdon mountain range along the coast of the Jade Empire to prepare defenses and to create a landing point for future Drakon reinforcements. Shenlong seems to have conveniently not mentioned who actually controls those mountains, just in case he decides he doesn’t want them around anymore.
With the arrival of the Drakon forces, more dragon masters and their striders have appeared to stake claims in the new world and they’ve begun to explore the landmass even further since Nazarius has been primarily focused with surviving Si Da. A particular dragon master didn’t believe him when he warned about Si Da and why he is trying to keep things under control within the territory of Jade Empire. Said cocky master was convinced his striders were far better then those of Nazarius and flew straight to Sthan Thi to “get rid of the hive for you” in a typically annoying manner. This was a fairly significant battle as several dragons were involved and tried to burn Sthan Thi to the ground immediately, their striders also coming along to massacre and enslave the populace. However, in the end their assault was defeated. Shen Rai’s capabilities caught them offguard and Saldis kept reanimating dragon corpses as they fell. So Si Da now has undead dragon pets, and Drakon calls “the teleporting scythe guy” a dragon slayer as well.
It isn’t all doom and gloom for the forces of Drakon though, the Jakaal have been set back heavily in the Jade Empire and pushed back to the wild lands where the cover of the forests offer them protection from the flying dragons. Nazarius has been quite successful at adapting his tactics to recognizing the abilities of his enemies and even managed to attack and destroy “The Pit” with the reinforcements he was brought from his homeland and force the Jakaal to become nomadic.
Now they are trapped by enemies on both sides as Shahira is basically a home of dragons right now, the wide open desert provides no protection against them and the only reason Akhetaten still stands is the united nation was able to rally enough champions to produce a show of force. On the advice of Nazarius, the Drakon decide to deal with just one problem at a time for now until more of their forces arrive, and perhaps one of the dragon lords.
This has had the slight effect of uniting the western nations, including Hale’a, deeper into their joint alliance as its quite clear the dragons are the “take over the world” type of empire. So far Innokenti has not traveled far enough west to discover Bahamut though.
However, due to the curiosity of the blood strider they found Hale’a Jeongsin and have definitely taken note. Despite attempts at diplomacy it didn’t really take long for this to devolve into a fight and figuring Hale’a to be one of the pagan tribes they’d already killed a few of so easily they just sent a couple dragons and striders to investigate. They might have actually reached the blood jungle if they hadn’t pissed off Song Yi, not that doing so is particularly hard. In the end Fujin interrupted their ability to fly and grounded them into the forests where Song’s abilities turned the situation around pretty quickly. Sange also proved problematic for the striders as they had no idea what to do against that thing, defending his territory quite well and replicating himself with the remnants of their weapons and armor. Hale’a has also gotten on the ‘we’ll deal with it later’ list as they’re still preoccupied dealing with Si Da.
In the meantime, Fujin has found a home in the caverns under Hale’a with some help from Song Yi to make him his own section to house his people in. While most of the nation has defaulted to hanging out with Raijin as the main figurehead of Taiyo, some of the more mystically inclined have realized the role Fujin played in keeping the nation alive for the last few years and his city prospers well with the assistance of the Aetas cake shrooms. Fujin has given the underworld a very unique effect, wind and thus technically ventilation. This has had the major effect of making underground living more comfortable for everyone as its less…cave like. But it also turns out to make cake shrooms grow freakishly quickly, and the silk spiders are growing larger then normal as well. In all, his contribution to the underworld has made it actually a pretty nice place to live as long as you don’t miss the sun too much.
Raijin on the other hand houses the shogunate within his new territory Song gave him, insuring their way lives on. So hey, samurai army, cool. More importantly though, Isis goes mad scientist on him and along with Lo’c furthers the power of electrical invention. These projects are still a work in progress but progress has been made and now Kagayakashi has fancier lighting then everyone else along with some peculiar machines.
Isis’ latest project has yielded some result in making hovering rocks that don’t require constant power to work. They don’t do much else really, and can’t support any weight. But Zaeed created basically an air hockey table with them.
The situation with the renegade vampires turns out to be fairly mundane, it is actually just a renegade vampire collection who became irate with the constant attempts to send them out of the way. The problem with them being out of the way is that their food supply also becomes rarer the further into the middle of nowhere you send them. While the plan was to leave them spread out to make their attacks less potent, the tyrant clan in particular is very social with other vampires. By the nature of attempts to spread them over the east you broke apart their little family and they wanted to stay together, the problem was if they kept together they caused the original problem.
The few that could be captured helped to reveal the previous information, but many fought viciously. The paladin and knights were almost overwhelmed but Anna took over and just massacred the rogue vampires. Killing probably a quarter of them personally, the city is just a field of gore and you have few captives to show for it. Notably every one of them were captured by the knights, no one survived Anna’s brutality. Sure she could have captured them to let them suffer as livestock for the rest of the vampires, but she isn’t interested in how much others suffer. Just that thrill she gets when she does it herself.
The cult in the territory formerly known as Thykenae is apparently a series of hijacked movements. First there was a group of angry citizens about being annexed and all their gods being demolished, then someone sort of rallied that particular cause into a rebellion movement much like the Svarga situation. Then that got hijacked by a much more dangerous cult that actually originated from Akhetaten based around Apophis promising some assistance and power to fight back properly and without having to turn to dark or black magic. So even if the cult is full of weird ass snake people worshipping a chaos god, it still seemed on the alright side of things to most people who are more wary of all the magics named by goth kids.
The primary Agent (Joseph Sheridan) journeyed north to Akhetaten looking for more clues about the cult of Apophis and its weird snake people. Discovering the snake god to be imprisoned by the pantheon for being…well a big ball of chaos. Basically the Otoroshi situation all over again. The cult is always looking for ways to release it and have hijacked the Thykenian movement to attract more to its cause. Akhetaten isn’t incompetent though, and knows what is happening. Most of Sheridan’s info came from some of the members of the Horus cult. The issue is, even if they do know its happening its pretty goddamned hard to deal with these guys.
Sheridan suspects the involvement of the demons but at this point we just suspect everything wrong with the world somehow involves them.
Ailani ditches mysticism lessons several times and shows zero interest in it. Kekoa also has no interest in it and doesn’t even try to keep her in line. Despite Akamu’s best attempts, she just keeps doing whatever she wants and recruiting her younger siblings into her own mischief. He warns Su that Ailani exhibited some dangerous “traits” for a ten year old. Mostly in that she was aware that she had way too much power in any given interaction they were having. For example, she’s the daughter of their creator, and even if that position wasn’t acknowledged her bodyguards can kill Akamu’s whole tribe single handedly. While she didn’t do anything overtly crazy to throw her position against Akamu, as a mystic he got the impression that she was very aware that if she wanted to be, she was in control.
Which brings into note her new childhood friend, the one that makes Akamu’s whole tribe shrink when the two young girls come around together. She has met and befriended Hei Song. While Hei hasn’t done anything evil, every mystic in the land is terrified of the girl. Someone so dark and frightening to anyone remotely spiritually attuned turns out to be rather lonely and since Ailani is kind of used to being surrounded by cannibals and other such scary individuals she turned out to get along fine with the creepy goth child of Song Yi. Su is concerned Hei Song is a bad influence, an idea perhaps put forth by Akamu who is mystically inclined.
Thykenians turn out to be good educators and take well to the university. The university itself also winds up adopting Tena Xequin, the only survivor from Vithanyalai. (I bet all of you totally forgot I named her as the sole survivor of Fluffy’s cult). Experiments in having Lavet teach go poorly, and she’s back at work in the library. It turns out that even though she can quiet down a noisy class room, the absolute silence she creates actually causes mild panic and she was deemed “too scary” to be an educator. She is head librarian though.
One of the more interesting developments is the arrival of an ambassador from Akhetaten. After staying for awhile, usually talking with Vris, they wind up taking Vris with them back to Akhetaten where she visits the archives of the old empire. This ends up keeping her away for a little while but she memorizes an old nations whole library while away so that’s pretty useful. While there she ends up meeting with agent Sheridan and gets involved in the study of the Apophis cult he discovered.
After piecing together a large portion of Akhetaten’s history she determines the cult to be a serious threat but then again Akhetaten is already on top of that one and Hale’a has its own problems especially with the incoming Drakon Imperiya. Though for the most part that problem is just solving other problems as they’re still primarily fighting with Si Da.
Freyja declines the offer for help with finding a high prophet, she can find one if she wants but just hasn’t found anyone interesting enough. She has normal prophets in the meantime.
Also Vris informs you that she is just equipping her kids with the education needed to pursue whatever they want in the future. You know she’s being nice and could snark you to death using Eret as an example though, at least she’s not as vicious towards you as your last high prophet could be. Also their dad is the fun one, her job is to be the strict one that keeps the family somewhat orientated. She hasn’t stopped one of her kids from training with the Aetas after all, though that kid’s unhealthy idolization of Song Yi is concerning given how Song Yi rose to power.
The scout ship found this mysterious continent! Success. The problem is that dragons can fly and spotted the ship coming from very far away. Unbeknownst to Drakon though, the Vua Cai communicate in their sleep and are able to send valuable information back to you even if they are currently enslaved. The report goes that well before they actually saw land they saw the towers of a coastal city and whatever lived there also saw them. Resistance was a bit futile given the fact that the dragon that came to take a look could have crushed the boat just by landing on the deck.
As it turns out, the Drakon idea of “slavery” isn’t all that unappealing to the average person. It is part of Drakon culture to be a ridiculous showoff, and as a result the slaves are not quite worked to death at the end of a whip. Your own people, that were cooperative, are currently adorned with gold and jewelry and personal projects of some of the dragon masters. As foreign slaves are apparently rare and all the rage right now, and your scout force reached them before Nazarius even sent any back since they set sail so quickly on such a speedy ship.
Abusing the power of the dream realm they managed to get into contact with the Aetas and have been spent quite a lot of time breaking down the Drakon language as they’ve observed it while awake. The ability to (apparently) learn the language on their own has only elevated their status as prize pets to the Drakon and made their whole spying job even easier as no one has the faintest idea there what the Vua Cai are good at doing.
Unfortunately, after the initial interesting fact that they are standing next to dragons wears off, there isn’t much to spy on. They can confirm the dragons are all very intelligent and rule over the society, the city they’re in is massive and beautiful, all the slaves are super well dressed and are forcefully educated from a young age as smarter slaves are worth more. Its actually not that bad a life, you just have to shut up and move out of the way of striders. Districts of the city are more akin to personal ant colonies, slaves can move freely throughout however much space is ruled over by their specific master. In the case of our Vua Cai spies, they have free reign over a dozen square miles or so as they are exotics and thus possessed by one of the more powerful masters.
On the downside, they lost the boat and their door building materials. They also aren’t labor slaves, actually that turns out to not be a thing in Drakon. Humans are physically very weak compared to striders and it would take a dozen to do the work of a single strider. The Drakon seemed to have decided that it takes too long and takes too much organization to make slaves do construction given that these structures are massive and often made with accommodating full grown dragons in mind. That does bring to mind the Vua Cai noticed the dragons are not the size of Shenlong or Bahamut, at least not the masters. Some get fairly large but Vassago (Eli’s dragon) is also bigger then anything but the city’s dragon lord. The lord is huge though and the difference between the masters and the lords appear to include a very sudden gap that they have yet to discover the reasons for.
So basically your spies live a life so luxurious the royals of Shahira (the Bakkali family) would be jealous. They’re okay with this assignment and will send back more information as they go along. While they weren’t able to construct the door, they do know where in the world this place is now and Milenkosi might be able to land there.
The order of demon hunters progresses, while its only been half a year its definitely making headway. With its own facility and research department alongside standard training. However, Fuma has yet to take them north to make direct contact with the demon legions as they aren’t quite ready for something like that. Lo’c has developed a small variety of ammunition for Nila’s guns increasing her adaptability in the field to deal with the supernaturally empowered demons and black mages who are typically very sturdy against firearms.
On the other hand, the dragon hunters are having a rougher time. There are only two dragons really available for study, Nazarius and Vassago. Both of which are not appealing prospects to get close to. Maona works to theorize many tactics but Nazarius being a skeletal dragon definitely makes planning somewhat tricky, the best they’ve managed for practice is working with one of the spirit monsters of the forest who is particularly large and kind of the right shape.
Logan and Gaetan’s team winds up on a particularly long adventure. Tracking down the remnants of Otoroshi led them to Shahira but no merchant there was willing to hold onto such remnants for too long, they say they get bad vibes from any pieces of the akuma and they offloaded them as quickly as they could. So who would want to buy such things? Shady people in hoods of course, which meant they didn’t have much information to give. Logan managed to acquire an object one such figure traded and tracked them all the way to Divus.
While there they encountered a series of cultist who worship the demons, and by extent the Akuma are included in that. The fragment of Otoroshi was in the possession of a nobleman who collected the object along with several other demonic relics and was one of the agents of Mammon. Their first encounter didn’t go well, with both Gaetan and Logan being forced to retreat from a conflict.
This conflict in the middle of a city with a demon cult attracted the attention of the templars and their knights prompting them to get involved. The nobleman went into hiding soon after and most of his collection disappeared with him. This brought up a whole other problem, Logan and Gaetan aren’t supposed to be in Divus as they are both black mages and now the templars were onto them.
Going on the run they managed to escape the city and eventually the nations’ borders before having their identities discovered. Through a series of careful information trading they managed to deduce the aftermath of the event resulted in a scandal being uncovered, a noble house being denounced, several demon cultists being discovered, and also several black market connections being shut down by the templars. Finally though, the fragment of Otoroshi was confiscated along with the rest of the demonic collection and the nobleman’s head. Many objects disappeared into the black market but several, including the fragment, are now in the hands of the templars. Logan awaits further instruction as this makes the situation a bit dicey.
The artemis has finished its construction and is significantly larger then even the Sanyang, Jin Zhang’s flagship. However, it is not even half as wieldy and it doesn’t have the same cannons, its made to hunt the kraken and with that comes sheer mass so it can’t be taken out with a quick chomp and firing anti air weapons at dragons presumably but that takes up all its armament allotment. Fortunately its size is also part of its advantage against the dragons given that they can’t just sink it by landing on it, it acts more like a carrier then anything else as pure bulk was a major factor in it so it has a lot of room for people to hang out. Be warned though, in ship to ship warfare it is surprisingly weak for its size and can merely survive bombardment but not necessarily return it.
Your attempt to train with Song Yi herself goes about as well as Lin Sun’s in the past.
Teozix makes a brief return to the university life as he pays a visit to the Aetas university and just kind of hangs out a little bit and offers a lot of “Vithanyalai had ____” to unintentionally remind them that the god of knowledge made a much better university in that innocent robotic flatness that lacks any snark thus making it sting all the more. He wasn’t asked to come back.